Friday, July 28, 2017

I Thessalonians 1:4-6

I Thessalonians 1:4-6 
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, I BELIEVE You are the one and only true and living God! 
Thank You for choosing me out of all the people on the face of the earth to hear the good news that Jesus, Your own dear Son, left the hallowed halls of heaven, came to earth, endured temptation, trials, and torture, and died a gruesome and grisly death so that I wouldn't have to endure the punishment I deserve for my disobedience and defiance. After He was buried for three days in the damp, dark tomb, He suddenly rose to glorious new life so that I could also arise and live harmoniously with You forever.

Thank You for the person who reasoned with me from the Scriptures, explained the facts, proved the point, and proclaimed the truth until I was fully persuaded. I'm grateful for the harassment, humiliation and hardship that person bore to bring the gospel to me. The life-changing power, eye-opening Spirit, and deep conviction that overcame when I believed the whole story are remarkable.

Help me O Lord, to remove the idols from my life, turn toward You, and serve You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I long to be an imitator of my spiritual parent and You. By Your Spirit, help me to study my Bible earnestly so that I will be ready, in season and out, to plainly present the Scriptures even when it's not popular so that others may hear the good news, believe it, and receive the same incredible life-changing power, eye-opening Spirit, and deep conviction that were so graciously given to me.

In spite of all kinds of difficulties and dangers, help me continually do good deeds by faith, carefully labor in love, and readily endure hardships so that others will know by my lifestyle that I serve the one and only living and true God who rescues people from the dominion of darkness and death for the glory of His good name. Amen.

Since you responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ, has your life changed so that you are an exemplary example to others? The Thessalonians were known for their boldness in sharing the gospel, their work produced by faith, their labor prompted by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. If others were to imitate your life, would the result be for their good and God's glory?

Paul walked into the synagogue in Thessalonica, and on three Sabbath days reasoned with the worshippers from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. Some of the Jews and a large number of God-fearing Gentiles, many of them women, believed.

Paul's message wasn't popular. What happened to him wasn't pretty. The jealous Jews rounded up a mob and started a riot in the streets. They attacked Paul's friends and put them in prison.

The Thessalonian believers saw the bold courage and exemplary behavior of Paul and his friends in the face of extreme adversity, were faithful to their commitment to Christ, and followed Paul's example after he left.

The one and only true gospel that gives life is unpopular in America. Will you share it anyway? Does it inspire you to love your enemies radically? Paul and friends didn't fight back with angry words. They patiently endured because of the power of the Holy Spirit in them.

Read 1 Thessalonians 1: 1-10
Read Acts 17:1-9

Revelation 22:7, 12

Revelation 22:7, 12
Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

Host of Heavenly Honors,
Your Word is clear, You are coming soon and bringing rewards with You. There will be recognition for everyone according to what they've done through Your love. O that I will be found worthy of Your awards.

For returning to You and rekindling the romance, You'll endow me with the privilege of eating from the luscious tree of life in the Garden of Paradise.

For overcoming extreme obstacles, I will be blessed with the victorious crown of everlasting life.

For believing the truth, I can expect to receive the Bread of Life and a brand new name.

For wholeheartedly pursuing purity and peace, I'll be given the gift of divine authority, along with the bright Morning Star.

For facing death fearlessly, You promise that I will be worthy to walk with You as a winner.

For not caving into the pressure of popular opinion I will be a pillar of praise supporting Your glorious presence.

For opening the door and welcome You into my heart, You will honor me with a seat next to You at the sacred supper in the sky.

Lord, with all my heart, I want to believe and obey the Words of prophecy revealed in Your Holy Book. Please help me overcome the barriers blocking me from the fullness of Your blessing in the powerful name of Jesus who is coming soon and makes all of them possible. Blessed assurance! Amen.

Salvation is sure to anyone who admits they are a sinner, believes in their heart that Jesus is the One and Only Son of God who died on the cross and rose again, and commits their life to follow Him.  While we are saved by God's unconditional grace through faith alone, and not by our works, our works prove that our faith is real. 
It is clear that Jesus is coming and bringing r

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2 Chronicles 7:14

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  

Jehovah-rapha, Healing Lord,
You say IF my people, who are called by my name - Christian - will humble themselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN You will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. You make the diagnosis for our nation painfully clear, yet millions of people who call themselves Christians seem to be unconscious and unaware of the remedy for our ailing country.

