Kerusso® Daily Devotionals help you make more room for Jesus. Here you’ll find faith, hope, and joy — bite-sized moments of inspiration for busy believers. ABOUT THE KERUSSO DAILY DEVOTIONAL — Developed by Kerusso®, makers of Christian apparel, accessories, and gifts, the Kerusso Daily Devotional:…
Do you ever feel that you aren't suited for sharing your faith in Christ? Maybe you're not comfortable around people. Maybe you've encountered some who are hostile to faith. If so, then we are speaking to you about sharing your light in a dark world. Philippians 2:15 says, “Shine...like the stars in the sky.” Have you seen the movie, “The Ten Commandments?” It's doubtful the real Moses looked and talked like Charlton Heston. And do we really think God looks for His witnesses among people who have that perfect British accent in a Jesus movie? Nope. If we think we have to look or act a certain way, then we're doing it wrong. God doesn't ask our permission when giving us our marching orders for sharing the Gospel of Jesus. Instead, He approaches us as He did Job: Stand up and listen to what I have to tell you. You are called to shine a light for Christ in a world full of dark things. You are equipped, just as you are. God has called you. Be bold in Christ. He is the Star. We are just lights along the way. Let's pray. Lord, the time is now. So many need you. God would you help us to shine for you every day. In Jesus' name, amen.
John MacArthur once wrote a book called “Our Sufficiency in Christ.” In it, he revealed the path to finding true peace and contentment. And he says, “There's a single word that encompasses all the riches we find in Christ—grace.” What a magnificent word it is. It's used more than 150 times in the New Testament to speak of divine favor, bestowed on undeserving people. It is the means by which we receive every physical and spiritual benefit. People the world over search all their lives for peace. And who doesn't want to be truly content? But we look for it everywhere but where it is. Chasing adventure or money or career success will leave you empty. Maybe you've been running hard for a long time so that you can advance in a career that you find meaningful. There's nothing wrong with that. So long as there's balance, and your life can remain focused on Jesus. The Bible tells us very bluntly that anything else will leave us unsatisfied. And at the very least, you can start by finding even one or two minutes in your day before sun up or late in the evening, and just pray. Tell God that climbing the ladder at work is leaving you strangely empty. The Bible isn't some interesting old book. It's not just some historical treasure. It is life itself. Why? Because from beginning to end, it points us to Jesus Christ, who made us. Resolve right now, even as you're sitting at your desk, to begin getting to know Christ. And sooner, rather than later, you will feel your anxiety lessen, and your priorities shift. You'll discover what many have looked for in the wrong places for centuries. You'll find peace for your soul. Writing in 2 Corinthians, Paul said of Christ's message to all of us, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Philippians 4:12–13 says, “I know what it is to be in need. And I know what it is to have plenty. I've learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” And realizing all this, your circumstances might not change, but you will change for the better, for all time. Let's pray. Father God, you are sovereign, and that should make us calmer. Your power upholds everything in the universe, and you are good. You are not some impersonal being or one who is indifferent to our needs. Help us seek your Son Jesus at every turn. In Jesus' name, amen.
As we continue in our series on finding contentment, today's message is really about taking the long view. The human attention span is short. Like really, really short. Between the World Wars, Winston Churchill warned Europe that Hitler was a threat to the continent at least. But people ignored him. And then when the Nazis turned violent, the people turned to Churchill as their prime minister. Having led the country through another costly war to preserve freedom, Churchill was defeated for re-election in the last days of World War II. It's like the people had forgotten his priceless contribution to world peace. He knew the war would take a long time and that it would be costly, and the people wanted to avoid thinking about it, and even later wanted it over quickly. And that's rarely how life works. Churchill returned as prime minister in the 1950s, but his experiences show that people mostly want short-term solutions. Working for the long goal is rarely popular. Jeremiah 15:15 says, “Lord, you understand. Remember me, care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering. Do not take me away. Think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.” Here God is reminding us that often, we're required to stay in it for the long haul. Nowhere is this more true than in the pursuits of peace and contentment. That kind of thing is not built quickly. And not surprisingly, too many people don't stay with it and they stumble along, looking for solutions in the wrong places. If you're in a bad place today, you have to start with basic steps. Talk to Jesus and tell him you're struggling. Maybe you have a vague sense of depression and just can't locate the direct cause. Take the example of people who did understand the source of true happiness, and were committed to seeing it through, no matter how long it took. Abraham knew the value of prayer and he waited for decades to have a son. Hannah was also unable to have children, but she prayed and stayed faithful. Eventually, God gave her a child and she felt fulfilled. Joseph spent years in exile and prison because of his brother's actions, but his faith didn't waver. He actually found his contentment in the middle of these trials, and eventually God restored his family, and all he had lost. If you're depressed or ground down from money worries, or facing some other huge challenge, go to God right now and tell him you need peace for your soul. Tell him you fully trust him, and will wait with as much patience and faith as you can. It's then you start the clock ticking on your difficult circumstances. And while you wait, your heart will be at rest. Let's pray. Father, thank you for the good gifts that we already have. Help us be grateful for those things that sustain life. We fully trust you to bring about our delivery from life's circumstances precisely the moment you have chosen. Sustain our spirits on this journey, Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.
