Monday, February 29, 2016

Daily Dose 2-29-16

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

The Read Through the Bible in a Year Reading Guide does not post scripture for Leap Day. There’s a lesson there! On this leap day, maybe we should focus on the day that will come when we never count days again! What do you need to do to get ready for that trumpet sound? Have you been waiting for a better day to start a commitment to the LORD? Have you been a Christian for years, but never established a real relationship with the LORD? Are you practicing your faith like checking off a to do list? Are there people you love who will be lost for eternity because you haven’t had the courage to be bold with them on the truth about Jesus? Today could be the day…are you ready?

Father of All Time, I come to You today and thank You for another day to serve You. I long for the day of Your Son’s return…sometime’s I focus on it too much and loose site of what You have in store for today. Help me be more purposeful with the time You give me here on earth. May each day I live glorify you! I love You! Amen

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Daily Dose 2-28-16

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

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

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

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Daily Dose 2-27-16

Mark 9:2-6 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Spiritual mountaintops are the best! Those in pursuit of God are promised to find Him. In those times when we find a new level of intimacy, we want to stay put. It is tempting to retreat from the world and enjoy basking in the glow of a transfigured relationship. We may be enjoying time on the mountaintop with strong spiritual mentors – enjoying new blessings for our life or ministry. Use these times to soak in all that God has in store, but realize the real work of a Christ follower is in the valley. When Jesus and His three closest disciples descended from the transfiguration, they were faced with challenges. Those empowered to minister had been rendered ineffective – some believe the other disciples may have been dealing with envy since they weren’t invited to the mountain. There were followers in need of healing. Take advantage of your mountaintops. Let them energize and empower you for the real work you will face as you descend.

God, Thank You for the spiritual mountaintops. I respectfully ask for more soon! While I want the intimacy with You, I also want that time to make me more effective for Your kingdom. Transfigure me! Amen

Friday, February 26, 2016

Daily Dose 2-26-16

Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

The picture of Jesus carrying the cross through the streets is heartbreaking. The heavy instrument of torture that led to His horrific death would eventually be the symbol of His tremendous victory. We all have struggles. There are things we face that seem unfair. When we think about fairness…we should think about HIS cross. People He came to love and save, rejected and crucified Him. Whatever your cross may be, it cannot be tougher than His. Whenever you feel alone in your struggles, remember the cross. What is your cross? Is it struggling with a particular sin, financial or physical hardships, rejection and loneliness, or a rebellious spirit? Whatever it may be, Jesus expects us to be aware of it…know that it was intended by satan to harm or diminish our effectiveness; but, because of the victory Jesus had over His cross, we can also be conquerors. Pick up your cross, take it to Jesus, and allow Him to make you victorious! Then, your cross – and testimony of victory - can lead others to Him.

Precious Savior, I have no idea how You endured Your cross. The pain, humiliation, and grief You experienced was the epitome of unfair! May I always keep Your sacrifice forefront when I am tempted to whine or complain. Take my cross and turn it into Your victory! Amen

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Daily Dose 2-25-16

Psalm 41:1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.

If you are looking for blessings from the LORD, try blessing someone else. God works in a cyclical manner with His people. He gives to us - we pass to others - they turn to Him - He gives to them…and the cycle goes on. What cycle of God are you impeding? Has He blessed you with shelter and provision, but you fail to meet the needs of the less fortunate? Has He blessed you by giving you close family and friends, yet you never take notice of the lonely and brokenhearted? Has He showered you with forgiveness, yet you hold on to grudges against others? Has He reconciled you to Himself, yet you allow pride of fear stand in the way of reconciling your broken relationships? Has He patiently tolerated your shortcomings, yet you throw up hands of frustration with others? Whatever you are asking of the LORD – stop! Try giving to others what you request of Him. It may surprise you how your needs are met!

Father, I seek Your Hand of blessing. However, instead of asking for Your blessing, I ask You to show me where I need to be a blessing to others. I love You!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Daily Dose 2-24-16

Mark 7:20-23 (MSG) He went on: "It's what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution."

