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3/5/15 4:08 A

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A Brand New Thing

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!”
(Isaiah 43:19, NLT)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Can you see the “brand new thing” God is doing in your life? Sometimes it’s easy to see the hand of God moving, and sometimes the storms of life can cloud our vision. But no matter where you are in life today, meditate on this truth that God is working even when you can’t see Him. Like a seed buried deep in the ground, it may seem dark and lonely and there may be dirt all around, but that is place where life springs forth. Trust that God is doing a new thing! You can trust Him because He is faithful!

His plan for you today is blessing. His plan is to give you a future and a hope. His plan is to do a new thing in your life. Let go of the thoughts of the past and open your heart to what God is doing today. Ask Him to show you what He’s doing. Ask Him to reveal it to your heart. Seek Him and you will find Him and see the brand new thing He’s doing in you!


A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, thank You for doing a work in me, even when I don’t see it. Thank You for the brand new thing You have. I open my heart and put my faith and trust in You. In Jesus’ name! Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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3/4/15 1:33 P

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Jesus Canceled our Record

by Max Lucado • March 4

How would you feel if a list of your weaknesses were posted so that everyone, including Christ Himself, could see? Yes, Christ has chronicled your shortcomings. And, yes, that list has been made public. But you’ve never seen it. Neither have I.

Come with me to the hill of Calvary. Watch as the soldiers shove the Carpenter to the ground and stretch His arms against the beams. One presses a knee against a forearm and a spike against a hand. Jesus turns His face toward the nail just as the soldier lifts the hammer to strike it. Couldn’t Jesus have stopped Him?

Through the eyes of Scripture we see what others missed but Jesus saw. Colossians 2:14 says, “He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross!”

From He Chose the Nails

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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3/3/15 8:29 P

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He Became Sin for Us

by Max Lucado • March 3

What is the fruit of sin? Step into the briar patch of humanity and feel a few thistles. Shame. Fear. Disgrace. Discouragement. Anxiety! Haven’t our hearts been caught in these brambles?

The heart of Jesus, however, had not. He had never been cut by the thorns of sin. Anxiety? He never worried. Guilt? He was never guilty. Fear? He never left the presence of God, He never knew the fruits of sin until He became sin for us.

Can’t you hear the emotion in His prayer? “My God, my God, why have you rejected me?” These are not the words of a saint. This is the cry of a sinner. And these are words we should say… but these are words we don’t have to say because Jesus said them for us.

From He Chose the Nails

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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3/2/15 1:43 P

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We Have a Problem

by Max Lucado • March 2

Can you live without sin for one day? No? How about one hour? Can you do it? No…nor can I. And if we can’t live without sin, we have a problem. Proverbs 10:16 says that we are evil and “evil people are paid with punishment.” What can we do? Observe what Jesus does with our filth. He carries it to the Cross.

God speaks in Isaiah 50:6, “I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” Mingled with His blood and sweat was the essence of our sin. Angels were a prayer away. Couldn’t they have taken the spittle away? They could have, but Jesus never commanded them to. The One who chose the nails also chose the saliva. Why? The sinless One took on the face of a sinner, so that we sinners could take on the face of a saint!

From He Chose the Nails

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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3/1/15 11:52 P

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Trust the Father

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“My times are in Your hands...”
(Psalm 31:15, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Throughout the Psalms, David acknowledges that he chose to put his life in the hands of the Lord. In this verse, He was, in essence, saying, “I trust You, God, because I know You are good — my times are in Your hands.” Are you willing to release every area of your life to the Father? Are you willing to trust Him with the times and seasons of your life?

You may be in a situation right now that you don’t fully understand, but take heart — God is a good God, and you can trust Him. He is working behind the scenes on your behalf. If you’ll keep your heart surrendered to Him, you’ll begin to see things change in your favor. As you continue to trust Him, He’ll open doors for you. He’ll take what the enemy meant for evil in your life, and He’ll turn it around for your good. Keep standing, keep believing, and trust Him. Your times are in His hands!


A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, today I choose to trust You. I trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. I trust You with my whole life — my times are in Your hands. Help me to stay close to You today so that I can hear Your voice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/28/15 2:39 P

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Believe and Receive

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
(Mark 11:24, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Has God spoken things to your heart that haven’t come to pass yet? Sometimes when we are believing for things, it’s easy to let circumstances and the pressures of life drag us down. But when you make the choice to receive your promise by picturing it in your mind’s eye, and declaring it with the words of your mouth, your faith becomes stronger. You begin to feel more confident. You begin to feel more settled. You begin to have joy and peace because you know God is working behind the scenes on your behalf.

What are you believing for God to do in your life today? Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Can you see yourself healed? Can you see yourself paying off that last debt? Can you see yourself at your ideal weight? Can you see yourself sharing the gospel with a family member or coworker? Ask the Lord to give you the picture of what He sees when He looks at you. As you open your heart and allow God’s thoughts to become your thoughts, and your receive His promises by faith, just like it says in the above verse — whatever you ask for in prayer will be yours!


A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, thank You for another day to serve You. Thank You for the gift of faith. I ask that you search my heart and mind and remove anything that does not please you. Give me your thoughts of peace and joy today so that I can learn to receive all you have for me today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen


emoticon May I add a comment of my own. Sometimes God says no, sometimes he says wait.
Another thing you need to be careful of is what you ask for. If you persist you just might get it and wish you hadn't.


