Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Jeremiah 17:5-8
This is what the LORD says: 
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man, 
who depends on flesh for his strength 
and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 
He will be like a bush in the wastelands; 
he will not see prosperity when it comes. 
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, 
in a salt land where no one lives. 
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, 
whose confidence is in him. 
He will be like a tree planted by the water 
that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes; 
its leaves are always green. 
It has no worries in a year of drought 
and never fails to bear fruit."

My Wise and Wonderful One, 
You are an amazing word artist. Your illustrations are quite clear. I see a crossroad with two distinct choices: I can fear people or I can fear You. 
If I choose to depend on my family and friends to make difficult decisions, and carry me through my dilemmas, I'll be dry and lifeless like a stunted shrub in the desert. Impoverished and spiritually weak, I won't have any strength to be productive. My hard work will be in vain and my blessing basket will be empty. 
However, if I choose to rely on You, the Divine Gardener, I will flourish like a lush green tree planted by a gaily flowing spring of fresh water. Spending time in Your Word, my Bible, will nourish and strengthen me. When I allow others who are rooted in You to be my support system, I won't bend and break under the pressure of problems. Drawing deep into the steady Source of Living Water, Your Spirit flowing in and through me, I'll be exceptionally fruitful in scorching seasons of intense pain. Not only will I have enough vigor to meet my own needs, but I'll also have energy to meet the needs of others.

Thank You for Your wise instruction. At the crossroads, I want to make the right choice: to follow Your Word and Your wisdom. Please give me a greater desire to dig deeper into Your precepts so that I'll take the way of Your will during tough and troubling times. I want to confidently face challenges, believing that You will bless me with peace, protection, and power in Your holy presence for the honor and glory of Your blessed name. Amen.

The more we allow those who ridicule God to affect our thoughts and attitudes, the more we separate ourselves from the Source of nourishment. Delight in spending time in God's Word and develop a support system of people who love the Lord. Then, you will have the strength to stand up under the pressure of difficult people, problems and pain. You will be blessed with the delicious juicy fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Full of the Spirit, your countenance will be happy even when your heart is sad.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Proverbs 24:30-34

One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones, 
and then passed the vineyard of a lout;
They were overgrown with weeds, 
thick with thistles, all the fences broken down.
I took a long look and pondered what I saw; 
the fields preached me a sermon and I listened:
"A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, 
sit back, take it easy-do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, 
with poverty as your permanent houseguest!" MSG 
 Proverbs 24:30-34

Merciful Lord,
Your Words paint a powerful picture that cause me to pause and ponder what my life will look like if I neglect spending time with You. Indifferent and inattentive to Your Word, my life will fall apart like the broken down fence. Help me, dear Lord, guard against neglect. I don't want to become sluggish or lazy in my walk with You. 
O God, Your Word is Miracle Grow for my withering soul. Every time I read it, it perks me up, filling me with purpose. It prevents sin from scorching me. When I miss a day or two, I begin to imperceptibly droop. When I miss three or four days, I really start sagging downward. Without it, I'll eventually die spiritually.

Please dear Lord, help me to be responsible in my daily walk with You. I want a rich life with YOU as my permanent house guest. In my life Lord, be glorified. Amen.

How is your relationship with Christ? Are you guarding it carefully? Are you leaning on Him in the hard times, or have you abandoned Him? 
Jesus loves you! He hasn't turned from you. You're redeemed and forgiven. He's wants to restore you. Will you allow Him to? Cry out to Him in prayer. He will hear you. Open your Bible and seek Him. He will be there.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

John 15: 9-11

John 15: 9-11
Jesus said, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

Holy Gardener & Divine Vinedresser,
Cultivate my heart to produce exuberant, extravagant, extraordinary love. I long for Your amazing love to exude from my pores so that it will be seen and felt by everyone I come in contact with. Saturate me with Living Water. Fertilize me with Your Word. Graft me permanently to You so that I will produce delicious juicy fruit for Your kingdom. As I grow in my relationship with You, submitting to Your snips and clips, Jesus will propagate from me into the lives of others. 
Filled with Jesus Joy, my face will shine, my eyes will sparkle, my mouth will laugh, and my feet will dance. O Holy Gardener, please shape me in such a way that people will keep coming back to pluck more of the plump, luscious fruit produced from my branch. Create in those around me a ravenous hunger for more Jesus Juice! Make me a healthy source of spiritual nourishment. Release the flow of Divine Sap through the branch of my life as I rest and grow on Your glorious Vine. I am Yours O Lord, because of Jesus! Amen

