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8/18/14 5:13 P

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Friends, Love One Another!

"But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, 'As I live,' saith the Lord, 'every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." - Romans 14:10-12 KJV

In the 1700s, although they had different opinions on a main issue of theology, two key spiritual leaders in Great Britain’s evangelical churches, George Whitefield and John Wesley, still had great respect for each other.

John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist church. George Whitefield was the Billy Graham of that day, an incredible evangelist and preacher. George Whitefield and John Wesley did not see eye-to-eye on a theology of grace. George Whitefield was a staunch Calvinist in his theology, strong on the sovereignty of God. Wesley was a staunch Arminian, strong on the free will of man to decide whether or not to receive the love of God and salvation in Jesus Christ.

There began to be some division within the evangelicals of Great Britain. Knowing what these two spiritual giants believed, people began to fall into two camps. One day, John Wesley was asked, “Will you see George Whitefield in heaven?” Wesley immediately replied, “No!” And then after a long pause, he added, “Whitefield will be at a level so close to God, that people like me will not be able to get close to him!”

Now, if ever there’s a way to diffuse a theological division in the body of Christ, that’s the spirit with which to do it. What an example for us today! We may have a thousand reasons for why we think certain people don’t “deserve” our love, but the fact is Jesus says, “Dear friends, love one another!” And that’s whether you agree with them or not.



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8/14/14 5:21 P

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August 14

Daniel 1

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, chooses Israelite captives to be trained to serve him.

INSIGHT

Moral courage. It is the resolve to do what is right—even if no one knows. Regardless of the consequences. Even when you are weary. Even when there are extenuating circumstances and when everyone would understand if you “caved in.” Daniel is a man of moral courage. The food he is offered probably violates the dietary restrictions in the Law of Moses. Note the words: “Daniel purposed in his heart” (1:8). Then God brings Daniel into favor. He gives him skill; He gives him a healthy glow. When faced with moral challenges, we must do our part—be obedient from the heart. And then trust God to do His part.

PRAYER

Because God honors our commitment to moral excellence, praise Him with the words of this psalm:
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water (Psalm 63:1).

Pause for praise and thanksgiving.

Pray this confession to the Lord:
And Achan answered Joshua and said,
“Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel,
and this is what I have done . . .” (Joshua 7:20).

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day (Psalm 25:4-5).

Now pray this affirmation to the Lord:
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
“For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).

As you make your requests known to the Lord, include:
-- Greater faithfulness with your talents
-- Your state and local leaders
-- Your activities for the day

Finally, offer this closing prayer to the Lord:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).



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8/12/14 9:34 P

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"Let Him Go!" — WJD! for 08/12/2014

After Jesus said this he called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man (Lazarus) came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with pieces of cloth. He had a handkerchief covering his face. Jesus said to the people, "Take the cloth off of him and let him go." — John 11:43-44 (ERV)
Key Thought:

I love Jesus' words, "Unwrap him and let him go!" Death cannot bind him anymore, so don't let his grave clothes bind him either! Think of the power of this statement! One day, Jesus will speak our name, call us to himself, and forbid death to bind us. Lazarus is the great example of what we anticipate—receiving back those who have died and gone before us and receiving our call to be set free from the demands of a mortal body. Lazarus is the great reminder that we are free from the power of death to hold us captive!

Today's Prayer:

Lord God Almighty, the Father of all that lives, thank you for giving us back what we throw away with sin. Thank you for the assurance that I will be united with those that I love who have died in faith. Thank you for the assurance that death cannot hold me captive. In Jesus' mighty name I pray. Amen.

One thing for sure is when Jesus sets you free you are indeed free



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7/31/14 5:52 P

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"Faith to Follow" — WJD! for 07/31/2014

Then Thomas (the one called Didymus) said to the other followers, "We will go too. We will die with Jesus {in Judea}." — John 11:16 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Martha and Mary will soon be challenged to believe in what they cannot understand. Before they face their challenge, however, the disciples of Jesus must follow even though they don't understand and yet know they are risking their lives to follow. They are our examples. Do we have faith to follow in the face of danger and confusion? Do we have faith to follow in the face of grief, delay, and loss? These people become God's great reminder that we can follow. In fact, in the middle of confusion, danger, grief, delay, and loss, there is no one else we should follow. Only in Jesus can we find life and reunion beyond our greatest earthly troubles. So let's have faith to follow!

Today's Prayer:

Almighty God, I love you and want to live your purpose for my life. Please give me the courage and faith to follow when I don't understand, when I am afraid, when I mourn, and when I feel alone. I want my life to be lived for you and guided by your hand. However, I know there are times when I do not and cannot understand what you are doing. So please, dear Father, give me courage to follow and may I never outlive my love for you. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.



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7/29/14 4:59 P

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Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014
Is Your Bible Collecting Dust?

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path." - Psalm 119:105

The Bible is the best seller that many people buy, but never read. You can find at least one copy in most homes, just sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Yet, no book is richer or more timeless than the Bible. It is filled with story after story that are not only amazing to read, but once you get involved in it, you’ll find how God uses it to teach and guide us and how most of all, God uses it to help us know His mind and heart. Listen to what it says:

All Scripture is inspired by God. Amazing! Over forty authors, who wrote over a period of 1,600 years, were all inspired by the same God to give a clear and coherent message.

It’s also profitable for:

Teaching–about God, man, and life.
Reproof–it tells us when we go wrong and need to get right.
Correction–it helps us get on the right track. Like a good doctor, it points out the problem and tells us the cure.
Training in right living–it’s a manual for living in a way that’s pleasing to God.
Scripture shows us how we can face every challenge with wisdom and strength. The Bible is a great read. I hope you’ll read it with the faith that God wants to speak to you through His Word. You just may find the answers to your life.



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7/28/14 4:39 A

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Matthew 5: 43-47 (NASB) You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

1 Peter 2: 21-25 (NASB) For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

1 Peter 1: 13-16 (NASB) Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Romans 12: 1-2 (NASB) Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

ANGELREJOICES54's Photo ANGELREJOICES54 Posts: 16,252
7/25/14 4:56 P

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"Look at What I Do!" — WJD! for 07/25/2014

"If I don't do what my Father does, then don't believe what I say. But if I do the same things my Father does, then you should believe in the things I do. You might not believe in me, but you should believe in the things I do. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." — John 10:37-38 (ERV)
Key Thought:

As Jesus says several times in John, "Look at my work and you will know whether I am telling the truth or not." The issue isn't Jesus' identity, but our honesty and desire to honor God. The truth about Jesus resonates in the hearts of those seeking to find God and know him. His actions and his words call us to believe him. If we don't believe him, we must reject or belittle him. There is no middle ground. We must look at the way he treated people, the things he taught, the way he lived his life, and the great works he did and then decide: Is this the work of a mad man or is he God's Messiah? Is he the Son of God come in human flesh?

Today's Prayer:

Father, I thank you for making yourself accessible to me through Jesus. I know you are ever near, but Jesus' life on earth somehow makes that even more real and personal to me. Thank you for loving me so much in Jesus, in whose name I praise and thank you. Amen.



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7/19/14 12:08 P

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Saturday, Jul. 19, 2014
The King of Kings is Standing At Your Door

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him." - Revelation 3:20

I don’t know whether you’ve ever been invited to the White House or ever been asked to make an appearance at Buckingham Palace, but wouldn’t it be amazing to have the President of the United States or the Queen of England desire to visit your home? Well, if you think that’s incredible, get this…there is a King who represents royalty and power, greater than anyone, who desires to do just that.

The Bible tells us that it’s Jesus Christ, the King of kings. Jesus talks about our life like it’s a home. He says He is standing outside the door of our lives. He’s knocking and hoping we’ll invite Him in. If you do open the door and invite Him in, He promises to enter. When He comes into your life, He brings meaning, companionship, strength and love to face the demands of life. He brings everything you need to live a complete and purposeful life.

How about it? Why not open the door today? You can have dinner with the King of kings, forever and ever. Now, that’s truly incredible!



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7/15/14 5:55 P

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July 15

Esther 3

Haman deceives the king into signing an edict that would kill all the Jews.

INSIGHT

Man’s inhumanity to man over the ages has been astounding. Some of the acts of violence and degradation have defied comprehension. In this vein, Haman hatches a savage and inhumane plot against the Jews to have them annihilated—men, women, and children. King Ahasuerus also has a monstrous mind, willing to sanction such savagery without question. When sin progresses to such extremes, we see just how repulsive it is.

PRAYER

God continually watches over His children. Thank Him for His protection:

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
(Psalm 9:1-2)

As you seek to keep your life free from sin, pray this confession to God:

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.



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7/10/14 6:35 P

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7/5/14 4:18 P

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Complete Deliverance
"But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD; and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid" (Jeremiah 39:17).

When the LORD's faithful ones are suffering for Him, they shall have sweet messages of love from Himself, and sometimes they shall have glad tidings for those who sympathize with them and help them. Ebed-melech was only a despised Ethiopian, but he was kind to Jeremiah, and so the LORD sent him this special promise by the mouth of His prophet. Let us be ever mindful of God's persecuted servants, and He will reward us.

Ebed-melech was to be delivered from the men whose vengeance he feared. He was a humble... man, but Jehovah would take care of him. Thousands were slain by the Chaldeans, but [he] could not be hurt. We, too, may be fearful of some great ones who are bitter against us; but if we have been faithful to the LORD's cause in the hour of persecution, He will be faithful to us. After all, what can a man do without the LORD's permission? He puts a bit into the mouth of rage and a bridle upon the head of power. Let us fear the LORD, and we shall have no one else to fear. No cup of cold water given to a despised prophet of God shall be without its reward; and if we stand up for Jesus, Jesus will stand up for us.



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6/30/14 3:53 P

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Monday, Jun. 30, 2014
Saul – Part One: Life Before Christ

“For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.” - Galatians 1:13-14

Everyone has a story. If you have lived life any length of time, you have a story. The majority of people have a one-part story. Today, let’s look at part one of Paul’s story. Paul begins his story by talking about his former life in Judaism. Now understand that Paul was not like many of our Jewish friends here in America who are Jewish by birth, who are ethnically Jewish, but really don’t have much interest in their religion or the practice of their religion. Paul was very serious about the practice of his religion. Today, we would call him orthodox.

Saul (who later became Paul) was actively seeking to destroy the followers of whom he saw as a misguided, blasphemous heretic by the name of Jesus Christ. In Acts 22:4, he says, “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons.” Now, at this point Christianity is known as the Way. Why? Because Jesus Christ says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” And Saul was doing all he could to eradicate what he felt like was a heresy. Saul was a classic, religious terrorist.

Now in a day and age in which we live with so many religious terrorists, you need to understand that these people believe passionately and zealously that what they are doing is right and is pleasing in God’s eyes. Why? To eradicate what they see as false teaching about God. It’s not just a motivation of hate. Yes, it is diabolical evil that is occurring, but for the religious terrorist, there is this blind self-righteousness that what they are doing is right. And Paul had that kind of mindset.

This is really a description of his life in part one before he met Christ. Everybody in the history of the world has part one of his/her story. Now some of you that are misguided and delusional and think, “There’s never been a time in my life when I wasn’t a Christian!” Well you are delusional. The Bible is very clear—no one inherits Christianity. All of us at some point have to make a decision in our life that we are going to trust Christ and follow Him.

Saul represents the majority of mankind in Part One of his story. Most never get to Part Two. But, Saul did. Part Two deals with an amazing, miraculous transformation. You don’t want to miss it!



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6/27/14 8:23 A

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"Before Abraham" — WJD! for 06/27/2014

"Your father Abraham was very happy that he would see the day when I came. He saw that day and was happy." The Jews said to Jesus, "What? You have never seen Abraham! You are not even 50 years old!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth. Before Abraham was born, I AM." When Jesus said this, the people picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus hid, and then he left the temple area. — John 8:56-59 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Like so many other things Jesus says in this chapter, this claim is audacious and bold. It is also true. Jesus didn't just happen on the scene when he came to earth; he existed before any created thing. That's why it is so important that we pay attention to him. He not only sacrificed himself for us, but he left heaven's glory to come and live with us and show us God's love.

Today's Prayer:

Father, open my heart to the teaching and truth of Jesus and give me a greater sense of his authority, his majesty, and his lordship in my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

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6/27/14 8:07 A

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June 27

1 Chronicles 17

God promises David that He will propagate David's lineage forever.