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/27/15 4:25 P

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I On-and-Off Salvation

by Max Lucado • February 27

On-and-off salvation never appears in the Bible. Scripture contains no example of a person who was saved, then lost, then re-saved, then lost again. Where there is no assurance of salvation, there is no peace; no joy. Is this the life God creates? God’s grace creates a confident soul who declares, I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

1 John 5:13 says, “These things have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” Trust God’s hold on you! His faithfulness does not depend on yours. His performance is not predicated on yours. His love is not contingent on your own. Your candle may flicker—but it will not expire!

From GRACE

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/26/15 7:57 P

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Grace–A Never Ending Supply

by Max Lucado • February 26

Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and protection. Grace comes to us not occasionally or miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We’ve barely regained our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes another. John 1:16 calls it “Grace upon grace.”

We dare to stake our hope on the gladdest news of all! If God permits the challenge, he will provide the grace to meet it. We never exhaust his supply. He never says, “Stop asking so much! My grace reservoir is running dry.” Heaven knows no such words. God has enough grace to solve every dilemma you face, wipe every tear you cry, and answer every question you ask. Would we expect anything less from God? Having given the supreme and costliest gift, Romans 8:32 says, “How can He fail to lavish upon us all He has to give?”

From GRACE


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/25/15 2:47 P

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Stop the Frenzy

by Max Lucado • February 25

Attempts at self-salvation guarantee nothing but exhaustion! We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points, and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments. Call us the church of hound-dog faces and slumped shoulders.

Stop it! Once and for all, enough of this frenzy. Hebrews 13:9 says, “Your hearts should be strengthened by God’s grace, not by obeying rules.”

Jesus doesn’t say, “Come to me, all you who are perfect and sinless.” Just the opposite. He says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

There is no fine print. God’s promise has no hidden language. Let grace happen, for heaven’s sake. No more performing for God. Of all the things you must earn in life, God’s unending affection isn’t one of them. You have it! You can rest now.

From GRACE

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/24/15 1:17 A

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Jump Over that Wall

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.”
(Psalm 18:29, ESV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
The great heroes of the Bible impress us with their strength of their confidence and depth of their faith. And as God’s Word tells us, you can do the same great things they did, because you have the same God in you! King David was supremely confident in God — firm in the knowledge God would give him the strength to overcome his obstacles. Philippians 4:13 says you can accomplish anything through the power of Christ in your heart.

We hope this will encourage you to take a stand for God. Don’t ever think that God did great things only for people in the days of the Bible. That same powerful God can help you jump over a wall in your life today! Just give Him an opportunity and you’ll see just how awesome and powerful He is.


A PRAYER FOR TODAY
God, thank You for the invincible and unexplainable power which You have placed within me through Christ. My deepest desire today is to be confident in Your power. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/23/15 1:36 A

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ABUNDANT LIFE TODAY

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
(John 10:10, ESV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Are you living the abundant life Jesus came to give you? You may not have the biggest house or newest car, but God promises abundant life for you. His abundant life goes way beyond the things we can see in the natural. His abundant life means that you can have peace in the midst of a storm. You can have joy when things are uncertain. You can have hope when circumstances seem hopeless. You can live and enjoy life to the fullest every single day because you have the Creator of Life on the inside of you.

Sometimes it is easy to look at this verse and think, “God is going to give me abundant life some day”, but the truth is, God wants you to have abundant life TODAY. Ask Him to show you His abundant favor, blessing, and peace. As you focus on God’s abundance today and everyday, your life will feel more satisfying, and you will be overflowing in His abundance the way God intended!


A PRAYER FOR TODAY
God, I know that you want the best for me. Thank you for your promise of abundant life on this earth. Teach me to share your abundance with others. I love you and bless you today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen
Tweet Now


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/22/15 9:31 A

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Keep Going

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:31, KJV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Christ doesn’t want you to settle for mediocrity in any area of your life! His plan is for you to be victorious and filled with joy each day. No matter what has happened to you in the past, God wants you to pick yourself up and keep going on the path that leads to victory. The Bible says that if you will look to God, He will renew your strength and help you soar like an eagle. That’s an amazing promise from an amazing God! Keep pushing ahead even through the tough times, and you’ll be blessed.


A PRAYER FOR TODAY
God, thank You for Your promise of strength and endurance when I wait on You. Do not allow me to get stuck in a rut or give up on my journey with You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/21/15 2:05 P

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Lists

by Max Lucado

Everyone likes a list. Lists are reassuring. They comfort us. To list is to understand, solve, and even control. Moses brought a list down from the mountain. There are lists of the gifts of the Spirit. Lists of good fruit and bad. I’ve compiled a list of some God-given, time-tested truths that define the way to navigate life. May I share it with you?

When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
Succeed at home first.
Pray twice as much as you fret.
Listen twice as much as you speak.
God has forgiven you; you’d be wise to do the same.
Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
Only harbor a grudge when God does.
Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
Those are just a few ideas on my list. Why don’t you compile your own?

From In the Eye of the Storm

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/20/15 6:25 P

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Who Can Accuse You?

by Max Lucado • February 20


Romans 8:33 and 34 asks, “Who can accuse the people God has chosen? Who can say God’s people are guilty?”

The answer is no one, because Christ Jesus died, he was raised from the dead, and now is on God’s right side, appealing to God for us. The accusations of Satan sputter and fall like a deflated balloon.

Then why, pray tell, do we, as Christians, still feel guilt? God uses appropriate doses of guilt to awaken us to sin. His guilt brings enough regret to change us. Satan’s guilt, on the other hand, brings enough regret to enslave us. Don’t let him lock his shackles on you.

Remember, your life is hidden with Christ in God. Whenever God looks at you, he sees Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God covering you. So, whom do you trust…your Advocate or your Accuser?


