Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Daily Dose 11-21-17

Psalm 119:10-11 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

The time we spend hiding the Word of God in our hearts empowers the Holy Spirit to be more active in our lives. Learning scripture is vital in the battles we face in spiritual warfare. The Holy Spirit will guide us, however, learning scripture before the battles is like preparing soldiers for war. You would never send a soldier into battle without a weapon to defend himself. Scripture is a powerful weapon in the heart of a Christian. Let God’s Word soak in your heart so you stand prepared for satan,our enemy, and the schemes he devises to lead you down a dangerous path.

Father, Arm me for battles with the weapon of Your Word. May I be able to follow the example Jesus gave when He was tempted. Let, “It is written…” always begin my defense against satan’s schemes. Thank You for preserving Your Word to empower me. I love You! Amen

Monday, November 20, 2017

Daily Dose 11-20-17

James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Our culture doesn’t encourage many attitudes of submission. We are taught concepts such as: look out for number one; look within your inner self; you are in control; it’s all about you; you deserve it. That is not God’s way of thinking. He wants us to change all that and change is not easy for most of us. He wants us to learn and live by concepts such as look out for others; look to God; God IS in control, it’s all about glorifying God; God’s grace is my only hope. This is what submission looks like. When we learn to live submitted to God, He can lift our lives to the next level – living in peace, inner joy and contentment.

Father, My heart and spirit desire full submission to You, but my flesh gets in the way. Empower Your Spirit to help me submit so You can lift me up! I love You! Amen

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Daily Dose 11-19-17

James 3:3-9 (MSG) When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Oh, the power of our words! The analogies James uses of a bit in the mouth of a horse and a ship’s rudder are perfect examples of the power of our tongue. Just like a bit has a bridle and a rudder has the throttle of engine power, we have the Holy Spirit to control our tongues. The extent to which we allow the Spirit control is up to us. We strengthen the strap of the bridle and give more fuel to the engine when we spend time in the Word and in prayer. Choose your words today to encourage and uplift others!

Father, I know full well my tongue is the greatest source of my spiritual struggles. I’m not tempted to steal or murder or give in to other sins that would dishonor You. But we both know my words either bring a smile to Your face, or tears to Your eyes. Empower Your spirit to control my tongue and direct it to encourage others and bring a smile to Your face! I love You!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Daily Dose 11-18-17

James 1:22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Nike has made a lot of money with its “Just do it” campaign. It was not an original idea; James said the same thing to Christians more than two-thousand years earlier and continues saying it to us today. You know scripture. You are guided by the Spirit. God wants more for you and will bless you for your obedience. So, what are you waiting for? Get off your spiritual couch and start working out! God’s calling to you to rise above the muck of life! Start living scriptures instead of quoting them!

Father, You know I know better than I live at times. I feel Your Word tugging at me to rise above and work out my faith. Prick my heart. Give me the inspiration, courage and strength to live what I believe! I love You! Amen

Friday, November 17, 2017

Daily Dose 11-17-17

James 1:2-7 (MSG) Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.

Trials and hardships, a gift? Some versions even say, pure joy? We often want to question whether or not James really meant to write it that boldly. Did he hesitate when the Spirit empowered him to pen those words? The book of James is probably one of the most practical and direct life-manuals in the Bible. For James to open it this way is no coincidence. It’s easy to profess your faith and tell others how great your God is when everything goes your way: good health, a job you love that pays the bills, people in your life who love you unconditionally, etc. However, what does it say about your faith when you profess your love and acknowledgement for God and his provision when life is tough? How do you face a health crisis or one in your family? What do you do if you lose your job or don't know what you want to do with your life? How do you embrace the companionship of God in the lonely days when there seems to be nobody with skin on who really cares? These are the days when God’s light can truly shine through us! Trials and hardships are an opportunity to show God and those who need to know Him that our faith is real. The yuckiness in life can be an exciting mission if you choose to live by faith!

Father, I do thank You for the challenges that bring me closer to You. Help me in the midst of tough times to see Your hand of help – don’t let me miss a thing! Let my struggles be a testimony to Your strength! I love You! Amen

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Daily Dose 11-16-17

Hebrews 12:14-17 (MSG) Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you'll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.

This warning from the writer of Hebrews is packed full of wisdom for Christians trying to find the best in life now and longing for the rewards of eternity. Every parent knows how disturbing it is to see siblings quarreling and mistreating one another. How much more disturbing is it for God to see His children – who received grace because of the sacrifice of His Son – acting as though they are no different than those who do not know Him? As the Christian family, we are called to a higher standard of behavior. We should learn to humble ourselves and worry less about “me” and more about “we” – this will help us know peace. We should be generous to those in our midst who need our physical or emotional support. Part of that is not just in responding when asked; it’s about being in relationship enough with people to know the needs before they ask. Let’s face it, as long as there are people, there will be disputes. Christians heeding these warnings from Hebrews resolve disputes quickly and move on. They don’t ignore them, sweep them under the rug and then paste a happy face on when they see the other party in the dispute. When enough dirt is swept under the rug through the years, a crop of weeds can infiltrate a Church! The siblings in God’s family are willing to do the hard things that take time and effort, knowing their blessings will be great in eternity. Oh, what Esau would have done to relive that moment when he sold his birthright for a bowl of soup! What soup are you buying instead of holding out for God’s best for you and your church? Be kind to others. Show God’s grace and mercy to others; promote peace, not discord. Live each day as someone who knows the bowl of regret is not a tasty soup!

Father, I am so sorry for the times I have let You down by the way I have behaved. Guard my heart, mind, and mouth today so I have no regrets for tomorrow. I love You and Your other children! Amen

Monday, November 13, 2017

Daily Dose 11-13-17

Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

“By faith,” these two words are repeated throughout Hebrews as the scriptures show us examples of those whose faith in God lead them to do extraordinary things. How could Abraham tie his one and only son to an altar to offer him as a sacrifice? One aspect of that event that’s not recorded in scripture is the response of Isaac through the process. Was he willing to lie on the altar and be killed by the hand of his father? Reason tells us Abraham was old and probably a bit slow, Isaac was young and strong – couldn’t he have run for safety from this apparent craziness? Or, was Isaac as willing to be the sacrifice as his father was to offer him? The last part of this verse shows us a glimpse of what faith looks like combined with human reason. It made no sense for Isaac to be killed after God’s promise to Abraham. However, the strong faith of Abraham allowed his reasoning to go a step farther to reason that if he offered Isaac, God could raise Him from the dead. Did he discuss this possibility with His son? We don’t have that much detail in scripture. All we know is that Abraham and Isaac firmly believed, “the LORD will provide.” What is God asking you to sacrifice? Do you have hopes and dreams that you want, not only for your own desire, but to honor God through that dream? Think of the dreams Abraham had for Isaac. Yet, he was willing to sacrifice it all knowing God would make another way. When we are willing to say, “Whatever, LORD,” God will reveal the ram in the thicket!

