Archive for August, 2012

The Heartbeat Of Jesus

Friday, August 31st, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE

“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Loving others is the call of every Christian. It is the essence of what Jesus stood for. It is the “proof” that what we believe is true. Paul is writing to the church in Rome that they must practice hospitality by sharing with those in need. This was not optional. It was what people understood when Christians were called followers of “the way.” Jesus lived a live of self sacrifice and love for others that has stood the test of time. It is what people love about Jesus. It is what they should love about His people. James puts it this way, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” Indeed it is no good. It does not represent the Jesus of the scriptures. John says this loud and clear when he wrote, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” Can it get any clearer than that? Paul writes, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Loving others is our calling, our occupation, our duty, our responsibility; it is our privilege, it is the least we can do for our Savior.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, help me to love the way You loved. Help me to share the way you shared. Help me give the way You gave. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, empower me, give me Your heartbeat I pray.
AMEN

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Options

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Romans 12:12 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When things go bad, plans fail, sickness comes, and the economy tanks, there are options. You could despair, get angry, quit or curse God. You could deny what happened or blame others. You could get depressed, despondent or anxious. Or you could listen to what Paul suggests. He gives us three choices. He writes that you can choose to be joyful, patient and faithful. You can choose to be joyful because you have hope. Hope is the equalizer. It is the force behind miracles. Before faith, there is hope. You can choose hope and all the joy it brings. You could also choose to be patient. In the midst of your predicament you can reserve judgment, defer decisions, wait action. You can choose to be patience and trust in God. And then you can pray. Not just a prayer but a mindset. A trust, an obedience, a dialog with God. You trust, you cry out – you choose to be faithful in prayer. So today, when the opportunity presents itself, choose to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to trust You more. Help me to be joyful in the hope that You give me. Help me to be patient with the problems I find myself in. Help me pray faithfully, trusting in Your power and love.
AMEN

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Renew Me

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
II Corinthians 4:8,9,16 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What are you going to do today? What’s on your list? It is hard to get everything done when we are stressed and under the gun. But what about those things that never made your list? How will they ever have a chance? Paul knew what it was like to have struggles. He had a lot to do. A lot of churches looked to him for leadership. He was concerned about all the new converts and whether they were getting the right teachings. On top of all that, Paul had much contention and hardships as he ministered. He said that he was hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. It would have been horrible to work under those conditions except for one thing. And Paul had it on his list of things to do. He took the time to be inwardly renewed every day! Look at what he wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Paul took the time to get to know God. He allowed the Holy Spirit to minister to him. He came to God and did not leave until the work of renewing was done. It was on the top of his list of things to do. Is it on yours? Today, find some time to let God minister to you. Be purposeful and deliberate in getting to know God and He will renew you day by day.
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Holy Spirit, I come to You today and ask You to renew me. Renew my thoughts, renew my attitudes, renew my passion. Fill me, guide me, direct my path. Renew me today I pray.
AMEN

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Zeal

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (NIV)
Romans 12:11 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
As much as we want, we cannot live on last week’s provisions. Sooner or later we need to do something to replace the food and water that we have already consumed. Paul knew that this was true of our spiritual life. We may have had a dramatic “born-again” experience, but sooner or later the “honeymoon” wears off. We may have had a mountain top experience of worship and revival but soon we come back home. There needs to be more. We need the consistent daily grow and maturity in our spiritual life. But maturing doesn’t come naturally. If we are going to grow in Christ, we must decide everyday to be proactive. We must be zealous about our spiritual life. It is this zeal that causes us to pray, meditate and worship. It is this zealous following of Jesus Christ that raises our spiritual fervor resulting in serving Him with abandonment. Today, determine not to be lacking in zeal about your spiritual life. Decide to do whatever it takes to keep your spiritual fervor, serving Him with all you have.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me live for You. Help me be zealous in all that You ask me to do. Help me know You, love You, worship You and serve You. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit I pray! In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Living Love

Monday, August 27th, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Romans 12:10 (NIV)
 
TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul starts Romans 12 by telling us to present ourself as a living sacrifice to God. Then he shares how we can do it. We serve God sacrificially by loving one another. It is the Christian trademark. It is the distinguishing call of Jesus to all His disciples. If we follow Jesus then we must be devoted to one another in brotherly love. This is a love that puts others above ourself. It is this form of community that the world is looking for. It is this kind of love that completes us as human beings. This unconditional love that we offer each other allows us to mature into the kind of people God has called us to be. Praise God that you have been called into this wonderful fraternity called His church. Bless God that you can be part of a fellowship where you love each other dearly putting the needs of each other above your own. Today follow Jesus, devoting yourself to loving others.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank You for Your love for me. Thank You that You have called me to the same kind of love. Help me devote myself to others around me. Help me honor others above myself. Help me love like You do.
AMEN

