Friday, February 24, 2017

Daily Dose 2-24-17

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

No matter how strong our faith, there are still challenges in life that bring anxiety and fear. God’s call is not to chastise us for not having enough faith; it is to encourage and remind us of His ever-faithful presence in our lives. It’s not always easy to do, but we must learn to pause in our struggle and completely turn it over to God in sacrifice. Somehow, we feel better about a situation when we can control the outcome. That is a direct manipulation from satan to keep us focused on circumstances instead of the One who controls the circumstances. Give your fears and concerns to the One who CAN bring control to chaos, life to loneliness, and victory to vulnerability.

Father, I am so naive to think that I can control situations, and prideful to think that I should! Forgive my worry and busyness – it is not from You. Let me rest in the comfort of Your embrace and the submission to Your control. Amen

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Daily Dose 2-23-17

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Daily Dose 2-21-17

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

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

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Daily Dose 2-20-17

Psalm 37:39-40 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Webster defines refuge as a shelter or protection from danger or distress; something to which one has recourse in difficulty. These are great descriptors of God’s desire to help us and comfort us when times are dark and scary in life. Webster also offers another definition as how to how we should proactively live with God - a place that provides shelter or protection. The first definition describes protection from something that is seen or known. The latter, just implies overall protection. It’s common for us to run to God when things are scary or tough. But, seeking refuge in God through a consistent love relationship with Him means you are asking and trusting God to protect you from things you may never see. When you live in constant refuge with God, you learn to accept His answers in life. When we pray so hard and with such great faith for a particular outcome that doesn’t go our way, we learn to accept the “no” as God’s hand of protection. Seek refuge in the security of God’s love in times of crisis; but also learn to live in the refuge of His loving protection every day.

Protecting Father, I know there are times You thwart a crisis in my life that I have no idea was a threat. Help me remember that when I ask for something and You say no. I want to live in Your refuge, Your timing and Your will. You are my stronghold…in crisis and in calm. Amen

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Daily Dose 2-19-17

Psalm 37:23-24 The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 
though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

This scripture conjures up the image of a toddler learning to take his first steps. You can hear the giggles as the babe realizes a new independence. You can see the parents, overjoyed with progress, yet clearing obstacles out of his path. When a child is taking those first steps, his hands are usually in the air, balancing and pointed toward his goal. Along the journey, he may pause to prevent a fall. The parents quickly extend their hands to steady him for the next step. He is delighted to take his steps and celebrate in the arms of his parents. Our spiritual walk in this life should be similar to that toddler’s steps. God wants us to grow and become more independent. He wants us to accept the challenges each new step brings. He is overjoyed with our progress as He removes obstacles from our path. He steadies us with His hand as we stumble over temptations or hardships – or pause in fear. He longs for our delight as we walk toward Him with arms raised and joyful hearts. Celebrate new steps in your life today. Focus your walk toward the end goal of the LORD’s embrace. Know that whatever obstacle is in your path, your loving Father is eager to move it out of your way. Delight in Him with arms raised in praise, balancing your life for a walk with Him.

Father, Sometimes this life seems like a long journey with many obstacles along the way. In Your time of eternity, my path is comparable to a toddler’s walk from the sofa to his parents’ arms. Help me keep my balance. Remove the obstacles and keep my eyes focused on You. I long to celebrate in Your embrace. Amen

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Daily Dose 2-16-17

Mark 1:34 …and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

Timing is everything. In our fast-paced, get-what-we-want-now world, we are not accustomed to waiting. Yet, Jesus was able to hold back when He knew an avenue to spread word of His true identity sooner. It’s easy to rationalize that having demons come out and proclaim Him as the Son of God would have gathered some followers. Why stop them? Why tell those who had been healed to remain silent? It makes no sense that Jesus was simply tired and needed a break. That was not His style. He was on a focused mission from God. If He was willing to face crucifixion, exhaustion should be a piece of cake. He knew timing was everything. He knew God had a plan and a way His identity would be revealed. He wasn’t into a fast-track system of getting things done His way. He wanted God’s way. Are You willing to wait for what God has in store? Or, do you try to push and maneuver God to fit His ways into your plan?

Patient Father, Give me the wisdom to truly understand Your timing is always best. Help me to live day-to- day in faith waiting for Your plans to be revealed. I know waiting does not mean stopping. Help me to listen to Your voice and stay close in Your Word as I carry on with Your commands and leadings each day. I trust Your timing over mine. Amen

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Daily Dose 2-14-17

Psalm 34:17-18 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

As red paper hearts and boxes of heart-shaped candy are passed around today in joy, there are many who face the day alone. Some have lost the loves of their lives to the graves. Some have endured betrayal or rejection; others long for a love that is yet to come. Whether you celebrate today in ecstatic joy over love in your life, or face the day brokenhearted, remember there is an Ultimate Valentine who is desperately in love with you. He gave you love letters in scripture declaring His love and promises of His commitment to You. He gave the gift beyond value as He placed His son on a cross for you. As the red blood of His sacrifice rolled down that hill, His call to you is, “Be Mine.” Don’t let the day of great love go by without professing your love for the One who is absolutely crazy about you. If you have never known the love of Jesus, open your heart to Him today. He stands as a valentine that offers you more than chocolate candy. He offers the taste of abundant life on earth, and the promise of feasting at His table for eternity.