These words of Jesus were pretty blunt. The Pharisees were very concerned about the letter of the Law. However, they had elevated the letter of the Law above the Spirit of the law. Just as Moses came to free the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, Jesus came to free all people from the bondage – and eventual failure – of Law keeping. Reading through Leviticus you will find detailed instructions on all kinds of ceremonial purifications, sacrifices and feasts. Through generations of teaching and enforcement, the people became pretty good at ritualistic processes. The problem is, they forgot the purpose behind the process. Jesus turned everything they knew upside down by declaring all foods clean. Without this huge section of the Law to consider, they were forced to consider their hearts… a much tougher exercise. Are you more comfortable with law keeping than heart checking? Is it easier for you to check off church attendance and throwing a donation in the collection plate than checking your motives behind your actions? Are you willing to serve in outreach ministry, but tend to judge those you serve? To truly follow Jesus means to love with a pure heart. Your service is worthless if your heart is not engaged. Listen carefully to the thoughts that come to your mind and the words that come out of your mouth. Even though you may not commit “horrible” sins, would Jesus declare you unclean? He came to purify you … let Him - give your whole heart, not just your checked off list!

Purifying Jesus, Clean my heart to know and spew forth Your perfect love. Prick my heart to set aside the unseen sins that lead to judgement of others and bitterness. Thank You for considering me worthy of Your sacrifice. Today is a new day. I give You my whole heart. Amen

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Daily Dose 2-23-16

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; 
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

What is your slimy pit, mud and mire? When David was writing this Psalm, he had endured many needs for physical rescue. Whether it was defending his sheep from wild animals as a young shepherd boy, or on the run from an angry king, David trusted God. However, someone who goes down in Biblical history as a man after God’s own heart, he was not most concerned with physical rescue. David pursed God with such passion, he was eager to be rescued from spiritual dangers. What is satan using to keep you trapped in muck and mire? Is it unforgiveness, debt, resentment, selfishness, or pride? One of the most effective mud pits satan throws us into is complacency - an apathetic, lackadaisical attitude about the things that break the heart of God. Are you there? Look at your pit, whatever it may be, and cry out to God for rescue!

Father, Too often I get comfortable rolling around in a pit of attitudes that break Your heart. Lift me up and place me on the rock of Your perspective. Give me Your eyes to see where You are working in my world – and the courage to join You!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Daily Dose 2-22-16

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

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

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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Daily Dose 2-21-16

Mark 5:30-34 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Can Jesus feel your faith? The woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years was desperate for healing. She knew her only hope was Jesus. Despite the crowds and her “unclean” status, she pushed through in faith. She knew that even brief contact with Him would be worth the effort. How hard do you work to pursue Christ? We take our accessibility to Christ – and His power – for granted. We don’t need to push through crowds to get to Jesus. More than likely, it is our own busyness that stands in the way. Push through the crowded schedule of your life and reach out to Him in faithful prayer.

Powerful Savior, I desperately need You and the power faith in You can bring. I pray my outstretched faith will be strong enough for You to feel. Amen

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Daily Dose 2-20-16

Mark 5:16-17 (MSG) Those who had seen it told the others what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. At first they were in awe—and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back.

The Message version of this passage gives us a bit more insight into the hearts of the Gerasenes people. They had endured the destructive and frightening behavior of the demon-possessed man for years. When Jesus healed him by sending the demons into a herd of pigs, the pigs were crazed and ran off a cliff to their death. In front of them now was a man healed and whole, talking calmly with Jesus. At first, the people were amazed and drawn to Jesus. Then, they saw the pig farmer’s loss. A destroyed herd of pigs obviously had a devastating financial impact. What would being near Jesus cost them? Can we relate to their fears? Have we seen the sacrifices others have endured because of their faith – or the faith of others close to them – and we aren’t sure we want to go that far? Do we want Jesus to take care of the bad stuff as long as there is no impact on our current status of life? What’s your herd of pigs? What are you afraid to lose if you truly follow Jesus? Are you so bold as to ask Him to leave; or do you just quietly resist until you no longer hear His call? As Christians, we must stop fearing the cost of following Jesus and look to what is gained when people accept His healing grace of salvation. It’s worth so much more than whatever our herd of pigs may be!

Father, I quickly judge these people in scripture and wonder how they could choose to ask Jesus to leave. Yet, you ask me to takes a step further and discover what my fears are that keep me from following Jesus completely. Open my eyes and show me; give me the courage to make whatever changes I need to make to be closer to Your son. I love You! Amen

Friday, February 19, 2016

Daily Dose 2-19-16

Mark 4:24-25 (MSG) "Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes."