Providing LORD, By faith I pause with a tinge of excitement. Things look bleak in many areas, but I know You will provide. I thank You in advance for Your ram…guide me to the thicket! I love You! Amen

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Daily Dose 11-12-17

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The faith referred to in this scripture is not talking about faith in the fact that God exists. The prior scriptures of this chapter recounted what living, active faith looks like as demonstrated by heros of faith in scripture. The actions of our faith speak much louder than the words of faith we profess. If we boldly quote scripture of God’s care and provision, yet live in constant worry, doubt or fear – where is our faith? If there are Godly blessings we long for, yet have not seen glimpses of them coming to fruition - how do we act? Do we whine, complain and speak negatively about them never coming to pass? If so, we expose ourselves to a very easy battle plan for the enemy. He WILL reek havoc in our lives if we profess to have faith, but refuse to live as though we believe God will provide. Faith is also praying fervently and believing God can bring the desired outcome, but being willing to remain faithful if our desire is not God’s plan. The three young men facing the fiery furnace showed us this. They boldly professed that God was able to deliver them from the furnace, yet if He didn’t, they still would not bow down to a king as their god. What are you willing to bow down to if God’s plan is not fulfilling your desire? Will you worship negativity and sarcasm to cover up the pain of your disappointment? Live your life with a faith that manifests itself with boldness! Proclaim your faith that God IS able to provide your desires; and, if God’s plans are not your desires, you will boldly live God’s plan!

Father, There are doubts that creep in my mind when I want to dream big, or just try to get by. Give me the strength to dispel doubts and fears and live each day with bold faith! Give me the focus to do the things I need to do to pursue avenues You provide. Give me the wisdom to discern Your will and the peace to accept a no, or not yet from You. I love You! Amen

Friday, November 10, 2017

Daily Dose 11-10-17

Proverbs 27:12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

God gives us natural instincts to know when danger is near. Animals have a sense of impending danger that is often more acute than ours. However, for Christians, God has sent His Holy Spirit to heighten our sensitivity to spiritual danger. He tugs on our hearts to warn us that certain activities may not be pleasing to God. He sends red flags to warn us against perils that could cause calamity in our lives or bring division to our Church. Because God also gives us free will, we also have an “override” button. We have a choice when we stand at a spiritual crossroad of sin. We can choose to listen to the Spirit and steer away from the danger; or, we can override the Spirit’s warning and put ourselves in spiritual danger. The latter choice will always have consequences. The more we override the Spirit’s warning, the less we recognize it in the future. Pay attention to the warnings of the Sprit. Take refuge in the Word of God and prayer to protect yourself and others from satan’s snares!

Father, Thank You for Your Spirit to guide and protect me from the dangers of sin. Keep me alert to the Holy Spirit’s caution. Give me the courage and fortitude to choose Your will that will bring blessings and peace instead of conflict and strife. I love You! Amen

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Daily Dose 11-9-17

Psalm 106:42-46 Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy.

No matter how far away from Him the Israelites strayed, God remembered His covenant and rescued them. It’s easy to read scripture with a judgmental eye of these people. It’s so easy for us to say, “How could they worship idols when God parted the Red Sea for them?” Yes, it’s easy to read the book on the history or actions of others and question their faith. What about you? If people decades after you have departed this life are reading your history, what would they say? Would they see God showering you with blessings, yet read about you living in discontent? Would they see God’s constant provision, yet when a new challenge arises, your instinct is to panic and worry? Just as God’s chosen people should have reacted differently in situations, we too must learn to live as covenant people. Live in an attitude of gratitude. Approach new challenges with boldness, recounting to God how He rescued you in the past. Share the faith you have with others to show that you know God will provide. Live each day the way you want your history to be recorded!

Father, The list of my prayer requests gets longer every day. I have needs – You know each one. My heart is heavy for many I love who are enduring tough times. You are intimately involved with the details – use Your Spirit to guide us to live with that knowledge. Help me to live my faith boldly and not crumble under pressures. Thank You for Your past provisions and blessings! I am living in faith with peace and the expectation of Your next rescue! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Daily Dose 11-7-17

Hebrews 8:10b-12 (MSG) This time I'm writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. I'll be their God, they'll be my people. They won't go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons. They'll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They'll get to know me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.

What has God written on your heart for you to know Him? On the surface, you may think it sounds as though there should be a major, earth shattering revelation if it’s from God. Not always true! God is a God of details, the smallest things are important to Him. He made the bumblee bee an engineering feat that by all formulas and design characteristics leave it grounded; yet, the bumblbee flies with precision to extract what is needed from plants to take back to its comb to make a very sweet, and uniquely-colored honey. What is it about you that is special? The best characteristics of you are God’s signature on your heart. If you think you are nothing special, look again. Ask God to show Himself through you – and pay attention! The best parts of you are not just you – it’s God introducing Himself to you and through you!

Father, I know my design seems quite imperfect at first blush. However, there are elements that make me – me, that are so much about You. Show me how to make more of you and less of me in my life. Place me in the situations where You designed me for You purpose – don’t let me miss it! Thank You so much for Jesus whose sacrifice cleans up the messiness of my heart so You signature can be seen! I love You! Amen

Monday, November 6, 2017

Daily Dose 11-6-17

Proverbs 27:5 (MSG) A spoken reprimand is better than approval that's never expressed.

Never underestimate the power of words of encouragement – even if they must be administered with some admonition. People need to know they matter. There is a craving we have to be connected to other people. To be ignored or disregarded is often worse than hearing correction, especially when it's correction administered from a place of love. Engage in dialogue with others – especially the lonely ones among you. Take the time to encourage – it may end up encouraging you just as much!

Father, Show me today who You know needs some encouragement. Give me the right words to say at the right time. Let me be Your instrument of blessing to at least one person who needs it each day! I love You! Amen

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Daily Dose 11-4-17

Proverbs 27:2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.