Polluted with our worldly passions, many churches are complacent. Our abundance has led to greed. Our freedom has become a license for lewdness. Our God-centered heritage has been deemed irrelevant. Failing to exercise discretion, we've eaten a steady diet of humanism. Independent and self-absorbed, we are clueless about the cancer consuming the entire Body, the Church, and spewing into our beloved country.  O Lord, surely the Church needs a divine visit from the Great Physician! Come quickly and heal the sick souls who are called by Your name.

Following Your precise prescription, we will discover the cure for our critical condition. Wake us up from our sweet dreams! Compel us, by Your Spirit, to humbly admit that we have a serious sin problem, prayerfully bring our afflictions to You, and continually seek Your counsel by spending time in Your Word, the Bible. Then, You will hear our cries and alleviate the ailing Body.

With a fully restored Body, in Your strength, we will stand up, speak out for righteousness, and lead the nation to turn around and follow You. Then, You will heal the land we love restoring the glory of Your name. Amen.   

Many in the Church would agree that our nation is in grave condition and frantically needs the healing hand of Jesus. Will you obediently stand before God today and admit your own faults and failures? Will you then confess the complacency of the Church; acknowledging that we as a Body haven't exercised discretion and have eaten a steady diet of humanism? Will you concede that our abundance has led to greed, our freedom has become a license for lewdness, and our religious heritage has been deemed irrelevant? 

God is calling the Church - everyone who calls themselves by the Christian name - to stand up and lead the nation to turn around and follow Him. Our only hope is in a supernatural visit from the Great Physician, and He will only come when we, as a Body, humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. 

Revelation 3: 1-5

Revelation 3: 1-5  
I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.  

Recorder of the Deeds,
You keep track of everything we do. While our places in Paradise are secure without doing anything, our heavenly rewards are contingent on our lifestyle. You know we have a reputation for being alive because we talk a good talk and walk a good walk. Yet we have forsaken life! We are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of brittle bones. We appear righteous, but are living a lie. Our deficient half-hearted works disappoint You. Our soiled garments are a sick sight to Your holy eyes. Have mercy on us, Lord!

Wake up the sleeping church. Remind us of the gospel. You came. You lived. You died. You know what it's like to be DEAD! After three days in a dark grave, You rose to glorious new life. This is the good news we received, heard, and believed. It's time to hear it again, turn around and arise in strength and power.

You warn us that You will come like a thief in the night. No one can predict when You will break in. O Lord, don't let me be caught dead and dormant when You re-enter this earthly realm. I want to be living a vibrant Christian life, brilliantly blazing with Your glory when You show up out of the blue. For triumphing over death, and staying clean in the cemetery, You promise that I will be worthy to walk with You. Dressed in snow white linen, You will recognize me by my purity. My name will never be blotted from the Book of Life, and You will acknowledge me before Your Father and His legion of angels. Blessed Assurance, when the roll is called up yonder I'll be there! Amen. 

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. He can see beyond the whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside. He knows what's rotting in your heart. He knows you've forsaken life.

Wake up and listen to Him. He is coming soon, out of the wild blue yonder. What do you need to do get the home of your heart in order for His holy arrival?

For your listening to him you will walk with him, dressed in linen whiter than snow. He will never blot out your name from the Book of Life. And, He will acknowledge you before His Father. Glory Hallelujah! When the roll is called up yonder, you'll be there.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Revelation 2:19, 20, 24-26, 28

Revelation 2:19, 20, 24-26, 28
I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants. Now I say to the rest of you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come.
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations. I will also give him the morning star.

Morning Star,
Your holy eyes are like blazing fire that cut right through thick secretive walls. Nothing escapes Your sacred scrutiny. You see our love and loyalty. Watching our service and persistence, You're impressed with our increasingly good works.
You also see that charismatic leaders with a world view are controlling and corrupting the church. Powerful, persuasive and prominent, they've been hired for a job rather than called for a ministry. Motivated by prosperity and pleasure, their strategies are self-glorifying and self-indulging. Charmingly manipulative, they misrepresent Your Word and mislead Your people. Holiness and peace have been forsaken for happiness. Have mercy on us, Lord!