Do you hear the words of Jesus? He says that He loves you. Do you believe Him? You will demonstrate that you believe Him when you obey His commands. If you remain in his loving hands and submit to doing His will His way, you will produce extravagant love and exuberant joy.  Apart from Him your branch will be brittle and broken by bitterness and fear. Claim God's promise and release the everlasting sweet "sap" of His Spirit into your life. 
David Wilkerson wrote in his World Challenge Pulpit Series: "Listen to these words sung by David: 'Glory and honor are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.' (1 Chronicles 16:27). The root word for 'gladness,' in the New Testament, means 'jumping for joy.' God's heart leaps for joy over those enjoying the fullness of perfect love. Let the Lord put gladness in you now, today. Your glad heart will 'shock and awe' all those who are fearful around you. 
Right now the world is drowning in fear. Humankind trembles over global warming, fear of terrorist attacks, nuclear warfare, a shaky economy, the AIDS plague, mass murders, the rise of Islam, political chaos, widespread addictions to drugs, alcohol, and porn."
If we remain in His loving hands, we will not be afraid, but glad. Our lives will produce the fullness of God's perfect love and a world full of worried witnesses will wonder why we are so happy. Remain in Love.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

John 15:5

John 15:5
Jesus said, "If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Heavenly Gardener- 
I BELIEVE You are the Divine Vinedresser. Jesus is the never ending Vine with deep roots. I am the branch. Apart from Him I am nothing but deadwood. Connected to Him, the sweet sap of the Spirit flows to my soul producing succulent fruit. 
Please cultivate me with more of Your extravagant love so that I'll have a soft heart. When I'm shaded by the darkness of difficulty, put a sunny smile on my face that reflects the joy of Jesus. 
Expand my harvest of peace as I yield to Your painful pruning. Produce in me patience that becomes more luscious with each irritating snip. Use the clippings from my branch to transplant kindness in the dirt of despair, and goodness in the soil of sorrow. 
Pick me up and cleanse me, Jesus! Saturate me with the fertilizer of Your Word and grow my faith. As I spend time under Your care, please keep the soil of my soul tender and teachable. Keep pulling the weeds of faulty thinking that threaten to choke my mind. O please, Divine Gardener, do whatever it takes to grow everlasting fruit from me for the glory of Your kingdom. Amen.

Ask the Heavenly Gardener to cultivate everlasting fruit from your branch on the Vine. It will require you to succumb to His painful sheers as He snips and shapes the unruly shoots. Fully surrendered to His care, you will be astonished at the incredible crop Christ creates from you.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Psalm 89:15-17, 24

Psalm 89:15-17, 24
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD. 
They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation.
They exult in your righteousness. 
You are their glorious strength.
Our power is based on your favor. 
My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him,
and he will rise to power because of me. NLT

O Lord God Almighty!
          There is none like You!
                   You are my glory and my strength! Walking in the light of Your presence, I'm pleased to proclaim Your wonderful works. Pondering what You've done sets my heart a dancing! I was weak and unworthy of even the simplest spiritual assignment when You chose me, changed me and charged me with telling people everywhere about Your unmistakable reputation for changing lives.

An ordinary person with no extraordinary talent or training, I was inadequate and unqualified for the job. Nevertheless, You persistently pursued me, promising to empower me. When I finally stopped and surrendered, You sent the Holy Spirit to train me. Using the Bible, You taught, tested and equipped me. In the brilliant light of Your presence, I learned to trust Your wisdom and seek Your advice. Soon my empty mind was filled with knowledge and my hollow heart was filled with Your unending love. Your vivacious energy gave me the courage and confidence to conquer my fears.

Before I knew it, I was doing the impossible. Surprisingly, my accomplishments were exceeding my expectations! Knowing who You are and what You can do was the secret to my success. Apart from You I am incompetent and incapable, but with You I can achieve unbelievable things. All that I am and have I owe to You, my Glorious Strength. Blessed be Your wonderful name! Amen.