In the world of public relations and marketing word of mouth is the most powerful tool when trying to promote a product or service. People believe their friends, associates or, for that matter, complete strangers over someone trying to sell them something. Testimonial ads, celebrity endorsements and independent reports are strong, persuasive techniques. However, there can be great peril for the product or organization if the wrong person is doing the pitch. A testimonial ad has no meaning if people learn the person was simply paid and never used the product. Celebrity endorsements can backfire if the public figure falls from his/her pedestal. A story about a product or service delivered on a news outlet that appears to have a bias can have negative connotations. As you live this life as a testimony for the powerful message of Christ, what is said about you? Are people turned off to your product of salvation through Jesus because they don’t see you living the life He teaches? Have you allowed sin and satan’s traps to discredit your witness to His life changing results? Do you present the Gospel in a close-minded, my-way-or-the-highway approach that leaves your audience suspicious as to the truth of what Jesus can bring? Our lives send a powerful message when it comes to winning souls and strengthening believers for Christ. Remember, it’s not what you say to people that determines what they think of you and your savior, it’s often what’s said about you that tells the full story.

Father, I want my life to bring glory to You and help others see Your Son. I am not a worthy spokesperson. I fall short so much of the time. Help me to live my life as an imperfect person being made perfect through Christ. Show me how to live so others want to know Him more. I love You! Amen

Friday, November 3, 2017

Daily Dose 11-3-17

Hebrews 5:7-9 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Have you ever poured out your heart in prayer to God for a situation that left you disappointed? Did you believe with all the faith you could muster and still saw the outcome you feared come to fruition? When we feel as though God let us down, we must remember how fervently Jesus prayed to not endure the cross. Have you ever prayed so hard your sweat turned to blood? Probably not, but Jesus did. He pleaded for another way for our salvation – God said no. In our faith walk, we must understand there will be times God says no. If He can say no to His son Jesus who was fully God and fully man, perfect in all ways, why should I expect any different? Does that mean prayer is pointless? God is sovereign and will do what He wants anyway? Never! Prayer is the link to the relationship with God that we need to celebrate the yeses in this life and endure the nos. There is always a much bigger picture behind the nos of God. For Jesus, it was the salvation of humanity. What is your bigger picture? It could be a protection for you or someone you love. What you want may not be best. It could be a call to a ministry to show others faithful submission to God despite circumstances. Pray for your yeses with all faith, knowing God is the Great Provider and can do all things. Pray through your nos with great faith, knowing you can do all things through Him who gives you strength.

Holy God, I submit to Your will. I know You see the big picture and I know You love me. It’s hard to hear no when I’m praying for good things, not just a selfish wish list. Open my eyes to Your will. Help me to see the big picture in the midst of disappointment, No matter what, I love You! Amen

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Daily Dose 11-2-17

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

In our society, we are programmed to constantly want. We want everything from success and power to the latest gadgets that promise to simplify our lives. Yet, what people really want is to be understood. We have a hard-wired component inside of us that craves relationship. Some are fortunate to find fulfilling relationships in life, yet the closest of earthly relationships cannot compare to an intimate relationship with Jesus. He will never disappoint, annoy, frustrate or belittle. He knows our weaknesses and compensates with His strength. He knows our insecurities and gives confidence. He knows our fears and protects. He knows our sins and provides redemption. No relationship on earth can give you what Jesus so freely offers.

Father, Thank You so much for Jesus. Thank You for being willing to let Him be my savior. I am so grateful He was willing to endure this life on earth so He can relate to my needs. I need more of Him shown in my life. Decrease me, increase Him through me. I love You!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Daily Dose 11-1-17

Hebrews 3:12-14 (MSG) So watch your step, friends. Make sure there's no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it's still God's Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn't slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we're in this with Christ for the long haul.

Faith is an action lived out day by day. Each day, satan attempts to distract us by throwing things in our life path that could trip up our belief in God. What in your life is satan using to divert your course? Are you or someone you love struggling with a health crisis that seems unfair? Remember, God IS the healer and He IS in control. We may not understand in this life why some receive physical healing and others don’t. If you allow a physical illness to diminish your faith, you lose in a double sense. Sometimes, God allows physical struggle to heal or strengthen a spiritual need. Hold on tight to Him. Believe Him in all things! Encourage others on your walk. Help them to live their faith each day. Every morning is a new opportunity to know God more and see Him at work in our lives. Don’t miss a minute!

Father, I am fully aware that You don’t always say, "Yes!” I have learned from experience that Your, “Nos” have often been for my protection. Some “Nos” I still don’t understand, but I trust You. Let me live day-by-day walking with You, holding tight when satan hurls things in my path to trip my faith. Navigate me through to live in Your will, walking on the path You choose! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Daily Dose 10-31-17

1 Timothy 5:24-25 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

 What we do shows who we are and who we serve. Nothing done in secret stays secret…whether it is bad or good. Live your life so that when your actions are revealed – and they will be – you will be blameless before God and men.

Father, I love You and want to make You proud. Please guide my actions. Keep me walking in Your light. Tune my heart to be attentive to the leading of your Holy Spirit. I love You! Amen

Friday, October 27, 2017

Daily Dose 10-27-17

Titus 2:11-14 (MSG) God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.

This life is simply an appetizer to whet our appetite for an eternity with God. The problem many of us experience is we are too busy to sit down to the table to taste what He has to offer. He wants us to order the sampler platter and savor the delightful flavor combinations a relationship with Him can bring to this life. Instead, we often want to live our lives like a cocktail party with served hors d'oeuvres. We want God to come to us with what He has to offer and have the ability to say, “No, thank you,” if we don’t like the looks of it. Begin tasting God’s bounty! Get into His Word and learn more of Him…taste and see that He is good!

Father, I’ve tasted enough of what You have to offer to know that I want more! I long for more of You in this life and eagerly anticipate an eternity with You! MARANATHA! I love You! Amen!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Daily Dose 10-26-17

Psalm 97:10-12 Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

It’s easy to claim we love the LORD, but how well do we proclaim that we hate evil? We are programmed to be tolerant and full of political correctness. Speaking against evil is not too acceptable. We have become so immersed in our society that we are desensitized to what is truly evil. Satan is wise in his disguise of evil. He slips it in slowly, letting us become comfortable with it, until we eventually embrace it. If you are looking for the pleasing guidance and light of God, with the joy He brings, tune your heart to be more sensitive to evil. Learn to hate evil and fight for righteousness.