Please give me holy eyes that blaze like fire to see through their so-called deep secrets. I want nothing to do with their game of liberal relevance. While they're pursuing programs and performances, I want to be seeking holiness and peace. Help me, by Your Spirit, to hold on tightly to the truth that's been given to me until You come. For firmly following You, I'll be given the gift of divine authority, along with the bright Morning Star. Blessed Assurance! Amen.

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. His fiery eyes cut through everything. He knows the personal agendas of powerful, persuasive, prominent people, and He will not tolerate them much longer. He's aware of the manipulative games they play to increase their popularity. Because they refuse to change their ways, their punishment is coming.

Jesus warns us to steer clear of them and not to compromise holiness and peace for momentary happiness. For firmly following Him, we'll be given the gift of divine authority, along with the bright Morning Star, Jesus.

Who is leading you? Where are they leading you? How are they leading you? Why are you following them? 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Revelation 2:13-17

Revelation 2:13-17
I know where you live-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city-where Satan lives.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Mighty One with the sharp double-edged sword,
You are armed and dangerous, and know exactly where to find us - at Satan's throne, in Sin City where a slew of spiritually sick people have been successfully seduced by his sly schemes. Starving for a cure, the Master of Shams has gladly supplied us with some sweet sounding solutions to assuage the cravings of our hearts. 

In an era of empowerment, he has us believing that we are in control of our destiny, and able to overcome any and all obstacles to achieve success. Surreptitiously, he suggests if we'd just work harder we'd feel less guilty and be more prosperous. Desperately looking for quick answers to complex problems, he's effectively enticed us to spend billions of dollars on shallow self-help programs that are simply clever semantics that redefine ancient ails. On every corner there is a fabricated substitute for genuine love and compassion. Keeping us pre-occupied and self-centered is his grand plan.

You know it's a daily battle to remain strong and healthy in a world where spiritual sickness is epidemic. The pressure to compromise our faith is paramount and often leads us to unwittingly make concessions.  In the church Your Word has been distorted, diluted, and denied. The truth has been forsaken for a pack of sweet sounding lies. O Mighty One, You are the only helper and healer of this strain of heart disease. Help me develop a strong sense of discernment so that I will follow the inerrant remedy prescribed in the Book of Life for healthy living in a sin sick society.

When You come, and it could be soon, the war will be won with the words from Your mouth.  Inflicting vengeance on the swindlers, You'll swiftly divide the healthy from the dying. Those who are strong can expect to receive the Bread of Life and a brand new name because of Jesus. Blessed assurance! Amen. 

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. He knows you live in Sin City where a slew of spiritually sick people are being successfully seduced by Satan's smooth sounding lies. He knows how hard it is to survive and remain strong in faith when the truth has been distorted, diluted, and denied. Yet if you follow His prescription for living in a sin sick society, He promises you hidden manna, the Bread of Life, and a brand new name in heaven.

What will your name be? I hope mine is Gloria Joy.

Are you looking for a shortcut or solution that's easier than surrendering to Jesus? Most people are, but He is the only One who can help and heal ailing hearts. His way is never easy and never short, but it's always right and always leads to a rich reward.

Listen to the Lord and be blessed!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Revelation 2:9-11

Revelation 2:9-11
I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Judge of the Living and the Dead,
You are the first and the last who died and came to life again. Just as You spoke and everything came into existence, You will have the final word. Thank You for pouring out commendation, comfort and confidence.

You commend me for the way I've handled hardships. You've seen my problems and my poverty, yet because of Your grace I am rich. An enormous inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade is waiting for me in Glory. Hallelujah!

Comforting me, You tell me to not be afraid of impending trials and tribulations. Against a sparkling backdrop of opulence and affluence, arrogant people from the synagogue of Satan bash me for my beliefs. The devil will test my faith by tempting, accusing, and deceiving me. For a while, I may be his prisoner of war - isolated, despised, and tortured.

Finally, You tell me to remain confident, even to the point of death. For deliberately giving up my rights, killing my selfish desires, and focusing on the future I will walk through the fire and not be burned. Instead of being destroyed by the flames, I will be purified in the furnace proving that my faith is genuine when I walk out on the other side glowing with Your glory.