The big question for today is, can we find contentment in things? Have you ever listened to a very successful person complain about the fact that his wealth doesn't make him happy, how the success of life has left him or her empty? Of course, you have. We've all heard stories like that. But, pay attention to that because it's really important. Watch people roll their eyes when they hear those stories. Why do they do that? Because they're thinking, “Yeah, just give me some of that emptiness. I'd like to live on that side of town for a while.” But that attitude misses the point that's trying to be made. From the past to now, there have been at least multiple millions of these stories, these laments from very successful people who would trade it all to be content, millions and millions of successful, but unhappy people. It's when we're confronted with numbers like that that we should say to ourselves, “Wait a second. I need to think that through. Maybe having things and fame and success really doesn't satisfy.” It's then we start walking the right road to contentment. April Model is a writer in California who works with her husband in ministry. Recently, she made a fascinating point. She said, “About six months ago, my husband said he thought the Lord was trying to teach him to be content with mediocrity. Mediocrity? Never. We should always be striving for the best, I thought to myself. But in light of a few life lessons of my own, I think I now understand what my husband was saying. It's easy for us to want the best life has to offer, but sometimes the best is learning to be content with what we have.” Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.'” You don't actually need to hear another story of unfulfillment from someone you've admired to know that stuff doesn't ultimately satisfy. You have only to think about your own life and realize that what God has given you materially is not the ultimate prize. It's only when you're in harmony with Him that you begin to know a life of contentment. Let's pray. Father, we know in our hearts that things don't bring fulfillment. That fact is plain to us no matter how much we have. Help us be mindful that You alone would find the desires of our hearts. Remind us daily not to pin our hopes for the future on what we can acquire today. In Jesus' name, amen.
Today, our big question is, can we find contentment in relationships? How many times has this scene been repeated? A guy sees a girl he can't live without. He thinks she will bring him happiness, and for a while, that's how it plays out. But then one day he's melancholy just like he used to be. Or how about the woman who believes marriage will fulfill her heart's desires, but then over time, her husband isn't so perfect? You see the common denominator in these two scenarios. Partners aren't the issue. The lack of contentment comes from the person seeking it. It comes from within. They're looking in the wrong place. Romans 12:2 says, “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world. Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think, then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Author Rob Kuban sums up right relationships for those seeking contentment. He says, “The Bible calls us to allow our convictions, not our circumstances, to govern our sense of contentment.” If you aren't willing to do the work of changing from within, your desires will largely go unmet, and honestly, you will not be attractive as a potential friend or mate. Our first assignment is to find peace with God and then seek the one he has for us. You see, choosing to be content is the first step. It's just that so many people want shortcuts. Read Ecclesiastes sometime, it's a leadership book, really, but it opens a window into Solomon's mind and heart. Here we see his thoughts on what happens when a person looks in the wrong places for real happiness. Solomon was the richest man of his time, and he also had hundreds of wives. But as an old man, he was bent in body and spirit from too many years of pursuing everything but his creator. Learn from his example and fix your eyes on the ultimate relationship. People will then be able to see the contentment on your face. Let's pray. Father God, our first priority should be a right relationship with you. Only you can bring peace to our hearts and minds long-term so that in turn we can bless others. Thank you Father, for making a way for us to be content. In Jesus' name, amen.
