Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Daily Dose 1-31-17

Exodus 13:14 “In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery…”

We are no longer burdened with the law keeping of feasts and animal sacrifices. However, with that freedom, we may have lost the purpose behind them. Whenever God established a feast, its purposes were two-fold. First and foremost it is an act of praise and thanksgiving to God for His provision. Secondly, it is a way to pass our faith in God through the generations. The stories of God’s faithfulness are vital in the lineage of a family. So many are focused on genealogy right now and tracing family roots. If families operated as God intended, the research would be easy. The stories would be handed down generation to generation. More importantly than who was born to which branch of the family when, descendants would recount how the LORD God Almighty provided, sustained and strengthened the family tree. What stories are you sharing now for generations to come to follow the trail of God’s faithfulness?

Father of All, May I never forget how Your Hand of protection and provision has been upon me and my family. May I always recount Your faithfulness in praise and as a tool for other generations to know Your love and power is real. Amen

Monday, January 30, 2017

Daily Dose 1-30-17

Matthew 20:26-28 “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus had just shared with the apostles He was about to be mocked, flogged and crucified and on the third day raised to life. What did they really hear? Immediately after, the mother of James and John knelt before Him asking that her sons be seated at His left and right when He established His kingdom- obviously thinking it would be an earthly, political kingdom. An argument broke out among them as they squabbled over who should have those positions. The lesson Jesus shared with them applies to us today. In politics, candidates are accused of flip-flopping on issues. Jesus came to flip the process, for sure! The powerful, rich and influential are exalted in our society. Jesus flips that equation to show us how we will receive the ultimate exaltation of eternal life. We are to use any influence, riches and power we must have in order to serve others with no expectations of exaltation on this earth. Are you serving hoping to get a pat on the back or an, “Atta boy” from someone on earth? Flip your perspective! Have no expectations or desires for acknowledgement now…wait for your, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” What a sweet statement that will be!

Father, I confess I am too concerned about how others value me on earth. Flip my perspective. Remind me my only concern should be how my work brings value to your kingdom. I love You! Amen

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Daily Dose 1-29-17

Matthew 19:21-22 (MSG) "If you want to give it all you've got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me." That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go.

We often look at the young man in this story with a judgmental eye, thinking that we would never let wealth stand in our way of following Jesus – especially if He was standing right in front of us! The deal is, Jesus knew that was the one thing that the man would put in front of Him. He knew that when push came to shove, wealth and power would come before a choice to stand for Him. Jesus just let the man choose upfront before he started following. If you consider yourself a follower now, what is it that you would cling to if Jesus said to let it go? What is it that divides your heart? Are you someone who would easily sell all your possessions and give to the poor, yet you still hold on to the hurt and unforgiveness toward someone who did you wrong? Do you easily forgive in situations where it’s called for, but put relationships with family and friends before following Jesus? Are you someone who has prioritized possessions, forgiveness and relationships appropriately in line with Jesus, but hold on to fear and insecurity instead of stepping boldly into the mission Jesus has for you? Put yourself back in that story. What is it Jesus would ask you to sacrifice to follow Him? Know this – He IS asking! Are you willing?

Father, I can’t imagine the sacrifice that You made in allowing Jesus to be the sacrifice for me. His willingness to follow Your will above His own for my benefit should motivate me to live more boldly for Him. Help me to see what’s in my way and give me the courage to let go! I love You! Amen

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Daily Dose 1-28-17

Exodus 6:12-13 Moses answered God, "Look—the Israelites won't even listen to me. How do you expect Pharaoh to? And besides, I stutter." But God again laid out the facts to Moses and Aaron regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he again commanded them to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

Moses had every right to be confused and insecure. He stepped out in obedience to God even though he was terrified and doubtful of his abilities. He must have had a picture in his mind of what the rescue would look like. He wanted it to be swift, mighty and over quickly. Instead, upon his arrival and bold statements, circumstances became worse for the Israelites. Moses didn’t see the big picture. God knew the hearts of the people. Even though they moaned and complained about slavery, it was comfortable. Before God could get the Israelites out of Egypt, He had to get Egypt out of the hearts of the Israelites. What has you stuck in bondage because you are more comfortable with the shackles of slavery than the freedom of faith? Is it unforgiveness, broken relationships that are easier to ignore than heal? Are you bound by fear, thinking God will never bless you the way you desire? Are you more comfortable complaining about your chains than laying them before God to let Him cut them loose? The more you allow your bondage in your heart, the harder the process will be to set you free.