INSIGHT

David is described as a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). It is difficult for us to accept that statement when David is guilty of lying, adultery, murder, and other indiscretions. However, to be a man after God's own heart means that David wants the same things God wants. His noble desires and intentions are overruled several times by his passions; but when David's senses are restored and he repents of his sin, again his heart beats after God's desires. We may not be as bad as David in his bad moments, but are we as good as David in his good moments? Do our hearts beat after God?


PRAYER

Offer your praise to the Lord that He is eager to bless our righteous acts:

Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
(1 Chronicles 16:28-29)

I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High






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6/24/14 4:39 P

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Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2014
Dealing with Your Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.“ - Matthew 5:43-45

What is an enemy? It’s someone who is against you. It is someone who is not for you. It can be a family member, a classmate, a co-worker, a neighbor, or even a fellow believer. We all have enemies, and Jesus is telling us to love them! How is that possible?

Well, keep reading, because the answer lies immediately after Jesus tells us to love our enemies. He says, “pray for those who persecute you.” Praying for our enemies makes it mighty hard for us to hate them or stay angry with them. Because when we start praying for them, God has a way of softening our hearts and we begin looking at that person as God sees him or her. God does a work in our lives. He begins to change our hearts when we pray for them. This is what Jesus does for us when we are His enemies. He prayed for us on the cross while He was paying the penalty for our sins. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Accepting Jesus’ forgiveness for us changes us so we will be able to forgive others who are our enemies.

Does that mean you’re going to like your enemies? In most cases, you’re not going to be able to change how you feel about how your enemy treats you. But it does mean that God can give us the supernatural power to love our enemies and to treat them with love no matter how they treat us.

Let’s follow Jesus’ example, in faith. When we give God control in this area, our enemies no longer control us.



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6/20/14 4:50 P

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June 20

2 Kings 6

When the Syrians threaten Elisha, they are struck blind.

INSIGHT

We often have no idea what is going on around us in the spiritual realm. Spiritual battles explode before our very eyes, but we neither see them nor hear them (Daniel 10:13). Guardian angels minister to our needs (Hebrews 1:14). We entertain angels "unwittingly" (Hebrews 13:2). How real and alive is the spiritual realm; yet without the Scriptures, we would know little about it. The Syrian army is camped around Dothan, but Elisha is not concerned because an army of the angels of the Lord encircles the horizon. We walk by faith and not by sight.


PRAYER

Thank the Lord that He can turn our failures into successes, and offer Him your praise in this psalm:

I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.



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6/16/14 4:18 P

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June 16

2 Kings 1

The Lord sends Elijah to inform Ahaziah that he will die.

INSIGHT

Ahab and Jezebel have become famous for their irreverence and disregard for the Law of the Lord. Yet Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, goes beyond them in his blatant disregard for the Lord. After an accident, he inquires of Baal-Zebub, the pagan god of Ekron, whether or not he will recover. Elijah informs the messengers that Ahaziah will die. No longer afraid, Elijah has been strengthened from his previous failure. We must always look at failure as an opportunity to grow.


PRAYER

God often uses our hard times to refine us into the people He wants us to be. Give Him your praise for His care:

You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
For I believe Your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes
(Psalm 119:65-68).

Pause for personal praise and thanksgiving.

Pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.



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6/13/14 4:49 P

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You Know My Name?

"...the Lord knows those who are His..." - 2 Timothy 2:19

Characteristics and traits of people were an important aspect of names in ancient Israel. Just knowing someone’s name provided others with a lot of information about a person. Today, our names have more to do with what’s popular at the time of our birth, but one thing is for sure – your name is important to you!

Years ago, the great Methodist preacher, Charles Allen, was asked by a wealthy Texas oilman who he believed was our greatest President. Dr. Allen said, “That’s easy. LBJ.” The man’s face turned red with anger. He said, “Dr. Allen, how in the world can you say that lying, scheming scoundrel was our greatest President?” He replied, “Well, one day I was standing in the lobby of a hotel and LBJ came through. He shouted to me, ‘Dr. Allen, you keeping those Methodists straight?’ The reason I feel he was the greatest President is because he is the only one who knew my name.”

When important people know our name, it makes us feel good. But when they call us by name in front of a crowd, we really feel special.

Good news. The most important person who ever lived knows your name. His name is Jesus. He knows everything about you and He loves you, anyway. When you get to know Him as Savior and Lord, He’ll make you feel important and significant – even more than the President calling you by name.













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June 10

1 Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon.

INSIGHT

Solomon leads Israel in righteousness, and God pours out His blessing on the nation to such an extent that the reports of Israel's prosperity spread throughout the world. The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon because she cannot believe the reports she has been hearing. After Solomon meets with her and shows her around Jerusalem, she is overwhelmed.

The blessing of Israel is to draw attention to the God of Israel. Today as the Lord blesses us spiritually for our faithfulness to Him, attention will be drawn, not to us, but to the Lord.

PRAYER

· Thank the Lord that He still does marvelous things through His people-things that make the world stand up and take notice:

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods. .



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June 10

1 Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon.

INSIGHT

Solomon leads Israel in righteousness, and God pours out His blessing on the nation to such an extent that the reports of Israel's prosperity spread throughout the world. The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon because she cannot believe the reports she has been hearing. After Solomon meets with her and shows her around Jerusalem, she is overwhelmed.

The blessing of Israel is to draw attention to the God of Israel. Today as the Lord blesses us spiritually for our faithfulness to Him, attention will be drawn, not to us, but to the Lord.

PRAYER

· Thank the Lord that He still does marvelous things through His people-things that make the world stand up and take notice:

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods. .



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Friday, May. 23, 2014
Forgiving Those Who Have Offended You

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." - Matthew 6:14

In the spring of 1981, both Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II were shot and seriously wounded in assassination attempts. Even though each struggled to survive, both the President and the Pope made it a priority to forgive the very people who tried to kill them.

Ronald Reagan said, “I realized I couldn’t ask for God’s help, while at the same time, I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who had shot me. Isn’t that the meaning of the lost sheep? We’re all God’s children and therefore, equally beloved by Him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back into the fold.” And we also remember those amazing pictures of Pope John Paul II, seeking out the man who tried to kill him and there in his prison cell – sitting face to face – forgiving him.

Now these are not normal responses when someone tries to kill you! Where did these great men learn such actions? They learned it from Jesus! And not only did they learn it from Jesus, but also they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to be able to forgive. This ability and motivation to forgive under those circumstances could only come from one source – the One who said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they do.”

If Jesus can provide these leaders with the ability to forgive their assassins, don’t you think He can give you the power to forgive those who have offended you?



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"Treachery Lurks in the Shadows" — WJD! for 05/18/2014

Then Jesus answered, "I chose all twelve of you. But one of you is a devil." Jesus was talking about Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Judas was one of the twelve {apostles }. But later Judas would turn against Jesus. — John 6:70-71 (ERV)
Key Thought:

We know the story before it happens. Lurking in the shadows is the traitor. Treachery is afoot. While we can speculate on why Judas would do such a terrible thing, Scripture doesn't tell us. The Holy Spirit only tells us that he did betray Jesus—and from this vantage point, Jesus knows that Judas will betray him. Quite remarkably, Jesus will do the heart of his ministry and offer his deepest and most genuine service to his disciples, knowing all the while that one of them will hand him over to be tortured. I don't know about you, but that is a bittersweet comfort to me. Bitter, because I hate that the Lord Jesus, who created all that is in our world, had to face such a heartbreaking breach of trust. Sweet, because I know he knows what it is like—not just as God, but also as a brokenhearted friend who has been betrayed for inexplicable reasons. Sounds like my world. Sounds even more like my Savior!

Today's Prayer:

Holy God, Creator and Sustainer of all that is, thank you. Thank you for not being a god who is far off. Thank you for living in my world and bearing the brunt of its brokenness. Please bless me with confidence as I approach you, knowing that you know the deepest pains of my heart from experience and not just omniscience. Thank you for revealing yourself in Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.



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"No Backing Off!" — WJD! for 05/13/2014

Then the Jews began to argue among themselves. They said, "How can this man give us his body to eat?" Jesus said, "I tell you the truth. You must eat the body of the Son of Man. And you must drink his blood. If you don't do this, then you don't have real life in you. The person that eats my body and drinks my blood has eternal life. I will raise up that person on the last day. My body is true food. My blood is true drink. If a person eats my body and drinks my blood, then that person lives in me, and I live in that person." — John 6:52-56 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Jesus didn't make things easy for folks to follow him. We sometimes forget this today, when so much "bait" is used to try to attract people to Jesus. This chapter reminds us that Jesus challenged the pre-conceived and small-sized notions people had of him and pushed them to make an all or nothing decision about his identity and importance. He would not allow himself to simply become a miracle-making hero of the masses. Instead, he challenged the people of his day (And us as well, if we are honest with ourselves!) to either follow him with everything they had or to reject him and turn away. Jesus is either everything God intends for us, or he is a dangerous lunatic to be rejected. Which will it be for us? Jesus refuses to be our simple and kind religious leader; he challenges us to see him as our life and our sustenance. The question is not whether we believe this, but whether we live with this conviction as a reality in our daily lives!

Today's Prayer:

Father, I confess that I often times want my discipleship made easier. I find I often want your truths to be more easily understood. I love Jesus with all my heart; but for some reason, I find myself not depending upon him as my life and my sustenance. Father, please don't just forgive me, but give me a deeper awareness of my hunger for your Living Bread in my life. Feed me with his life as I seek to place him first in all I do. In his name, Jesus Christ the Lord, I pray. Amen.



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5/9/14 3:57 P

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May 9

Judges 2

The Israelites begin worshipping Baal, a god of Canaan.

INSIGHT

There is a distinct pattern of events that begins to unfold in Judges. The children of Israel fall into sin and begin worshiping other gods. Sin is followed by servitude. The Lord causes other nations to rise up in judgment and enslave Israel.

Israel cries out to God for deliverance, and the Lord delivers them by raising up a judge to lead them to victory. Then the land has rest until that judge dies and the cycle begins again: sin, servitude, supplication, salvation, and silence. Sin is always followed by bondage. Repentance frees.

PRAYER

· Because God always honors our obedience to Him, we praise Him:

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. . . .
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works.
May sinners be consumed from the earth,
And the wicked be no more. . . .
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!
(Psalms



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Monday, May. 5, 2014
I Believe Jesus is Truth

"Jesus answered...'Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.'" - John 18:37

In the spring of 2001, the collision of an American spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet caused both governments to blame each other. Two governments, two nations, but each had completely different views of the truth. By the very definition of truth, both could not be right. Yet many people from every religious persuasion have embraced universalism: the idea that every religion is equally valid and all men can get to God and heaven their own way.

Consider what Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father but through me." If all religions are a valid way to God, then Jesus was not telling the truth. And if Jesus was not telling the truth, He is not the only way. Truth, by definition, means that one statement is true and a contradicting statement is false.

Either Jesus is truth or universalism is truth. What do you believe? I believe Jesus.



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May 2

Joshua 2

Rahab shelters two spies and helps them escape from the city of Jericho.

INSIGHT

God will meet any person, any time, any place. There are few people who seem to be further from the Lord than a harlot. Yet, in the course of her everyday life, Rahab finds herself keeping a divine appointment with two strangers in need and, in the process, meets with God.

The kind of risks Rahab takes will not be taken without a searching heart. In her own way, she takes a step of faith; God meets her. Her reward is not only eternal life, but also the honor of being included in the messianic lineage. Wherever you are in your life, God will meet you there.

PRAYER

· Offer to the Lord this psalm of praise as you remember all He has done for you:

You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name



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April 20

John 11

After Jesus raises his close friend, Lazarus, from the dead, many believe in Him.

INSIGHT

Jesus was ministering on the east side of the Jordan River, about a day's walk from Bethany, when Lazarus fell sick. Messengers were sent to tell Jesus, who waited two days before returning to Bethany. He found that Lazarus had been dead for four days, apparently having died the same day the messengers were dispatched. So Lazarus was dead by the time Jesus learned about his illness.

Why, then, did Jesus delay His return for two days? Jesus knew Lazarus' condition. His delay was to heighten the manifestation of the power of God. Jesus called, "Lazarus, come forth!" And Lazarus came forth. The result of this miracle? Many of the Jews believed in Him, and the Son of God was glorified.