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/19/15 12:42 P

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God’s Answer

by Max Lucado • February 19

The wasted years of life. The poor choices. God answers the mess of life with one word–grace.

We talk as though we understand the term. Preachers explain it. Hymns proclaim it. Seminaries teach it. But do we really understand it? Have you been changed by grace? Strengthened by grace? Grace is God as heart surgeon, cracking open your chest, removing your heart, and replacing it with his own. Rather than tell you to change, he creates the change. Do you clean up so he can accept you? No, he accepts you and begins cleaning you up.

To be saved by grace is to be saved by him—not by an idea, doctrine, or church membership, but by Jesus himself, who will sweep into heaven anyone who so much as gives him the nod. God can do something with the mess of your life. Grace is what you need.

From GRACE
Grace


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/18/15 1:55 P

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His Great Love

by Max Lucado • February 18

God has a heart for hurting parents. Should we be surprised? After all, God himself is a father.

What parental emotion has God not felt? Are you separated from your child? So was God. Is someone mistreating your child? They mocked and bullied his. Is someone taking advantage of your children? The Son of God was set up by false testimony and betrayed by a greedy follower. Are you forced to watch while your child suffers? God watched his son on the cross.

Do you find yourself wanting to spare your child from all the hurt in the world? God did. Romans 8:32 says, but because of his great love for us,” he did not spare his own Son but gave him for us all. So with Jesus, God will surely give us all things.” All things– including courage and hope!


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/17/15 10:24 P

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He Knows Your Needs

by Max Lucado • February 17

Jesus calls us to calmness with this challenge from Matthew 6:32-33. “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Seek first the kingdom of wealth, and you’ll worry over every dollar. Seek first the kingdom of health, and you’ll sweat every blemish and bump. Seek first the kingdom of popularity, and you’ll relive every conflict. Seek first the kingdom of safety, and you’ll jump at every crack of a twig.

But seek first his kingdom, and you will find it! God meets daily needs daily. Not weekly or annually. He will give you what you need when it is needed. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and in his grace find timely help.”

Let God be enough!

From Fearless



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/16/15 12:59 P

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God’s Masterpiece

by Max Lucado • February 16

If you pass your days mumbling, “I’ll never make a difference; I’m not worth anything,” guess what? You’ll be sentencing yourself to a life of gloom without parole! When you do that, you’re questioning God’s judgment, second-guessing his taste.

Psalm 139:14 says you were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He can’t stop thinking about you. Psalm 139:18 confirms it. If he could count his thoughts of you, “they would be more in number than the sand.”

Why does he love you so much? The same reason the artist loves his paintings or the boat builder loves his vessels. You are God’s idea. And he has only good ideas. Paul said in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” You matter to God!

From Fearless



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/15/15 10:57 A

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God Heals, Not Prayer

by Max Lucado

God heals, not prayer. A matter of semantics? No. If you think the power is in the prayer and not the One who hears the prayer, you fault the pray-er for unanswered prayer. “If I had prayed more, better, differently. . .”

The power of prayer is in the One who hears it, not the one who makes it. So if you are waiting on God to answer your prayer, don’t despair. We need to remember that many of God’s saints endured a time of unanswered prayer. Peter was in a storm before he walked on water. Lazarus was in a grave before he came out of it, the demoniac was possessed before he was a preacher, and the paralytic was on a stretcher before he was in your Bible.

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. Please don’t interpret the presence of your disease as the absence of God’s love. I pray he heals you. And he will—ultimately! Till then— keep praying.

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/14/15 11:31 P

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Be Careful

by Max Lucado

Be careful with the phrase, “God led me. . .” Don’t banter it about. People have been known to justify stupidity based on a feeling! God will not lead you to lie, cheat, or hurt.

When Luke justified the writing of his gospel to Theophilus, he said, “Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus” (Lk. 1:3). Did you note his phrase, “it seemed good also to me”? These words reflect a person at the crossroads. Luke pondered his options and selected the path that “seemed good.”

God creates the ‘want to” within us. But He will never lead you to violate His Word. He will not contradict his teaching. But he will faithfully lead you through the words of his Scripture and the advice of his faithful.

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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2/13/15 8:56 P

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We Can Fear Less

by Max Lucado • February 13
In Luke 24:38, Jesus asks, “Why are you frightened? Why are your hearts filled with doubt?” Jesus doesn’t want you to live in a state of fear.

Nor do you. You’ve never made statements like these: Thank God for my pessimism. I’ve been such a better person since I lost hope. Or, My doctor says if I don’t begin fretting, I’ll lose my health. We’ve learned the high cost of fear. If we medicate fear with angry outbursts, drinking binges, sullen withdrawals, or viselike control, we exclude God from the solution and exacerbate the problem.

Hysteria isn’t from God. Scripture says, “God has not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear may fill our world, but it doesn’t have to fill our hearts. It will always knock on the door. Just don’t invite it in.

The promise of Christ is simple: we can fear less tomorrow than we do today!

From Fearless


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Everything is God’s

by Max Lucado • February 12




Everything is God’s

by Max Lucado • February 12

Here’s a healthy exercise. Put a sticky note on everything in your life that’s going to be destroyed when Christ comes. Your car, your desk, your house, office, yard, garage…your savings account. What’s left? Your spouse. Your kids. Your friends. Your church. The Word of God. Most notably, your soul.

Jesus asked in Matthew 16:26, “And who do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

All that stuff you have now? You don’t get to keep it. In fact, you never had it. You’re simply a steward of what God has given you. Psalm 24:1 reminds us, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” Your stuff is not yours. Ever since you grabbed that toy and yelled, “Mine!” you’ve been lying. Everything is God's

from Max Lucado.












IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Greed Has Many Faces

by Max Lucado • February 11

Our obsession with stuff carries a hefty price tag. We spend 110 percent of our disposable income trying to manage debt. Who can keep up? No one can!

Jesus warns in Luke 12:15, “Be on your guard against every form of greed.” Greed comes in many forms. Greed for approval. Greed for applause. Greed for status. Greed has many faces but speaks one language: the language of more. Wise was the one who wrote, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.”

The only way to feel full is to feel fulfilled. The only way to feel fulfilled is to understand that everything we have comes from God—and he gives us exactly what we need. All of it is on loan! And, someday we’ll have to give it all back, checking it at heaven’s door!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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All Things New

by Max Lucado • February 10

People often say, “You can be anything you want to be! Be a butcher, a sales rep if you like. An ambassador if you really care. You can be anything you want to be—if you work hard enough.” But can you? I wonder… if God didn’t pack within you the meat sense of a butcher; the people skills of a salesperson; or the world vision of an ambassador; can you be one? An unhappy, dissatisfied one perhaps. But a fulfilled one? No.

Can an acorn become a rose, or a whale fly like a bird? Absolutely not. You cannot be anything you want to be. But you can be everything God wants you to be!

“I make all things new” He declares in Revelation 21:5. He didn’t hand you your granddad’s bag or your aunt’s life. He personally and deliberately packed you. Live out of the bag God gave you!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Thought Prevention

by Max Lucado • February 9

We are not a victim of our thoughts. We have a vote. We have a voice. We can exercise thought prevention!

“Don’t talk to me,” we say. “I’m in a bad mood.” As if a mood were a place to which we were assigned, rather than an emotion we permit. Or we say, “Don’t mess with her. She has a bad disposition.” Is a bad disposition something we have like a cold or the flu? Or do we have a choice? Paul says we do. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 he says, “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”

Capture every thought—you get the impression we’re the soldiers and the thoughts are our enemies. The minute they appear we go into action. Selfishness, step back! Envy, get lost! Find another home, Anger…you aren’t allowed on this turf!

Capturing thoughts is serious business! But, you can do it!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Imagine a Perfect World

by Max Lucado

Try this. Imagine a perfect world. Whatever that means to you. Imagine it. Does that mean peace? Then envision absolute tranquility. Does a perfect world imply joy? Then create your highest happiness. Will a perfect world have love? Ponder a place where love has no bounds. Whatever heaven means to you, imagine it. Get it firmly fixed in your mind. Delight in it. Dream about it. Long for it.

And then smile as the Father reminds you from the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” No one… no one has come close. Think of all the songs about heaven; all the artists’ portrayals; all the lessons preached; poems written; and chapters drafted. When it comes to describing heaven, we are all happy failures!

From The Lucado Inspirational Reader



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Better to be Quiet

by Max Lucado

When you sense the volume increasing and the heat rising, close your mouth. It’s better to be quiet and keep a brother than be loud and lose one. Romans 14:4 makes it clear… “they are God’s servants, not yours. They are responsible to him, not to you. Let him tell them whether they are right or wrong.”

We judge others when we stop addressing the controversy and start attacking the character. Example? “You’d expect such an opinion out of a person who never studies the Bible!” If we disagree, let us disagree agreeably. Unity demands that we discuss the issues, not the person. Paul said, “Let us try to do what makes peace and helps one another” (Rom. 14:19).

1 Peter 4:8 says, “Love shall cover the multitude of sins.” So, if love covers a multitude of sins, can it not cover a multitude of opinions?

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Homes That Flourish

by Max Lucado • February

In many homes, discouragement is the language everyone speaks. The home is a war zone and the warriors have names like Stupid, Dummy, or Little Pain in the Neck. They live with scars and treat their open wounds.

In other homes, families follow the spirit of the western tune, “Home on the Range.” There, a discouraging word is seldom heard. People hide their hurts with smiles on their faces. Maybe the reason discouragement is seldom heard is because words are seldom heard. The silence is deadly.

Other homes flourish with encouragement. Everyone believes in one another, supports one another, and pats one another on the back. There are notes in the lunch boxes and love letters under the pillow. Hearts are expressed and prayers are offered.

Which home would you rather live in? Ephesians 4:29 says, “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger.”

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Worry is Anti-Trust

by Max Lucado • February 6

What would parents do without worry? It almost seems as if it’s in the job description. “Parents Wanted. Must be able to perform sleepless nights and meaningless pacing, wringing their hands and biting their nails.”

In Matthew 6:27, Jesus asked, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Worry has no positive side effects. In fact, it subtracts moments from your life in heart stress and rising blood pressure.

Worry is anti-trust. If you’re worried, you don’t trust something: your kids, their friends, strangers, the church, even God. Can He take care of your children? Certainly. Jesus says, “I tell you, stop being anxious and worried about your life.” Pretty blunt. Stop it! Easier said than done, huh? Worry tests your trust, so hand your children to God and let him babysit your babies when you’re not around. He’s pretty good at it!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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100 Happy People

by Max Lucado • February 5


SA-Ville2You might not find the cure for cancer. You might not crack the code on global warming, world hunger, or tainted water. But you can do this. You can make people happy. This mission requires no Ph.D. or M.D. It demands no funding or travel. Age, ethnicity, and gender are not factors. You don’t have to change jobs or change cities or change neighborhoods.

But you can change the world.

You can do this: make a hundred people happy. Intentionally. Purposefully. Practically. You can increase the number of smiles on our planet. You can lower the anger level in your city. You, yes you, can cause a hundred people to sleep better, laugh more, hum instead of grumble, walk instead of stumble. You can lighten the load and brighten the day of one hundred human beings.