Father, I’m sure You become frustrated with me at times tangled in the same chains of bondage that You want to cut free. Show me how to lay my chains before You and be free to follow Your Son. I love You! Amen

Friday, January 27, 2017

Daily Dose 1-27-17

Exodus 4:10-13 (MSG) Moses raised another objection to God: "Master, please, I don't talk well. I've never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer." God said, "And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn't it I, God? So, get going. I'll be right there with you—with your mouth! I'll be right there to teach you what to say." He said, "Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!"

It’s refreshing that scriptures let us see a glimpse of the fear and insecurity felt by the heroes of faith. Moses was audibly hearing God from a burning bush. He had just seen his staff turn into a snake and back into a staff. He saw the horror of leprosy inflicted on his hand, then cured immediately. All this, and he was still afraid. He was not necessarily fearful and insecure about what God could do, but he focused on his own limitations. How many of us can relate to that? We have faith that God can move mountains – we just aren’t sure He’ll choose to move our mountains! Whatever you think stands in your way of doing what God has called you to do, share with Him your fears and limitations. He may send you an Aaron to work beside you, or He may remove the limitation all together! Regardless, God will ensure that you are capable to do whatever He calls you to accomplish. Stop listing the excuses and pick up you staff!

Holy God, I am completely convinced You have the power and ability to do whatever You want to accomplish Your purpose. Faith in You is never an issue for me. However, I do struggle with faith in You through me. I know my faults, shortcomings and sins. Help me to see how You look beyond my limitations. Empower me with the confidence You have in me and show me Your next steps! I love You! Amen

Friday, January 20, 2017

Daily Dose 1-20-17

Genesis 41:38-40 Then Pharaoh said to his officials, "Isn't this the man we need? Are we going to find anyone else who has God's spirit in him like this?" So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "You're the man for us. God has given you the inside story—no one is as qualified as you in experience and wisdom. From now on, you're in charge of my affairs; all my people will report to you. Only as king will I be over you."

Sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph emerged as the second most powerful man in Egypt. How? He remained faithful to God through his trials. He used the gifts he had been given by God to benefit those who had authority over him. He waited for God’s timing, but stepped boldly when the timing was right. We see the outward results of Joseph’s life, but scriptures don’t share his thoughts, fears and disappointment during those tough days. Why? Maybe God wants us to look at Joseph so we see how to keep our focus by doing the right things in the present, knowing God will secure our future. Every situation Joseph was in, those in authority over him trusted him, saw his work was good and entrusted him with more. Because of him, they were blessed. They realized Joseph was different and credited God. Do those in authority over you see God in you? Even if they don’t believe in God, do they respect the way your life is lived because of your faith lived out in your actions? Think of Joseph as you do your work – even if your work is looking for work right now. Conduct yourself in such a way that brings glory to God. Consider how your trials would be recorded. The less we complain, fret and fear creates more time and energy to press on with what’s before us while we wait for what God will bring to us!

Father, I thank You for knowing and loving me. I know You have my best interests in mind. I know You have my future secured, though what I see looks shaky at times. I trust You. Prick my heart against complaint and keep me focused to live my life for Your glory in the moments of each day. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Daily Dose 1-18-16

Matthew 12:34-37 (MSG) It's your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.