Following Christ does not always make sense by the world’s standards. The world teaches us to look out for number one to get ahead. We learn phrases like, “It’s not personal. It’s business.” Jesus teaches us that everything in life is personal. How we treat others – especially those underprivileged or under our influence – is a direct reflection of how others see Jesus in us. As followers, we are intended to live generous lives. We are to be consumed with giving, not receiving. So, what does that look like? In our relationships, we love more and are less concerned with how we are loved in return. We worry more about collecting memories instead of creating monetary stuff. We confidently give when we are not sure if we can afford it. We open our eyes to the needs of others as opposed to focusing in on fulfilling our wants. We trust in God’s provision for us as we provide for others. Does it make a lot of sense? Not really. The equation to out-give our bottom line does not balance on the scales of the world; but Jesus came to tip those scales with generosity, grace, mercy and love. As His followers, we should measure up accordingly!

Father, Help me live out what I know in my heart. Get me out of the way in my life so Jesus can be seen in me! I love You! Amen

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Daily Dose 2-18-16

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

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

Loving Father, You know what’s best for me and how You can best use me for Your glory. Change my heart to seek the desires of Your heart. I adore You! Amen

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Daily Dose 2-17-16

Mark 3:5-6 He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held it out—it was as good as new! The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod's followers and ruin him.

We don’t often see paintings that reflect the anger of Jesus. We all like to think of Him as only love, joy, peace and compassion. However, you can see in scriptures several instances where His anger was evident. There was always one common source of His anger – those who put religion before relationship. The Pharisees were powerful religious leaders of the day. They dispersed the teachings of the Law, along with a few additional laws to be sure the people didn’t get close to breaking the laws. They had put the enforcement and accountability of how religion should be done ahead of the relationship with God who gave the Law for their benefit, not their burden. Jesus was not popular with religious leaders; nor were they favorites on His list. Jesus came to turn religion on its ear so the people could hear the sound of loving grace and be drawn to that for salvation, and most importantly a personal relationship with Him and His heavenly Father. If Jesus were back on earth in the flesh today, where would you find Him? What would be the source of His anger?

Dear Jesus, My love for You makes me want to elicit the look of joy and compassion in Your eyes. Too often, I fear my actions may be a source of disappointment, or possibly anger. Give me Your eyes to see my world with Your heart. Change my perspective; deepen my relationship, not my religion. I love You Amen

Monday, February 15, 2016

Daily Dose 2-15-16

Exodus 39:42-43 The Israelites had done all the work just as the LORD had commanded Moses. Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the LORD had commanded. So Moses blessed them.

The instructions God gave Moses for the construction of the tabernacle were pretty specific and intense. This, after all, would be the place where God would dwell near His people. It was built to host His presence, bring honor and glory to God, and make His glory known for all to see. He repeatedly assured Moses He had equipped people with the necessary skills to accomplish this great work. God hasn’t changed. He is still in the business of great plans that would bring others to Him. God could have miraculously made the tabernacle appear yet He chose to work through His people. His plans today still involve creating a place that would draw others to Him. Just as He did in the days of Moses, He still works through His people. He has equipped you with special gifts, talents and abilities. Are you building your part of the tabernacle? Are you using your abilities to draw people to the Glory of God? Never underestimate what God can do with you and through you. All He needs is your availability!

Father, Make me aware of what You want me to do to bring Your glory to others. May my life be the tabernacle, blessed and worthy for Your presence to dwell. Thank You for Your son who has purified me so that I can be used by You. Amen

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Daily Dose 2-14-16

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

On this day where love and affection are celebrated as a holiday, remember to share the greatest love story of all. Jesus, God’s son who was with Him in the glory and splendor of heaven, left His side to be born as the humble baby to a carpenter’s family. He grew as a boy and ministered to the needs of the lonely, outcast and forsaken as a man. He endured ridicule and shame as those who followed Him, turned against Him to be crucified as the sacrificial lamb for all of us. He buried out sins with Him in the grave, and arose victoriously, bringing victory to us all for eternity. His request for those of us who have received His gift of salvation? Share His love story with others. Just like teachers for our grade school Valentine parties required each student to bring a valentine for every member of the class, we are to share His heart with a lost world. Give the ultimate valentine today…share the love of Jesus with someone who doesn’t know Him!

