Sunday, April 30, 2017

Daily Dose 4-30-17

John 1:9-13 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

It’s hard to truly fathom the sacrifice Jesus made for us. He watched and worked with God to create heaven and earth. He was completely pure, dwelling beside the Father. He was intimately communing with God. Was that why He was willing to come? In such an intimate relationship with God, could He see how the sins of the people He created and loved were breaking the heart of God? Was it at that point He said, “Let me fix it for You and them! Use me to bring them back to You!” Jesus was so concerned and grieved for the breaking heart of God, He was willing to be rejected, tortured, and ultimately separated from God Himself so that we could return to God. Are you willing to make sacrifices for the things that break the heart of God? We aren’t called to be crucified too often, yet we are called to step outside of our busyness and self-absorbed lives to minister to those God loves. We are called to let others know how to turn to Him. We are called to comfort the weary, feed the hungry and show compassion and mercy to the fallen. Does your heart break for the things that break the heart of God…or do you even notice?

God, Give me Your eyes to see what breaks Your heart. Give me the heart of Jesus to know how to respond. I love You! Amen

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Daily Dose 4-27-17

Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

What was it like for the thief on the cross with Jesus to be greeted by Him in paradise? We can only imagine! A man that led such a harsh and unscrupulous life, turned his eternity upside down when he professed his belief in Jesus. What an example he left for us! No matter how our lives have been before, when we come to the cross, we are on the level ground of salvation. Take your broken and messed up life to Jesus – let Him cleanse you. Take your self-righteous heart that has “been good” and remember your sins put Jesus on the cross just like the sins of the thief. Praise Him for the salvation that can come to us all because of the sacrifice He made.

Dear Jesus, Thank You for looking beyond what I deserve and loving me enough to endure the cross. How can I ever thank You enough? I love You!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Daily Dose 4-24-17

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

The walk of a Christ follower is one who desires consistency, but will inevitably trip along the way. Some of those incidences will be slight, and others will leave us flat on our faces. Sin is sin whether it is categorized as a minor indiscretion or blatant rebellion. In either case and for those in between – Jesus went to the cross to make it possible for you to get back up and on His path again. This scripture of His words to Peter should give us great insight to the kind of Savior we have. The next time you trip in life, remember His words to Peter – He speaks them to you as well, “I have prayed for you.” That’s right, Jesus prays over you and cheers you on when you are walking tall, steadies you in your little slips, pulls you up the rough hills in life with His outstretched hand, and picks you up when you fall flat on your face! Remember, in this life it’s not a matter of if you will fall – it’s a matter of when. How you go down and get back up makes all the difference in your walk. Go down GRACEfully, rise triumphantly! Jesus will never waste a hurt or failure. Get back up to help others along the way!

Father, Thank You for sending Your son to provide a way for me to get up when I fall. Thank You for His support that brings balance to my unsteady gate in this life walk. Empower Your Spirit to keep me on path and close to my guiding Savior. Amen

Friday, April 21, 2017

Daily Dose 4-21-17

Joshua 23:9-11 “The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the LORD your God.”

As Joshua neared the end of his life, he began to prepare the Israelites to continue without him. His farewell was a pep talk that reminded them of God’s fulfilled promises. It also held strong words of warning against rebellion and disobedience. This scripture at the end of his address boils down the key to their obedience – love. He knew that they – and we, generations later – act upon the conditions of the heart. Obedience that is based upon ritual or guilt never lasts. But, obedience based upon love for the LORD eases the burden and brings blessings. If you have an obedience problem, check your heart…it may be a love problem.

Faithful Father, I DO love You with all my heart, soul and mind. Yet, I still struggle in areas for complete obedience. Forgive me, and soften my heart to love You more. Amen

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Daily Dose 4-20-17

Joshua 21:43-45 So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

Are there promises you are believing God to fulfill? If you are struggling with the wait, do a heart check. God’s faithfulness is linked to our obedience. Sometimes, He is also waiting on the right timing for the promise to be fulfilled at a greater capacity than we imagined. As the children of Israel were making bricks in the hot sands of Egypt, they never imagined the beauty and rest that was waiting for them in the Promised Land. Unfortunately, because of their constant rebellion, that generation did not know the rest God promised. He was faithful. He did provide. But His promise was fulfilled in the next generation. Are You living in obedience, believing God? Be sure there’s not a bit more refining He needs to do to get you ready to receive!