PRAYER

· As a God, both of power and compassion, we offer Him our praise:

Stand up and bless the Lord your God
Forever and ever!
Blessed be Your glorious name,
Which is exalted above all blessing and praise!
You alone are the Lord;
You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all.



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April 18

John 9

Jesus heals a man born blind, stirring up controversy.

INSIGHT

While Jesus certainly has compassion on those to whom He ministers, His miracles are done not only to relieve human suffering but also to establish His credentials. He claims to be the Bread of Life. To validate that message, He feeds the 5000.

In chapter 9, Jesus says that the man's blindness is not because of sin but for the purpose of manifesting the work of God in him. The same was true with Lazarus. His death was not final but was for the purpose of bringing glory to the Son of God. Jesus raises Lazarus and then says that the Son is glorified.

PRAYER

· Offer this psalm of praise as you seek spiritual closeness with God:

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory
(Psalms 63:1-2).

You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were
created



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April 15

Desires of Righteous Granted
"The desires of the righteous shall be granted" (Proverbs 10:24).

Because it is a righteous desire it is safe for God to grant it. It would be neither good for the man himself, nor for society at large, that such a promise should be made to the unrighteous. Let us keep the LORD's commands, and He will rightfully have respect to our desires.

When righteous men are left to desire unrighteous desires, they will not be granted to them. But then these are not their real desires; they are their wanderings or blunders, and it is well that they should be refused. Their gracious desires shall come before the LORD, and He will not say them nay.

Does the LORD deny us our requests for a time? Let the promise for today encourage us to ask again. Has He denied us altogether? We will thank Him still, for it always was our desire that He should deny us if He judged a denial to be best.

As to some things, we ask very boldly. Our chief desires are for holiness, usefulness, likeness to Christ, preparedness for heaven. These are the desires of grace rather than of nature -- the desires of the righteous man rather than of the mere man. God will not stint us in these things but will do for us exceeding abundantly. "Delight thy self also in the LORD, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." This day, my soul, ask largely!



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"The Testimony of Someone Else" — WJD! for 04/11/2014

"If I tell people about myself, then people cannot accept those things I say about myself. But there is another person that tells people about me. And I know that the things he says about me are true." — John 5:31-32 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Jesus didn't claim his authority as Son of God on his own. John the Baptist will give his life to testify that Jesus is from God. Using the principles of Jewish Law, Jesus will also add other witnesses—his miracles and the testimony of his own Father. What John had to say about Jesus was all true, some of it even truer than John himself could realize. Jesus is the Light of the World, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, and the Living One who was alive before Abraham was born. He is Jesus the Son of God. What we do with that reality will determine our destiny!

Today's Prayer:

Father, I do believe you sent your Son into the world to be my Savior. Thank you for his sacrifice for my sins. Thank you Lord Jesus, for all you did to save me. I believe that you are the Son of God, the Lord who conquered death, and my Savior who will come when the Father says the time has come. I praise you for your obedience to the Father and your redeeming love for people like me. All praise be to you. Amen.



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3/31/14 1:25 P

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March 31

Presence of Mind
"Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken" (Proverbs 3;25-26).

When God is abroad in judgments, He would not have His people alarmed. He has not come forth to harm but to defend the righteous.

He would have them manifest courage. We who enjoy the presence of God ought to display presence of mind. Since the LORD Himself may suddenly come, we ought not to be surprised at anything sudden. Serenity under the rush and roar of unexpected evils is a precious gift of divine love.

The LORD would have His chosen display discrimination so that they may see that the desolation of the wicked is not a real calamity to the universe. Sin alone is evil; the punishment which follows thereupon is as a preserving salt to keep society from putrefying. We should be far more shocked at the sin which deserves hell than at the hell which comes out of sin.

So, too, should the LORD's people exhibit great quietness of spirit. Satan and his serpent seed are full of all subtlety; but those who walk with God shall not be taken in their deceitful snares. Go on, believer in Jesus, and let the LORD be thy confidence.



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March 28

Mark 12

The Pharisees and Sadducees attempt to discredit Jesus through treacherous questions.

INSIGHT

In today's passage, we see one of the most marvelous teachings in the New Testament. An attorney, intrigued by the quality of the answers Jesus gives to the Pharisees who are trying to discredit Him, asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. He only asks for one; Jesus gives him two.

The Lord says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart . . . [and] your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these"(Mark 12:30-31). The Christian life can be very complex, but at its heart, it is very simple: love God and others.

PRAYER

· Because the Lord has promised to care for our needs, offer Him your thanks:

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord



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3/24/14 5:58 P

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"So that your trust (belief, reliance, support, and confidence) may be in the Lord, I have made known these things to you today, even to you.” Proverbs 22:19 (Amplified Bible)



There are times in life that nothing makes sense; times when illness, loss of job, death of a loved one or financial losses make us question why we’re experiencing such pain. And in those times, for Christians, it all comes down to one truth – God is God, sovereign and in control.



Today’s verse is for those times. Solomon says that he has shared all his wisdom, "made known these things to you”, so we will be able to trust God, rely on Him, be confident in Him and in Him alone! In other words, God’s wisdom and the truth of His Word is imparted to you and I so we’ll have what we need to trust God no matter what we’re going through.



We need God’s Word! And we need it even more when we’re struggling through a trial. It is what gives us the confidence in the Lord!



Application: Today, more than just reading His Word, will you take it in, like a life-line? Will you ask God to use His Word, His wisdom, to strengthen your reliance and confidence in Him? He’s made it known to you so you’ll trust Him in all ways.



Father, I need Your Word to be that life-line to You! I need Your wisdom to remind me that You alone are who I can place my trust in – You are faithful, true, holy and sovereign. Thank You for giving me Your Word today. May the wisdom I gain from it bolster my faith and belief in You. In Jesus’ name I ask, AMEN



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3/19/14 5:52 P

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March 19

Mark 7

Jesus points out the hypocrisy of observing traditions yet ignoring the Scripture.

INSIGHT

Even the earnest Christian must guard against hypocrisy. How easy it is to sing, "All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give," and then go out to live with some areas of our lives not given over to Christ.

Yet, there is a difference between weakness and rebellion. All of us struggle with weaknesses which we wish we didn't have and with which we wrestle in the grace of God to overcome. Rebellion expresses itself when we could overcome a sin if we wanted to but make no attempt to do so.

The Bible expresses compassion for us in our weaknesses as we cry out to the Lord for greater strength. But God's Word pronounces a scathing rebuke for hypocrisy and rebellion. We must check our hearts to be certain that our shortcomings are weaknesses and not hypocrisy.

PRAYER

· Because the Lord accepts us in spite of our weaknesses, we can praise Him:

But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits



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March 2
Matthew 2

Mary and Joseph flee with Jesus to escape Herod's murderous attack.

INSIGHT

When Herod asks the scholars where the Messiah is to be born, they answer without hesitating: "Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet."

The odds against anyone other than Jesus being the Messiah are staggering. There are 60 major prophecies that are fulfilled in the life of Christ.

Josh McDowell writes in Evidence That Demands a Verdict that, by using the science of probability in reference to all 60 major prophecies, the chances that any man might have fulfilled all 60 is humanly impossible. Reason demands that we accept Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah.

PRAYER

· As you rest in the security that Jesus is the Messiah, offer the Lord praise:

O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth (2 Kings 19:15).

I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High
(Psalms 7:17).

· As you seek to keep your life free from sin and its awful effects, pray this confession to the Lord:

Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him; and to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah



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2/27/14 11:24 A

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"Things and persons appear to us according to the light we throw upon them from our own minds. How unconciously we judge others by the light that is within ourselves, condemning or approving them by our own conception of right and wrong, honor and dishonor! We show by our judgement just what the light within us is." — Laura Ingalls Wilder



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February 15
Deuteronomy 1

Moses reminds the new generation of their parents' disobedience.

INSIGHT

Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it. Moses reviews the history of the wanderings of Israel to the new generation poised on the plains of Moab-ready to enter the Promised Land.

Moses tells them that their fathers did not believe the promises of God. Therefore, they were not obedient to Him. Their fathers condemned themselves to a life of untold hardship. Their fathers made their own destiny; they sealed their own fate.

Learn from their history. Do not repeat it.

PRAYER

· Offer praise to the Lord for His truth and light:

The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting
(Psalms 93:1-2).

· As you seek to keep your life free from sin, pray this passage of confession to the Lord:

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies
and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness' sake, O Lord



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2/13/14 6:43 P

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"Things Only Jesus Can Show" — WJD! for 02/13/2014

"The wind blows where it wants to go. You hear the wind blow. But you don't know where the wind comes from or where the wind is going. It is the same with every person that is born from the Spirit." Nicodemus asked, "How can all this be possible?" Jesus said, "You are an important teacher of Israel (the Jews). But you still don't understand these things? I tell you the truth. We talk about what we know. We tell about what we have seen. But you people don't accept what we tell you. I have told you about things here on earth. But you do not believe me. So surely you will not believe me if I tell you about the things of heaven!" — John 3:8-12 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Jesus wants to drive home the essential point with Nicodemus. That point? Jesus is the authority on all things spiritual, especially spiritual rebirth. If a respected teacher and leader like Nicodemus cannot understand the things of heaven, then who can explain them? Who can show the way? Only one—Jesus! He is "from above." He knows the Father's will and came to reveal it to us. He knows the path to spiritual rebirth and has come to share it. He knows because he has been there and he has seen it. Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, "Let me teach you, O teacher. Let me lead you, O leader!" He comes to us and says the same thing. "Learn from me, dear child, I long to give you the things of heaven, the things no one else can give." This is Jesus' personal invitation to Nicodemus, and to us. Jesus calls us to follow his journey to the Cross and beyond. He wants to give us genuine and lasting life. Will we follow?

Today's Prayer:

Create in me, O God, a searcher's heart. Make me hungry to know your will and your Son more completely. As I follow Jesus through his ministry, capture my heart, fire my imagination and conquer my will so that I can receive what only Jesus can give and so that I can understand what only Jesus can explain. It is in his name, the glorious Christ and Savior, I pray. Amen.



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2/2/14 3:46 P

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"His Disciples See a Glimpse of His Glory" — WJD! for 02/02/2014

Then the man in charge of the wedding feast tasted it, but the water had become wine. The man did not know where the wine came from. But the servants that brought the water knew where it came from. The master of the wedding called the bridegroom. He said to the bridegroom, "People always serve the best wine first. Later, after the guests have become drunk, people serve the cheaper wine. But you have saved the best wine until now." This was the first miracle that Jesus did. Jesus did this miracle in the town of Cana in Galilee. So Jesus showed his greatness. And his followers believed in him. — John 2:9-11 (ERV)
Key Thought:

It wasn't the right time. It wasn't the right place. It was, however, the right Lord! So when Jesus asked, and people obeyed, the disciples got to see a little of Jesus' awesome glory and their faith was stoked! The little ember of their faith in Jesus was set ablaze. Let's not forget that is what John's story of Jesus is all about; John wants to stoke the flame of our faith until it gives us genuine and eternal life. Being a disciple of Jesus is all about daily accompanying Jesus through the ordinary ups and downs of life, doing what Jesus asks us to do, and looking for his glory to be revealed to us. We change, our lives are enriched, and our faith is set ablaze when we obediently journey with Jesus each day.

Today's Prayer:

Holy and righteous God, my loving Abba Father, give me today the bread I need for food and the grace I need to share with those around me. As I live my everyday life, please help me see Jesus' glory at work in ways I never have before. Father God, I don't ask this for my entertainment or for my selfish interest, but so that my faith may grow stronger and my Christian witness more powerful, to your glory. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.



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1/29/14 5:49 P

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"The Window to Heaven" — WJD! for 01/29/2014

Jesus said to Nathanael, "I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. That is why you believe in me. But you will see much greater things than that!" Jesus also said, "I tell you the truth. You will all see heaven open. You will see 'angels of God going up and coming down' on the Son of Man." — John 1:50-51 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Jesus will fulfill and surpass many metaphors, images, and rituals from Israel's rich history. John will show us how Jesus is the great "I Am." He fulfills the meaning of many of the great Jewish feasts. Jesus is the Bread of Live, the true Vine, the Water of Life—each image rich in emotion and meaning from Israel's past. Jesus is challenging Nathaniel to look beyond Jesus' power to know what was in his heart. Jesus wants to lead Nathaniel to see greater things. He wants Nathaniel to know that when he is around Jesus, he is looking through the window into heaven.