Dear Jesus, Thank You for loving me that day and every day. Give me the opportunity and courage to give your message of love with someone else today. I love You! Amen

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Daily Dose 2-13-16

Psalm 34:4-5 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

God knows how crippling fear can be in the lives of His children. He gets it and wants to deliver us from fear. He may not always remove what we are fearful of, but He will walk with us to see us through. When we are facing fear, it’s OK to acknowledge that we are afraid. However, it is when we acknowledge the One in whom we place our trust that bears witness to the power of God’s presence in our lives. David’s mention of a radiant face goes back to the days when Moses would be with God on the mountain. When He came back, His face had to be veiled because He was literally glowing with the presence of God. Oh to be that filled with Him! It is power to change the perspective of our fears. A rule for confrontation with animals is to show no fear. We may be shaking on the inside, but it is dangerous to retreat or tremble. The same holds true for our fearful circumstances in life. Satan uses them to trap us in fear and diminish what God may have in store for us, or others, through facing that trial. Pray up and look up! Approach your greatest challenges with the radiant face of faith, not the crippling face of fear!

Father, You know my greatest struggles and fears. I do have fear, but I choose to look to You for rescue instead of allowing satan to trap me in the fear. I love You! Amen

Friday, February 12, 2016

Daily Dose 2-12-15

Exodus 34:29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be in the physical presence of God like Moses? Moses was so eager to share with the people what God had said, that he didn’t realize how he had been changed in God’s presence. We may not be able to physically meet the LORD on a mountain today, but there is nothing that should stop us from being in His presence spiritually each day. Wake every morning with a sense of wonder of what God may have to say. Ask Him to meet you through His Word. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you to God’s mountain for you that day. Spending time in His presence WILL leave its mark on you! Soak yourself in His word and communicate – that means listening too – with Him in prayer. Over time, your life will radiate the glory of God.

Radiant God, May I be so eager and focused to spend time with You that I am unaware of the gradual change You make in me. May I unveil Your Glory to those I meet each day to share the wonder of Your powerful, redeeming love. Amen

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daily Dose 2-10-16

Psalm 32:9-10 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding 
but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.

Are you feeling convicted about an action the LORD wants you to take? Do you feel nudges either through scriptures you read, in your prayer time, reminders throughout the day in circumstances, or through encouragement of other believers? Each time we submit to those nudges or callings from the LORD and step out in faith, we learn to recognize His voice and the guiding of the Spirit in our lives. Each time we discount or disregard what we feel called to do, we quench the Spirit’s ability to convict us. Just like God loves a cheerful giver, He adores one who eagerly steps out in faith! Learn to listen, trust and obey. Your love relationship with the LORD grows a little deeper each time you take a step of faith!

Father, I know Your voice and the Spirit’s direction. Help me to respond with gentle nudges and not have to be forced to act for Your kingdom work. I want to nurture the Spirit’s power to guide my life; not quench it with disobedience or fear. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Daily Dose 2-9-16

Matthew 26:36-39 Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, "Stay here while I go over there and pray." Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, "This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me." Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, "My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?"

We read scriptures about praying with faith. We cling to the words Jesus shared about the mustard seed faith that can move mountains. Then, we see this – God’s own son begging and pleading in prayer for God to make another way. He did not want to endure the agony and humiliation of the cross – and certainly not the separation from God that would have to occur. He was facing a mountain and He wanted it moved! Many have called the Lord’s Prayer His model to teach us how to pray. However, no lesson is more significant than this.  Jesus made His will known to God; but His heart was willing to submit to God’s will. Are you praying in faith for something only to remain disappointed? Instead of pushing Your will before the Father, make your will known, but submit to His plan. Then, ask for His wisdom and strength to help you accept it. You may not ever understand this side of heaven why God said no to your request. Disappointments are tough; but fortunately, we have a Savior who really understands what it’s like for God to say no to a request. Take your disappointments to the cross and ask Jesus to help you move on in the will of God. Count your disappointments as another way to bring you closer to Jesus – He completely gets it!