You can do that.

What if you did? Suppose you took the “Happy People Challenge.” Make one hundred people happy over a 40-day period. Here is how it works.
Set out to create “100 extra mile moments” between February 9 and March 20 in which you intentionally seek to make someone happy by doing something more than you would typically do.
Share your experience in your neighborhood group, class or family, and on social media at #100happypeople.
Keep a journal in which you list the names of people and ways you tried to brighten their day. Make note of the moment. What did you do? What did you learn? What was the setting?

At the end of forty days, would your world be different?

Would you be different? I think you would be.

Would you join me in the challenge? Happiness-givers are made, not born. The inertia of self-centeredness has a strong pull. That is why the Bible has so much to say about sharing joy. Heaven knows, we need all the help we can get. And God gives it! His word gives practical, applicable ways to make people happy. They are called the “one another” statements. There are 59 of them in the New Testament. It seems to me that they can be condensed into a list of nine statements. Each weekend, at the Oak Hills Church, I will be teaching on the One Another passages in the New Testament. You can join us, in person or online at www.oakhillschurch.com.

You can develop this wonderful skill of sharing joy. You can discover the adventure of making people happy!

© Max Lucado, 2015


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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What is Worship?

by Max Lucado • February 4

When you think of worship, what do you think of? Outdated songs poorly sung? Dramatic prayers egotistically offered? Irrelevant sermons carelessly delivered? What is worship? The essence of worship is simply this: giving God the honor he deserves; applauding the greatness of God! The definition in the book of Psalms 29:1-2 is this:

Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
Honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

As Paul said in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Worship–it’s a lifestyle. It’s an action. It’s an attitude. It’s everything!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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God’s No-Tolerance Policy

by Max Lucado • February

Hypocrisy turns people against God, so he has a no-tolerance policy. Let’s take hypocrisy as seriously as God does. For starters, expect no credit for good deeds. None! If no one notices, you aren’t disappointed. If someone does, you give the credit to God. If no one knew of the good you do, would you still do it? If not, you’re doing it to be seen by people.

Give financial gifts in secret. We like to be seen earning money. And we like to be seen giving it. Matthew 6:3 says, “So when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

Don’t fake spirituality. Nothing nauseates more than a fake, “Praise the Lord,” or a shallow “Hallelujah” or an insincere “Glory be to God.”

Bottom line: Don’t make a theater production out of your faith!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Appeal to the Heart

by Max Lucado • February 2

Remember the church at Corinth? A problem on every pew? Territorially selfish. Morally shameless. Theologically reckless. How do you help a congregation like that? You can correct them. Paul did. You can instruct them, which Paul did. You can reason with them; Paul did. But at some point you stop talking to the head and start appealing to the heart. And Paul did that.

I Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love. . .bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

He saw only one solution—love! Don’t we need the same prescription today? Someday there will be a community where everyone behaves and no one complains. But it won’t be this side of heaven. So what do we do? We reason. We confront. We teach. But most of all, we love.


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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A Reminder of Who is in Charge

by Max Lucado • January 26

Prayer reminds us of who is in charge. You don’t take your requests to someone with less authority. You take them to someone who outranks you in the solutions department.

The same is true in prayer. You don’t pray just to let God know what’s going on. He’s way ahead of you on that one. You pray to transfer “my will be done” to “God’s will be done.” And, since he’s in charge, he knows the best solution. Prayer transfers the burden to God and He lightens your load. Prayer pushes us through life’s slumps, propels us over the humps, and pulls us out of the dumps. Prayer is the oomph we need to get the answers we seek. So, pray…today!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Love is a Decision

by Max Lucado

When we look at the love of Christ, we make a wonderful discovery. Love is more a decision than an emotion! Christ-like love applauds good behavior. At the same time Christ-like love refuses to endorse misbehavior. Jesus loved his apostles, but he wasn’t silent when they were faithless. Jesus loved the people in the temple, but he didn’t sit still when they were hypocritical.

Love does whatever is in the best interest of a person. The cheating husband says to his wife, “If you loved me, you’d forget what has happened and let me come home.” That may not be true. Love does what’s in the best interest of a person. Love sets boundaries and seeks counsel.

The love of Christ is no sweet sentiment—but rather a heartfelt resolve to do what’s in the best interest of another person. Sometimes that means dying on a cross!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS AND MEDITATE ON IT.

Do You Have Room
for God?



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalm 46:10, NIV)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



Being fruitful means being productive and excelling in everything you do. When you’re fruitful, life isn’t a drain, it doesn’t wear you out and you don’t have to force things to happen. When you confuse fruitfulness with busyness, you can head down a path that wears you out and robs God of His glory. You can be content when you’re being fruitful because you know you’re living a life that is pleasing to God. A fruitful life blesses others and receives God’s blessings in return. This is how God intended your life to be!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

God, I know that I am often too busy for my own good. Help me to slow down when necessary and even say “no” to some things so I can give You my best. Thank You for Your love and for designing me to be fruitful! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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A Special Date

by Max Lucado • Janua23

A quiet time with God is very similar to a special date. Denalyn and I like to go to the same restaurants over and over again. When we’re there we remember special moments we’ve shared before. Our hearts open up. We talk to each other. We listen, we laugh, and sometimes we cry. I love those times!

So does God. A quiet time with God is very similar to a special date. Here are some tools to help you keep your date with Him special. Select a slot in your schedule and claim it for God. Take as much time as you need. Your time with God should last long enough for you to say what you want and for God to say what he wants.

