Friday, September 30, 2016

Daily Dose 9-30-16

Philippians 2:1-4 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

The formula for living according to Christ is very different than the world. The world encourages us to be #1, watch out for our own interests, look at others for how they can help you achieve. The perspective we should have modeling the mind of Christ is quite the opposite. Being #1 is nothing when we think of the ONE and only God we worship; He is #1. Living in a, me, me, me, state of mind leads to a multitude of sins and struggles. When we move beyond ourselves to meet the needs of others, we find peace and contentment in our spirit. The world encourages networking to see who we can connect with to further our own pursuits. Christ’s view of networking is to connect with others to see how we can help them succeed in this life, but more importantly, find the greatest success of all – salvation, love and peace through a relationship with Jesus. In our society, deep inner peace seems so elusive. Maybe it’s because true humility is so scarce.

Father, Show me how to humble myself today to have the mind of Christ. Keep me aware in situations and help me pause before I react. May I choose humility over me in all things today. More of Christ – less of me. I love You! Amen

Friday, September 23, 2016

Daily Dose 9-22-16

Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Has life left you weak and weary? Do the struggles seem to overpower you? Remember the hope to which you have been called! You are not alone. Life may be tough, but this life is temporary. No struggle we have can compare to how Christ struggled on this earth. He lived each day knowing He would make the ultimate sacrifice for people who would ridicule and reject Him. He had no security such as a house, savings, or a steady income. Even His closest friends let Him down when He was most vulnerable. Whatever your struggle, lay it at the foot of the cross. Put it in perspective knowing God can relate to whatever has you feeling paralyzed with fear, overwhelmed with challenges or overcome by grief. We worship a God who promises the struggles of this life, although temporary, are not for us to endure alone. Turn to Him. He will give you the strength you need to carry on – and SOAR!

Precious Father, You know I am weak and weary! Remind me of the hope I have in You. Remind me that no struggle I have compares to what Your son endured, or what You endured allowing Him to go through it all. Thank You for being with me in my darkest days and cheering me on to brighter tomorrows. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Daily Dose 9-21-16

Galatians 6:7-10 (MSG) Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

This analogy paints a beautiful picture of what our lives should look like when we follow Christ. If we think only of ourselves in this life, we will be overcome by our own self-centeredness. The I, Me and My mentality begins to choke away our joy and contentment in life. When we live generous lives, life still may not be perfect, but if we keep on keeping on, the sprouts will come. Do you keep sowing seeds of generosity and goodness into the lives of others and see little return? Don’t give up! Some seeds take longer to germinate. Do you still see weeds that require constant tending even though you plant good seeds? Stay in the Word and in prayer. Time with God is the best nutrient for the soil of the soul and the best chemical to fight the weeds in your life.

Father, I do grow weary at times. I often wonder if I am tending the wrong garden. Help me know where to plant to receive the greatest harvest for You. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Daily Dose 9-20-16

Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

How much fruit do you have in your spiritual basket each day? It’s a good practice to do a fruit check each night. Look at how well you produced the fruit of the Spirit throughout the day. Did you show love? Did you walk in joy? Did you bring peace? Were you patient with others? Did you show kindness? Did your life exhibit goodness? Were you faithful to God’s commands? Were you gentle instead of harsh or bitter? Did you practice self-control? Before you begin to feel defeated, remember that we don’t strive for perfection in life, it’s impossible. However, as Christ followers, we should be looking for progress on the journey. The most productive fruit trees endure some pruning. Take the time each day to check your Spiritual fruit tree. Snip away the sin that prevents your branches from blooming. Add nutrients to its soil by spending time in the Word and prayer. Grow a little each day toward the person Christ calls you to be. Your life will begin to produce fruit that will refresh and encourage others to taste what a relationship with Christ can bring!

Father, I confess to You my basket seems very light at the end of each day. Please help me to be a more fruitful tree in Your orchard. Increase Your Spirit in me to prick my heart throughout the day to exhibit the fruit You desire for me. May I begin to have an over-flowing basket each day! I love You! Amen

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Daily Dose 9-18-16

Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth 
and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 
Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

Worship is not just singing songs of praise. Worship is a life living the glory of God to illicit praise of Him in our lives everyday. We have become so programmed to formal worship in church settings, that we tend to think that those periods of praise alone are our worship time. Be sincere as you walk before God each day. Worship Him, not only with lifted songs of praise, but also with a heart tuned to live a Godly life throughout your day. Your life should be a worship leader to those who are in your midst each day. Lead others to His throne to worship Him!