Faithful Father, Show me what needs to change in my heart to make me ready to receive. Give me the strength and courage to make those changes. I love You!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Daily Dose 4-17-17

Psalm 86:11-12 Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; 
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. 
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.

David understood one thing clearly – God’s blessings are tied to our heart for Him. HE is always faithful. But, in His faithfulness, He will not reward rebellion or a divided heart. Most Christians quickly acknowledge that God’s ways are better than our ways. Yet, when the time comes to choose a path, we often opt for our own path. Our hearts were made to worship God, yet we have allowed our hearts to be divided among the idols of our day. We scoff at the Israelites for worshiping a golden calf, but our hearts do the same thing. We worship sports teams, possessions, busyness, work – even family and friends can divide our hearts’ focus on Him. Do a heart check today. Do you see rebellion to or division from God? If so, align and mend your heart in repentant praise, and look for His faithfulness!

Father, Forgive me for thinking I know best at times. Put me on Your path! Forgive my divided heart and heal it with Your love. I am in awe of You! Amen

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Daily Dose 4-16-17

Luke 24:2-6 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!

He IS risen and He lives today! The victory Jesus had over death was not temporary and it was not for a select group alone. All of our sins placed the nails in His hands. He endured the agony of the cross and the separation in the grave so that those sins could be forgiven. With His resurrection, He purified all to have the authority to approach the throne of God, in confidence, to receive His grace and salvation. Today is a perfect day to accept that gift if You have never received it. If you accepted long ago, but wandered away, it’s a great day to come home. If the cross doesn’t seem personal to you, imagine His exit from the tomb as He calls your name to the Father as, “Forgiven!”

Forgiving Father, I am so humbled by the sacrifice of Jesus. It pains me to know what He endured for me. Please prick my heart to be more aware of my sin and quickly repentant. Help me to never take the cross for granted. I call upon the resurrection power that Jesus made available to me that day to help me overcome the grave my sins want me to stay in. Because He is risen – I too can rise above where I am to be who You have called me to be! Thankful…Amen

Friday, April 14, 2017

Daily Dose 4-14-17

What's your choice this Good Friday?

John 18:39-40 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!”

Was there a glimmer of hope on that day so many years ago? Jesus had prayed so fervently to avoid the cross the night before, yet accepted the will of His father. But at this instant–when Pilot offered the people a choice–did the vision of possibility run through His head? As He looked among the crowd, did He see those He had healed and ministered to with hope? Was He like a child for a moment waiting for the kickball team captain to choose Him? He was omnipotent. He knew in His heart the choice that would be made but He also knew the God He served, His Father, was able to make another way. For a split-second did He think this could be the way? The people He loved so dearly would choose Him over a common criminal? God could make that work! It didn't take long for the answer. The people shouted, "No!" We often desperately long for acceptance, friendship and love from people–often times, we are rejected. Our rejection may lead to sadness, disappointment or frustration. The rejection Jesus experienced that day led Him to cruel torture, a horrific death and most sadly, separation from His Father. Have you accepted that sacrifice? He still looks among the lost today saying, "Choose Me!" Will you do as the crowd did that day?