Father, I have become desensitized to some degree to the evil that permeates our society. While I can’t rid the world of evil, show me a little more each day how to rid myself of the evil I allow. Prick my heart to the things that are detestable to You. Help me rid them from my life! I love You! Amen

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Daily Dose 10-25-17

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Paul was a valiant warrior for the cause of Christ. That is somewhat ironic since, as Saul, he had been a destructive persecutor of those who followed Christ. As destructive as he had been to the early church, Paul did everything he could to grow the church for the future. You see, he was running a race. Runners don’t stop their race and look back. However, some Christians want to live in the glory days of old, looking back at the past with longing. Others are so ashamed of their past, they are paralyzed to run for their future. Paul kept running, whether he was in prison chains for the Gospel, or sharing encouragement with the survivors of his destruction. What is your race? Have you taken a rest along the way to figure out where to go, ruminate on the past, or stare blindly into the future? Just keep running! Trust God to direct your steps! Know that He has a place and a purpose for you – and it does not include wasting time! Run your race, no matter how far away the finish line may be. Don’t pace yourself for this one…live each day as if you are finishing strong!

Father, I trust You to guide my steps. I’m certainly unsure of their direction right now. Show me my course. Empower Your Spirit to spur me on. I want to finish strong every day! My race is for You! Amen

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Daily Dose 10-24-17

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (MSG) Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

The Message translation of this verse shows the Bible for more of what it actually is – an Instruction Manual for Life! Through the God-breathed Words of scripture, we learn the ultimate story we need – the salvation message of Christ. We learn the attitudes and conduct we should embrace that are not only about pleasing God – the adoption of these characteristics help us live better lives. When we begin to search scripture for our answers of life, we begin to truly live as God intended. So, are you consulting your Life Instruction Manual? Or, are you trying to put your life together like a jigsaw puzzle with no picture for reference?

Father, Thank You for providing all the answers I need in Your Word. Help me to live what I read and believe! I love You! Amen

Monday, October 23, 2017

Daily Dose 10-23-17

2 Timothy 2:20-21 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Do you have a favorite bowl or platter in your kitchen that has become so closely associated with a particular recipe that your family gets excited when they see the dish come off the shelf? God has created each of us to be so designed for His purpose that when people see us, they are excited to receive a taste of God’s bounty. What recipe of God’s do you present to others? Are you a platter of salvation that presents the Gospel to evangelize those who do not know Him? Are you a bowl of encouragement that supports those who evangelize and grow the Kingdom? Are you a side dish of mercy that shows the Spirit of Jesus to those who are hurting or without hope? The Message version of this scripture also talks about vessels that take out the trash. Could you be the one who cleans up the messes of the congregation by serving as a mediator or peacemaker? Whatever vessel you symbolize, remember your purpose. God created you for service. He designed you to present a taste of His goodness to the world. Ask God to take you off the shelf, wash you off and cook up the recipe He intends to serve through you!

Father, I am never more fulfilled than when I am being used by You. Blow the dust off, wash me of whatever prevents Your best from being served through me. I love You! Amen

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Daily Dose 10-22-17

Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 
He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

We all want rescue when we are in trouble especially when it is coupled with blessings and honor. Yet, we are not always as eager to truly love the LORD and acknowledge His name. We may say we love Him. We may even go to church on a regular basis and live a decent and moral life; but is that a relationship with Him? Is that acknowledging His name? To merely attend church and call that love for Him is like a husband who only sees his wife when it’s time to eat. Is that a marriage? To love God and acknowledge His name is to be in constant conversation with Him. It is making decisions based upon His desires, not your own. Are you asking for rescue and honor from someone you barely know? Get to know God through time with Him in prayer and His Word. Don’t merely strive to know the Word of God. Get to know the God of the Word!

Father, I DO love You. I have witnessed Your rescue many times. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and full of anticipation to see how You will rescue again. I believe the promises of Your Word; I believe You! Amen

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Daily Dose 10-21-17

1 Timothy 6:6-12 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Contentment seems to be an elusive commodity in our society. We are programmed to want -  to the point of seeing wants as needs. Even the poorest of our society are wealthy in comparison to the world. Then, is it wrong to pursue wealth? As with all matters in a Christ-centered life, it is a matter of motives of the heart. If your desire to achieve more wealth is motivated by lavish wants, you could be in jeopardy of the traps brought by those wants. If you pursue wealth to meet true needs and live generously toward those in need, you will enjoy your wealth with contentment and doing good for others and the Kingdom.

Father, Show me the difference between wants and needs. Not by the world’s standards, but by Your standards. Teach me to live in generosity and find Your contentment. I love You! Amen

Friday, October 20, 2017

Daily Dose 10-2-17

Hebrews 2:17-18 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

It’s great to have someone in your life who really “gets” you. A best friend or a spouse who sees your absolute best, experiences you at your absolute worst and loves you anyway is a cherished gift. If you have a relationship like that, you have a glimpse of what a relationship with Christ is like. If you have not been blessed with that relationship yet on earth, it is available to you through a relationship with Christ. He left the splendor of heaven to come to earth as a baby in a poor home under less than ideal circumstances. He grew as a boy, knowing the struggles of youth. Throughout His time on earth, He saw people at their best, experienced their worst and was willing to die for them anyway. Why? Because He really “gets” us! He lived the hardships of life in flesh. He understands our struggles and was willing to be the One to give us victory over all things. Get to know the One who understands you more than you understand yourself. A relationship with Him will help you navigate successfully in this life and live in the glory of heaven for eternity!

Father, I am so thankful for Jesus! He endured this life so I can know His love and have victory in my life. Thank You for allowing Him to make the ultimate sacrifice for me. I love You! Amen

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Daily Dose 10-19-17

1 Timothy 4:11-16 (MSG) Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don't be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.

Paul’s charge to Timothy as a young minister in the faith is a charge to us today. Even if we are not in pulpits, each one of us has a gift of ministry. The bottom line of all ministry is to teach believers with your life. It does no good to share great insight from God’s word if your life does not live out what you teach. Use the gifts God has given you to share His story of love and redemption for all of us.

Father, Help me to see my little life in Your big picture. Don’t let me miss the work You planned for me to do to join You. I want to be an instrument in Your hands. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Daily Dose 10-18-17

Proverbs 25:21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

This Proverb could be where the expression “Kill them with kindness” originated. However, it is not intended to be a sarcastic form of revenge - this is sound doctrine. The context of the time at which this was written is critical to fully understand its meaning. To be able to heat your home or have coals for cooking hot meals was an extravagance during that time. People would walk to the markets to purchase hot coals, which they carried in baskets upon their heads. To heap burning coals upon their head was to provide something for them you would want for yourself. It was a sign of the ultimate generosity – a sign of love. Are you willing to give such love and generosity to one who has hurt or rejected you? Or, do you prefer to avoid, ignore and pretend you are “at peace?” Try heaping some burning coals upon the head of someone you would rather avoid. Bless them in a way you would like to be blessed. The LORD will notice!