Even Jesus could get pretty frustrated with people who could only speak badly of His ministry. He had the advantage of being able to see straight to the hearts of the Pharisees to discern their motives. His message to them should ring clearly to us. Our words are powerful. God demonstrated the power of His words by speaking creation in existence. We certainly don’t possess that kind of power, but our words can do so much to encourage, inspire and teach. At the same time, our words – or sometimes just our tone – can tear people down leaving them frustrated and disheartened. There is also pain brought from our lack of words to people who need our companionship and encouragement. Sometimes, ignoring someone is just as damaging as being hurtful toward them. What Jesus said is so true, the interpretation and impact of our words come straight from our hearts. When we submit our hearts to the Holy Spirit, love, encouragement and wisdom come from our mouths. When we allow our hearts to rule with our emotional, selfish desires, we speak destruction into the lives of others. Examine your heart before you open your mouth and ask the Spirit to bridle both with the love of Christ.

Father, Empower Your Spirit within me and purify my heart to speak life and encouragement into the lives of others. Pull out any root of bitterness in my heart so I will produce the good fruit You desire. I love You. Amen

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Daily Dose 1-17-17

Genesis 35:4-5 (MSG) They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they'd been holding on to, along with their lucky-charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem. Then they set out. A paralyzing fear descended on all the surrounding villages so that they were unable to pursue the sons of Jacob.

Most of us can’t relate to clinging to statues of gods for security or adoration. We read the scriptures where God’s wrath came upon His people for worshipping gods with the glazed expression of a bored student in a history class because we think it doesn’t apply to us. Times have changed since Jacob’s day, but we have idols just the same. They may not be in the form of miniature god statues, but anything – or anyone – we give our trust, confidence, adoration and attention as a priority before God is an idol to us. Some place career and job on an altar as their source of provision, worth and security. Many worship a 60” flatscreen or a 17” monitor. Some kneel before calendars that are scheduled so full of busyness that there is no time for holiness. Some offer enthusiastic acts of worship over sports heroes or teams that they would never offer to God. And, others can worship the worship service instead of the God being worshipped. There are some who place relationships of family or friends as a priority over their relationship with God. Instead of searching scripture, fasting, or focusing in prayer to seek guidance, they go first to people…while God waits with answers. What idols do you need to bury before you move on with God? In some cases, it may be easier if it were miniature statues, they can be buried. Our challenge is to enjoy or use our “idols” the way God intended. The modern idols mentioned above are not evil in and of themselves. In some cases they are gifts from God for our benefit or pleasure. Our prioritizing them over God is the problem!

Father, Prick my heart to the idols I have in my life. Show me how You intend for my life to be prioritized and give me the strength to follow through. I love You! Amen

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Daily Dose 1-11-17

Matthew 8:23-27 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

It is easy for us to look at the apostles in that boat and be completely dismayed by their lack of faith. How could they be worried? They had Jesus – with skin on – in the boat with them! They witnesses first-hand His miracles. Why worry? We are no different. When the storms of life rock our boat, we feel as if Jesus is asleep at the helm. Even though we may not see Him with skin on in our boat, know that He said the One – the Holy Spirit - who would come to us after His death would be better for us (John 16:1-11). Just as the apostles in the boat, we have a choice. Will we cry out in fear when our storms hit, or will we confidently go to the source of our strength and comfort and ride out the waves in faith?

God, my Protector, You have sent Your Holy Spirit to live within me as a constant reminder of your love and protection. Calm the storms in my heart and strengthen my faith! Amen

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Daily Dose 1-10-17

Genesis 24:45-46 Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also.

Rebekah was performing a mundane, ordinary task of her everyday existence when she met Abraham’s servant. She was not so consumed with her “to do” list that she missed a holy opportunity. We never know what God-moment could meet us each day. What is our job? Perform our duties as if we are doing them for the LORD and be open to change our schedule if we see God at work. Rebekah’s compassion and service for Abraham’s servant lead her to great blessings. Who will you meet at your well today, and what will you be willing to do for them? Be on guard! Blessings could be just around the corner!