Father, My life is often a song of praise led in the wrong key. Tune my heart to sing Your song in my life everyday. I love You! Amen!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Daily Dose 9-17-16

Isaiah 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.

Our hearts operate on a priority system. When God, and knowing Him more, is our strongest desire, the other desires we have seem to stack up in line of His priority for our lives. Whenever we place other relationships above Him, there will be conflict. When we pursue other relationships more than pursuing Him, there will be loneliness. When we pursue wealth over Him, we will have a deficit in our hearts. Begin today desiring God and placing a relationship with Him as the first priority of your heart…everything else will fall into place.

Holy Father, My heart longs for a deeper relationship with You. Help me to see that relationship as my primary pursuit. You know the desires of my heart. When You are the priority, I know my desires will be manifest through You and in all other areas I will find contentment. I love You! Amen

Friday, September 16, 2016

Daily Dose 9-16-16

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross should come to our mind everyday. How differently would we live each day if we relived in our minds what He went through for us? Remembering the spiritual victory we have because of His sacrifice should change how we live out our physical battles each day. Take some time today to remember! Acknowledge what He did for you with the gratitude of a life lived for Him today! Set aside pettiness, life is too short. Drop the sins you are playing around with; the cost paid for your forgiveness of them was too high. Remember His sacrifice was made even for those who hurt you or get on your nerves; love them accordingly. Living by faith in Jesus is not a statement you profess. It is a life you live differently because you know what it cost for you to live forever after this life is done!

Dear Jesus, I remember what You did for me and I am overwhelmed. Help me live today that makes Your sacrifice real to others. Help me to remember that when others look at me they should see a reflection of You! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Daily Dose 9-13-16

2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

The church in Corinth had a great deal of strife. In Paul’s letters to them, he rebuked in love their arguing and petty behavior. He shared with them the true description of love that so many of us recite from 1 Corinthians 13. His final summation to them boiled down to one word – unity. Unity is not easy; it requires work. Many want to avoid complete restoration and try to move on by avoiding issues that cause division. When there is division; encouragement is difficult. How can you encourage someone you are avoiding? How will you know their needs? Being of one mind is tough when so many strong wills are seeking their way. The one mind we should have is the mind of Christ. When we begin a statement with the words, “I think we should…” there should be a pause to consider what Christ would think we should do. Peace…is it allusive? Without complete restoration, encouragement and unity, God’s peace is very difficult to find. Begin seeking His peace by making peace with others…today!

Father, I crave Your peace in my life, in the church and in relationships. Give me Your wisdom to know how to proceed to find COMPLETE restoration and unity that will bring Your perfect peace. I love You! Amen

Monday, September 12, 2016

Daily Dose 9-12-16

Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Fear paralyzes faith. When we look at our life struggles through the lens of fear, satan has an opportunity to distort our vision of God’s will. When we look at our life struggles through the lens of faith, God has the opportunity to seize our vision to fulfill His will. How you look at life determines how you live it. Approach each struggle and celebration with faithful praise. Each one has the opportunity to draw you closer to God.

Father, Adjust my sight. Help me to see through the issues in life that strike fear or bring discord. Help me to see life through Your eyes so others can see You through me. I love you! Amen

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Daily Dose 9-11-16

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We all want perfection in our lives and an easy road on this journey of life; but God never promised that. He sent perfection for us through His Son and the Holy Spirit to walk with us no matter how rough the road. There is a time to proclaim faith and believe God for a miracle. There are also times to proclaim faith and believe God can be a miracle through you without saying yes to your request. Are you praying for something in faith that God keeps saying no? It is true He could be saying, not now. However, you cannot live your life waiting for the miracle to become who God calls you to be. He knows Your request and the desire of your heart. However, He also sees the big picture. He may be able to have a stronger impact for the world through your life of imperfection and struggles. Show the world that your strength is through Him. Make your weakness your greatness testimony to His strength!