Father, Show me what the “burning coals” are for those I need to bless. Show me the opportunities I have to demonstrate Your love to them, because of the love you have shown to me. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Daily Dose 10-17-17

Jeremiah 31:13b I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Jeremiah was known as the Weeping Prophet. He was used by God to speak boldly to the people and bring them to repentance. He was ridiculed and beaten for his prophecies. In this particular dream, God gave Jeremiah a glimpse of what it would be like when He rescued Israel from captivity. We have been rescued from the captivity of our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus. We have the rest of the story and know a freedom like people in Jeremiah’s day could not comprehend. We have access to God’s Holy Spirit to bring our gladness, comfort and joy. Tap into the blessings Jeremiah dreamed about…they are your reality!

Father, When times are tough, I have Your strength and I am glad. When my heart aches, You bring me comfort. When I am sad, You bring me joy. Thank You! I love You! Amen

Monday, October 16, 2017

Daily Dose 10-16-17

Psalm 85:8-13 I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly. Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.

We often want to cling to the promises of God without looking at the condition of those promises. If we really want the Glory of God to dwell in our communities and nation, we must begin living life according to God’s expectations. Love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace are characteristic of God’s Holy people and pave the way for His blessings. If you don’t seem to have blessings in your life right now, look at the road you have built for God to transport His blessings. He will not send His best blessings down a path littered with hate, pride, bitterness, strife and doubt. Clean up your highway and get ready for the arrival of His best blessings!

Father, You have sent so many undeserved blessings to me. I am grateful beyond expression. But, I want more of You. I want to live my best to receive Your best. I love You! Amen

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Daily Dose 10-15-17

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Things looked pretty bleak for the Israelites when Jeremiah gave them this word from the LORD. They were driven out of their beloved Jerusalem and exiled to Babylon. They wanted to put life on hold...but God had a plan. What Babylon are you living in right now? Do you feel like God has forgotten you or is not fully aware of your situation? Never doubt that the same God who spoke the universe into being knows the number of hairs on your head. He is fully aware…and He has a plan! Remain faithful and seek Him. You will find His direction.

Father, I am not always confidant living in my Babylon. Help me to remember that You have a plan. Keep me close to You and help me to strengthen, not quench the power of Your Spirit directing me. I love You! Amen

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Daily Dose 10-14-17

Psalm 84:5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

There are times we get so distracted by the busyness and trappings of life we forget this is not our end destination. We have strength to persevere on this journey given from God through His Holy Spirit. Our strength to withstand trials and enjoy blessings comes when we realize this world is not our permanent home. We are just passing through, learning to love and bring as many as we can with us to our eternal home. Set your spiritual GPS to heaven. Know you are traveling through life on God’s path to reach as many as you can for Him. Listen carefully when the Holy Spirit recalculates your direction!

Father, I am grateful this world is not my permanent home; but I want to make my journey beneficial for You and Your Kingdom. I am open to Your leading. Direct my path! I love You! Amen

Friday, October 13, 2017

Daily Dose 10-13-17

2 Thessalonians 1:11b-12 (MSG) …we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he's called you to be, pray that he'll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.

A valuable part to fulfilling your Godly calling is having others pray for you to measure up to God’s plan. Begin today praying for the ministry of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Let them know you are praying for them, and ask them to pray for you. Living up to our potential is not done in a vacuum. We need the added strength and support of others cheering us on. Take a moment today to encourage someone you know who is devoutly following His calling. Let them know they have your prayerful support.

Father, I thank You for special people I know personally, and those I know of, who are doing great work for You. I pray You will strengthen and sustain them for Your Kingdom. I love You! Amen

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Daily Dose 10-12-17

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Always – continually – all…These words do not leave room for, except – whenever – some. We like to compartmentalize our lives into what’s good and bad. We tend to look at situations as challenges or blessings. However, when following Christ, there should be a consistent attitude of joy and thanksgiving – despite the circumstances. If you, like most of us, have a hard time rejoicing during a trial, change your perspective. There will always be an angle for joy and thanksgiving…it takes a trained eye! The great masterwork artists often created paintings within the main view of the work. When you look close up, you see the painting of detail. When you step back, you realize the big picture tells a very different story. In the details of our trials, it’s very easy to live in worry and fear. Living in faith, is standing back from the painting of our lives, knowing the greatest Master of all times is creating a work of art that will tell His story in a way others will view in amazement. Take your eyes off your details and look at the big picture. You are a work of His art!

Father, Thank You for refreshing my view when life’s challenges come. May I allow the Holy Spirit to be the docent in Your museum, training my eye to always see things from Your perspective. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Daily Dose10-11-17

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. 
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Trust is a word that is used loosely in our society today. It’s so much more than believing someone will return what they borrowed from you, or keep your secret. The trust we should have in the LORD is not a reaction to one circumstance or situation; it is a way of life. Trust in the LORD does not expect to have a perfect life free from worries or concerns; it is confidence knowing we can withstand the trials life brings. The analogy in this scripture of the tree sending out its roots to the stream paints a beautiful word picture of how we find strength and confidence in the LORD. When we spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word, we are nourished. That stream is our picture of God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They strengthen and sustain us. They give us confidence for the days we feel weary and insecure. But to access that strength, we must trust and turn our lives to them. Believe God and His promises. Accept Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Avoid sin and disobedience that quench the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide you. Send your roots to the stream and be nourished to stand strong!

Father, You are my confidence. Without You, Your Son, and Your Spirit, I am a mess! Prick my heart to send my roots to You instead of wasting my energy with worry or
frivolous concerns. Because of You, I stand tall and can bear Your fruit! I love You Amen

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Daily Dose 10-10-17

Psalm 80:17-19 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, LORD God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

Jesus was at the right hand of God in the beginning, creating and forming all the wonders of the universe. He humbled Himself to come into the world He created in the lowest stature of all, a babe born in poverty and shame. Yet, because of the perfect life He lived, He was able to be our perpetual sacrifice. God raised Him up and He is seated at our Father’s right hand – again. Instead of assisting God in creation, He is there for us, standing in as our intercessor. When we believe in and accept Jesus for who He is and what He did for us, we have an advocate, One with authority vouches for us and brings us salvation. Along with freeing us from our sins and presenting us as pure before God, Jesus shows us off as lovely before God that brings a smile to His face and blessings from His hand. No matter how unlovely You may feel, Jesus is willing to give you the ultimate make-over. The image He shows God of you will have a bit of His reflection, a site impossible for God to resist!