Today's Prayer:

Father, please help me see you, know you, and love you more perfectly as Jesus teaches me more about you. In your Son's name I pray. Amen.



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"He is the One" — WJD! for 01/20/2014

"Even I did not know who he was. But I came baptizing people with water so that Israel (the Jews) could know that Jesus is {the Christ} ." Then John said, "I also did not know who the Christ was. But God sent me to baptize people with water. And God told me, 'You will see the Spirit come down and rest on a man. That man is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'" John said, "I have seen this happen. I saw the Spirit come down from heaven. The Spirit looked like a dove and sat on him (Jesus)." — John 1:31-33 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Isn't it interesting how hard it is for us to see some things because we are too familiar with them? Jesus' brothers and sisters didn't recognize him as God's Son until after his resurrection. The people in his village didn't expect anything of importance from him. They missed who Jesus was! But we are promised that if we seek after him, we will find him. If we look at his teaching, we can determine if he comes from God. If we open the door to him, he will come in and share our life. If we obey him, he will come and make his home with us. If we receive him, we can be born into the Kingdom of God. So the test for us is pretty simple: do I seek Jesus or am I seeking something else—a teaching, a doctrine, a religion? If we seek the latter things, we can know a lot about Jesus, but never really know HIM. So let's seek Jesus and his new way of life in the Spirit! As we read John together this year, let's always ask God to show us Jesus more clearly.

Today's Prayer:

Father, help me know Jesus more powerfully and more fully as I study his life and seek to reflect his character in my daily life. Please show yourself to me just as you promised. Open my eyes so that I can see your work more clearly in my life and praise you more fully with my heart. Jesus, please let me come to know you and not just know about you. In the precious name of my Savior I pray. Amen.



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1/17/14 5:16 P

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January 17

Genesis 37

Jacob's son, Joseph, is sold by his brothers.

INSIGHT

Feeling loved is one of life's greatest needs. When we do not feel loved, we often will go to great lengths to try to earn love or retaliate against those who keep us from being loved.

Joseph's brothers contemplated murder but instead kidnapped Joseph to get rid of him. His brothers thought of him as a threat -- all because Jacob displayed his preference for Joseph.

Jacob's preferential treatment of Joseph in no way condones the actions of the brothers, but it points out to us as Christians that we should love all men as Christ would. When individuals feel that love, it makes it easier for them to love others in return.

PRAYER

· Praise our Lord that He can enable us to avoid showing partiality, so that we can love as He loves (James 2:1):

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him
(Psalms



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January 14

Genesis 24

Isaac takes Rebekah as his wife.

INSIGHT

A steward is one who is commissioned to oversee the welfare and execute the affairs of another. The closer a steward is able to represent the mind of his superior, the better he fulfills his role. Therefore, when a steward is on assignment, ideally he has no personal mind or will; he strives to have the mind and will of his superior.
Eliezer, Abraham's servant, was an excellent example of a faithful steward. His complete mindset was to represent the will of Abraham as faithfully as possible. As Christians, we are stewards of Christ, and as such, we are to strive to have the mind and will of Christ. In addition, we are always on assignment (1 Corinthians 6:20). By studying Eliezer, we can gain insight into how to be a more faithful steward of Christ.

PRAYER

· Thank the Lord and give Him your praise for making you a steward of the precious truth of salvation in Christ:

Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You
have toward Your people;
Oh, visit me with Your salvation,
That I may see the benefit of Your chosen
ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your
nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance
(Psalms



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Genesis 8

The flood waters recede.

INSIGHT

Because the physical world reflects spiritual truth, the resurrection is pictured throughout nature. Man falls asleep at night but awakens in the morning. The earth "dies" each fall, sleeps throughout the winter, but awakens in the spring.

The earth died with the Great Flood, but Noah and his family emerged from the ark to enter a resurrected earth. Death is a fact of nature, but God abundantly pictures to us His promise: He will give us new life after death (John 3:16).

Noah's response and ours? Worship.

PRAYER

· Lift up your heart to heaven as you praise the God who rules the earth.

The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace (Psalms 29:10-11).

· Now pray this confession to the Lord to keep your life in fellowship with Him:

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies
and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness' sake, O Lord
(based on Psalms



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Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013

The Spirit Of The Scriptures

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." - Ephesians 6:16-17

Do you ever find it a challenge to fight temptation? Of course you do; we all do. The best way to fight temptation is the way Jesus did. When Satan tempted Jesus with bread, power, and freedom from harm, Jesus responded by quoting scripture. Again and again Satan would throw out a great prize and each time, Jesus shot him down with God's Word. Follow Jesus' example and you'll have a much easier time overcoming the devil's attempts to tempt you into sin.

Perhaps you are thinking right now, "Bryant that makes a lot of sense, but I'm just not able to memorize things, especially right after the holidays!" Let me offer you some advice. Instead of memorizing the exact words, capture the spirit of the passages. There are two reasons for this. First, worrying over the exact words will trip you up, post a barrier to your learning, and maybe even be so frustrating that you give up. Secondly, it's the point of the verse that God uses to give us victory over temptation.



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Revelation 2

Jesus sends prophetic messages to four churches.

INSIGHT

Jesus commends the church of Ephesus for the good work that they have done. Nevertheless, He commands them to repent and return to their "first love" (v. 4). Unless they seek forgiveness, they will experience the chastening of God. In the face of impending persecution, Jesus offers words of encouragement and hope to the church in Smyrna (v. 10). Addressing the church in Pergamos, our Lord warns the people not to tolerate evil. The same message is sent to the church in Thyatira. Unless they repent, Jesus warns that He will judge them quickly and severely.

PRAYER

Praise Jesus Christ for constantly watching over you, guiding you, and encouraging you:
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.



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Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013
They Found Christmas!

"...he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." - Hebrews 11:6

It's easy to miss the real meaning of Christmas, but the story of Christmas tells us who found it:
The Shepherds. They were social nobodies, yet God sent them a supernatural birth announcement through the angels. They believed God's Word, searched in faith to find Jesus, and they did. They found Christmas.
The Wise Men. These guys were pagans from another culture. They studied the stars for insight. God spoke to them right where they were in life. They stepped out in faith to follow a star that appeared in the sky, understanding it meant the birth of a special King. They found Christmas when they found Jesus.
The shepherds found Christmas because they believed the Word of God. The wise men found Christmas because, as seekers, they found Jesus. Find Jesus as Savior and Lord, and you'll find Christmas--guaranteed!



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Forever His Bride


"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—he Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” John 14:16-17.



Chronological reading for today: Philippians 2:12-4:23. Enjoy your time in the Word!



Sharing the Gifts of the Manger 11 – the Holy Spirit



One gift that Jesus had from His birth through His ascension was the Holy Spirit. This is the one gift He held onto until He left, then sending Him back to dwell in us as our Comforter. In fact, Jesus even said, "it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)



Today, it seems appropriate to remember all that the Spirit of Jesus Christ does for you and I. Sometimes, I think, we dwell only of His conviction and forget all the other amazing blessings the Holy Spirit brings.



What does the Holy Spirit do for you and I?



1. Teaches us – "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you”. John 14:26



2. Reveals Christ to us – "He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:14-15



3. Seals us – guaranteeing our salvation - "set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” II Cor. 1:22



4. Sanctifies us – "But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” II Thess. 2:13



5. Testifies that we are God’s children – "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:16



6. Sets us free from sin and death – "because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2



7. Transform’s us – "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” II Cor. 3:18



The Holy Spirit does so much more than these 7 things! We need to remember that Jesus’ Spirit dwells in us for a purpose – to bring glory to God!



And sharing the truth of the indwelling Holy Spirit brings glory to God! Oh how I wish we simply could "give” the Holy Spirit to anyone we chose, but we can share about Him and allow Him to be active in our lives to draw others to the Lord.



Thank God today for sending His Spirit to live in you! And be willing to share the things the Holy Spirit does in your life as a way of glorifying God for this wonderful Gift! We are blessed to have His Spirit as one of the Gifts of the Manger!



Father, Your Holy Spirit does and is so much more than these few words can express; we thank You for sending Him to live in us! May we truly bring glory to You today through the power of Your Spirit! We love you Lord, AMEN




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December 4

Covered and Protected
"He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His Truth shall be thy shield and buckler" (Psalm 91:4).

A condescending simile indeed! Just as a hen protects her brood and allows them to nestle under her wings, so will the LORD defend His people and permit them to hide away in Him. Have we not seen the little chicks peeping out from under the mother's feathers? Have we not heard their little cry of contented joy? In this way let us shelter ourselves in our God and feel overflowing peace in knowing that He is guarding us. While the LORD covers us, we trust. It would be strange if we did not. How can we distrust when Jehovah Himself becomes house and home, refuge and rest to us? This done, we go out to war in His name and enjoy the same guardian care. We need shield and buckler, and when we implicitly trust God, even as the chick trusts the hen, we find His truth arming us from head to foot. The LORD cannot lie; He must be faithful to His people; His promise must stand. This sure truth is all the shield we need. Behind it we defy the fiery darts of the enemy. Come, my soul, hide under those great wings, lose thyself among those soft feathers! How happy thou art!



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December 3

Peace Whatever Exposure
"I will make them a Covenant Of Peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods" (Ezekiel 34:25).

It is the height of grace that Jehovah should be in covenant with man, a I feeble, sinful, and dying creature. Yet the LORD has solemnly entered into a faithful compact with us, and from that covenant He will never turn aside. In virtue of this covenant we are safe. As lions and wolves are driven off by shepherds, so shall all noxious influences be chased away. The LORD will give us rest from disturbers and destroyers; the evil beasts shall cease out of the land. O LORD, make this Thy promise good even now! The LORD's people are to enjoy security in places of the greatest exposure: wilderness and woods are to be as pastures and folds to the flock of Christ. If the LORD does not change the place for the better, He will make us the better in the place. The wilderness is not a place to dwell in, but the LORD can make it so; in the woods one feels hound to watch rather than to sleep, and yet the LORD giveth His beloved sleep even there. Nothing without or within should cause any fear to the child of God. By faith the wilderness can become the suburbs of heaven and the woods the vestibule of glory.



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11/30/13 4:16 P

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"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." — Leo Buscaglia


Edited by: ANGELREJOICES54 at: 11/30/2013 (16:17)

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Tuesday 11/26/2013
The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

~ Psalm 84:11b, NLT

Just to know that God will not withhold any good thing for us a truly
a blessing to me!



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November 21

Titus 3

Those who believe in God should be careful to maintain good works.

INSIGHT

It is difficult for us to separate our hope of heaven from our good works. We instinctively feel that we must be good to get to heaven. While God certainly wants us to live good lives, none of us can live a life good enough to get to heaven. One sin disqualifies us, and everyone has sinned more than once. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us . . . that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (vv. 5, 7). Salvation is a gift.

PRAYER

The Lord longs to mature us in Christ, the very thing for which we long, and so we praise Him:
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.



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Read Acts 26
Highlights:

Paul's defence before Agrippa; Paul's voyage to Rome; storm at the sea: shipwreck at Melita; Paul at Rome.

All hope that we should be saved was then taken away (Acts 27:20).

Paul had been imprisoned in Caesarea for two years. Festus, the new governor of Judea, placed Paul in the custody of a centurion soldier who was to take him to Rome to stand trial. Little did any of those involved realize that God had a purpose and plan ahead for this trip. Even in prison, Paul was still God's chosen vessel. Though his life might be getting closer to the end, God was not finished with Paul. He was about to do another great work.

Though Paul was not elderly, he knew his time was drawing near. Often when we get older, we feel we might be of less use to God. However, even in old age, God continues to use those available to Him. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren (Luke 1:36).

Shortly after their departure on a cargo ship, a storm caused their ship to eventually sink. During that fearful ordeal, Paul stated, All hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But God had placed the Apostle Paul on that particular ship to accomplish His divine purpose. God used a storm and a shipwreck for an unplanned Gospel crusade where many turned to the Lord. God will oftentimes use the strangest of circumstances to do His greatest works. None of these events were outside of God's control. It is He who made the sea. Therefore, it should be no surprise that He would have control over it. Actually God was in complete control of the entire situation and had a plan. Paul was to lead this revival. God would ensure his safety during this ordeal. And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land (Acts 27:42-43).