Father, I hate disappointment, especially when my prayers are for good things and ways I can see to bring You glory. Help me to see that it’s not my place to determine how You will be glorified. It’s my place to glorify You in the disappointments as much, if not more, than in the victories. Help me approach each prayer I lay before You as Jesus did – finding a way to want what You want to be what I want most of all. I love You! Amen

Monday, February 8, 2016

Daily Dose 2-8-16

Matthew 26:8-13 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Does Jesus contradict Himself? Just before the woman anointed Him with expensive perfume, He had taught the disciples the importance of giving to the poor and those imprisoned and disadvantaged. How confusing for them to see this very costly action – and see Jesus happy about it! In teaching them to care for the poor, He said they had done it for Him. They were appalled thinking they missed some opportunity. They were looking for ways to check off their “get in good with Jesus” list. What the woman saw was Jesus in front of her and she was overcome by love and adoration for Him. How should this apply to us? We don’t have Jesus, whom we love and adore, sitting physically in our midst. Therefore, to show our love for Him, we care for those He loves. Jesus is the champion for the disadvantaged, poor and brokenhearted. Are you eager to bless them in His name, or do you see it as a waste of valuable resources? We must begin looking at others – even those we deem unworthy – as if they were Jesus Himself in the flesh. What are you willing to sacrifice to bless them/Him?

Father, Open my eyes to how I should serve You by serving others. Help me see suffering through Your eyes and adjust my life accordingly. I love You…help me show it! Amen

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Daily Dose 2-7-16

Matthew 25:24-30 (MSG) 'Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.' "The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.'

The Message version of this parable of Jesus makes His point rather bluntly. What ways are you “Playing it safe” where He wants you to be bold? So often, we are bold in matters of the world with work and pursuing hobbies or interests – we go all out! The servant used a phrase that many of us may not verbalize, but often feel – “I was afraid I might disappoint you.” Satan uses our insecurities to imprison our talents for Kingdom work. What should you be using boldly for the LORD that you have hidden in fear?

Father, I know there are more ways You intend to use me than I am currently doing. Stop my excuses, point me in Your direction and give me the courage to be bold! I love You! Amen

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Daily Dose 2-6-16

Matthew 24:42-44 (MSG) You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.

It’s easy to be prepared when a date is set. We make our To Do lists and check tasks off in a timely manner that will coincide with the deadline date. If you are a procrastinator, it’s not quite that easy, but even many procrastinators will still make the final deadline. They may not enjoy the process as much, but the deadline is accomplished. The difference with the deadline for Christ’s return is nobody knows when it will be. Those who have made an Eternity To Do list and are checking off items will have great advantages. First of all, they will enjoy the process of living life on earth much more. They will abide in peace, loving God’s people and working to reach the lost. They will be decorating their eternal home with great treasures. Instead of focusing on the Problem of the Day, they will focus on the Provider of the Day. More importantly, they will be ensuring the lives of many more will be joining them for eternity. So how is your Eternity To Do list? Don’t let the distractions of life steal your joy for Kingdom work. God’s assignments are so much more than items checked off a list…the impact of whether or not you play your part lasts an eternity. Get busy! Today could be HIS day!

Father, Forgive me for getting caught up in the problems of daily life when you want my focus to be living life daily with an eternal perspective. No matter how desperately I long for Your return, remind me Your timing is perfect and I have work You need me to do before that day comes. Help me to love more, serve more and live my life so others want to know You before it’s too late. I love You! Amen

Friday, February 5, 2016

Daily Dose 2-5-16

Psalm 29:11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Peace seems to be an elusive commodity in our society. We are focused on getting more, doing more, and gaining more success. All this focus leads us to continually want more. There is certainly nothing wrong with setting goals and working hard to achieve them. The problem comes when we leave the LORD out of the process. We tend to either prioritize the work or obsession above the LORD; or we forget He is the One to be praised in the victories. Those who are not workaholics may think this does not apply, but anything or anyone placed in a higher priority than the LORD in our lives will leave us feeling empty and void of God’s peace – the peace that passes all understanding. What do you place above the LORD? Work? Family? Friends? Relationships – or the lack of them? Entertainment? Know that true peace comes from an intimate relationship with God and placing that above everything else. Be one of “God’s people” and receive the blessing of His peace.

LORD of Peace, Please help me stay focused on You in this distracting world. May I be so intent on gaining more of You that I have the peace to accomplish the work that You have for me to do. Amen

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Daily Dose 2-4-16

How's the Inside of Your Heart Cup?