Father, On my own I am so unappealing. The only good there is in me are the areas where I have allowed Jesus to clean up. Empower Your Holy Spirit to prick my heart to make all of me irresistible to You. When You look at me, may You see the reflection of Your Son and smile! Help me reflect His image to others so they may know You as well. I love You! Amen

Monday, October 9, 2017

Daily Dose 10-9-17

Psalm 79:8-10 Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; 
deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”

We have been very blessed as a nation. Our Founding Fathers placed faith in God beneath the structure of what became a greatly admired, prosperous and feared nation. Many believe the financial collapse and following recession have been a wake-up call for our country. When the Stock Market Closing Bell rang to end the September 30, 2008 trading day, the losses were 777 points. Coincidence, or God incidence? That fateful day also happened to be the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. In Jewish tradition, the shofar would blow at end of the day to begin fasting prior to the Jewish new year. For the next ten days, God’s chosen people were called to ten days of atonement – serious repentance. The day America’s Closing Bell rang out the loss of 777 points, the shofar was being blown. This has been paralleled to God’s shofar blowing to America, calling our nation to repentance. Have we listened? Will you listen to His call?

Father, I pray for our nation. I pray we will return to our foundations and place You as the One in whom we place our ultimate trust. Lead me to the complete repentance You desire. I love You! Amen

Friday, October 6, 2017

Daily Dose 10-6-17

Colossians 2:11-15 (MSG) Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It's not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you're already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it's an initiation ritual you're after, you've already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ's cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.

Living in the fullness of Christ is freedom! So many avoid Christianity thinking they could not be obedient – some may not like giving up sins. Freedom comes to Christians when they begin to worry less about what they do or don’t do, but rather what was done for them. We can never measure up, do enough or be good enough to be Godly people. But, because of the sacrifice Jesus made, we don’t have to be! He paid off every debt of sins we have committed or will commit. Living a life in His complete fullness comes when we lose desire for sins because we know how much they cost.

Father, My debt was steep and Your Son paid it off! The accuser had strong arguments for my condemnation, but You looked at Jesus and He vouched for me, now I live, “Not Guilty!” Help me seek more of the fullness of Christ. Give me the strength to overcome the desire for sin or traps satan sets so I may enjoy the freedom of living this redeemed life. I love You! Amen

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Daily Dose 10-5-17

Jeremiah 6:14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 
‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.

God is serious about sin. He sees sin among His people, the church, as a wound that needs to be cleaned. His intention is for us to acknowledge our sin as we would a physical wound that is covered in filth. How silly it would be to stick a band-aid over a dirty wound! The debris works its way through the area, infecting tissues all around. From the outside, it looks as though healing is occurring. Yet underneath, the infection grows, spreading to other areas eventually leading to the blood stream. We need to get serious about sin in our lives! We look at severed relationships and put the band-aid of, “Some things are better left unsaid,” instead of sterilizing the wound and reconciling the conflict. We look at indiscretions or unethical behavior and put the band–aid of, “At least I’m not as bad as so-and-so,” instead of dealing with our own sin. Rise up, people of God! We must get the dirt out of our wounds before the infection spreads!

Father, My wounds, or sins, run deep. There are some areas I have cleaned and applied the stinging antiseptic of Your Word to keep me from inflicting more wounds. However, God, You know there are other areas I keep putting a fresh band-aid over. Help me to clean all areas with the blood Jesus shed to purify me. Prick my heart to stop me from repeating the same sins. Provide the opportunity to tend to past wounds or issues that need to be resolved. Please keep Your Hand of love and protection over me through it all. I love You!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Daily Dose 10-4-17

Colossians 1:15-17 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

We seem to be living in a time where things we once depended on as stable are falling apart. The struggles in our local as well as global economy have brought many to feelings of despair and hopelessness. We see our traditional family units becoming more rare than common. Relationships seem so fragile and so easily broken. When we feel hopeless, recklessness abounds. Decisions made in times of desperation often lead to future tribulation. Those who abide in Christ have a hope like none other. A Christian is not sheltered from struggles or hard times, but they have strength and peace to withstand the storms of life – being held together in Christ. Do you feel your corner of the world falling apart? Turn it completely over to Christ - in Him - you can hold it together!

Dear Jesus, When I look at my community, my state, this nation and the world, I see a certain recklessness afoot. We need the glue of Your Spirit to hold us together. Lord, we are unworthy. I pray for our leaders. I pray for Godly authority in places of power. Hold us together with Your peace and guidance. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Daily Dose 10-3-17

Philippians 4:12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

The fact that American Christians love this scripture when so few know contentment is the perfect example of our spirit conflicting with our flesh. We want to be content in all things; yet, we live in a society where we are constantly persuaded to get the next thing, strive for the next level and always look for something better. We need to remember the setting in which these words were written. Paul wrote this with his hands chained in a prison cell because of his work for the cause of Christ. That is so difficult for most of us to comprehend. Paul’s contentment with his circumstances in the flesh was manifested by his discontent for the number of people who knew about Jesus. It didn’t matter if he was imprisoned, going without food or freedom, as long as others were coming to know Christ. Are you in a challenging situation right now? If so, think of Paul. Use the chains of your burden to introduce Christ to others by the way they see Christ in you. Let your witness be an encouragement to other Christians to press on through their challenges, sharing the Good News through it all.

Father, Change my perspective. Keep me content in matters where the world likes me to want. Make me discontent with the lack of salvation or spiritual depth of those around me. Give me Your wisdom and Your eyes to see true needs, and give me the strength to fulfill them by Your power! I love You! Amen

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Daily Dose 10-1-17

Psalm 73:24-26 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Each new season is a reminder that life on this earth is always changing. We experience seasons of celebration and contentment, as well as those where things do not always go according to our plan or on our timetable. Joyous times can change to heartache in the blink of an eye. No matter what season you are in life, whether it is a time of celebration or struggle, God is with you for the journey. His presence deepens the pleasure in the good times, and provides strength and comfort for the difficult times. The constant in the inconsistency of life is the unchanging, unwavering Hand of God protecting and loving His children through their walk – so walk on!