One of our greatest blessings in being a Christian is the assurance that, although life's voyages may be stormy, there will be a day that the tempest we have weathered will be insignificant compared to what God was able to accomplish because of it. So, as the troubles of life mount in front of you, have hope. You never know what great thing God is about to make happen in the middle of this storm in your life.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (II Cor. 12:10).

Thought for Today:

Quietness and confidence in the midst of trial is the result of faith.



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November 15



Limitless Riches
"My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Paul's God is our God and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all work together that we be not famished. What a measure doth the LORD go by: "According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His "riches of glory by Christ Jesus"-who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the LORD Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah! The writer knows what it is to be tried in the work of the LORD. Fidelity has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their subscriptions; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been one penny the ~ nay, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, "My God shall supply all your need." God's supplies are surer than any bank.



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November 9

1 Timothy 1

Beware of false teachers who may lead you or others astray.

INSIGHT

Lack of integrity is fast becoming a sign of our age. Once highly respected, many professionals are falling into disrepute: lawyers, doctors, journalists, and, most unfortunate of all, ministers. Whereas we once could invest considerable trust in these people, we now must exercise caution and discernment. With the proliferation of books, radio, television, and magazines, the opportunity for unscrupulous or inadequate ministers to foist themselves upon the public increases. Anything we hear being taught must carefully be compared with the Bible and other Bible teachers whom we know to be credible. We must take care not to be led astray by false teaching.

PRAYER

Offer your praise to the Lord for the Scriptures, which lead us to truth:
Stand up and bless the Lord your God
Forever and ever!
Blessed be Your glorious name,
Which is exalted above all blessing and praise!
You alone are the Lord . . .
The host of heaven worships You (Nehemiah 9:5-6).

Pause for praise and thanksgiving and pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.



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November 6

Delight and Desires
"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Psalm37:4).

Delight in God has a transforming power and lifts a man above the gross desire of our fallen nature. Delight in Jehovah is not only sweet in itself, but it sweetens the whole soul, till the longings of the heart become such that the LORD can safely promise to fulfill them. Is not that a grand delight which molds our desires till they are like the desires of God? Our foolish way is to desire and then set to work to compass what we desire. We do not go to work in God's way, which is to seek Him first and then expect all things to be added unto us. If we will let our heart be filled with God till it runs over with delight, then the LORD Himself will take care that we shall not want any good thing. Instead of going abroad for joys let us stay at home with God and drink waters out of our own fountain. He can do for us far more than all our friends. It is better to be content with God alone than to go about fretting and pining for the paltry trifles of time and sense. For a while we may have disappointments; but if these bring us nearer to the LORD, they are things to be prized exceedingly, for they will in the end secure to us the fulfillment of all our right desires.



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November 2

1 Thessalonians 2

Paul's method of ministry is described. He communicates the Gospel with love and integrity.

INSIGHT

Whenever the message of your words and the message of your actions conflict, the message of your actions will always win out. You may speak gruffly but act kindly, and you will be known as having a hard shell but being a "softie" on the inside. Or you may speak well but act selfishly, and you will be known as a hypocrite. There is no accusation leveled at Christians more consistently than that of hypocrisy. Our lives must support the reality of the Gospel, or the Gospel will not be taken seriously and we will be resented. Paul writes: "We were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives" (v. 8). Unless we are willing to impart our lives in ministry, our words will mean little.

PRAYER

Thank the Lord and praise Him that He was willing to give us His very life:
Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders?



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10/24/13 2:54 P

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"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith." — Abraham Kuyper



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Read Luke 2
Highlights:

Birth of Jesus; shepherds' adoration; Simeon's and Anna's prophecies; return to Nazareth; Jesus among the doctors; ministry of John the Baptist; baptism of Jesus; genealogy of Jesus through Mary.
And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions (Luke 2:46).

Now His (Jesus) parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of Passover (Luke 2:41). Each year every man in Israel must celebrate three feasts: the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread; the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost; and the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 16:16). When He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem. . . . When they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind . . . and His (parents) . . . knew not of it (Luke 2:42-43).

In all of the preparation for returning to Nazareth, His parents, Mary and Joseph, were under the impression that He must be in the company of other boys in the caravan. Up to this time in His life, being perfect as He was, they had never had any reason to question His absolute obedience, submission, and cooperation. At evening they discovered He was not with them.

When Mary questioned Him: Why hast thou thus dealt with us? He answered: wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business? (2:48-49). I must be about My Father's business parallel with His words later in life: I must work the works of Him that sent Me (John 9:4). Jesus was always found doing His Father's will.

His devotion to being about His Father's business drew Him to the Temple, but His submission to His Father's will caused Him also to return to Nazareth, and was subject unto them (Luke 2:51). The One to whom all things are subject willingly submitted Himself to His earthly parents.

In this age of rebellion, there is a growing number of young people who do not submit to God ordained parental authority, The first Commandment with promise (Eph. 6:2). Many parents also rebel against restrictions which are placed on them on the job, at church, or in the community, setting a wrong example for their children.

We are told to: let every soul be subject unto the . . . power . . . of God (Romans 13:1-2). Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His Commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight (I John 3:22).

Thought for Today:

Talking with our Heavenly Father in prayer is vital to living a victorious Christian life.
Cross References:

For Luke 2:23: See Ex. 13:2,12. Luke 2:24: See Lev. 12:8. Luke 2:32: See Is. 9:2; 42:6; 49:6. Luke 3:4-6: See Is. 40:3-5.
Word Studies:

2:7 swaddling clothes, linen cloth wrapped around an infant; 2:46 doctors, the rabbis who were the instructors in the Law; 3:1 tetrarch, ruler of a fourth part or one of four rulers of a country or province.
Prayer Needs:

Pray for Internet Radio: in honor of Lee Rutherford's Birthday • Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Jerry Lewis (CA) and Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi (OH) • Country: Bahamas (284,000) in the northern portion of the West Indies • Major languages: English and some Creole • Religious freedom • 72% Protestant; 26% Roman Catholic; • Prayer Suggestion: Pray with a heart of righteousness, keeping the truth of God, and know He will hear your prayers (Is. 26:2).
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 139:16



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Read Mark 12
Highlights:

Wicked husbandmen; tribute to Caesar; Great Commandment; widow's mite; signs of the end.
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all? (Mark 12:28).

The presence of the One True God set Israel apart from all the nations of the earth and ensured their being a peaceful, prosperous, and powerful people. This glorious truth was found in Moses' key message: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord (Deut. 6:4). Israel was called not only to confess this to an idolatrous world, but they were also to condemn the world's false gods and destroy their worship centers.

In today's reading, this grand truth was made clear by our Lord Jesus Christ. When questioned by a scribe as to what was the greatest commandment, Jesus quoted Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first Commandment (Mark 12:29-30). Jesus commends this scribe who added to love Him (God) with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices ( Mark 12:33).

This scribe knew that character and conduct are of supreme importance and that the only conclusive evidence that a man has received genuine redemption and has experienced the renewing power of the Holy Spirit is in a life that is ruled by Christ's love in every aspect..

Today there is a tendency to give diligent attention to external conduct, worship services, and religious activities, and neglect the weightier matter of the law, judgment, mercy, faith and the willingness to be kind, patient, and loving (Matt. 23:23). To be acceptable, we must express ourselves in practical ways. To say that we love the Lord means that we truly worship Him with our whole being in obedience to His Word. If our love toward God is genuine, it will reveal itself in our language and our conduct with all those we meet.

How wonderful to realize we have an exalted position in Christ — we are privileged far beyond what earthly Israel ever knew — to know the One God of Israel, manifest in the flesh, our soon coming King who said: I and My Father are One . . . the Father is in Me, and I in Him (John 10:30, 38).

Thought for Today:

Do you pray daily for those in authority over you, that you may lead a quiet and peaceful life?



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October 9

1 Corinthians 15

Christ's resurrection is the basis for our resurrection, which is the final victory over sin.

INSIGHT

It is difficult for us to imagine what our resurrected bodies will be like. Yet there are snatches of information in the Scriptures that may give us some idea. In Matthew 17, for example, we read about Jesus, Moses, and Elijah who, having lost their earthly appearance, glow with a dazzling light. From this one brief example, we might conclude that our bodies will shine with dazzling light, that we will be free from gravity, that we may travel at fabulous speeds, and will be able to appear and disappear. C. S. Lewis once wrote that if we were to see our glorified selves coming down the street, we would be tempted to fall at our own feet and worship ourselves.

PRAYER

Praise the Lord that each believer will have a wonderful resurrected body:
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth. . .
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield



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"Disregard for the Servants!" — WJD! for 10/08/2013

"Listen to this story: There was a man that owned a vineyard. He put a wall around the field and dug a hole for a wine press. Then the man built a tower. He leased the land to some farmers. Then he left for a trip. Later, it was time for the grapes to be picked. So the man sent his servants to the farmers to get his share of the grapes. "But the farmers grabbed the servants and beat one. They killed another one and then killed a third servant with rocks. So the man sent some other servants to the farmers. The man sent more servants than he sent the first time. But the farmers did the same thing to the servants that they did the first time." — Matthew 21:33-36 (ERV)
Key Thought:

One of the primary designations of God's prophets in the Old Testament was the phrase "my servants the prophets." For the most part, God's prophets were feared, mistreated, cast out, and even murdered. Respect and honor were not usually reserved for them or given to them. But God loved them. God has a special place for them. Like we learned from John the Baptist, integrity and faithfulness do not insure that our discipleship will be easy. They do insure that God will reward us, but there is no guarantee that we will experience this reward in this life. If Jesus, the Son, was murdered by a hateful mob, can his servants expect anything else? The goal is faithfulness. We'll leave it to God to take care of everything and everyone else!

Today's Prayer:

Holy and righteous God, I entrust my life and my future to you. I confess to you that I struggle with my own weaknesses. Please strengthen me so I may serve you as a faithful servant no matter how others may treat me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.



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"The Master Needs Them!" — WJD! for 09/30/2013

Jesus and his followers were coming closer to Jerusalem. But first they stopped at Bethphage at the hill called the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of his followers into the town. Jesus said to the followers, "Go to the town you can see there. When you enter it, you will find a donkey tied there. With the donkey you will find a young donkey. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. If any person asks you why you are taking the donkeys, tell that person, 'The Master needs these donkeys. He will send them back soon.'" — Matthew 21:1-3 (ERV)

Key Thought:


Jesus commands and we are to obey. His word is powerful and full of authority. He didn't have to quote from the Rabbi's to speak about God's Word, he spoke on his own authority as God's Son. He could speak and order out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead, or calm the fiercest storm. So when he sends word that "The Master has need of them," then we had better pay attention. So I want to challenge you today, just as I'm challenging myself: "What in my life does the Master have need of today?" Like the donkey, it may make it back to its original "owner" when he is done. On the other hand, he may call us to give it up and surrender to his glory. The point is simple: when the Lord calls, we come; when the Lord asks, we obey; and when the Lord demands, we are obedient. Anything less and he is not our Lord, Master, King, and Savior.

Today's Prayer:


Give me a generous heart, O God, that I might not only follow your example but share generously and graciously with you just as you have already shared with me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.




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September 27

The Divine Light in Darkness
"For Thou wilt light my candle" (Psalm 18:28).

It may be that my soul sits in darkness; and if this be of a spiritual kind, no human power can bring me light. Blessed be God! He can enlighten my darkness and at once light my candle. Even though I may be surrounded by a "darkness which might be felt," yet He can break the gloom and immediately make it bright around me. The mercy is that if He lights the candle none can blow it out, neither will it go out for lack of substance, nor burn out of itself through the lapse of hours. The lights which the LORD kindled in the beginning are shining still. The LORD's lamps may need trimming, but He does not put them out. Let me, then, listen to the nightingale sing in the dark. Expectation shall furnish me with music, and hope shall pitch the tune. Soon I shall rejoice in a candle of God's lighting. I am dull and dreary just now. Perhaps it is the weather, or bodily weakness, or the surprise of a sudden trouble; but whatever has made the darkness, it is God alone who will bring the light. My eyes are unto Him alone. I shall soon have the candles of the LORD shining about me; and, further on in His own good time, I shall be where they need no candle, neither light of the sun. Hallelujah!