The diversity of life on this planet is astonishing, good, bad, beautiful, painful. Our world is a place of blessing and it's also a struggle for a lot of people. Each of us has a whole batch of issues to deal with every day, ranging from physical challenges to emotional needs. And a fascinating element in all this is how we see contentment. What is it? Where is it found? Is it lasting? Matthew 6:32–33 says, “For the pagans run after all these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them but seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Our old friend balance is so important. In every aspect of our lives, we should have a goal of keeping steady. Solomon spoke to this in Proverbs 30, when he asked God to give him not too much or too little. He reasoned that if he had great wealth, he might forget God. If he was in poverty, he might be inclined to steal. This effort to find balance is the heart of finding contentment. God is the ultimate source and He gives us the capacity to be content, using scripture as our guide. And as usual, God has a comprehensive plan for you, especially in the area of contentment. Notice what Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” The actor Chris Tucker discovered all this after the huge success of “Rush Hour” and other projects. But he became a Christian, and now he's selective in what he does, and he keeps it clean and real. It's been estimated that since he turned to faith, Tucker has turned down a hundred million in projects. What's his take on all that? He says, “But I've got a hundred million of great experiences.” Whether you're hard-charging and ambitious, or you're simply neglecting the pursuit of peace in your life, you're damaging your spiritual health. Finding spiritual harmony makes you a complete person. Anything short of that, you're flying with a broken wing. Bottom line is, if you look at all the verses in the Bible that speak to being truly content, you'll quickly understand that Christ is the answer. Let's pray, Father, You've provided the only way to true peace and contentment, and we thank You for that. Help us to keep this in front of us every day as we seek to live life well and abundantly, in Jesus' name, amen.
You know, someone may have tried to convince you at some point in your life that we're alone in the cold void of the universe, but that has never been true. It's especially false for the believer who understands what God has done for all people everywhere. He, the Creator of the universe, formed us long ago, and His Word tells us clearly that He never takes a second off in His pursuit of us. Consider this: If you're stuck in a bad relationship, you won't find your way into the light until you're reconciled to God. That relationship is number one. It's the one you cannot be without. Even if others fail you; resolve to work on that one, and the others will fall into place. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” That ‘friend' is referring to Jesus Christ, who loved us enough to step into history and take the punishment meant for us. Understand that, and cultivate a relationship with Him. Let's pray. Lord, we owe everything to you...literally everything. We worship you, and we praise your name as the One who sacrificed all for us. In Jesus' name, amen.
Today, we continue our series on healthy relationships, and we're talking about managing difficult relationships. There's a wonderful scene in the classic film to kill a Mockingbird, when the attorney Atticus Finch is confronted by the father of a girl who has accused a black man of rape. The father, enraged, walks up to Finch—played perfectly by Gregory Peck. He spits in Finch's face as the attorneys' children watch. You can see the anger in Finch's face, but he slowly and calmly maintains his composure. He simply walks past the man, who now looks pretty small and everyone's eyes. God has given us the power over difficult people. It's called not letting them set the rules. 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing because to this you were called, so that you may inherit a blessing.” Not always easy, definitely, but we're capable of it. Remember that. This life is very much about winning and losing. Determine that a difficult person in your life is not going to win by controlling you and getting under your skin. In wrestling terms, don't let that person pin you. Is that obnoxious person in your life really all that obnoxious, or are you a grouch, letting yourself get caught in what is really only a difference in personalities? Go home from work one evening and think about that. Make your mind up to start out the next day by being nice to that person. You'll be surprised how that can change the equation. And that's what Colossians 4:6 is talking about when it says, “Let your speech be always with grace seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.” Or maybe you're a man frustrated with the relationship between your wife and your mother. This is always a potentially difficult situation. Maybe you think your wife should be more adaptable, but have you forgotten what God told the man in Genesis 2:24? It says, “This is why a man leaves his father and mother, and is united to his wife. And they become one flesh.” Your responsibility in that situation is to your wife, not to making sure your parents' feelings come first in all situations. So you see, often that difficult person you're dealing with is you, or at the very least a different perspective will help you see where the fault really lies. Finally, in 1 Corinthians 5, we read that Paul advises for really difficult people, a cooling off period is legitimate. For example, the person who is causing real strife in a church should not be allowed to go on like that indefinitely; bad behavior sometimes must be confronted for the good of the community. And even for the good of the offended person, this is sound advice. So if we stick to what the Lord has already told us, and our tried and true methods for dealing with difficult people, we can get to a better place. Let's pray. Father God, a person who is angry or troublemaker creates chaos for everyone. Help us analyze each of these situations as unique so that we know how to handle them from Your Word. And most especially help us make it a habit to pray for those who are difficult, so that we might see their lives changed, and brought into harmony and unity. In Jesus' name. Amen.