Please help me to inhale the sweet fragrance of grace like fresh spring air as I walk through seasons of suffering. For overcoming extreme obstacles, I will be blessed with the victorious golden crown of everlasting life. Blessed assurance because You say it is so! Amen. 

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. Life is full of suffering and sadness. Satan will tempt, accuse and deceive you. Jesus knows. Hang in there. Inhale grace like the fresh spring air and walk with confident assurance through the flames. When destruction comes, and it will, you will not be hurt.  He promises those who don't give up the victorious crown of life.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Revelation 2:2-4, 7

Revelation 2:2-4, 7
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Lover of My Bleeding Soul,
I BELIEVE You know me intimately! I've been busy and it hasn't gone unnoticed. You acknowledge that I've plugged away without giving up when the going got tough. It pleases You that I've taken a stand against immorality. You're well aware of the fact that I know my Bible and can accurately discern truth from error.

Yet, you also notice my shortcomings. While I've done great and glorious works, I've walked away from my love relationship with You. I know You. We've been married for years. We live together, but the honeymoon is over, and we barely communicate. I come and go, while You wait at home in my heart for me, never grumbling or complaining.

O my God! How far have I fallen? Show me. Help me rekindle our sacred romance. When we first met I couldn't wait to be with You. The love letters You wrote me every day in red ink on the pages of my Bible made my heart flutter. I longed to talk to You for hours. What's happened to us?

Spiritual busyness and stalwart religiosity have displaced my first love. I've abandoned our sacred romance for a cheap one-night stand. Prostituting You for less intimate lovers who promised me pleasure: prosperity, possessions, and prominence. My light has diminished.

O Lover of My Bleeding Soul, forgive me for walking away from You. Help me to be a faithful bride who adores her bridegroom. Light up my life again with Your love that never burns out and I will stay with You forever in our secret little garden where You promise I will eat from the tree of life. Blessed assurance. Hallelujah! Amen.

Has work replaced your worship? If you have one ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. He longs for His bride to come home. Return to your first love and He promises to give you the right to eat from the tree of life in Paradise.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Philippians 2: 10-11

Philippians 2: 10-11
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ
 is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
There's just something about Your Name. It carries ALL authority and ALL power in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. There is no place where the power and authority of Your Name does not reach. If I go up to heaven, it is there. If I go down to the grave, it is there. If I ride the wings of the morning, it is there. If I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your Name is proclaimed. Kings and kingdoms will pass away, but Your wonderful life-giving, life-saving almighty Name will endure forever.

In this nation, we have profaned Your Name. Contemptibly, we have made gods to suit our own interests. We sneer at Your design for marriage. We laugh at Your idea of life. We do whatever pleases us. Searcher of hearts and minds, You are not deceived. Those who reject Your Name, neglect Your law and make a fool of Your sacrifice on the old rugged Cross will not get away with it forever.

Jesus, my solace is in knowing Your wonderful, life-giving, life-saving, almighty Name. Exalted to the highest place, You are the Majestic Righteous Honorable Judge, seated on the Great White Throne of Justice. One day, possibly quite soon, all mockers - kings and great men of wealth, along with the drunks and men of little stature, will regretfully stand together to face You. Before being cast into the eternal Lake of Fire each will bow before You and confess that You are Jesus Christ the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, O how I love Your name! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus for as long as I live I will sing glory to Your wonderful, life-giving, life-saving, almighty Name. Amen

In these dark days when immorality is increasing at record pace and injustice seems to be prevailing, we can take solace in knowing that one day, possibly quite soon, the mockers, great and small, will bow their knee and confess the Name of Jesus.

You may be among those who have refused to make that confession, but the Day of Judgment will come and you will then declare that Jesus Christ is Lord. God's Word guarantees it.

The tragedy is that if you wait till then it will not be a confession unto salvation, but of condemnation.

If you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved from the punishment of sin. Romans 10:9

Monday, July 17, 2017

Revelation 1:3,7

Revelation 1:3,7
Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

Look, he is coming with the clouds,
      and every eye will see him,
   even those who pierced him;
      and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.
So shall it be! Amen.

Living One, who was dead but now lives and reigns forever and ever. Please give me ears to hear and a heart to believe the sobering Words written by Your holy hand. Though many generations have anticipated Your return, and never actually witnessed it, let me not lose faith. Your Words are always true and always right.