Matthew 23:25-26 (MSG) "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.”
When we see pictures of Jesus, this one is not often painted. What must the look on His face been as He spoke with disgust to the spiritual leaders of His day? He was ticked! Instead of giving sound instruction for the spiritual hearts of the people, they were focused on increasing their own power and wealth coming into the synagogue. People looked to them as spiritual leaders, but Jesus saw their hearts. If you are a coffee drinker, you know what the inside of a white cup looks like after years of the piping hot, dark liquid penetrating the pristine white coating. If it is simply rinsed out for the next use, the white cup becomes dingy and stained. The outside may rinse off fine, but the inside never looks quite the same. If coffee is allowed to sit inside a white mug overnight, stubborn rings form that are harder to remove. What are you keeping inside the cup of your heart? Are you a pew-sitting Christian with striking attendance and service features designing your outside, but inside you allow the pristine surface of your redeemed heart to become dingy and stained? Go to Jesus. Imagine Him making this speech to you. As He confronts you about your cup, hand it to Him and let Him clean the inside for you. He will help you do the dishes every day if you let Him!
Dear Jesus, You know the stains on the cup of my heart. I have rinsed when You said scrub. Help me to bring back the pure, pristine heart You died to redeem. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Daily Dose 2-3-16

Exodus 17:10-13 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

God can quite easily accomplish any task He chooses to do alone. He doesn’t NEED our help. The beauty of God’s love is shown when He chooses to accomplish His work WITH us and THROUGH us. At some point, we will all be in similar roles described in this scripture. Sometimes, we are called to be Moses and serve as the leader, encourager or prayer warrior. Other times, we will be like Aaron and Hur, supporting and serving leaders to carry out God’s will. Then, there will be days we are Joshua, fighting in the trenches. Our battles are tough and they seem impossible. We may not “see” God or the ones He has chosen to assist us, but we know when the power of God is shown. Where are you? Do you think your role of supporting leaders is insignificant? Think of Aaron and Hur! Are you a leader feeling weary and tired? Call on Godly people to help! Are you in the trenches feeling embattled and alone? Look to spiritual leaders to lift their arms for you! God doesn’t call us to fight our battles alone!

Father, Thank you for the leaders and prayer warriors You have placed in my life through the years. May I always be open and eager to serve in any role You ask of me to accomplish Your will. Amen

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Daily Dose 2-2-16

Exodus 16:19-20 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

We tend to be so appalled and frustrated with the Israelites when reading about the mighty Exodus from Egypt. The wonders they saw were things our eyes crave to behold. We scoff at their lack of faith and truly believe if we had seen what they saw, we would behave differently. But would we? Do we now? When they were hungry, God gave them manna for each day – a blessing from above! There only payment due was to have faith it would be there for the next day. Instead, some in their midst hoarded manna in their tents – either afraid it wouldn’t appear the next day, or they didn’t want to have to gather the next day. The results? A sickening stench from rotted manna infested with maggots. God provided blessings, but they held more tightly to the blessing than the Giver of the blessing. Are we so different? Even when we have difficult circumstances, God makes provisions and protects us. Our faith test comes with how we view those blessings. Do we fret and worry about holding on to what He has given because we are afraid He won’t provide again? Do we complain about the way He blesses because we want hot rolls with butter instead of honey-laced manna? Do we fail to praise in Thanksgiving because we are so consumed with what will come next? God expects us to trust Him and walk with Him one day at a time. Acknowledge the gifts of each day. Praise Him with thanksgiving in advance of future blessings because He has assured you with His blessings in the past.

Father, I confess I’m not crazy about the manna concept. I like to plan ahead and know what’s coming to adjust accordingly. You call me to just know that You are ahead of me and rest in that peace.  I thank You for the reminder and praise You for the manna of today! I love You! Amen

Monday, February 1, 2016

Daily Dose 2-1-16

Exodus 13:19-20 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel.

Sometimes, we see the cloud of God’s protection clearly. Our faith is strong and we look forward knowing God will guide us through difficult challenges. Other times, we are confused. We feel as though we are following what God told us to do; yet we still seem to be wandering in the desert. We may wonder if God has left us; question why He is no longer guiding. It’s at that point that we need to stand firm and get ready to move! At times, God moves from leader – because He’s already told us what to do – to protector, guarding our backs as enemies or naysayers nip at our heels – or the temptations are great to go back to the bondage of sin. What mission does God have you on for Him? What Red Sea does He want you to cross? Move on…He’s got your back!

Protective Father, Thank You for the many times I have seen Your guidance and protection. Help me to use past experiences and examples in scripture to KNOW that You’re still guiding and protecting through challenges – especially when the mission is for You. Give me courage to walk through! Amen