Father, Keep me focused on Your work as I do my work. Help me to do all I do with excellence and a pure heart. Give me Your skill and discipline to succeed. However, never let me be so focused on work You have provided for me that I miss work that is needed for You. Bless the work of my hands, but more importantly, bless my work for You! I love You! Amen

Monday, January 9, 2017

Daily Dose 1-9-17

Genesis 22:8-12 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”   “Here I am,” he replied “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

It would be so interesting to hear this story from Isaac’s perspective. Abraham was an old man and Isaac was young and strong. It seems he could have very easily manhandled his way off the altar and reported his father as insane. Yet, Isaac laid upon the altar and saw his father grab the knife. Isaac had faith in God himself as well as confidence in his father’s faith. Are you being asked to sacrifice or be the sacrifice for someone else’s mission? Lying upon the altar took as much faith as lifting the knife. Isaac’s example shows us we may not be the one who receives the commission from God for a great action. However, we may be called upon for a supporting role that takes the same amount of faith. What altar is God asking you to lie upon for Him?

Father, I cannot fathom the faith of Abraham or Isaac in this account. I’m not sure I would have been confident I was really hearing from You. Clarify Your will to me. Help me to know what my role is in Your plan. I love You! Amen

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Daily Dose 1-8-17

Matthew 6:34 (MSG) Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Living in the present is not always natural. We have a tendency to reflect on and sometimes glorify the past, or live so much in the future thinking that when “this” happens THEN, everything will be OK. In the meantime, we are missing work and blessings God has for us in today! There are tough times we endure and ask God to quickly move us through them. While it is understandable to want relief from the pain, realize there are God moments in every struggle that He wants you to learn from and even appreciate. Learn to find God and His purposes in every day. Revel in the present and He will reveal the blessings of each moment!

Father, You know this is a struggle I face. It is often hard or me to live in the moment. I either dwell on what’s past, or plan and dream for the future. Reveal to me Your beauty in my moments today. I love You! Amen!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Daily Dose 1-7-16

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Forgiveness is what we need the most from God, yet what seems to be the hardest to give to others. It’s always easier to forgive those who come to you with a repentant heart - but what about those who don’t seem to notice or care that they have hurt you? How do you forgive and move on? The need for God’s forgiveness is greater when you struggle to forgive others than any sin you can commit. Christ tells us our lack of forgiveness stops God’s flow of mercy to us. You must begin to visualize the bitterness you feel toward others being projected by God onto you.

Abba Father, Help me. I need Your heart and eyes to forgive others and see them through Your loving eyes. I can’t bear to think of my unforgiveness separating me from Your mercy and grace. Forgive me. Help my heart heal and flow Your forgiveness to others – even when they don’t seem to care. Amen

Friday, January 6, 2017

Daily Dose 1-6-17

Matthew 5:3-10 (MSG) "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.”

The Message translation of Jesus’ Beatitudes sermon makes His point very clear. Life and its struggles are all a matter of perspective.  God does not intend for His children to endure any pain or approach any struggle alone or with a single focus. When we choose to look at situations through our own eyes, all we see is suffering and hardship. When we look at situations with God and through His perspective, we see potential, opportunity…and we are blessed! The choice is Yours – a view of hardships that focuses on oppression, or a view of hardships that leads to blessings. What choice will you make today?

Father, I trust You to turn my pain and hardship into Your potential and blessings. I know Your hand of protection is over me and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I love You! Amen

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Daily Dose 1-5-17

Matthew 4:18-20 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Jesus asked, they responded AT ONCE. Those two words are powerful. At once means they didn’t go around to friends and family seeking input and counsel. They didn’t explain to Him why the sacrifice could not be made at this time. They didn’t procrastinate. They dropped nets and followed. While seeking counsel is not a bad thing (many times that’s how we receive confirmation), there are times that we KNOW what Jesus is asking or requires of us. It is then we should respond – AT ONCE.