Father, You know how much physical healing would mean to me; it is a desire of my heart. However, my greatest desire is to be who you have called me to be despite my limitations. Show me how to use my weakness to show Your strength! Your grace and love is all I need. I love You! Amen

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Daily Dose 9-10-16

Psalm 52:8b-9 I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. 
And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.

Praising and recognizing the majesty of God is our key to hope. When times are tough and you don’t know what to do, praise. Don’t pray over and over asking the same things, God knows what you need. He knows the desires of your heart. Learn to put your specific requests and concerns before the LORD, not as a child begging, but as a child approaching the loving Father with arms lifted to be picked up and comforted in His embrace. When you don’t know what to do, remember who you know!

Abba, You know my struggles. You know my hurts. You know my needs better than I do. I turn it all over to You in complete trust. You have power and dominion over all things ~ You ARE in control. Because Your Son died for me, I have access to that power and I know because I am HIS, You take care of me and fight for me. I have hope and comfort in Your mighty power and unfailing love. Amen

Friday, September 9, 2016

Daily Dose 9-9-16

Isaiah 3:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

God longs for us to live in wisdom and truth. A big part of that entails knowing Him and knowing His Word. God’s Word is like an instruction manual for life. It gives us definitive answers to guide our way. Dig deeper to seek wisdom and know truth! Satan will do whatever He can to tempt us into believing His snares will lead to our freedom. The only way to defend ourselves is to know what God says and use it, with the Holy Spirit, as a measuring stick to discern which path we should take. Don’t be deceived. Learn truth!

Father, Satan is able to make his traps seem so appealing. He even makes things look like they could be from You. Give me Your wisdom to know truth, and Your conviction to walk wisely with You! I love You! Amen

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Daily Dose 9-8-16

Isaiah 1:16-18 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. 
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; 
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

God is serious about sin! Yes, He loves us unconditionally. Yes, He is kind and gentle. Yes, He is full of mercy. However, He is just. He expects us to be obedient. He knows we are not perfect. Yet, He knows we can be better than we are and He wants to see us working toward that. Whatever sin you are playing around with, lay it down. Wash your hands of it, remembering Christ’s sacrifice. If you are sinning by being so absorbed by the schedules of life that you don’t have time to be the hands and feet of Jesus,  stop and look around. God always has a job for you in the lives of those less fortunate…get to work! Don’t wallow in what was, get up for what will be! God offers each new day as a clean slate…let Him write His message to the world through you!

Father, Thank You for forgiving my sin through Your Son’s sacrifice. Give me the strength and awareness I need today to stay away from sin, no matter how cleverly it’s disguised, and get to work on Your assignments! I love You! Amen

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Daily Dose 9-7-16

Psalm 51:17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

If we truly want to be like David, the man after God’s own heart, we need to be truly repentant of our sins. It seems so many of us do the pat, “Forgive me for all my sins,” section in our prayers. We treat so casually the transgressions that brought calamity to the Son of God. When we pray for forgiveness, we must realize the cost of that opportunity. Christ endured the horror of the cross and separation from God so that we could have salvation through Him and an intimate relationship with His Father. The next time you ask for forgiveness, take your mind to the ridicule He tolerated, the beatings He endured, and the cross He was willing to bear. Remember! If you were the only one separated from God by sin, He still would have gone to the cross. Big sins, little sins – it doesn’t matter – sin is sin, and sin put Him on the cross. Acknowledge your sin. Let it break your heart enough to turn away from it. Watch in Your mind as His blood covers it and washes you pure and clean before our Father. Remember!

Father, I do not deserve to approach You. My sins, little and big, sent Your Son to the cross. There may not have been broken bones in His body that day, but His heart was broken over MY sin. I come to You with a broken heart over sins I have committed against You and that sacrifice. I remember what He did for me and I am overwhelmed. Thank You, Jesus! I love You!  Amen

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Daily Dose 9-6-16

2 Corinthians 8: 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.

Sometimes, doing the right thing is painful. It may not seem fair. It may sting your pride, or break your heart. We know we need to do what is right to please God, but what about other people? There are times when we can stand on principle and say, “God doesn’t require this of me,” and that could be true. However, there could be things in life that you do for people, not because you are commanded to, but because you are loved to. Is there something in your life that God has left open for you? He’s not requiring you to take the other step. It’s not a “do or die” issue, just something that you could do because it could have an impact on how someone else sees you. If you didn’t do it, would they even notice? Take a chance today! Step out of the comfort zone a bit. Do something, not because law requires it, just because it’s the right thing to do!