One of the richest gifts God has given us is healthy relationships. A marriage in balance, friends who mutually respect each other, and most of all a strong “God connection” can be the ticket to a healthy, whole life. The full life that Jesus spoke about! Hebrews 10:24–25 says, “And let us consider how to spur one another to love and to good works. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching.” With the fast pace of life, sometimes we forget to squeeze all the gratitude we can out of a great relationship. Remember to regularly tell the people in your life how much they mean to you, and to give thanks to God for sending these loved ones your way. Write them a note, even a text, to tell them just what they mean to you. Let's pray. Lord, it's not about the number of relationships we have, but the quality. Thank you for giving people who are loyal, and love us in return. Encourage us to love others in word, and in deed. In Jesus' name, amen.
God's Word shares powerful wisdom for dealing with harmful relationships. A damaged marriage, child-parent relationship, or friendship gone bad can cause us to spiral downward. Everything is affected. Work, sleep, even our prayer life. When a relationship sours, it's important to remember we bear responsibility for doing everything possible to nurture healthy relationships. Our prayer life and resolve can go a long way toward repairing the damage. When King David's advisor, Nathan, saw what sin had done to David's life, he confronted him. It must've been difficult for Nathan to be this honest with the king about his personal issues, but things got better. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Commit yourself to healing in a bad relationship. With God's help, it can be done. Let's pray. Lord, there is so much hurt in this world, and none of us gets out without some trouble. If we've hurt someone, or if someone has hurt us, please put a burden on our hearts to go to that person in a spirit of love and peace, seeking to make things right. In Jesus' name, amen.
God created humans with a spirit, soul, and body. And in order for each aspect of our being to function in harmony, our relationships should also be in harmony. From the beginning, God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, talking with them and nurturing a personal relationship with them. In fact, throughout the scriptures, God built foundational relationships, whether it was with the reluctant leader Moses or Hannah, the woman who wanted to be a mother more than anything. Ephesians 4:2–3 says, “Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the spirit of unity through the bond of peace.” Right relationships are foundational to life. The Bible is clear that if one of ours is suffering, letting it drift is not an option. Make living in harmony with other people a top priority every day. Let's pray. Lord, You gave everything for us, created us to have fellowship, to experience Your love, and to love You in return. Help us to always be mindful that life is short, but relationships can last for eternity. In Jesus' name, amen.
Bill was a very successful businessman for a lot of years. About 10 years ahead of retirement, he decided to entrust a lot of money to the investment wizardry of Bernie Madoff. And when Madoff's Ponzi scheme imploded, Bill joined many others who now had to wonder where their money went. And he thought of suicide. For fully two years, he struggled to get out of bed. He felt sapped of energy every waking moment. Then, on a park bench one afternoon, he met Mildred, who shared the Good News of Jesus with him. And Bill said later that during his walk home, he could feel blood flow back into his legs. And by the time he got home, he dusted off a Bible and began his journey to Christ. He says, “He saved me in every way. I no longer felt weak and helpless. Today, I look forward to my future.” Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” And Christ longs to give you the strength to live a full life. Let's pray. Lord, our hope is in You and You alone. Thank You for loving us enough to want the very best for us. Thank You for strength for the journey. In Jesus' name, amen.
Sandy was facing some really tough choices. Her daughter needed a life-saving treatment. The girl's father was out of the picture, and she faced this moment without support. Even the doctors didn't seem overly optimistic. So this embattled mom did what moms do. She prayed. She told God she didn't have the strength to see this thing through. No bright light appeared, and things didn't get better instantly or even the next day, but God healed her little girl. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Sandy remembered what her own parents had taught her about faith. She remembered that the Apostle Paul, who suffered beatings and imprisonment for preaching the gospel, once said, “I know whom I have believed.” Belief, that's the key. When your strength is gone, you go to your prayer closet and you pour out your grief to God. And you remember that God's Word tells us that all things are possible through Christ. Let's pray. Father God, life just hurts sometimes. We feel weak and lethargic, and on our own, we'll never be enough. We praise you for being our strength, all the time. In Jesus' name, amen.