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"Servant!" — WJD! for 09/25/2013

"But it should not be that way with you. If one of you wants to become great, then he must serve you like a servant. If one of you wants to become first, then he must serve you like a slave." — Matthew 20:26-27 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Jesus' Kingdom operates by a different set of standards. Greatness is not found in position. Greatness is not found in the exercise of power. Greatness is not found in being served. Greatness is not found in commanding others. Greatness is not found in wealth. Greatness is not found in intellect. In Jesus' Kingdom, greatness is found in serving. If you are going to become greatest among Jesus' followers, you are going to serve your family Kingdom members. It's that simple. But in case we forget, Jesus gave us the cross to remind us that the path of obedience, the path to greatness, the path of glory is found in serving others while we serve God.

Today's Prayer:

Holy and powerful God, you humbled yourself to save me. How can I understand that, much less thank you for it? But I know you want me to show that same graciousness by serving my brothers and sisters in Christ. Make my eyes more able to see and my hands more willing to do for others what you would do for them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.



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September 22

Broad Rivers Without Galleys
"But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby" (Isaiah 33:21).

The LORD will be to us the greatest good without any of the drawbacks which seem necessarily to attend the best earthly things. If a city is favored with broad rivers, it is liable to be attacked by galleys with oars and other ships of war. But when the LORD represents the abundance of His bounty under this figure, He takes care expressly to shut out the fear which the metaphor might suggest. Blessed be His perfect love! LORD, if Thou send me wealth like broad rivers, do not let the galley with oars come up in the shape of worldliness or pride. If Thou grant me abundant health and happy spirits, do not let "the gallant ship" of carnal ease come sailing up the flowing flood. If I have success in holy service, broad as the German Rhine, yet let me never find the galley of self-conceit and self-confidence floating on the waves of my usefulness. Should I be so supremely happy as to enjoy the light of Thy countenance year after year, yet let me never despise Thy feeble saints, nor allow the vain notion of my own perfection to sail up the broad rivers of my full assurance. LORD, give me that blessing which maketh rich and neither addeth sorrow nor aideth sin.



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9/17/13 11:11 A

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"More than Fair" — WJD! for 09/17/2013

"But the man that owned the field said to one of those workers, 'Friend, I am being fair with you. You agreed to work for one silver coin. Right?'" — Matthew 20:13 (ERV)

Key Thought:


Sometimes, I fear, we forget who God is. We forget he is the vineyard owner. He doesn't manage it; he made it. He doesn't supervise it; he created it. God is God. We should serve because he is God. He has no reason to be gracious to us other than he loves us and is gracious. But we have no reason to expect, much less demand, for him to be gracious except that he promised to be gracious. If we were to receive what we deserved, we would be left out and ignored at best and humiliated and condemned by normal expectations. But God does not treat us as we deserve. He extends to us the grace to do something worthwhile with our lives. He provides the atonement for our sins. He voluntarily promises us life with him. So how can we whine or quarrel when he has given us much more than is fair?

Today's Prayer:


Holy and righteous God, Creator and Sustainer of all that is and was and ever will be. I praise you for your grace and mercy. I praise you for your holiness and might. I praise you for your plan of redemption in Jesus Christ. I praise you because you are God, and worthy of all praise. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, I long to praise you forever and ever. Amen.




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"What Else?" — WJD! for 09/09/2013

Jesus answered, "Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. But if you want to have life forever, obey the commands." The man asked, "Which commands?" Jesus answered, "'You must not murder anyone, you must not do the sin of adultery, you must not steal anything, you must not tell lies about other people, you must honor (respect) your father and mother,' and 'you must love other people the same as you love yourself.' " The young man said, "I have obeyed all these things. What else do I need?" — Matthew 19:17-20 (ERV)

Key Thought:


Wow, can you believe somebody actually had the audacity to say it! "I've obeyed all these, so what's next for me to check off my list so I can go to heaven?" We sometimes think a checklist might be nice so that we could check off the items we need to do to ensure our entry into heaven. Thankfully God didn't give us one. The Old Testament Law was a list of commands and demands God gave, but no one could fulfill it. All fell short. Even worse, many tried to judge themselves by comparing themselves with others to see how many more things on the list they could check off than the other person. Most sad of all, in the process of checking lists and comparing righteousness, many forgot to give their hearts to God. They made something beautiful and precious into religious formality and facade. The young man in this story falls into this last category. He was not a bad person. In fact, compared to most in his day he was probably most exemplary. But his list left little room for giving himself, and what he held most dear, to the Lord. It was the one "thing" he lacked, and it was everything, because he hadn't yielded his heart.

Today's Prayer:


Holy and loving Father, I offer you my heart this day. I want my heart to be wholly yours -- without shadows and without rival allegiances. I know there will be days in my future when I won't live up completely to that commitment, but with your Spirit's help and guidance, I will always try to yield my heart to you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.




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September 8

Broken and Smoking
"A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench" (Isaiah 42:3).

Then I may reckon upon tender treatment from my LORD. Indeed, I feel myself to be at best as weak, as pliant, as worthless as a reed. Someone said, "I don't care a rush for you"; and the speech, though unkind, was not untrue. Alas! I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head. I am bruised -- sorely, sadly bruised. There is no music in me now; there is a rift which lets out all the melody. Ah, me! Yet Jesus will not break me; and if He will not, then I mind little what others try to do. O sweet and compassionate LORD, I nestle down beneath Thy protection and forget my bruises! Truly I am also fit to be likened to "the smoking flax," whose light is gone, and only its smoke remains. I fear I am rather a nuisance than a benefit. My fears tell me that the devil has blown out my light and left me an obnoxious smoke, and that my LORD will soon put an extinguisher upon one. Yet I perceive that though there were snuffers under the law, there were no extinguishers, and Jesus will not quench me; therefore, I am hopeful. LORD, kindle me anew and cause me to shine forth to Thy glory and to the extolling of Thy tenderness.




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Today's Devotional

Meaning And Purpose

Recently, I have had a need for a computer technician. It has been amazing to watch a young person going through the different phases of fixing my computer, clicking keys to control the manifold systems with understanding and skill, conquering problems with patience and ease, and taking pleasure in work that is not without ups and downs. He knew at age ten about the skills he possessed and the career that he was going to pursue. Clearly written on him was the joy of work as God's blessing.

It caused me to think how everything around us marks our life and our character. Education levels vary and skills develop with age. Some have known early what their goals are. Some of us might be better in a specific trade, while others might be good at many trades. But we all have a calling and a gift for something!

However, King Solomon, in all his glory and riches, discovered that all of this is pointless.

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18 – So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. (NIV)

In other words, all our goals, pleasures, and accomplishments in this life lack meaning and purpose, because they all end in death. Only purposes that originate and find fulfillment outside this life have any meaning, because God is the One whose will gives life its significance.

God gives each one of us gifts and talents to be somebody to His glory and to make a difference in this world that God made for us to dwell in. When we live our lives without a relationship with God, we miss out on knowing His purpose for our lives. It is only when we receive Jesus that we fully gain eternal meaning for our lives.

All who receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour are blessed not only with salvation but with meaning and purpose for life to the glory of God. He equips us to be skilled to live out His love, serving as His fellow workers for the good of all, being blessed to be a blessing. Everything about Jesus affects our lives: how we think, how we live, and how we die. Jesus is about eternity, and He is eternal. Because of Jesus, we are eternal. That should become clear to us.

Life without God is worthless. Meaning and purpose in relationship to God means likeness to Christ and His grace upon us.

May we all know God's changing power in our lives and in the lives near and dear to us. Jesus came to restore us back to God. He said,

John 10:10b – I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (KJV)

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, thank You for Your mighty wisdom to bring good out of all who labour in love to Your glory. May the labourers be filled with love, wisdom, and knowledge, giving all glory to You through Christ Jesus from Whom is our being in this life and the next. Bless Your servants with Your peace, and may Your presence and power lift up all who walk in Your steps, boasting that You are the Lord! May our thankfulness show. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.



Thought for Today: Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify.




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Set Free!" — WJD! for 08/29/2013

"So the kingdom of heaven is like a king that decided to collect the money that his servants owed him. The king began to collect his money. One servant owed the king several thousand pounds of silver. The servant was not able to pay the money to his master, the king. So the master ordered that everything the servant owned should be sold, even the servant's wife and children. The money would be used to pay the king what the servant owed. But the servant fell on his knees and begged, 'Be patient with me. I will pay you everything I owe.' The master felt sorry for his servant. So the master told the servant he did not have to pay. The master let the servant go free. — Matthew 18:23-27 (ERV)

Key Thought:


Have you ever gotten yourself in a hole you couldn't get out of? Most of us have. When we find ourselves in that kind of situation, there is only one solution: grace. We need someone bigger than we are and with more resources than we have to redeem and ransom us from a situation we don't have the ability to salvage. Like the debtor in this parable, we were hopelessly over our heads and deep in debt. We had no resources to repay a small debt, much less the enormous resources needed to pay off the huge debt we owed. God, in Jesus, did it. He forgave us because of his mercy and grace. How can we ever thank him enough?

Today's Prayer:


Thanks, dear Father, for your enormous gift of grace that redeemed me and brought me into your family. I will live my life in thanks and praise for your gift. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.




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August 23

Love and Seek True Wisdom
"I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me" (Proverbs 8:17).

Wisdom loves her lovers and seeks her seekers. He is already wise who seeks to be wise, and he has almost found wisdom who diligently seeks her. What is true of wisdom in general is specially true of wisdom embodied in our LORD Jesus. Him we are to love and to seek, and in return we shall enjoy His love and find Himself. Our business is to seek Jesus early in life. Happy are the young whose morning is spent with Jesus! It is never too soon to seek the LORD Jesus. Early seekers make certain finders. We should seek Him early by diligence. Thriving tradesmen are early risers, and thriving saints seek Jesus eagerly. Those who find Jesus to their enrichment give their hearts to seeking Him. We must seek Him first, and thus earliest. Above all things Jesus. Jesus first and nothing else even as a bad second. The blessing is that He will be found. He reveals Himself more and more clearly to our search.... Happy men who seek One who, when He is found, remains with them forever, a treasure growingly precious to their hearts and understandings. LORD Jesus, l have found Thee; be found of me to an unutterable degree of joyous satisfaction.




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"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10


Chronological reading for today: Ezekiel 14 -16 Enjoy your time in the Word


"Like mother – like daughter”. I've heard that quote many times over the years both in comparing my mom to me as well as my daughter and me. It is always followed up with a smile and knowing nod because we truly are alike in so many ways.



That smiling nod disappeared this morning. It was shocking when I read what the Lord meant when He said, "‘Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter.'” (16:44) He was not praising the similarities between mother and daughter, He was condemning them! It was not a praise to be compared, it was a condemnation!



You see, the Israelites, who'd been given everything from their first breath to the clothes on their back, began to brag about their abilities, gifts and talents as if they themselves were responsible for obtaining them! They took all that God had given them and instead of worshipping Him they turned to idols of foreign gods; "prostituting” themselves and all their God-given blessings.



"And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.” (16:14)



"‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on
anyone who passed by and your beauty became his.” (16:15)



The Lord has given each of us our breath, our life and our abilities, talent and spiritual gifts. He wants us to use! them as His representative. "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,
as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.” (I Peter 4:10) We are to be faithful stewards of what God has given us – stewards who reflect God's grace to others.




I never want anyone, most especially the Lord, to compare me to my parents or my children in a negative sense. But I most assuredly want others to see the Christ-like similarities between myself and my Lord, "like Father-like daughter”! If you and I are using our gifts to reflect our Lord we are being Christ-like children. Then, when someone says, ‘Like Father–like daughter/son”, it'll be a true blessing to be so like Christ that others see it!




Who are you like today? Would the Lord be pleased that you are reflecting His grace in this world? Today you can be like your Father – sharing His grace and mercy with the world around you.

Like Father-like daughter/son.


Father, we all want others to see the similarities between you and us. We want to be a blessing to You as a child who imitates You. Remind us when we're wasting our life and affections on this world – convict us Lord! May it truly be said of us, ‘Like Father-like son/daughter”. In Jesus' name, who gave us Life Everlasting, AMEN!