You are coming and You say the time is near. To You a thousand years are like a single day. It's ridiculous for us to try to figure out Your schedule. However, we can be sure that one day the sun will stop shining, the light of the moon will be dispelled, the stars will fall from the sky, heaven will breathe and You will blow into town on a chariot of clouds. Your astonishing arrival will be highly visible and blatantly obvious. Even those who never knew You will stop, drop and look up in wonder.

Before the media can inform us or warn us of this monumental event, there will be such a colossal catastrophe that everyone everywhere will know beyond a shadow of doubt that something extraordinary has happened. There will no escaping it. Those who know You will realize what's going on and will not be surprised. Those who've ignored You will panic in the pandemonium. According to Your Word these things will happen.

O Lord, thank You for telling us everything we need to know ahead of time, and for the double blessing for those who hear and believe it. Let us not be ignorant, but wisely watch and wait for the great day when You will triumphantly come on a cloud revealing Your glory, honor and power finally and forever. Amen.

Christ's return will be noticeable by everyone. He tells us everything we need to know to recognize it. Don't be ignorant. Prepare yourself by reading Matthew 24, Mark 13, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

God promises you will be doubly blessed when read your Bible, hear His Words, and take them to heart. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Malachi 4:1-2

Malachi 4:1-2
"Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall."

Commander of Heaven's Armies,
You paint a frighteningly vivid picture of the day of judgment that's coming. Repeatedly, You warn us in Your Word that You are coming like a thief in the night. We do not know when, but we do know how.

A huge ball of fire will peal off from heaven with a deafening rumble of thunder and blinding lightning that will cause unbelievable doomsday disaster on earth. Grasping for straws, desperate people will cry out for their leaders to save them. Because our political leaders, business leaders, and spiritual leaders have made a series of catastrophic choices, they will be fully engaged and powerless to contain the blazing inferno. Since we the people allowed them to build our country with highly combustible materials like debt, deceit, greed, and egotism we should not be surprised when it's all gone in a flash.

But, You promise those who acknowledge You will walk through the scorching heat and not be burned; the smoldering smog will not overpower them. Like silver, gold and costly gems that are refined and purified when they pass through a furnace, those who revere You will come out on the other side bursting with brilliance.

Thank You Lord for awakening my heart to the harsh reality that You are coming. When You do, may I be found a faithful follower who has built with imperishable, eternal treasures on the bedrock of Jesus Christ. Amen.

If today were Judgment Day. how would you fare? Will you come through the fire unscathed, or be devoured by it? Consider the consequences of your choices today.

Turn from your sin, believe in Jesus, and walk in His ways rather than the ways of the world.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

1 Peter 3: 10-12

1 Peter 3: 10-12
Whoever would love life
      and see good days
   must keep his tongue from evil
      and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good;
      he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
      and his ears are attentive to their prayer.

Guide to the Good Life,
Thank You for clearly pointing me in the right direction. If I want to enjoy a good life and see many happy days, here's what I need to do:

I must refrain from evil or hurtful language, and be perceptive, peaceful and polite, thinking of others more than myself. In Your realm, revenge and sharp-tongued sarcasm are never acceptable. You expect the ambassadors of Your kingdom to rise above the stabbing pain of criticism and cynicism, and bless those who inflict it by praying for them.

I must also turn my back on immorality and cultivate healthy, honest relationships. The Righteous Book of Rules, my Bible, will help me set good moral standards, and identify dangerous situations before I stumble into them. I will overcome obstacles by earnestly looking for them, immediately exposing them, and dealing with them in the light of Your love. Instead of grumbling about them, I will fervently pray for a peaceful resolution; then stand up, and sincerely speak the truth sensitively.

Please give me the tenacity to continually search for and maintain peaceful resolutions. For doing what's right, You will reward me by turning Your ear toward me, and listening and responding to my requests. I will be blessed with a life I love and many good days because I've carefully followed the Guide to the Good Life. Amen.

God promises you a life you'll love and many good days, if you control your tongue, turn from immorality, do good deeds, and seek peace. For doing what's right even when it feels wrong, He promises to reward you by listening and responding to your prayer requests.

On the other hand, if you choose not follow His Guide to the Good Life, and pursue selfish solutions, He will turn his face from you.