Precious Jesus, I chose You so long ago and that choice has made such an impact in my life. However, You don't ask for a one-time acceptance. Your sacrifice is worthy of my daily choice. I choose You over the sins that seek to condemn me knowing Your sacrifice that day paid the price for my escape. Thank You seems inadequate. Let my thanks be choosing You and Your ways all day, every day. I love You!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Daily Dose 4-11-17

Joshua 3:20-24 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”

What remembrance stones have you set up to show others God’s faithfulness to you? We may not pile rocks in a heap on our front lawn today, but we must be vigilant in sharing what God has done in our lives. We tend to be very excited when God has brought us through great trials initially – then the excitement wanes. We get caught up in the busyness and hectic schedules of our lives and forget to remember. What Jordan did God allow you to pass on dry ground? Was it surviving a devastating diagnosis? Provisions made at the last minute before bills were due? A job offer at the most needed time? A child conceived when doctors said no? The ability to breath when your breath was knocked out of you from devastating loss? However small or large your blessings from God may be, they were not intended for you alone. God does not waste a hurt or a victory in the lives of His people. There is a always a greater purpose. Take an inventory today. List the times God has shown His faithfulness to you and your family. Find a way to share those stories with others. Place a reminder in your home that may cause others to ask. God wants to do big things in the lives of those who recognize and appreciate the action!

Watchful Father, My list is long! You have always protected, provided and made a way for me. I can’t begin to praise You enough for the appreciation I feel. Help me know how I should share so that the maximum benefit You intended is carried to fruition. I love You and stand in faith that You are not done yet! Amen

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Daily Dose 4-8-17

Luke 12:35-38 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.”

Could today be the day? Would you be ready? We talk about longing for Jesus’ return and being eager for the rewards of heaven, but are we ready? Are our minds focused on Him and work on earth that will add to our treasures in heaven? Or, are we more consumed with work and activities now to accumulate treasures on earth? This life is but a vapor. Don’t get so caught up in it that you forget about the life that is everlasting.

Father, Open my eyes to Your priorities today. I have my To Do list, but help me to be ready to shift to a For You list. I love You and want to be ready. Amen

Friday, April 7, 2017

Daily Dose 4-7-17

Deuteronomy 31:7-8 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Transition is never easy. We allow our human anxieties and concerns to overwhelm us at times. We often forget who goes before us. Are you at a new phase or a transition in life? Approach it with boldness and faith that God is with you! Remain close to Him and in His Word. Walk with Him in humble obedience. He longs to give you your “land flowing with milk and honey” instead of the desert and wasteland of the past. Look to your future with renewed confidence and trust, knowing He will never leave your side…what more do you need?

Guiding Father, I trust You for whatever will be. Prick my heart to be obedient to You; for I know it is in obedience where I receive Your blessings. Forgive me when I fall and pick me back up to walk with You on this new journey. Thank You for never leaving my side! I love You! Amen

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Daily Dose 4-2-17

Luke 9: 57-62 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus did not tap dance around the seriousness of a commitment to Him. We look at this scripture and explain the differences between then and now. They were trying to introduce Jesus for the first time. Jesus often spoke figuratively, so He didn’t really mean it that way. He was calling a particular group of people…He hasn’t called me to this level. Whatever your justification is for the interpretation of this scripture, it is impossible to escape the bottom line. Jesus expected – and expects – commitment to Him and the service to which He calls you to come first. Whatever is in your life that causes you to say, “Yes, Lord, but…,” is probably an issue that You are placing before Him. Look closely at each situation where He is asking you to make a change or do something for, or with Him; let your reply be, “Yes, LORD!”

Dear Jesus, Help me to know when You are calling me. Give me the nudge, courage and strength to say, “YES!” Thank You for not giving up on me yet! I love You! Amen

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Daily Dose 4-1-17

Luke 9:46-48 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

It’s reassuring to know those who walked in the flesh with Jesus everyday still didn’t get it. It makes it easier to understand our own shortcomings in our faith walk. If the apostles, in the presence of Jesus himself still had relationship issues and allowing pride to cause conflict, then it’s no wonder we are such a mess at times! The answer Jesus gave them then, is the same one He has for us today – serve one another. If you are in conflict with a brother or sister in Christ, serve them and serve others with them. Serving hearts heal a multitude of conflicts.

Father, Forgive me for allowing pride to come in the way of relationships. Help me to see where I can serve that will heal broken relationships. Open my eyes and open their hearts. Amen.