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"Striving for Greatness" — WJD! for 08/18/2013

At that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" — Matthew 18:1 (ERV)

Key Thought:


In our dreams as children, we are the greatest. In our professions, we entertain illusions of our greatness. Even when we approach what is greatness in the eyes of others, we know that we have not arrived and we dream of even greater things to do and greater heights to climb.
So surely, the desire of greatness can't be all bad! The lust for greatness is a great motivator. But Jesus said that greatness, like life and so many other things, cannot be obtained by seeking what we desire. Instead, greatness is given when we follow Jesus and choose to live as servants!

Today's Prayer:


Almighty Father, give me the wisdom to value people by Jesus' standard of greatness and not the standard of those who do not know Christ and his sacrifice. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen




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8/15/13 5:45 P

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"Just a Mustard Seed" — WJD! for 08/15/2013

Then the followers came to Jesus alone. They said, "We tried to force the demon out of the boy, but we could not. Why were we not able to make the demon go out?" Jesus answered, "You were not able to make the demon go out, because your faith is too small. I tell you the truth. If your faith is as big as a mustard seed, then you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there.' And it will move. All things will be possible for you." — Matthew 17:19-20 (ERV)

Key Thought:


Small mindedness is not the worst of things. Smallness in faith is the worst thing. Small mindedness keeps us from seeing the grandeur, the expanse, and the plan of God. Small in faith means we see little more than what we can pull off ourselves.
Jesus had said that he gave his followers authority to cast out demons and cure diseases. The issue is not whether they were capable or had the power. They simply had very small faith. Now I'm not sure if the problem was caused by Jesus' absence, the seriousness of the boy's condition, the hardness of their hearts, or all three combined. However, they lost faith that Jesus would do what he said he would do.
So many of us lost that faith. Jesus reminds us that it doesn't take a lot -- just a mustard seed amount. If that's there, then incubated with faith it becomes powerful and mighty.

Today's Prayer:


Father, I ask you to grow my faith stronger and bolder. I believe dear Father, but help me believe even more! I will seek to serve you trusting in your supply of power and strength. I ask you from the depths of my soul in Jesus' name. Amen.




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8/12/13 10:39 P

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"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11



Chronological reading for today: Jeremiah 23:33-24:10 and 29:1-31:14 Enjoy your time in the
Word



As I sat down this morning to spend time with the Lord, one thing I asked of Him was to give me a heart that desired more of what He wants. It's too easy to be content with what's happening in life. It's too easy to not seek or be willing to be used in His will if it messes with what is on my planner for the day. And of course, as I opened the Word the Lord had a wonderful reply to my request!



Judah needed hearts that desired the Lords will so the Lord moved their hearts to desire what He wanted! But, it wasn't accomplished in the way Judah, or you or I, would have chosen! The Lord didn't just wave His hand over their hearts and suddenly they desired what He desired – no, he had them removed from their comfortable lives– removed from their land! He sent them to Babylon as captives!



Once they were removed, the Lord promised to move in their hearts, "I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (24:7) The 70 years of captivity is not what Judah wanted! But the Lord knew it was what they needed in order to deeply change their hearts.



What did the Lord ask of the captives during their time of captivity? "Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 29:6b-7) He wanted them to settle into their new life as captives, but! not only that, He wanted them to pray for their captures to prosper! What!! Pray for Babylon to prosper? Yes, that is what God wanted as He began to change His children's hearts to desire more of what He desired.



Then the Lord said what many of us love to quote, Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”



As much as we all love that verse and love the idea of prospering and living with hope, we need to understand how that "prospering and hope” came about. If I may paraphrase, the Lord was saying,



"I'm sending you into an uncomfortable, unknown place. I want you to prosper there and grow, yes, prosper and grow, even though it's not home, even though it's not comfortable! And I want you to pray for people who mistreat you, the people who hold you as a prisoner! Then, when your hearts are ready, I will draw you to seek after Me totally! I have so many plans for you – plans to bring back hope to your lives, plans for My
people to grow up knowing I am God! Yes, I'm bringing you home, but not until after you've learned to seek Me completely!”


God gave them hearts that desired His will, hearts that desired more of what the Lord wanted – and He did it by removing them from the comfortable life they'd known! Ok, that's not exactly what we're seeking when we quote Jeremiah 29:11, is it? Of course not! But it is wise for us to remember the content when we focus on a single verse, to realize what we're claiming and be aware of the content.

Do you want a heart that desires the Lord's will? Realize it may include moving you out of your comfort zone or doing something totally foreign to you. But it'll also involve you growing closer to! the hear! t of God and His will for your life! Seeking the Lord, before He has to use more eye-opening events to get your attention, is a much better way of living every day.


Surrender your heart and your will for today to the Lord and be ready to be used!
He has plans for you!



Father, we want hearts that truly desire Your will. We want to be able to be used by You. May we listen and obey before You have to take more aggressive steps to get our attention! Lord, work in our hearts to draw us even closer to You, serving You where You ask and surrendering our day to You. We love You, and ask in Jesus' name, AMEN!



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8/9/13 9:04 P

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"Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.” Jeremiah 13:15



Chronological reading for today: Jeremiah 12-15. Enjoy your time in the Word!


Today is my anniversary. Thirty-three years ago I cried and smiled as my dad walked me down that aisle toward Dennis. It was the beginning of a new relationship of love that neither of us had ever experienced.
We had expectations and dreams. And over the years we've experienced many things, but the one thing I can always say is, "He is the one I love!”

The Lord had expectations of His love relationship with Israel also. Often His relationship with them was described as a marriage – a love relationship. But it went so wrong! Their love for the Lord failed. And honestly, this morning I wasn't sure what to do with these passages we read. The Lord seemed to be so filled with anger toward His unfaithful bride.


I prayed, "What are we supposed to learn from this Lord? What do You want us to know or learn from
Your anger?” But then a line popped off the page, a line that moved me from seeing severe anger to recognizing deep grief.


"I will give the one I love into the hands of her enemies.” (12:7b)


The Lord was grieving! His precious ones, His bride, those He loved were gone; abandoning Him and their
bond, their relationship. He grieved over their going. He grieved over their choices. He grieved over their rejection of Him! The Lord was grieving and it was displayed in righteous anger.


The Lord gave Jeremiah a very physical picture of the His grief. He had Jeremiah take a brand new belt,
or today we would call it underwear, and hide it in the cleft of a rock. Later he returned fo! r it and was told to tie that dirty, soiled underwear on himself. Then the Lord compared that dirty underwear to His people who He chose to "wear” or bind to Himself,


"I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,' declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.'” (13:11b)


He wanted so much to have a clean and pure people bound to Himself, but instead they rejected Him.
And the Lord grieved! He wanted a Bride who would bring praise and honor to His name. But instead they became filthy from the pollution of the worshipping other gods. And the Lord grieved!


In our marriages it's difficult to be honest and face when we've hurt the one we promised to love "til death us do part”. Our pride prevents us from humbly seeking forgiveness from the spouse we've so grieved. And in the same way, when we've sinned against our Bridegroom, He grieves and He becomes righteously angry at our adulterous ways. But He waits for us to humbly admit our turning away from His love and He hopes for a renewal of our desire to praise and worship Him as our Bridegroom.



This morning, as difficult as this theme is to consider, we must ask ourselves, "Does the Lord grieve over me today? Does my Bridegroom's heart so hurt from my rejection of His will that His grief is expressed in His anger? Have I hurt the heart of the One who calls me ‘the one I love'?”



If you've allowed this world to pull you away from your Bridegroom, return! Humbly tell Him of your sin and
run back to Him – He's waiting.



If you're faithfully living for the Lord, how might you express your love to your Bridegroom Jesus Christ this day? I praise God for my 33 years of marriage, I praise Him even more the eternity I will share with my number! one Brid! egroom – Jesus Christ! He is the One I love above all!

Father, how we thank You for our Bridegroom Jesus Christ who chose to bind us to Himself by giving us His righteousness! We want to be a Bride who He loves and who worships Him rightly. Show us if we're becoming polluted by this world with unconfessed sin. We want to be a pure bride, a humble bride and bride in whom Jesus can be greatly pleased. In His name we ask this, AMEN!




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8/8/13 8:44 P

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"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in
pictures of silver." Proverbs 25:11


Have you ever taken stock of the words you speak? It is sad to say that most of us don't. Our verse talks about words that are "fitly spoken". Do we think about our words before we say them?

Most of the things in our lives we do we think about first before we do them, especially dressing ourselves. When we go to get dressed we think about whether our clothes are appropriate for where we're going. If we were on our way to a funeral, we normally wouldn't choose a bright red dress. We'd choose something black or subtle. If we were going out in public we would think whether our clothes matched before we put them on. We usually even think about whether something is comfortable before getting dressed. However when it comes to the words we clothe ourselves with we don't always think about whether they are appropriately chosen.

We wouldn't choose our clothes by reaching around in the dark and just grabbing something to put on and yet that is how we dress our mouths sometimes. We haplessly grab anything to say and think it will do.

Proverbs 29:20 says, "Seeth thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him."

How much better our entire lives would run and how much better our relationships with others around us would be if we really were careful about the words we chose to use every time we opened our mouths. Referring back to Proverbs 25:11, it states that fitly chosen words are "like apples of gold in pictures of silver." When we speak that way it's a beautiful thing! Imagine being in a museum and looking at a beautiful painting of golden apples in an ornately crafted silver picture frame. It is pleasing and breathtaking to look at. The Bible equates fit words with something that is beautiful and lovely so why should we treat what we say so lightly?

David prayed in Psalm 141:3, "Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips." Let's follow David's example and as we ask for God's help to keep our mouths and improve our words here are six things to ask ourselves.


A Are my words APPROPRIATE?

"A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!" Proverbs 15:23



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8/7/13 9:49 P

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"But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:24



Chronological reading for today: Daniel 2-3 and Jeremiah 7:1-8:3. Enjoy your time in the Word!


Daniel was one of the few. He honored God. He loved the Lord and trusted fully in the King of kings. And yet, Daniel and many other God-honoring Jews were swept away into captivity. Why? Because they were part of
the whole, part of the nation who'd "followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts” (Jer. 7:24a)!


Our nation, the land of free and the brave, sounds much like Judah and Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian captivity. We follow our own ways, we don't deal fairly with one another and innocent blood is being shed daily in abortion clients as well as on the streets and in homes all over the United States! We've become a nation that trusts in "deceptive words that are worthless” – believing that our actions of tolerance for sin and inclusion of all "religions” will be acceptable to the "greater power”. Yes, our country is very much like Judah and Jerusalem!



But, as Believers, we can choose to be like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, choosing to stand out by humbly worshipping and living out our faith! We can choose to kneel before our Lord and trust Him to deal with the sin of the nation we claim as home. We can rise above even while humbly bowing down. But we need to be ready - knowing that our actions will be watched and scrutinized - ready for condemnation, ready for ridicule, ready for the loss of relationships; ready for the backlash.



Backlash is what the three friends of Daniel suffered. They chose to kneel only before the true King and when jealous co-workers discovered their "grievous behavior” ! there was major backlash! They were dropped into a furnace of immediate death. They'd done nothing wrong in God's eyes, but their new country declared
them to be evil for not bowing down to a golden idol. That's a major backlash for faith in the one and only God! But, in the midst of that backlash they saw the Lord! They walked in the furnace with the One they worshipped! He rescued them and gave them a new place of honor in that foreign, godless country!


Is there hope for our country? Is there a chance that we can return to worshipping the Lord and honoring His laws above man's laws? Of course! Jeremiah declared what God spoke about this,



"This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you
live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.” Jer. 7:3-8


Yes, we can reform this country if we'll just:
Reform your ways and actions!

Stop trusting in deceptive words!

Deal justly with each other!
Care for the foreigner and orphan!
Stop murdering!
Follow no false gods!




Are you ready to stand up to the false gods of our country and kneel before the One true God? It may
cause backlash, but God will walk with you and I in the midst o! f that ba! cklash, protecting and guiding us into His will.

Father, we pray for our country right now. We want to be part of those who stand up to the evil and godlessness by kneeling before You – humbling ourselves as Your servants. Show us how to take a stand, in humility, so others may turn to You for salvation. Give us confidence and grace as we face the evils of our own country. Guide us Lord so we can be used by You to bring others to the knowledge of the only true God. We love You and ask this in our Lord's name, Jesus Christ. AMEN!