Would you rather that God turn His face toward you or away from you?

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews12:14

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Proverbs 16:6

Proverbs 16:6
Through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.

Reigning Ruler of the Universe,
As the Creator of everything, You and You alone have the exclusive right to rule the world. Your rules are always right because You are infallible. If only I'd listen to You, I'd avoid danger. Help me develop a deeper respect for Your almighty authority. The more I know You, the more I'll revere You. Awaken my senses to Your unsurpassable power and justice.

With the thunderous voice of authority, and the snap of a finger You tell the lightning exactly where to strike. When You open Your mouth the mountains tremble. At Your command the clouds dance over the earth. The storehouses of hail and snow are under Your control. You appoint the sun to shine by day and tell the stars and moon to light up the night sky. Stirring the sea, You whip up the waves. Because everything under heaven obeys Your orders, I ought to too.

Since one day, possibly quite soon, I'll appear before Your sacred throne and answer to You for the things I've done, arouse my heart with holy fear. Inspired by Your supreme sovereignty, I'll turn from my selfish desires and seek to satisfy You. Your righteous rules will show me truth, expose my rebellion, correct my mistakes and prompt me to live in reverent fear of the Only One who has the right to reign and rule over the Universe. Amen.

Is your heart aroused with a holy fear of God? Ponder the righteous rules inscribed by His holy hand in the sacred Scriptures. They will show you truth, expose your rebellion, correct your mistakes and prompt you to live reverently before the Reigning Ruler of the Universe.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Proverbs 3:5-6

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

All-Knowing One,
You are my Leader and Guide on this journey through life. When I try to figure out where You're taking me, I only end up lost and confused. Who can understand You? My thoughts are not Your thoughts, neither are my ways Your ways. Just as the heavens are far above the earth, so are Your ideas far superior and brighter than mine. You are always right, always good and always loving.

You, O God, are perfect in knowledge. Exalted in power, who has taught You? No one! Who can teach You? No one! You are the Master Mind of the universe. No mind on earth is equal to You. No one can begin to grasp Your greatness. Yet, we feebly try to. 

Please humble me Lord Jesus and teach me Your ways. Give me a fresh revelation of Who You are and I will acknowledge You in all my ways. With a proper perspective of You, I'll trust You with all my heart and not rely on my own foolish wisdom. When I read my Bible You will light my way, make my path straight and lead me on the highway to heavenly happiness and holiness. Thank You for this guarantee if I obey. Amen.

God promises to make your paths straight if: You trust Him with all your heart, stop relying on yourself, and acknowledge Him in all your ways.

The way to trust Him and acknowledge Him is to know Him. The only way to know Him is through His Word, the Bible.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Psalm 67:5-6

Psalm 67:5-6
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us. NKJV

O Glorious God, You are my God!
Thank You for Your Living Word that tells us exactly how to work the land to produce bountiful blessings! We need to join together as believers and plow the field with praise even in the midst of our own problems and pain. Then the whole world will see how You work. The godless will see how You save.  We need to joyfully shout:

       Our God is a God who saves! (Ps. 68:20)

     Awesome are You, O God!
         You give power and strength to Your people. (Ps. 68:35)

L       Your love stands firm forever. (Ps. 89:2)
          You're eagerly waiting to give the gift of eternal life to everyone!

          (Rom. 5:17)

V        You will rescue the weak from violence. (Ps. 72:14)

A        Direct access to Your wide open spaces of grace and glory are available
           to all know Your Son.  (Rom. 5:2, Heb. 4:16)

T         You will take Your people into glory; (Ps. 73:24)
            And, free them from tyranny and torture. (Ps. 72:14)

I          Instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance;
            They will inherit unimaginable blessings and everlasting joy! (Isa. 61:7)

O       You will rescue the oppressed,
           because their lives are precious to You. (Ps 72:14)

N       There is no condemnation for those who belong to You! (Rom. 8:1)

O Lord, let us together be happy and shout for joy because You judge us fair and square. Even though You've seen the depth of our debt, You've graciously paid it in full with the blood of Your Son.

Display Your exuberance in us, O God! Let Your face shine on us. Mark us with grace and blessing so that the whole world will witness that a wonderful Savior You are! Hallelujah! Amen! 