Bring an open Bible—God’s Word, his love letter to you. Bring a listening heart and listen to the lover of your soul. Make sure your date with God is on the calendar, and do everything in your power to keep it special!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Don’t Count Sheep

by Max Lucado • January 22

Fretting over tomorrow’s problems siphons the strength you need for today, leaving you anemic and weak. So, when you can’t sleep—don’t count sheep. Read Scripture.

Worry takes a look at catastrophes and groans, “It’s all coming unraveled.” But God says in Romans 8:28 that “every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Worry claims, “The world has gone crazy.” God’s Word disagrees. Mark 7:37 says, “He has done it all and done it well.”

Worry wonders if anyone is in control. Yet God’s Word calls Him “the blessed controller of all things.” (1 Tim. 6:14-15 Phillips)

Worry whispers this lie: “God doesn’t know what I need.” But God’s Word declares in Philippians 4:19, “God will take care of everything you need.”

Worry never sleeps. But God’s children do!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Don’t Replace God

by Max Lucado • January

Vengeance fixes your attention on life’s ugliest moments. Score settling freezes your stare at cruel events in your past. Is that where you want to look? Will rehearsing and reliving your hurts make you a better person? By no means. It will destroy you. Revenge moves God away from the equation. It replaces God.

“I’m not sure you can handle this one, Lord. You may punish too little or too slowly. I’ll take this matter into my hands.”

So, God reminds us in Romans 12:19, “I’ll do the judging. I’ll take care of it.” [My paraphrase] Only God assesses accurate judgments. Vengeance is His job. Leave your enemies in God’s hands. Forgiveness is not endorsement of misbehavior. You can hate what someone did without letting hatred consume you. Remember, God occupies the only seat on the supreme court of heaven!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Getting Over It

by Max Lucado • January 19

You’ve been hurt! Part of you is broken, and the other part is bitter. Part of you wants to cry, and part of you wants to fight. And you’re left with a decision. Do I get over it or get even? Do I release it or resent it?

Resentment is when you allow what’s eating you to eat you up. Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter. And mercy is the choice that can set them all free.

“Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus said on the mountain. “They shall be shown mercy.” (Mt. 5:7)

Forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us. The dynamic of giving grace is the key to understanding grace. For it is when we forgive others that we begin to feel what God feels. Set your enemy—and yourself—free!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Nothing Wasted



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ ”
(John 6:12, NIV)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



The Bible tells of a time when Jesus fed a crowd of five thousand with only five loaves and two fishes. He blessed it and multiplied it. That day, everyone had more than enough to eat, and there were still twelve baskets full of bread and fish left over. That’s because we serve a God of abundance! Then Jesus told the disciples to collect all the leftovers “so that nothing is wasted.” With God, nothing is ever wasted. He’ll never waste an experience; He’ll never waste a hurt; He’ll never waste a dream; He’ll never waste even a single piece of bread.

If you’ve felt like you’ve wasted years of your life in the wrong job, hanging around the wrong people or doing the wrong things, God will gather those years and restore them to you. He’ll take those experiences that the enemy meant for your harm and turn them around for your good. He’ll make you stronger, wiser and better off than you were before. He can launch you further into your destiny than before. Be encouraged today because with God, all things are possible! He is your provider, and nothing is ever wasted!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father, I give You every bit of my life, my past, my present and my future. Thank You for taking every experience and turning it around for my good. I know that with You, nothing is ever wasted in Jesus’ name! Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Romans 8:28

by Max Lucado

Romans 8:28 reminds us, “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him.” This is one of the most helpful, comforting verses of the entire Bible, announcing God’s sovereignty in any painful, tragic situation we face.

God works. Paul’s word for this is sunergeo—the great-great-grandfather of the term synergy. Paul is saying that God can make all things sunergeo for the good. Blending faith with the failings, triumphs with the tears.

James makes the same point in James 1:2 when he says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

So what do we do in the meantime? We trust. We trust totally, and remember God is working for the good!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Don’t Allow Fear to Win

by Max Lucado

The fear-filled cannot love deeply. They cannot give to the poor. Benevolence has no guarantee of return. They cannot dream wildly. What if their dreams sputter and fall from the sky? Fear paralyzes people. Are you afraid? Afraid of job loss? Afraid of what people are saying about you?

Jesus wages a war against fear. In Matthew 10:28 He says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Fear’s main goal is to keep you from God’s plan for your life. Don’t allow it to win! Punch fear in the face! If anything should be afraid, it should be fear itself.

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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You Were Born to Win



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“If God is for us, who is against us?”
(Romans 8:31, NASB)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



The Bible says that we are more than conquerors through Christ. Rise up and see yourself as a champion in Him! You can be and you will be victorious through Him. The problems that so often intimidate and defeat many people won’t have a firm hold on you when you’re walking with Christ and have the joy of the Lord! When you walk with Christ, strength and victory is yours through Him. Here’s something to remember today: if Christ is on your side, it doesn’t really matter who is against you! The opponents you face don’t really matter, and don’t amount to much. Friend, take another look at your life today, YOU are a friend of God! No matter what you may face or who may seem against you let this truth anchor deep within you — God is for you. Now go out in joy making a difference for Him today, knowing who is on your side!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

God, I know that You are on my side and that the other side doesn’t matter. Please give me the strength to stand against the giants that intimidate me. Thank you for your joy and strength and for always being by my side! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Go After the Small Drips

by Max Lucado • January 15

I wonder what formed the Grand Canyon? Maybe a few drips here and there. Slowly more and more water built up. Thunderstorms and lightning… angry expressions from the sky spilling out in the raging river of the Colorado. A once innocent stream now full of power and purpose. As years go by, the crevasse is dug.