God calls us to perform tasks we can't do with our own brains or abilities to prove his unfailing love and faithfulness. What extreme challenge has He given you? Has He asked you to take the test of sickness and suffering? Or are you experiencing a job loss and financial challenges? Maybe your assignment involves legal matters that are complex and beyond your comprehension. Perhaps He's asking you to move to a new job, state, or country. Whatever the assignment, stop arguing and agree to the task. Admit your weakness and ask Him to teach, test and equip you. As you learn to trust His wisdom and seek His advice, you too will accomplish unbelievable things and people everywhere will witness God's unmistakable reputation for changing lives. 
Apart from Him you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Monday, May 22, 2017

John 4:23-24

John 4:23-24 
 Jesus said, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Father in Heaven,
I BELIEVE You are omnipresent. I can worship You any time and any place. You don't care WHERE I worship. You're interested in HOW I worship. With Your Spirit hovering over me, I can worship in the driest desert, in the darkest valley, on the highest mountain, in the quiet country, in the busy city, in my home or in my car or in my office. Wherever I am, You are there helping me worship. 
According to Your Word, My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You have filled my heart with love, with joy and with Your Spirit.  
Full of Your Presence, when I read my Bible, You will teach me, tucking the truth in the hollow of my heart. When the truth is in me, I can worship You in Spirit by obeying Your commands. Every where I go, every thing I do, think, or say can be a delightful act of worship when I deliberately chose to follow You. Because I am full of You, I will make music in my heart, meditate on Your Words, and pray without ceasing, always giving thanks to You, in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Everything you do can be an act of worship when You are filled with the Holy Spirit and the truth of His Word. Worship Him today with everything that's in you.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Psalm 16:7-8

Psalm 16:7-8
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; 
even at night my heart instructs me. 
I have set the LORD always before me. 
Because he is at my right hand, 
I will not be shaken.

Secure and Steadfast God,
I BELIEVE ALL You do is just and good. Thank You for graciously counseling me. Your timeless Words are very wise. Your timely advice is always right. Teach me to make good decisions that will please You. Tune my ears to recognize Your Voice, my mind to understand Your Words, and my heart to obey Your Ways. When I'm too exhausted to think clearly, in the silence of my soul speak to me. It's sure to be another exhilarating day with more unexpected twists and turns.
Please go ahead of me. I'm utterly dependent on Your wise guidance to lead me through uncertain situations. It is vital that I remain in constant communication with You by reading my Bible and praying. You know the way that will lead me to all Your hidden promises. Willingly, I'll take Your strong right hand and walk through briars, thorns, and thickets. I won't try to avoid pain, trouble and failure. Connected to You, they won't hurt me. 
Dear Lord, please give me the courage to hold on tightly, trusting that You know exactly where You're taking me. Following Your reliable instructions, I'll be secure and steadfast. Looking forward to the riches of heaven, eternity with You and everlasting happiness, my heart and lips will cheerfully sing a sweet song to the glory of Your holy, awe-inspiring name. Amen.

I need God's counsel for __________________________________________. Pray, asking Him for wisdom. Open Your Bible and listen to His Voice. Obey His instruction and He will reward You with Words from heaven - the Truth! Then, you, too, will know that He is trustworthy and dependable. Praise Him! 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Psalm 78:9-11

Psalm 78:9-11
The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows,
turned back on the day of battle;
they did not keep God's covenant
and refused to live by his law.
They forgot what he had done,
the wonders he had shown them.

O Great & Mighty God,
Your Word is a swift, sharp sword that cuts to the very core of my soul. We, as a church are big cowards like the Ephraimites. You've armed us to the hilt for the spiritual battle, yet we've fearfully run away. We don't believe in Your powerful, protective promises. We've ditched the indispensable weapons You made just for us.
Even though the Truth is readily available, we refuse to open our Bibles and access it. Because we don't open our Bibles outside of church, we're ignorant about Your Sacred Laws. If we don't know them, how can we obey them? We're busy making believers and baptizing them, neglecting to teach them to obey Your commands. We can't instruct what we do not know ourselves. We're a battalion of reckless rebels marching down a dangerous road.

Forgetting the high price You paid to save us from death and destruction, we've conscientiously objected to following You into combat. It's each man for himself in this skirmish with the wicked world. Prayerless, we've abandoned our brothers and sisters, leaving them alone to fight the vicious foe. Self-absorbed, we've forgotten to declare the great works You've done. Have mercy on us for our lack of faith!
I never again want to withdrawal from the life-or-death fight with the Devil. I don't want You to associate me with the weak and spineless Ephraimites who lost favor in Your sight.
From this day forward, I'm surrendering my life and my agenda to enlist in Your massive Army of prayer warriors. Equipped with Your Word, I'll confidently open my mouth and speak in Your almighty power, watching until the enemy retreats. Show me a comrade who needs support today, and I'll join them in the battle at the altar for the glory of Your victorious name. Amen.