Jesus says you will be judged by the fruit you bear. (Matthew 7:17-19)

God's Word clearly tells us how to be blessed with everlasting fruit. We, the people of God, all of us together, need to start singing His praises!

Instead of complaining we ought to be complimenting.
Instead of arguing we ought to be agreeing.
Instead of blaming we ought to be blessing.
Instead of grumbling we ought to be grateful.
Instead of accusing we ought to be interceding.

At all times we should praise Him with our words. Then, the whole world, not just our individual communities, will see how He works. As we shout for joy during our difficulties people will hear and be saved!

Join me in plowing the fields with praise! Together we will be blessed with fruit that lasts forever.

When we intentionally turn our complaints to praise, God will surely smile on us and bless our hearts.

God's Smile - His affirmation comes in the form of grace and blessing. When God smiles on you, you can feel it in every part of your life. - Henry Blackaby.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Hosea 14

Hosea 14
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your petitions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, "Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle. Never again will we call the idols we have made 'our gods.' No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy."

The Lord says, "Then I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever! I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. It will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like those of beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedar forests of Lebanon. My people will return again to the safety of their land. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

"O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who looks after you and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year."

Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way.

God of Grace, have mercy on me! Admittedly, I'm conceited and controlling, insisting on having my own way. Thoughtless and inconsiderate, I'm absolutely self-absorbed, self-assured, self-righteous, self-reliant, self-seeking and just plain SELFISH. Demanding my own rights, I'm completely disrespectful and irreverent, denying Your supreme authority over my life. Vigilantly looking for virtues in others, I cease to be virtuous myself. O Lord, how I've disappointed You. Please be gracious, forgive me, and accept my sweet sacrifice of praise.

Heal me of my selfish idolatry and faithlessness. Let Your limitless love fall fresh on me like tiny teardrops from heaven. Watered by them, I'll burst up from the dirt of despair like a lovely lily in springtime. My roots will go down deep and I'll stand firm, free and fragrant like a tall cedar in Lebanon. I'll produce many off-shoots and become a sheltering forest where others will find relief from the hellish heat. My beauty will be widespread like that of a hearty, ancient olive tree. I'll grow gracefully like a golden grain of wheat. My vine will be famous for producing fresh, flavorful fruit.

O Lord, my God, You are the everlasting Tree of Life. You protect me and provide for me. Everything I need is found in You. In the shelter of Your presence give me wisdom to fully understand Your generosity and goodness. Carefully listening to Your time-proven, trustworthy teaching, I'll stand firm on Your powerful promises. My heart's desire is to live well by You and grasp all the blessings You bestow on those who walk close beside You. Following You, I will be faithful, fulfilled and fruitful and Your holy name will be glorified. Amen.

Confess your waywardness, asking the God of Grace to forgive and heal you. Then, claim all the powerful promises contained in these verses. Following Him, you will be faithful, fulfilled and fruitful.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Romans 11:17-18

Romans 11:17-18
If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for another wonderful word picture to teach me who You are, and who I am. You are the Divine Gardner. Jesus is the solid trunk with deep roots, wounded for me. I am nothing but a dead branch that's been gently and graciously grafted to Him. Completely connected to You, the sap of Your Spirit nourishes every part of my being - heart, mind, and soul. Drinking from the deep spring of Living Water, I'll grow in Your everlasting light and never die. Saturated with the fertilizer of Your Word, I will produce luscious fruit for You.

Though I stand tall, radiant and confident, I have no grounds for bragging. Apart from You I'm nothing but deadwood. I'm totally dependent on Your strong root system to give me abundant life. I know that You will ruthlessly cut off every unproductive limb and preserve it for future grafting.
O Holy Gardener, snip me and clip me, even though it hurts. Shape me into the fruitful branch You want me to be. Cultivate me to produce baskets full of sweet succulent fruit to adorn Your glorious temple. In Your hands, carefully and skillfully tend to my branch making me the shoot that displays changed lives for the glory and splendor of Your name. Amen.

The only reason you're on the Divine Tree is because your graft "took:" when you believed, and because you're connected to the belief-nurturing root. So, don't be cocky or arrogant. How can you be humbly mindful of the root that gives you life?