Loving Father, Thank You for the true love You bring to my life. Help me to model Your love to others so that they may open their hearts to receive the greatest Valentine ever…Your loving salvation. Amen

Monday, February 13, 2017

Daily Dose 2-13-17

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

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

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Daily Dose 2-12-17

Exodus 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

It’s strange to think of God as jealous. He is the Almighty creator of the Universe; what could we have to offer that He would want us so badly? Have you ever pursued a relationship – either a romantic interest or a desired friendship? You find yourself thinking of the object of your affection in small ways throughout the day. You let them know either through gestures or words you are interested in them.  You find ways to be where you know they will be. If you see them with another where you are not invited, your heart breaks a bit.  If they approach you, you are wiling to drop whatever you are doing to make time for them. God created us in His own image. We learned the relationship pursuit from Him. He thinks of us all the time. He blesses us in amazing ways we often miss each day. He made the grandest gesture of all by giving His Son as a sacrifice so we could come to Him. Despite holding the world in His Hand, His ear is turned to hear our cries for help and shouts of joy. He hovers close to be near us, waiting for our call…how do you respond to His pursuit? Do you compartmentalize areas of your life where He is allowed here, you want Him there, but He is not invited to certain areas? Just like with the Israelites, God is jealous for you. Say yes to His relationship pursuit!

Father, I am overwhelmed to think of You pursuing me – especially since you really know me. I can’t imagine how it must sadden and frustrate you when I spend so much energy trying to validate my worth through the affections of others, when You lavish Your love on me. Forgive me. I invite You to have my whole heart. Amen

Friday, February 10, 2017

Daily Dose 2-10-17

Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

This scripture is a beautiful picture of God’s unfailing love. Prior to this verse, David had talked about confession and how God forgave his sins. He knew that God’s love was greater than any sin he could commit, but in order to receive that shelter, confession was necessary. Maybe we don’t feel comfortable and secure in God’s forgiveness because we aren’t completely honest with Him in confession. If it weren’t so sad, it would be humorous. The thought of us “hiding” our sin from God is inconceivable, yet we do it all the time. Maybe it’s pride that prevents us from complete confession. Maybe we don’t want to admit to ourselves the sins that we commit; much less take them to God. That is a great tool for satan to se to minimize our relationship with the Almighty. Guilt creates a barrier that limits the warmth of God’s embrace. Stop trying to hide sin from yourself and most importantly to God. Confess boldly to Him and allow His loving forgiveness to break the guilt barrier and hold You tightly in His redemptive, protective embrace.

Father, I am so naive to think I can hide or minimize sin in my life. You see my heart and my actions and know each shortcoming in detail – yet You love me anyway! I am so humbled to know that despite all You know about me, You are eager and waiting for me to uncover my full self to You so that You can fully redeem and protect me. I love You. Amen

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Daily Dose 2-8-17

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Daily Dose 2-7-17

Proverbs 8:10-11 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

This section of Proverbs is called “Wisdom’s Call.” We read in scripture where God promises wisdom to those who ask. This is a beautiful picture of wisdom pursuing us. The image is almost like wisdom saying, “Pick me!” There are many requests we make of God to rectify situations or improve circumstances. Often things we are requesting may have already been taken care of it we had approached them with Godly wisdom in the first place. Try a new prayer request. Instead of asking God to intervene in a situation, ask Him to supply you with His wisdom for that purpose. In those moments when you know what to do, your faith will be increased and you can share the Glory of God in praising Him to others.

All Wise Father, So often I want You to fix things when You want to strengthen my faith by giving me Your wisdom to handle my circumstances. Give me Your wisdom to prevent future challenges and fix current situations. Reveal to me – and make it very clear through Your Word – to discern between Your wisdom and being wise in my own eyes. Amen

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Daily Dose 2-5-17

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

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

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Daily Dose 2-4-17

Psalm 28:6-7 Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

What is your heart song? With David, his heart was always pursuing God. His heart was broken when he sinned, overjoyed in praise with victory and comforted in fear. Athletes train to get their hearts in condition to maximize each work out to the fullest and run their races with endurance. How are you training your heart for life? If David were here to do a seminar on how to capture the heart of God, his first lesson would more than likely be -PRAISE! Tune your heart to develop your own personal composition to God…no matter what your circumstances may be.

Father, I am so humbled to think of You desiring my pursuit of Your heart. I praise You for hearing my cries for mercy and Your constant and unconditional love. May I tune my heart daily to praise You – my strength and my salvation. Amen

Friday, February 3, 2017

Daily Dose 2-3-17

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

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

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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Daily Dose 2-2-17

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Sometimes life can be a little scary. We may not be hiding in caves from an angry king trying to kill us like David was, but we still experience fear. For some it may be financial fears in this tough economy. Others may have health issues that threaten to end or diminish life. There are others still that are plagued by the fear of loneliness when relationships have ended or changed. Whatever fear may be trying to grip you, know the heavenly God of the universe is keenly aware. He is your source of light on dark days. His salvation brings hope where there is despair. His strength and power is holding you up when you may feel like you can’t go on. Stand up against fear and walk on in faith with the confidence God intends for you to have as His child!

My Stronghold, When fear and anxiety begins to creep in my life, help me stand firm. Keep me focused on you and in Your Word so I may always have Your light when darkness looms. Amen