Quitting is something our culture really frowns upon. We're all taught not to be a quitter, but honestly, it's one of the easiest things in the short term any of us can do. Quitting is seductive, and taking the easy way out just feels right sometimes. Well—fight that impulse. Too many outcomes are riding on your willingness to hang tough. Luke 18:1 says, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Few people remember Coretta Scott King and her refusal to give up after her husband was murdered for a cause. We all remember MLK. His widow, however, lived out the premise of Luke 18:1. As a woman of faith, she stood strong and raised their children, adding to her family's legacy and giving us an example of steadfast faith in the face of heartbreak. If she didn't give up, neither should we. Let's pray. Lord, giving up sometimes feels like taking a nap during a blizzard. We just want to go to sleep and hope it all goes away, but there can be danger in that. Father, help us to push on and to fulfill your calling on our lives. In Jesus' name, amen.
Are you having a bad day? Feeling exhausted? Ready to throw in the towel? Have you considered telling God that? Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Sometimes all things means conquering a mountain, but sometimes it means putting one foot in front of the other when you just aren't feeling it. When Paul wrote those words 2,000 years ago, he was writing on the other side of a life filled with trials. This preacher had spent several years being hunted, persecuted, and hated for his faith in Christ. Through it all, Paul was filled with strength precisely because he understood where it came from. He'd been through too many tough situations to think he bailed himself out. No, he knew—he knew the risen Christ, and he leaned on Christ. Even though Paul lived a long time ago in a much different world, not all that much has changed. What never changes is Christ's love for us and his willingness to give us his strength. Remember that today. Let's pray. Lord, give us the perspective that Paul had. Give us a vision for what it means to be strong in today's tough world. We are willing to obey you, Lord, in Jesus' name, amen.
The prophet Isaiah lived during a difficult period for the ancient Israelites. Turning away from faith in God and under the control of corrupt kings, the nation entered a period of darkness. They needed hope more than anything. In our discussion this week, we're talking about this human condition. Today, we are really no different from people in ancient times: We all need a relationship with our Creator. Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Don't those words give a feeling of peace and calm? You can say them to yourself, with no one around, and begin to feel God's strong arms wrapping you in love. He wants you to be free from all the strongholds that keep you from your destiny. Wouldn't you like to spend the rest of this week at rest emotionally and mentally? You can. This is the Lord's will for you, as we heard in this famous passage from the book of Isaiah. Let's pray. Lord, thank you for your Word. God, thank you that your perfect love always comes through for us. Just as you didn't abandon your people long ago, we know you will remember us. In Jesus' name, amen.
Early in the 2008 college football season, Florida was stunned at home by Ole Miss, losing 31 to 30. Tim Tebow, the Florida quarterback who had already had great success, was now faced with rising from the ashes. In a moment of weakness and humiliation, he told the world that his team would not lose again in that situation. People sat up and took notice, mostly because Tim Tebow was an outspoken Christian. More than a few people rolled their eyes. Not many thought the promise would hold since Florida would have to roll through undefeated the rest of the way in the country's toughest conference. They did roll though. At the end of the year, facing Oklahoma's history-making offense, the Florida Gators locked the Sooners down and won a national championship. As the confetti fell, Tim Tebow looked up and thanked the one who had really kept the promise. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Knowing the source of true strength is a comforting thought, and it gives us quiet confidence. Let's pray. Lord, in adversity we find out who we really are. Our identity is in Christ, whose strength takes the burden off of us. In Jesus' name, amen.
Kelly had felt alone for years. Since childhood, in fact. At 26, she didn't like it anymore and she decided to do something about it. Not a naturally outgoing person, Kelly began volunteering in a local women's shelter. She learned quickly to listen to other people's problems she had herself never experienced, and she found that helping someone else made her feel better—physically and emotionally. Within a year, she decided to make a change, finish her degree, and become a counselor. She realized that sometimes even when we cry out to God in our loneliness, we're also obligated to do something to move forward. With God's help and daily prayer, Kelly left lonely behind, and you can, too. Let's pray. Lord, we come to you now in a moment when being alone isn't desirable anymore. We ask you to help us get out of our confinement and meet people. God, thank you that when we call on you, you are there. Together, we no longer feel alone, in Jesus' name, amen.