Father, Show me steps You put in front of me to take. Help me to see options You may not require, but things I could do to bring an extra blessing for others, even if it’s hard for me. I love You! Amen

Monday, September 5, 2016

Daily Dose 9-5-16

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

With all the wisdom King Solomon had at his disposal, he sought out to find all the answers to life. After exploring every possible option to find happiness and contentment in life, he saw that only two things could bring us to a good life here and eternal rewards afterward – fearing God and obeying Him. We talk about the loving side of God, which is beyond measure. However, to acknowledge the just side of God, leads us to obedience. Eventually, obedience that comes from fear of judgment, leads to obedience that comes from the love of salvation. God never set laws to make us miserable or restrict our joy. The laws God set are intended to protect us from hazards and struggles in this life. Know that God is love, but also remember He is just. Fear Him and find obedience. Obey Him and find life. Live with Him and find love!

Father, Soften my heart to complete obedience. Show me Your path. I know in obedience to You is where I find the life You intend for me to lead. Show me Your way. I love You! Amen

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Daily Dose 9-4-16

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: 
God has made the one as well as the other. 
Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.

By nature, we are people who want to have everything figured out. We want God to deliver the plan for our lives in a beautifully wrapped package with a bow. We want all the answers to who, what, when, where, and most importantly – why. Solomon’s advice in this scripture tells us to stop and live each day for the day it is. The Message translation interprets verse 14 as: “On a good day, enjoy yourself; on a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won't take anything for granted.” Enjoy your blessings. Endure your trials in faith. But, most importantly, seize each opportunity to love more, laugh often, learn lessons, and cherish the moments you have. Life is too short to live in turmoil and too precious to take for granted.

Father, You know me. You know I like to have the plan. I want the answers. There is so much I miss in life waiting to have it all figured out. Restore my joy. Strengthen my faith to know You are in control and, despite all my sin and shortcomings, You adore me and will not let me fall. I love You! Amen

Friday, September 2, 2016

Daily Dose 9-2-16

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

Life is too short; begin to truly LIVE it! We tend to complain about the mundane routines of the day and whether or not our lives have great meaning or purpose. However, when we approach the minutia and monotony of life as if we are doing it for God and to His glory, our perspective changes. It is possible the ordinary things of our lives may be the things that last the longest. Stop waiting for your circumstances to change to bring happiness. Find happiness despite your circumstances and no matter what they are – your circumstances will change. Waiting and wishing for the “next thing” is the greatest thief of joy. Faith in God as provider, sustainer, and the One who guides your life will enable you to find meaning in the meaningless, joy in sorrow, patience through trials, contentment with less, companionship in loneliness, and true wealth in poverty. Life is not a mere existence; it is a gift intended to be opened each day and lived to the fullest!

Father, Teach me to live each day finding Your purpose in all I do. I love You! Amen

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Daily Dose 9-1-16

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (MSG) Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.

This Message translation makes this beautiful scripture hit home a bit more. We like to read about the new creation and how God made us new through Christ. However, reading this version, which changes the word reconcile to settle, takes a more practical ~ and not always easy ~ approach to what that “new creation” should look like. It’s all about relationships. Because of what Christ endured on the cross for us, He enabled us to have a relationship with God, but He also calls us to settle our relationships with one another. Settling doesn’t mean avoiding. Settling doesn’t mean pretending nothing happened. Settling requires love and sacrifice. Settling requires acknowledging, repentance and forgiveness. Are there people in your life you avoid, thinking you are keeping the peace? As a new creation you should go beyond avoidance to settling whatever caused relationship separations. It’s not always easy – but neither was dying on a cross!

Father, Make me new again. I remember what You and Your son did for me. Help me to know what I need to do for others! I love You! Amen