Do you know someone in the midst of a spiritual battle? The enemy is strategically attacking Christ-followers from every vantage point. Who can you join in combat? I urge you, turn around and fight for someone in the name of Jesus. If you have a Bible and a mouth, you're fully armed and equipped for combat.
Our pastors and spiritual leaders are under siege. The enemy is torturing and punishing missionaries worldwide. Our nation is under fierce attack. Marriages are falling apart. Children are innocent victims. There's a whole world full of sick and suffering souls standing alone in their struggles. Everywhere there are broken hearts and shattered lives. You don't have to look far to find someone to stand in the gap and fight with. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Eternal, Invisible, Almighty God-
Thank You for the prickly thorns of trouble and temptation sent to me by Satan. I now know that You authorized him to deliver them to keep my heart humble. I've repeatedly asked You to remove the pain of my afflictions and addictions. Instead You've empowered me with grace to endure them. Your magnificent grace is enough to enlighten and enliven me. It is sufficient to strengthen and soothe me. When I am worn-down, weak, and weary from sadness, sickness, and sin, please purify my heart and fill it with faith to believe in Your almighty power. 
By faith, I BELIEVE You will turn my hurts to hope, my loss to life, and my difficulties to determination. In the turmoil twisting around me there is a purpose. During chaos and confusion, Your power is manifested and magnified in me. Rather than dreading trials and tests, I need to delight in them. Instead of focusing on my inadequacies and insecurities, I need to focus on Your unfailing, everlasting promises. You have pledged to keep me, protect me, and teach me. You've promised to abide in me and be my strength. Now, I need to walk in faith by acknowledging, accepting, and acting on Your holy name - El Shaddai. To Your all-sufficient, all-powerful, almighty name be the glory forever and ever. Amen

Identify the prickly thorns sent by Satan to torment You. Thank God that they were sent to keep you focused on Him. Instead of focusing on your difficulties and despair, focus on God's unfailing, everlasting promises. Search the Scriptures. Acknowledge God's faithfulness, accept His powerful promises, and act in faith. Then, you will discover extraordinary delight in the midst of your despondency. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

John 10:27-30

John 10:27-30
Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

O how Your voice resonates deep within the inner ear of my soul. The longer I walk with You the more definite and distinctive it becomes.
I BELIEVE You are the Great Shepherd of my weak, vacillating, trembling soul. Bought with Your precious, priceless blood, my heart is permanently branded with the seal of Your Holy Spirit. You can easily identify that I belong to You.

How precious it is to think that You gave me eternal life - permanent life that never ceases; imperishable, immortal everlasting life that never ends. People and problems will persistently pull at me. Trouble and temptation will tirelessly tug at me. Sickness and suffering will steadily assail me. Through it all, I will not perish but prevail. No one or no thing can ever snatch me from the grip of Your almighty, tight-fisted, nail-pierced hand. You paid too high a price to ever let me go. As Your absolutely treasured possession, You firmly hold onto me even when I let go.
O Lord, I believe that You are faithful to all Your promises. Without reservation or hesitation, I'm choosing to believe that You'll keep me eternally secure bringing glory, honor and praise to Your powerful name. Amen

If you are one of God's chosen sheep, you are branded with the seal of the Holy Spirit. The seal guarantees that you are His possession, bought and paid for with the priceless blood of Jesus. (Ephesians 1:13) He paid too high a price to ever let you go.
His sheep listen to His voice and obediently follow Him, not making up their own whimsical rules as they roam to and fro. His sheep imitate Him. As you read the Word of God, what do you see Jesus doing? Are you following Him producing spiritual fruit that will bring glory, honor and praise to Him?
Jesus promises His sheep who listen to His voice and follow Him eternal security. You can choose to believe Him or argue with Him about this incredibly powerful promise. His Word says, according to Your faith it will be done to you (Matthew 9:29). Are you standing on the promises of Christ the Lord? 

Monday, May 08, 2017

Isaiah 40:11

Isaiah 40:11 
He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
       He gathers the lambs in his arms 
       and carries them close to his heart; 
       he gently leads those that have young.