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Hosea 10:12-14

Hosea 10:12-14
Sow righteousness for yourselves,
    reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
    for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
    and showers his righteousness on you.
But you have planted wickedness,
    you have reaped evil,
    you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
    and on your many warriors,
 the roar of battle will rise against your people,
    so that all your fortresses will be devastated-

O Great and Mighty God whose Name I adore,
 Thank You for blessing our sweet land of liberty with prosperity. Forgive us for using it to make American idols. How much longer will You tolerate us?

We should not be surprised when we are incapacitated by government grid lock, debilitated by a devastating load of debt, or incarcerated for sharing our faith. Days of distress and difficulty should not stun us. Without Divine intervention, our indifference to immorality will immobilize the mission of the church. O God, who is slow to anger and full of steadfast love, forgive us for turning the fear of the Lord into a free-for-all frolic to suit our fancy.

Precious Lord, surely, it's time for this bemused nation to seek Your face! Remind us that real freedom is not in a constitution penned by founding fathers, but is written in the precious blood of Jesus on human hearts at the foot of the cross. Using Your strong arm, break up the fallow ground in the hard hearts of not only our leaders and legislatures, but also the church that bears Your name. Rain down righteousness so that the seed of Your Word can begin to take root in our lives. As we read our Bibles, propagate our souls with Your precepts. Fill our minds with wisdom and understanding of Your ways so that as a nation, we will return to our Christian roots and reap the fruit of unfailing love and mercy.

God, despite our rebellion, please bless America, the beautiful land I love. Stand beside her, and guide her thru the night with a light from above. Restore her to Your glory for Your name sake. Amen.

As a church we need to confess our irresponsibility and apathy, and plead with God Almighty to have mercy on our nation. God makes it quite clear in His Word that we will reap what we sow.

The time to seek the Lord for our nation is today.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Galatians 5:1

Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Gracious God of Mercy and Love,
Today, we the people of the United States of America commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. We celebrate our freedom from tyranny and oppression by making speeches, waving flags, and watching parades. We re-enact history, have picnics and over eat. The celebration culminates with a magnificent display of fireworks that light up the night sky. Thank You for allowing me to born in this sweet land of liberty!

Today, as I reflect on history, I am thankful for the men and women who shed their blood to liberate the land I love. By their blood, I am free to worship You in a land flowing with prosperity. But, I am even more grateful for the battle You fought with Satan, and won single-handedly on the hill of Calvary. On that old rugged cross, You shed Your grace on me. By Your stripes I am healed. The tomb could not contain You. Death was swallowed up in victory!

Today, I celebrate my freedom in Christ Jesus, and commemorate my adoption into Your family and the eternal Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of this world that is mine in Christ Jesus, my Lord. Amen.

Thank God for your freedom, and all those who gave their life for it.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Exodus 17:15

Exodus 17:15
The Lord is My Banner.

Psalm 60:4
You have given a banner to those who fear You,
That it may be displayed because of the truth.

God of My Forefathers,
I BELIEVE You are the Author of Liberty. Thank You for the glorious star spangled banner that gallantly waves o'er the land of the free and brave. Old Glory, as the American flag is known, has long symbolized freedom and justice. I wonder if, when Betsy was stitching it, she was divinely inspired.

Her red stripes are symbolic of hardness and valor. They remind me that You valiantly rode into Calvary knowing full well that You would square off with Satan and die to set the whole world free from his tyranny and oppression. Because You shed Your blood for me, I am at peace in a world at war.

Her white stripes symbolize innocence and purity, two of Your attributes. When I come to You through Jesus, Your Son, admitting that my righteousness is but filthy rags, You cleanse and purify me; bestowing on me His perfect robe of righteousness. Wrapped in Him, I am innocent and pure in Your sight.

Her blue field represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. Blue is the color of majesty. It reminds me that You are King of kings. Genuinely believing in Your supremacy, I will remain vigilant and persevere until You bring judgment and justice to the world.

Her bright white stars representing each state in the union remind me that one Star shines brighter than every other star in the universe, the Bright Morning Star. When life is dark and dangerous, You are the Holy Light guarding and guiding me into a joyous new day with You. 

I thank You, O Great God our King, that You have given me a banner to display because of Truth. In all her glory, Old Glory will never quite compare to Your glory on the Cross of Calvary. Amen.  

In this world at war how do you display the banner God has given you because of His victory at the Cross of Calvary?