Jesus, Please forgive me when I procrastinate and doubt. Work on my heart so that my relationship with You is so close that I KNOW without reservation what You are asking. Give me a strong desire and courage to respond AT ONCE every day as I drop my nets for You. Amen

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Daily Dose 1-4-17

Genesis 8:10-12 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

God’s timing is everything. Noah and his family had been in the ark for 150 days after the rain stopped. Seven months later the ark landed on the top of Mount Ararat. Three months later other mountains became visible. Forty days later, Noah opened a window and sent out a raven and a dove. Hoping the would find the earth ready to inhabit once again. Can you imagine the anxiety? What must Noah have endured with his wife and children possibly insisting NOW is the right time? Yet, Noah waited on the LORD and His timing. He sent the dove again and it returned with an olive leaf. This was a symbol of hope that the time was getting closer. Seven days later, he sent the dove again and it did not return. “NOW?” Must have been the mantra of the ark family!  Yet, Noah waited. Months passed again until Noah heard God say, “Come out…” Upon leaving the ark, they worshipped. What are you waiting on from God? Patience is not a virtue we easily aquire. We may have faith and know full well God will provide or allow the object of our hopes and dreams, but we want it on our timetable. God’s timing is always perfect. Wait on Him. When you are frustrated in waiting, think of Noah’s family confined in the sights, sounds and smells of the ark! Trust God for your protection during His timetable. Forcing a premature exit from the ark could have been deadly. Don’t force your own ark opened…wait for God’s timing…even if it is a little stinky!

Father, I trust You and Your timing. Help me to remember when pressures seem great and my patience wears thin that You are in control and You are well aware of all things. I trust You, increase my trust…show me an olive leaf today! I love You! Amen

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Daily Dose 1-3-17

Matthew 4:10-11 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Jesus showed us how to resist temptation and stop ourselves from sin. The tools we need must be gathered BEFORE the temptations come. Psalms tells us to hide His Word in our hearts. That’s what Jesus had done. He had scriptures at His disposal to combat satan’s schemes. Learning scripture is not just to impress other Christians with your knowledge. Learning scripture is building an arsenal to defend yourself. There is power is speaking the Word of God…and satan shudders! Figure out your greatest temptations and find scriptures that speak against them. Memorize those scriptures and be ready. The next time you are tempted speak out loud the scriptures. Follow the example of Christ and calmly say, “It is written…” Eventually, satan will leave you alone and you can have victory that will bring glory to God and a smile of Father’s pride upon His face!

Father, The areas where I struggle are not a secret to me and certainly not to You. Prick my Spirit to recall Your scriptures and help me defend against satan’s schemes. I want to bring glory to You with my life! Amen

Monday, January 2, 2017

Daily Dose 1-2-17

Genesis 6:22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

God has not stopped commanding and guiding His people to do great things. He may not be asking you to construct an ark of gopher wood, but what is He asking you to do? What burdens have been heavy on your heart? What characters in the Bible jump off the page to inspire you? Open your eyes to the world around you. There may not be a flood coming to destroy the earth, but there is one who is seeking lives to destroy. Join God in His work to lift up the broken-hearted and bring the news of salvation to those drowning in the waters of satan’s lies.

Father, so often I want to give You the ideas and tell You how to work in my life and the lives of those around me. Had I been Noah, I may have tried to convince You that oak would be better than gopher wood! Forgive me for thinking I know best. Guide my heart to be like Noah’s. May I do everything just as You command me. Amen

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Daily Dose 1-1-17

Proverbs 1:1-6 (MSG) “These are the wise sayings of Solomon, David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going; 
A manual for living, for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality.
 There’s something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate, the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.”

It’s a new year – a fresh start full of possibilities! Disappointments and heartaches of 2016 can take a back seat for a moment as we pause. Pause for a moment to hope. Pause for a moment to dream. Pause for a moment to imagine your life lived to the potential God created it to be! What does that look like for you? Has the road been so rough you are afraid to dream again? Take heart…you are not alone. If you are still here – reading this and breathing – God isn’t finished with you yet. Stop the recorded loop in your head recounting past hurts, disappointments, losses and pain. Stop wondering why it is what is and start worshiping the One Who spoke the world into existence! Ask God for His wisdom to guide you into His work with His purpose for your being. Just as a new year begins with a page turning of the calendar, let your new life this year begin by turning to His Word. But don’t stop there. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Make this new year the opportunity to read the instruction manual for your life – and actually follow the directions!

Father, Thank You for clean slates! Write Your dreams in my heart and give me the courage to play my role in fulfilling Your will. I love You. Amen