Our anger builds like the Colorado. Slowly, small things drip, drip, drip down, annoying, irritating, finally enraging. That was mine! Drip. Get out of my way! Drip. Don’t tell me what to do! Drip. The pressure and the buildup unleashing a frenzy of anger, pouring out in our words, sweeping away our loved ones, our homes, and our peace.

Don’t wait until you have a gushing fire hydrant. Go after the small drips. Address every little irritant with forgiveness and prayer. Do it before your anger digs a canyon in your life!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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A Season of Suffering

by Max Lucado

God uses our struggles for His glory! The last three years of my dad’s life were scarred by ALS. The disease took him from being a healthy mechanic to being a bed-bound paralytic. He lost his voice and his muscles, but he never lost his faith. Visitors noticed. Not so much in what he said, but more in what he didn’t say. Never outwardly angry or bitter, Jack Lucado suffered with dignity.

His faith led one man to seek a like faith. This man sought me out and told me because of my dad’s example, he became a Jesus follower. Did God orchestrate my father’s illness for that very reason? Knowing the value God places on one soul, I wouldn’t be surprised. And imagining the splendor of heaven, I know my father is not complaining. A season of suffering is a small assignment when compared to the great reward!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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The Spring of Laughter



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst — not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
(John 4:14, MSG)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



When you make Jesus the Lord of your life, God puts within you an eternal well that will never run dry. You have an unlimited supply of good things inside you which should be continually bubbling out of you. But Satan doesn’t want your joy, happiness, or laughter to flow freely. So he comes along and throws a stone of, say, worry into your well. You may think, “That’s just one little stone. It’s not hurting anything. The water is still flowing pretty well.” But Satan will be back soon with another stone, whether it’s fear, self-pity, or hopelessness. If you haven’t dealt individually with each of these stones and gotten rid of them, your nice, free-flowing well of good things will become clogged. Take the time today and every day to evaluate your well. Ask God to give you revelation and to help you keep your well clean!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, thank You for the spring of eternal life and joy that You have placed within me. Help me deal with the stones that can block the free flow of goodness, joy, and laughter. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Regular Repentance

by Max Lucado • January 12

My college roommate, Steve, was neat. Not just neat in the sense of a lot of fun but neat in the sense of not sloppy. I on the other hand, tend to be sloppy. Why make up a bed you’re going to sleep in that night? Steve was very gracious. Little by little he helped me change. I learned the purpose of hangers. The reason for toothpaste lids. Our four years of rooming together were four years of regular repentance. Then he turned me over to Denalyn and she’s still working on me.

The same thing happens to Christians. As Christ moves in and takes up residence in his life, the Christian sees how sloppy he is. Over time, his language changes. His habits change. He lives a lifestyle of repentance. The longer we hang out with Jesus, the more we see what needs to change. Repentance becomes a lifestyle!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Slow Down and Enjoy the Journey



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
(Psalm 118:24, NKJV)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



Everyone wants to live joyful and victorious lives. That’s what God wants for you, too, and He knows the best way to get you there. But He also wants you to enjoy the trip! Here are two things to remember today that will help you slow down and enjoy this day God has given you. First, God is in control! He is directing your steps according to His plan. Second, God has your best interest in mind at all times. That means His plan for you is good, one that is designed to help you be the person He created you to be. So relax and enjoy the journey! Let God take you where He wants you to be in His timing, not yours. Remember, God is never late!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

God, thank You that You have my best in mind. Give me patience as I wait upon Your timing and make the journey one step at a time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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God’s Grace

by Max Lucado

Nothing fosters courage like a clear grasp of grace. And nothing fosters fear like an ignorance of mercy.

May I speak candidly? If you haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness, you’re doomed to live in fear. Nothing can deliver you from the gnawing realization that you have disregarded your Maker and disobeyed his instruction. No pill, pep talk, psychiatrist, or possession can set the sinner’s heart at ease. You may deaden the fear, but you can’t remove it. Only God’s grace can.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Your prayer can be as simple as, “Father, I need forgiveness. Please forgive me. I place my soul in your hands and trust in your grace. Through Jesus I pray, amen.”

Having received God’s forgiveness, live forgiven!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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God Can Use You

by Max Lucado

If God chose only righteous people to change the world, you could count them all on one finger—Jesus! Instead he included others in his plan—sinners, the ungodly, the imperfect. God used and uses people to change the world. People! Crooks, creeps, lovers, and liars—he uses them all!

If you ever wonder how God can use you to make a difference in your world, just look at those he has already used, and take heart. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, God can use you. Because you’re imperfect, you can speak of making mistakes. Because you’re a sinner, you can speak of forgiveness. God restores the broken and the brittle, then parades them before the world as trophies of his love and strength. And when the world sees the ungodly turn godly, they know God must love them too.

God can use you, my friend!

From Max on Life

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Keep Looking Ahead!



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.”
(Proverbs 4:25, NIV)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



In order to fulfill your divine destiny, you have to know your purpose. You need a plan and then you must work within that plan. You should wake up each day knowing where you’re going, which direction you will take to get there and what you want to accomplish. Once you find your purpose, stick with it! Don’t allow the distractions of life to get you off course. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing moving me toward my God-given destiny? Am I staying focused? Is this my purpose or am I just wasting my time being busy?” Don’t be distracted and spend your time and energy on things that may be interesting, but are not helping you fulfill your destiny. Remember, God’s plans are blessed and as you walk in His plan for your life, you will experience His abundant blessing on everything you set your hand to!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

God, Your Word promises that You will guide me if I seek You. Show me how to order my time and arrange my schedule to accomplish Your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

— Joel & Victoria Osteen



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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The First Fruit

by Max Lucado • January 8

Impatience is selfishness with time. We don’t like to waste it. People get in our way and slow things down, so we burn them with impatience! Patience recognizes that we share time with others—it’s not just our time. Patience knows other factors are at work—that some things can be sped up with encouragement, not flames of retribution. The best way to turn down the flame of impatience is with love.

I Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient.” Love is a fruit hanging from the tree of Galatians 5:22. It’s the first-fruit and some say the most important. The seeds of love produce the harvest of all the other fruits: joy, peace, patience. . . So, if you have the Holy Spirit, then you have the potential of making patience a part of your life. Thankfully, God is patient while you find that patience!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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True Confession

by Max Lucado

In Psalm 32:5, David says,“I confessed my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me. All my guilt is gone.”

Confession is not complaining. If I merely recite my problems and tell you how tough my life is, I’m not confessing. Confession is not blaming. Pointing fingers at others may feel good for a while, but it does nothing to remove the conflict within me. Confession is coming clean with God.

David discovered this. As if his affair with Bathsheba wasn’t enough. As if the murder of her husband wasn’t enough. David danced around the truth. It took a prophet to bring the truth to the surface, but when he did, David did not like what he saw. He confessed. He came clean with God. And the result? He proclaimed, “And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone!” (Ps. 32:5).

Want to get rid of your guilt? Come clean with God!

From Max on Life



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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We’re Not Good Enough

by Max Lucado

Simply put—we are not good enough to go to heaven. So what can we do? We could start doing good deeds. Perhaps if we do enough good deeds, they’ll offset our bad deeds. The question then becomes how many good deeds? If I spend one year being greedy, how many years should I be generous?

No one knows the answer to that question. A rule sheet can’t be found. A code has not been discovered. Why? Because God doesn’t operate this way. God has been so kind to us. We have no way of balancing the scales. All we can do is ask for mercy. And God, because of his kindness, gives it.

God turned over our sins to his Son. Jesus Christ died for us. He did what we could not do so that we might become what we dare not dream—citizens of heaven!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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What Are Your Goals?



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward — to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
(Philippians 3:13–14, MSG)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



The reason it is so important for you to set and achieve goals is that you have a unique purpose that only you can fulfill. It’s kind of like building your own house — something you had better not attempt without a clear vision of your goals and a good set of blueprints, or you may wind up with some extra doors or windows and no place to put them!God is the architect of your life. His Word is a blueprint of His hopes and plans for your life. Trust Him to help you set your goals. If you have a problem being focused and setting goals for your life, one of the best things you can do is to start writing them down, both short-term and long-term ones. It’s amazing how your life can begin to take shape when you can see on paper where you want to go.



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

God, thank You that You are the architect of my life. Give me the wisdom to follow Your blueprint and set goals that reflect Your desires for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Just Do It

Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”
(I Chronicles 28:20, ESV)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



Fear not. That is the message David had for his son, Solomon. For many years, David wanted to build a temple for the Lord. But God told Him that specific job belonged to his son, Solomon. Solomon was young and inexperienced, and even though he knew he had a mandate from God, he was intimidated by the prospect of building a great house of worship, one that would be a dwelling place for the Most High. You can probably understand his apprehension.

But his father David had some good advice for him. He told his son, “Forget your fear. God is bigger than your problems. He is bigger than the temple you are going to build. He is bigger than any adversity that you might face. So just get busy and do your part and God will do the rest.”

Perhaps as this new year approaches, you have some changes that need to be made. Maybe you need a renovation in your marriage, finances, health, or emotions. Whatever your individual needs may be, notice the words of David, “Be strong and courageous, and do it. Fear not, be not dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.”



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

God, I’m excited to see what You have planned for me this year. Whatever I face, I will not be intimidated. I will begin this year by seeing myself as You do — happy, healthy, and prosperous. Thank you for the gift of another year. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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You Can Count on Him

by Max Lucado

I was seven years old. I’d had enough of my father’s rules and decided I could make it on my own, thank you very much. I got to the end of the alley and remembered I was hungry, so I went back home! Did Dad know of my insurrection? I suspect he did. Was I still his son? Apparently so. No one else was sitting in my place at the table.

Suppose someone had asked my father, “Mr. Lucado, your son says he has no need of a father. Do you still consider him your son?” What do you think my dad would have said? He considered himself my father even when I didn’t consider myself his son. His commitment to me was greater than my commitment to him. So is God’s. I can count on him to be in my corner no matter what! And you can too!

From Max on Life


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Let Him Order
Your Steps



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“...nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
(Luke 22:42, NKJV)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria



Like most people at this time of year, you are probably thinking about some pretty big dreams and goals. That’s great. We should. But no matter what has happened in the past or what you’re dreaming for in the future, why don’t you let your New Year’s prayer be, “God, not my will, but Yours be done.”

Maybe you’ve gone through a disappointment. You don’t understand it. You could easily be bitter and give up on your dreams. Realize today that God is at work in your life. He is directing your steps. What you thought was a setback is going to turn out to be a setup for a comeback! When you surrender your will to Him, when you humble yourself before Him, that’s when God can take you to another level. Let your prayer be, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

Today, as we finish the last few days of 2014, know that God has you in the palm of His hand. He has good plans in store for your future! Surrender to His will, trust Him with your whole heart, and let Him order your steps in the New Year!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father, today I surrender every area of my heart, mind and life to You. Have Your way in me. Order my steps and let everything I am bring glory to You in Jesus’ name! Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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