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Love Others

Friday, August 24th, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”
Romans 12:20 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul quoted this verse from the book of Proverbs. It exemplified the way Christ wanted us to live. Paul preceded this proverb with, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge.” He follows it with, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Paul was telling the Church in Rome, the same city where they were persecuting and killing Christians, the same town where he was imprisoned as he penned this verse, to love your enemies. And love they did. Tertullian reported that the Romans would exclaim, “See how they love one another!” Justin Martyr explained Christian love this way: “We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it.” Clement, wrote of Christians, “He impoverishes himself out of love, so that he is certain he may never overlook a brother in need.” God calls us to no lesser love. We must witness to our generation by word and action. Today, ask God to give you an open heart and eyes to love others in a supernatural way, to love when He calls you to.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, fill me with the Holy Spirit so I can see what You see, hear what You hear and feel what You feel. Help me to love others with Your heart.
AMEN

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God Is So Good

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE
“O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.”
Psalms 86:5-7 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When you pray, what are you conscious of? Are you aware of God and all His wonderful attributes? David was. He knew that when he was in trouble he could cry to God and that God would answer him. He believed deep in his heart that God was good. God was ready to forgive him of any and every sin. He knew that God was full of unfailing love. What do you believe about God? Today, think about God and all His goodness. Meditate on His faithful love and His mercy toward you. Let God’s attributes burn into your heart until you can say with David, “I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
God, You are so good. You are all loving. You are full of mercy and forgiveness. Thank You for hearing my prayers and answering me when I call.
AMEN

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Really Knowing

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,”
Ephesians 1:17-18 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
God want us to know Him. And He has created us with a great capacity for knowledge. As we grow in Him our knowledge also grows. Paul expresses this in today’s verses. He uses three different words for knowing or knowledge. First he asks God to give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. This is where we start to learn and acquire knowledge about God and gain insight and understanding. But God doesn’t want us to stop there. Paul also says that we should gain this wisdom so we can “know” Christ better. This is a more personal intimate knowledge. This is experiential knowledge. How we need to move from our head to our heart and get to know our savior in a more personal way. Paul finishes by praying that more than knowledge; that the eyes of our heart would be enlightened so we would “know” the hope to which He has called us. This is our deepest felt knowledge. It is akin to the Biblical phrase, “being fully persuaded.” It is an assurance. The way they expressed it in the original language is, “I know that I know, that I know!” Oh that we would grow to this level of assurance. That our experience with God would result is such a way that we can say about God and His love for us, and all the promises that He has made; that we are confident in Him, that we are full of assurance, that there is no doubt, that we are fully persuaded, that we know that we know, that we know. 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me know You. Help me grow in my knowledge and in my experience with You. Open the eyes of my heart so I can say with confidence that I know that I know, that I know You.
AMEN

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Dear Jesus

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:15-16 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Who do you think Christ was? Who do you think He is today? It matters what you think. Was He just a good moral teacher? Was He someone who did miracles back then, but not today? Is He something aloof, an object of our ritualistic worship, but not someone I can really relate to? Peter told the real story. He started as a fisherman leaving his nets behind to follow this promising teacher. It wasn’t long before He was overwhelmed by all that was going on. Jesus had incredible teachings that impressed even His biggest skeptics. No one taught with such authority. But more than the teachings were the miracles. People were rising from the dead. Blind men were seeing. The lame were walking. And the demons, they were fleeing at the mention of His name. Then there was His moral authority. No one had ever loved others the way He did. No one had ever taught about love in the way He did. Peter couldn’t help it. He had to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Me? I say He is my Lord and Savior, ruler of my life, redeemer of my soul, and the lover of my very being. He is my dear Jesus. Who is He to you?

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, thank You for all You are. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your salvation. You truly are the Christ, the Son of the living God and I praise and worship You.
AMEN

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Grace

Monday, August 20th, 2012

TODAY’S VERSE
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Where would we be if we had to save ourself? If we stood before God, what would we say? What could we say that would ever prove that we deserve eternal life? Paul makes it clear that our forgiveness is not a reward for good behavior. No, it is a choice that God makes on our behalf. He forgives us and accepts us because of His great love for us. And yet, in our own way we all try to justify ourself. In his book, “Surrender To Love”, Dr. David Benner shares, “Grace is totally alien to human psychology. We want to get our house in order and then let God love and accept us. – I want to be able to contribute something to the deal, my faith, my effort, my love, my belief. But the bottom line is that Perfect Love meets me where I am and asks only that I open my heart and receive the love for which I long.” Today, quit striving to save yourself. Christ has already provided a way for you to be in perfect relationship with God. Accept His love. Accept His gift of salvation. Accept His grace.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, thank You for providing everything I need to be Your child. Thank You for everything I need to have all my sins washed away. I know I can’t earn Your forgiveness; instead, it is Your free gift to me. I accept Your forgiveness; I accept Your grace toward me. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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