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8/6/13 4:00 P

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"Transition to the Cross" — WJD! for 08/06/2013

From that time Jesus began telling his followers that he must go to Jerusalem. Jesus explained that the older Jewish leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law would make him suffer many things. And Jesus told his followers that he must be killed. Then, on the third day, he would be raised from death. — Matthew 16:21 (ERV)

Key Thought:


As Jesus' disciples, our lives are a series of transitions strung together with prayer. The quality and impact of our lives is dependent upon God's blessing and our successful use of the resources and opportunities he places before us.
Jesus' ministry is very much the same. He now faces the greatest transition of his ministry as he moves toward the awful and yet glorious "opportunity" that lies ahead, the Cross. Only now is he ready to let folks call him Son of God, Son of the Righteous One, because he will forever redefine what it means to be Messiah, Christ, Son of God, and Savior.
In the process of redefining what people thought the role of Messiah, Jesus will also define what it means to be his disciple. His is the way of the cross -- service and salvation at great cost. As he journeys down this road, he looks over his shoulder to his disciples, to us, and says, "Follow me."

Today's Prayer:


Holy and loving God, I still marvel that you would subject yourself to the limitation of human flesh and the way of the cross. Please help me to be more willing to follow in the way of the cross and serve others redemptively, even if the price is high. lease give me courage for the journey and a heart more like Jesus so that I can see the eternal stakes in the lives of those I serve just as he did. In the name of my Savior and Sacrifice, Jesus, I pray. Amen.




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8/3/13 1:15 P

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"Christ, Son of God!" — WJD! for 08/03/2013

Then Jesus said to his followers, "And who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." — Matthew 16:15-16 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Peter's answer is simple but profound. "You are God's Son, the promised Messiah. You are the one God has promised for all these years. This is what I believe!"
Salvation today still hinges on fully relying on Jesus as our Savior. There is no one else on whom it can depend. The central issue in our lives then becomes whether or not we truly believe that Jesus Christ, our Lord, is the Son of God and whether or not we live our lives differently because of that faith!

Today's Prayer:

Almighty God, how can I ever begin to thank you for sending Jesus! Help me live with him as Lord over all of my life. In Jesus' mighty name I pray. Amen



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7/29/13 3:22 P

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"Moving Out" — WJD! for 07/29/2013

After they ate, Jesus told the people they could go home. Jesus got into the boat and went to the area of Magadan. — Matthew 15:39 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Sometimes religious insiders -- people like myself and other church goers -- get to thinking we have the inside track on things. We know the Scriptures. We know the songs in worship. We know the Sunday School lessons. We know the church lingo. Then along comes a series of events in Jesus' ministry that duly humbles us.
This whole series of events starts with a religious argument about religious nit picking over external signs of purity. But Jesus says, and the episodes show, that purity and faithfulness are heart issues. Jesus is much more widely received and embraced in non-Jewish territory at this time in his ministry than he was ever embraced in the religious establishment. Those who are "not clean" repeatedly prove their hunger for Jesus, God's grace, and faith.
For me, these stories are powerful reminders why we must pursue un-churched seekers and continually add new Christians to our church family. They ask questions that need to be asked. They break all those traditional rules so we have to examine them again to see if they're Biblical. They often exhibit a more passionate and zealous faith. I don't know about you, but I really need to be around that kind of faith.

Today's Prayer:

Holy and righteous Father, thank you for passionate seekers of your truth. Use me as an instrument to bring them closer to you. Use them to remind me and teach me of the passionate joy of salvation and of faith that won't let go of your grace. In the name of my Savior, Jesus, I pray. Amen.



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7/23/13 6:22 P

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"What's Inside!" — WJD! for 07/23/2013

Peter said, "Explain to us what you said earlier to the people." Jesus said, "You still have trouble understanding? Surely you know that all the food that enters a person's mouth goes into the stomach. Then that food goes out of the body. But the bad things a person says with his mouth come from the way a person thinks. And these are the things that make a person wrong. All these bad things begin in a person's mind: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, saying bad things against other people. These things make a person wrong. But not washing his hands before he eats does not make a person wrong." — Matthew 15:15-20 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Jesus had to remind his disciples of this repeatedly -- it's what's inside your hearts that counts most. This is not because the interior world of the heart is isolated from actions -- we can think something nice, feel something nice, and let feelings and thoughts take the place of actions. No, it's precisely because this interior world always has a way of revealing itself in behaviors that we must keep our hearts pure.
Jesus is after right actions, good deeds, decent behaviors, and honorable character. But these things are ultimately and consistently reproducible because we keep our hearts pure and are committed to honor God in the way we live.

Today's Prayer:

O Lord God, Almighty Creator and Sustainer, why you choose to love me with your grace is a great mystery to me. You know my thoughts. You know my motives. While I am working on making those areas of my life more holy, I recognize that I need the cleansing and power of your Holy Spirit in the inner most places of my existence. Cleanse my heart and conform my thoughts to your will. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.



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7/22/13 11:05 P

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"Miss the Ditch!" — WJD! for 07/22/2013

Then the followers came to Jesus and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees are angry because of what you said?" Jesus answered, "Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted himself will be pulled up by the roots. Stay away from the Pharisees. They lead the people, but they are like blind men leading other blind men. And if a blind man leads another blind man, then both men will fall into a hole." — Matthew 15:12-14 (ERV)
Key Thought:

The powerful implication of Jesus' words for his followers in today's passage is immense. The Pharisees were regarded as the most righteous of all people in Jesus' day. They believed in resurrection and reward from God for those who adopted their form of righteousness. Because of their reputation and power, the disciples were worried that Jesus would alienate them -- and he not only alienated them, many of them actually hated Jesus and regarded him as their enemy. But Jesus' words remind us of one essential truth: If it is not from God, it won't last! In fact, if something pretends to be from God, but isn't, it will lead to disaster.
In a world of political correctness, multi-culturalism, and pluralism, it is easy to confuse respect for the people of a culture with an acceptance of that culture's religious truth. In Matthew, Jesus demands that we come to him for truth and reject ANY religion that promotes formalism, ritualism, or externalism at the expense of inner purity and true transformation from God.

Today's Prayer:

Righteous and holy Father, please help me discern false religions and false teachers, no matter how popular or powerful. I want to have a pure heart, transformed by your grace and obedient to your will. Forgive me of my sin and create in me a pure heart, humble and obedient to your will. Please help me exhibit this purity in my speech, my attitude, my thoughts, my motives, and my actions. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.



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Read Proverbs 4 – 7
Highlights:

How often have we heard someone say they wished they knew what they know now when they were young? Hear the instruction of a father (4:1) to spare the child heartache and misery. The pitfalls of wicked living, bad company, immorality, and temptation. Don't miss the right way to live (4:18,20-22)! Mark down the seven things that the LORD hates (6:16-19). Again a simple person is pointed out and his destination predicted (7:7; 7:24-27).
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil (Prov. 4:25-27).

When we waver off of the Lord's path, we are headed for certain trouble. That is what the writer is warning us of here in these Scriptures. We should make these verses a must to be applied to our lives.

There is great wisdom in these words. He instructs us to keep our eyes centered on the direction we are traveling. Of course, this assumes we are on the Lord's intended road for our lives. If we follow His road, He will make our way clear. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth (Luke 3:5).

The writer further goes on to say not to walk in evil ways or evil places. We must be careful not only to watch our steps, but to walk the path that the Lord shows us. Many times we may know the right way to go and still not head in that direction. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).

The enemy will use every tool at his disposal to draw us off the path the Lord has us walking down. He will entice us to sin in more ways than one. Often times, the devil will come from many angles. He has many devices in his repertoire of weapons. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (I John 2:16).

As believers, sometimes in our decision making we use the thought process of just choosing the lesser of two evils. That is flawed thinking. There is always a right choice. Sometimes the right choice might not seem like a good choice, but it doesn't have to as long as it's a God choice.

Where do we find the answers and directions we need in life? We find them in our prayer life by the guidance of the Holy Ghost and in our study time with the Word of God. In these, we find the path that the Lord would have us follow.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (I Cor. 10:13).

Thought for Today:

Godly wisdom gives the power to overcome temptation. (Prov.4: 11-13)
Christ Revealed:

By the teacher of wisdom (Prov. 4:7,11). Christ is the Teacher in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3).
Word Studies:

4:12 straitened, hindered; 4:13 fast, firm; 4:24 froward mouth, deceitful talk; 5:3 strange, adulterous; 5:6 moveable, irresponsible, unstable; 5:19 ravished, delighted; 5:22 holden with the cords of his sins, ensnared, held fast by the control of his sins; 6:12 naughty, worthless, wicked; 6:26 whorish woman, prostitute; 7:10 subtil, deceitful; 7:18 solace, delight, enjoy.



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"Why? Don't!" — WJD! for 07/18/2013

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus. They came from Jerusalem and asked Jesus, "Why do your followers not obey the rules given to us by our great people that lived before us? Your followers don't wash their hands before they eat!" — Matthew 15:1-2 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Isn't it interesting how some criticisms come disguised as questions! "Why don't?" The Pharisees and teachers of the Law weren't looking for truth, but looking to set a trap. In fact, most of their questions to Jesus and criticisms of Jesus are of the "Why?" and "Don't!" variety. Always critical, never seeking. Always condemning, never redeeming. For them, it was all about rules. Their rules! Of course, when rules and laws predominate, whoever gets to enforce the rules gets to determine who is good and who is not. That's nice, because those trying to impose rules never have to get around to worrying about being godly themselves.
There is a key warning for us here, too! We must avoid the "Why?" and "Don't!" heart in ourselves. We can get so pre-occupied with pointing out everyone else's faults that we never get around to our own. In the process, like the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, we will miss the truth and the truth tellers while protecting ourselves and our traditions.

Today's Prayer:

Father, please remove all of my cynicism, pettiness, and callousness to your children. Use me to be redemptive and not antagonistic. Deliver me from being hard headed and hard hearted. Through the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.



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"On the Savior, Not the Storm" — WJD! for 07/15/2013

Peter said, "Lord, if that is really you, then tell me to come to you on the water." Jesus said, "Come, Peter." Then Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. But while Peter was walking on the water, he saw the wind and the waves. Peter became afraid and began sinking down into the water. Peter shouted, "Lord, save me!" Then Jesus caught Peter with his hand. Jesus said, "Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?" — Matthew 14:28-31 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Peter is catching on, isn't he? He knows that if Jesus demands something of us, he also empowers us to do it! But like us, Peter gets distracted with all the problems in doing what Jesus asks, all the things that can go wrong in his dream of faith, and he becomes afraid.
I've heard repeatedly that the command for God's people not to be afraid is the most often found command in Scripture. While I can't verify that this is true, I know Jesus does have to say it over and over again: "Have courage; don't be afraid!" But this time, fear gets the better of faith and Peter sinks. This lapse doesn't ruin Peter because he knows where salvation is found. But Jesus does let Peter know that it's getting time for him to have a bigger faith.
So what about you today? Where do you need help? Not fearing? Launching out in faith? Calling on Jesus for help? Developing a stronger faith? Keeping your eyes and faith on Christ and not the problems all around? This is one of those days where there are both rebuke and encouragement for each of us no matter where we are on the journey! So let's hear Jesus' call to us and respond!

Today's Prayer:

Almighty and holy God, give me courage to believe and keep my eyes focused on Jesus and not on the problems that seem so large. I believe you long to do great things in our times today. Please use me as a vessel in your service and to your glory. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.



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ANGELREJOICES54's Photo ANGELREJOICES54 Posts: 16,252
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"Lack of Faith" — WJD! for 07/08/2013

And the people refused to accept Jesus. But Jesus said to the people, "Other people give honor to a prophet. But people in that prophet's own town or own home don't give honor to him." The people there did not believe in Jesus. So Jesus did not do many miracles there. — Matthew 13:57-58 (ERV)
Key Thought:

Jesus is all powerful, but we can limit his power by our lack of expectation, by our wimpy faith! His work is hidden, sometimes even denied, to those who refuse to believe in Jesus' power. So let's be a people who not only pray, but pray with faith and expectation, anticipating Jesus' mighty work and providential surprises.

Today's Prayer:

Holy Father, forgive me for the times I have limited Jesus' power by not believing in his power to act, minister, and save. Give me a heart of faith with the courage to expect Jesus to do great things in my life to bless others and bring you glory. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.



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