Father, I look back on my seasons of life and know that, without fail, You were always there. You have been and will always be my first One I go to for celebration of good. You have been and always will be my first One I go to for guidance, strength and encouragement. I am so grateful for Your past provisions. It gives me comfort for today and confidence for the future. You are my strength and I love You! Amen

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Daily Dose 9-30-17

Philippians 1:19-21 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Not many of us are imprisoned in chains because of our faith in Christ. Paul had every reason to throw a big pity party and say, “Life is too tough, LORD take me HOME!” Yet, he rejoiced and encouraged others. What hardship are you enduring that seems impossible to bear? Life is tough and there are days we want to give up. Through Paul’s example we see that encouraging others instead of focusing on our own hardship brings the joy of Christ into our hardships, making them more productive for the Kingdom. Allow your pain, hurt, rejection, or struggle to spark you to show others what joy and contentment through Christ looks like. Be a blessing to others despite your burdens and your load will seem lighter to bear!

Father, I long for the return of Your Son, or my turn to be with Him. However, Your plans are greater. Let me see where and how You intend for me to respond in my hardships. Give me Paul’s perspective! I love You and start over with You, today! Amen

Friday, September 29, 2017

Daily Dose 9-29-17

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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Daily Dose 9-28-17

Ephesians 6:11-17 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Have you put your armor on today? Every day we are at battle, not against other people, but against satan’s schemes to deceive, distract and diminish our impact for Christ. This fight is not something to be taken lightly. Don’t start your day without putting on your armor. The armor of God gives us tools for offensive and defensive battles. Arm yourself, and take on the fight. Don’t let satan have a victory in any aspect of your day!

Father, I know satan is deceptive and strategic in his battle to diminish my impact for You. Give me Your strength to battle and the Spirit of Christ to obtain the victory. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Daily Dose 9-27-17

Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, 
yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; 
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Did these words Isaiah prophesied about Jesus come to mind as they watched Him suffer and die upon the cross? It’s easy to criticize those who crucified Jesus because we have the rest of the story. Does the knowledge that we have about what He endured for our sin cause us to pause before continuing in sin? The sacrifice was unspeakable. The severity of the “stripes” or beatings He took are hard to comprehend, yet He did it for each one of us. Whatever pain or suffering you may be enduring, know that our Savior feels your pain and His sacrifice and victory will bring comfort and healing to you. Whatever sin you are battling, know that His sacrifice and victory over death made it possible for you to overcome any temptation. What happened on that cross so long ago is not a story placed in a historical document. That sacrifice was powerful enough to extend to us today. More importantly, the empty tomb brings us victory each day as we walk with Him. Live in His victory today!

Loving Father, The gift of Your son for me, and His willingness to be given up for me, is tough to comprehend at times. I am so unworthy of that sacrifice! Thank You for each stripe He took for me. Thank You for the shame He endured on the cross for me.  Heal me from the inside out with the power You used to bring Him out of the grave that covered Him with my sin! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Daily Dose 9-26-17

Ephesians 4:26-32 (MSG) Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can't work. Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians is a great book for learning how to live the Christian life. Anger is a part of our physical make-up. However, how we behave as a result of that anger is where we differ from non-believers. How we talk and what is considered improper coming out of the mouth of a Christian has changed through the generations. We have allowed ourselves to become desensitized to what is offensive to God. Think about what you say today! Any sin that we allow to continue in our lives diminishes the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide us properly. Stop fighting the Holy Spirit and work with Him to please God! Allowing unforgivness to continue leads to a break in unity. Work out disputes and move on in God’s grace! As Christians, we should be more than “good people.” We should lead transformed lives that stand out and make others seek Christ. Start fresh today!

Father, I pray for a refreshing of Your Spirit. Help me to empower, not inhibit, Your Spirit within me. Transform my life! I love You! Amen

Monday, September 25, 2017

Daily Dose 9-25-17

Ephesians 4:2-3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Paul loved the church at Ephesus and wanted them to experience the full measure of leading Spirit-filled lives. The Holy Spirit is most active and powerful in our lives when we are abiding in loving, peaceful and unified relationships with other believers. Maintaining unity is not always easy. It seems reasonable to think that Spirit-filled believers, seeking the will of God and following the example of Christ could all get along with very little effort. However, satan often trips us in his snares. His easiest weapon is pride – it impedes humility, gentleness and leaves us impatient. He challenges with judgment to encourage us to look at others to choose whether or not they are worthy of our love. This leads to exclusivity and bitterness among those who aren’t able to make the cut. Peace is a bond the Spirit offers to believers. We just have to stand strong to prevent satan from watering down the bonding agents of humility, gentleness, patience and love.

Father, I want unity and peace among believers. Help me see what satan throws in my way to prevent it. Give me the strength to forgive and love with purity those who reject or judge me. Take my bitterness and turn it into the sweet taste of Your love. I love You and thank You for always loving me. Amen

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Daily Dose 9-24-17

Psalm 67:6-7 The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

What is our motive for requesting blessings from the LORD? Most of us request blessings for our comfort or healing. This Psalmist paints a beautiful picture of a pure motive for blessings. Through his harvest, or financial blessings, he wants to impact the world for God. Carrying the message of God’s love and the redemption available to us through Christ should be our motivator and driving force for all that we do. When you put your requests before the LORD today, consider your motive. Will the request you are making impact the Kingdom?

Father, I love You so much and am so grateful or a relationship with You. I want others to know that same blessing. Touch my heart. Provide the blessings I need to follow Your will. My greatest blessings come when I am an effective tool in Your hands. Use me. I love You! Amen

Friday, September 22, 2017

Loss of Potential Life

Working on a community health project for the past couple of years, I’ve read lots of national studies and health statistics. One chart that strikes a chord is the Loss of Potential life. It’s a way to view a community’s health by studying the number of deaths prior to the average life expectancy. It tracks if preventable health issues are improving or declining to measure the effectiveness of community health programs. For my friends who eat, live and breathe these stats, I may have butchered the definition, but it’s how I understand it. Loss of Potential Life, it’s a phrase we need to think about daily.

Yesterday, an aneurysm sniffed away the potential life of Carmen Roberson Greiner. She was my potential friend. We had just been introduced over the past few months as part of our mutual dear friend Allison Campbell’s newly-formed Lunch With Friends group. Last month, I was blessed to sit next to Carmen and begin those conversations that take you a bit below the surface of acquaintance and  on the way to a friendship. That was sniffed out yesterday. For me, it is the loss of the unknown but for so many people I love in this community, her loss brings them a bit of their own Potential Life Lost. My heart breaks for her family and friends who have cherished memories and will miss her smile in their familiar places.