Good and Gentle Shepherd, 
So tenderhearted and compassionate, You certainly love Your sheep! You carefully lead us to the lush mountain pastures in our Bibles where we can graze to our heart's content on the fertile food of Your Word. Faithfully, You guide us through barren deserts to refreshing streams of Living Water to quench our dry and thirsty souls. 
Along the way, You protect us from animalistic humans who threaten to attack our character. Prone to wandering, we slip into clefts of criticism and condemnation, plunge into ravines of rejection and ridicule, and sink deep into depressions of disgrace and despair. In our times of trouble, You never fail to hear our cry, find us and set us free. I BELIEVE Your sheep are Your most prized possession.
 Bruised and bloodied from the fall, You meticulously bandage our broken hearts. Scooping us up in Your powerful arms, You hold us close to Your loving heart and carry us to safety. Resting in Your presence, we have nothing to fear. You are bigger than the people, problems and pressure pursuing us. 
Thank You dear Shepherd for diligently doing Your job twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year in and year out. Because of Your hard work I'm alive and well. I know from experience that danger lurks around the bend. It's crucial that I trust and obey You. Huddled in Your flock, there's protection, provision, and perfect peace because of Jesus. Amen.

Are you sticking with the Shepherd or have your wandered away from the flock? You are valuable to Him! He wants to take care of you, but you need to follow Him. 
If you've lost your way and are stuck, cry out to Him. He'll find you right where you are, pick you up in His strong arms, and carry you close to His heart to the safety of His presence where there's protection, provision and perfect peace.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Psalm 92:1-5

Psalm 92:1-5
It is good to praise the LORD 
       and make music to your name, O Most High, 
to proclaim your love in the morning 
       and your faithfulness at night, 
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre 
       and the melody of the harp. 
For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; 
       I sing for joy at the works of your hands. 
How great are your works, O LORD, 
       how profound your thoughts!

O Lord Most High,
It's a delight and honor to sing of Your wonderful works. In humble adoration, I gratefully thank You for Your ever loving kindness each morning. Your unbelievable mercy has kept me from complete obliteration. Each evening, I fondly remember Your incredible faithfulness. With a cheerful song in my heart, I love to tell of Your excellent greatness! My eyes have seen Your magnificent handiwork!
Merrily, I sing the praises of my drastically changed life. Your marvelous grace has miraculously covered all my past, present and future mistakes. Clothed and unashamed, I'm free to come into Your holy presence and worship You. With sheer confidence, I can stand up and assuredly sing with all my heart, "How great is my God!" 
Jesus, You mean the world to me! The amazing works of Your hands have made me glad. I'll sing of Your love forever because of the blessed promise I have in Your gloriously beautiful name. Amen.

It is good to praise the Lord! Bless Him for keeping you from complete obliteration! If you're alive today, thank Him! It's only by His amazing grace.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Matthew 26: 37-39, 42,44

Matthew 26: 37-39, 42,44

He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death ... He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying,"O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." 

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying,"O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."

So He went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. NKJV

O Lord Jesus, 
Thank You for teaching me how to pray! Forgive me for my casual, careless prayers. My happy-go-lucky heart would rather be singing praises and dancing than falling on my face in deep sorrowful prayer. I've failed to follow Your example. My prayers have been hasty, shallow and sloppy. I wonder why they go unanswered.

Please lay Your heart over my heart and teach me to pray. O that my soul would be exceedingly anguished even to the point of death for the things that trouble You. Rather than praying as I drive down the road asking You to bless this person and that person, give me this and give them that, I want to go to the garden alone, far away from the hustle and bustle, where I can experience prayer with You. 

In Your presence, I'll fall on my face. Crying out to You in deep distress, You'll tell me exactly what's on Your heart. As I sit still, quietly listening to Your voice, my prayer life will change. I'll be overcome with grief for the things that grieve You. The intense pain will be unbearable. It'll be tempting to walk away from the severe problems and pressures you reveal to me, but Lord, with all my heart I want to follow You, even to death. I want to pray like You, Jesus, not my will but Yours be done.  Amen.  

Have you ever had this heart of God? Have you ever prayed like Jesus? Would you be willing to allow God to take You to a different kind of praying? Turn around and follow Jesus. He'll teach you how to pray powerful prayers that will make a kingdom difference.