As I mourn with and for those who have lost the potential of sharing their lives with Carmen, I’m reminded of a phrase, “Life is too short...”. This is part of the reason Allison started our lunch group. “How often do we say, “Let’s do lunch, and never do?” Allison put it on the calendar, invited a few who invited a few. Our group is growing. We are enjoying our lives together even if it’s a brief bit of time each month – it’s on purpose. That is the way to battle Loss of Potential Life. Yes, healthy lifestyles play a role in how long we will live, but purposeful relationships determine how well we will live those years.

Ironically, Carmen missed our Lunch With Friends the day before her sudden death, why? She chose to volunteer at her daughter’s school...she prioritized. I missed her. I had looked forward to continuing our conversation from last month. My life went on after that fleeting thought. But how sweet the memory was for Grayson!

Let the loss of Carmen lead us to live life on purpose. Prioritize those most important while still being open and available for those potential friends. Live with joy by bringing joy to others. Remember, each conversation with someone you care about may be the last. We are not promised tomorrow. At the beginning of each day, plan for living that day to its fullest potential. It’s the only way to truly beat the death statistic we will all be a part of one day. Today, do not allow any of your potential life be lost, make it count!

Daily Dose 9-22-17

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Daily Dose 9-21-17

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Daily Dose 9-20-17

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Daily Dose 9-19-17

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.

For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

There are times when our impatience could thwart God’s greater blessing. He has compassion on us when we are hurt and struggling. There could be an instance where He is willing to forgo a greater plan for you just because you insist on a plan being implemented now. We live in a fast food, on demand, get-it-quick society. In His infinite wisdom, God sees the big picture. Allow Him to work His plan for your life in His time. Seek God’s BEST in all things. Ask where HE wants You to be and what He wants You to do. Lay your needs before Him, then praise, trust and wait!

Father, You know I am not the most patient of Your children. However, the longer I have walked with You, the more I’ve realized that Your timing is perfect. Please protect my heart while I wait for You. Keep me from insisting on my way when You have a greater plan. Calm my spirit to wait for Your timing. I love You! Amen

Monday, September 18, 2017

Daily Dose 9-18-17

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!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Daily Dose 9-10-17

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

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Daily Dose 9-9-17

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Daily Dose 9-8-17

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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Daily Dose 9-7-17

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

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Daily Dose 9-6-17

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Daily Dose 9-5-17

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

Monday, September 4, 2017

Daily Dose 9-4-17

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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Daily Dose 9-3-17

2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

God has promised to dwell within us. He no longer chooses an ornate temple. His temple is among us, within us, through us. How should the knowledge that God lives in us change our behavior? What will we expose ourselves to, or limit from our sight because He is a part of us? Sadly, may of us continue in life as though we are just like someone who has no part in God’s daily routine. We don’t acknowledge He is there. We have become desensitized to sin before us that should make us shudder. Holy seems like an unwelcome description to us. What if, through marriage or a roommate situation, you ignored the other person’s presence? What if you never included them in the small parts of your day or huge milestones of your life? What if you forced them to listen to, watch, or be around people that were offensive to them? How long would that relationship last? How long would they live in peace with you? Chances are, not long. Why are we then so disrespectful with the Holy God of the Universe living with us? Act today as though God is in the flesh beside you. Enjoy life with Him!

Father, I am so thankful You are living with me! Help me clean my “house and yard” to make You more comfortable! I love You! Amen

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Daily Dose 9-2-17

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

Friday, September 1, 2017

Daily Dose 9-1-17

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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Daily Dose 8-31-17

Job 38:8-11 Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?

Job wanted to know why he was suffering. He had done all he could to be obedient and faithful. He remained resolute in his love for God, but wanted God to explain why he was enduring such loss. The message God sent to Job was not only for him. The story of his suffering and faithfulness would encourage, comfort and inspire us thousands of years later. God wanted Job ~ and us ~ to know that no matter how things may look at times, He IS in control. Why is not necessary for us at all times. God is God; we are not. If you are suffering, remember Job. Know that what you are enduring may have untold implications woven in its fabric. God wants us to move from “Why” to “How.” We don’t need to waste time questioning why God allows hardship. We need to move toward asking Him how we should respond in the midst of suffering. Ask for His direction to respond in such a way that makes His glory as visible through You as the waves knowing their boundaries during high tide.

Majestic Creator, You are more beautiful, powerful and sovereign than my mind can comprehend. If You tried to explain all the whys, I still would not be able to grasp the entirety of Your plan. Comfort me in my hard times and give me Your wisdom, strength, and courage to live in such a way that Your glory is revealed through me. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Daily Dose 8-30-17

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

The battles of life are tough. During challenging times, it is easy to feel as though God has deserted us. We wonder how a loving God could allow His children to suffer. However, it is often during the tough times God is probably closest to us. It is then that His power and might can show through us, rather than others assuming we handle things in our own strength. If you are burdened, take heart. God is hovering closely! He may be allowing this time in your life to grow you into something better, or to show His glory through you!

Father, There is so much I don’t understand in this life. Yet, no matter how perplexed I can be during tough times, nothing compares to my lack of fully understanding Your love for me. How could You allow Jesus, perfect as God and man, to suffer such a cruel death for me? No struggle I face will ever be that great. Prick my heart to keep my faith strong in trials. Use me however You choose. I love You! Amen

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Daily Dose 8-29-17

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (MSG) Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We're free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

The older translations of this scripture are beautiful, but something about The Message version makes it real and exciting. When Moses used to go to the mountain to visit God, he had to veil his face upon his return for two reasons: one, the people were blinded by the glory of God, and, two, they lost interest as they saw the glory from his face begin to fade. Because of the freedom Christ gives us, we can go to the mountain with God as often as we like. We don’t have to wait for an appointed time like Moses did. Our lives should be reflecting His glory on all those we deal with each day. It should become progressively brighter as we grow in Christ and deeper in our relationship with God. Strip your veil away! If there is anything that hinders you from getting that radiant glow from God’s glory, get rid of it! If your glow has begun to fade, recharge it! Fall before the LORD with a repentant heart and ask Him to show you His glory anew!

Father, Too often, I veil Your glory with my own thoughts, desires and sins. Help me to strip all that away so that others see You in me! I love You! Amen