Of all the human emotions, fear is perhaps the most paralyzing. And there are what we call internal and external fears. While many people stress about relationships, depression, and self-doubt, there are also big issues affecting the world: natural disasters, political upheaval, wars, are just a few of the things that create fear. Sometimes it can feel like everything is unraveling, but our field guide for finding our way through life, the Bible, has much to say about fear. In fact, dozens of verses speak to it. One really helpful verse is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” In scripture, God either speaks to us directly, or through the stories of men like Moses, who comforted the frightened Israelites at the Red Sea. For us as individuals, there are wonderful reminders of God calming us when we're afraid. In Philippians 4, God reminds us not to be anxious about anything. These are soothing words that reach us where we actually live. And as with every other area of our lives, God provides practical help in times of need. Ashley Smith found that out in 2005 when an escaped killer held her hostage in her apartment. She remained calm, and asked him if she could read. He said yes. So she grabbed her Bible and a copy of The Purpose Driven Life. And over a period of hours, the man talked to Ashley and told her he felt dead inside. Later, she was able to escape and she said she felt that God brought that man to her so that he wouldn't hurt anyone else. God's Word provides real, workable solutions for the many problems we face. Fear is just one of them, but it can be a big one. And it shrinks in the light of God's protection. Let's pray. Father God, we love you. We thank you for showing us the way when we're too afraid to go on. Thank you for giving us a spirit of sound mind, and not a spirit of fear. In Jesus' name, amen.
Have you ever talked to someone who doubted the existence of God? Someone who says God couldn't have created everything in our world? Watch that same someone stare in wonder at a mountain range like the Rockies, the delicate bloom of a flower, or a sunset on a beach in Greece. It's pretty hard to deny God in such a moment. In fact, all throughout scripture, we're told that God's majesty is seen in our natural surroundings. He made everything. Literally, all matter. He created the conditions for a waterfall, the light of the moon and the stars, and the horses that gallop across a prairie. There's infinite beauty in our world, and He made it. Amos 4:13 says, “He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness and treads on the heights of the earth, the Lord God Almighty is his name.” The Prophet Amos had seen the beauty of the land, from golden deserts to lush pastures. He'd also seen the power of God even in earthquakes and storms. He knew it was possible to worship God without limitations, and the splendor of nature He'd created. We have the same opportunity. Just stand in a favorite spot and meditate on the power and majesty of the living God. Take a walk in the fresh air to revive your spirit. There's something healing about connecting with your creator in a spot that highlights just how much beauty is in our world. The next time you hear someone question the existence of God, or if you encounter someone who's feeling a bit down, get them out in nature. Take time to soak it all in. Reflect on His wondrous works. It'll have a positive effect. Let's pray. Father, thank you so much for creating a world that we can enjoy. We're aware of you and know you made the lakes, and the valleys, and the mountains—all of it. You filled it with amazing animals and fresh air. We praise your name for all of this, Father. In Jesus' name, amen.
In the Bible we read of family records that were the original genealogy sources. People knew where they came from, they knew their kin. The 12 tribes of Israel were first outlined in Genesis, and from these 12 came an entire nation. Even Jesus came from somewhere! One of the Bible's patriarchs, Jacob, had a son named Judah. The father calls the son a lion's cub, and blesses him. Judah is told he will have favor in his family. 1 Timothy 1:17 says, “All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.” It is from this family of Judah that Jesus would come. There is even an interesting prophecy about this in Genesis 49; you should read it sometime. In fact, Jesus was born into the tribe of Judah, and so symbolically, He becomes the ‘Lion of the Tribe of Judah,' and will return one day to Earth as a conquering King, the greatest one of all time. The very name, the Lion of Judah, carries with it power and majesty. How thankful we are that it is Jesus' name. Let's pray. Lord, we love you for many reasons. We love you and we thank you that the things you tell us will happen do in fact take place. In Jesus' name, amen.
When Isaiah the prophet wrote, the birth of Jesus was still almost 800 years away. Yet there is good reason to believe key parts of the book of Isaiah are pointing to the coming Savior. Near the end of the book, we see this clearly. Isaiah 60:1 says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” It's reasonable to believe that this has dual meanings. One, the prophecy speaks of the wise men from the East seeing the star in the sky. And then, traveled to see the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. A second, longer view looks ahead far into the future, when Jesus will return to Earth and set up His Kingdom of righteousness. As believers, we know what it feels like when the spirit of God dwells in us. It's that glow God intends for us to share with others. Jesus has come! Your challenge is to share that Good News with all those you meet. Let's pray. Lord, your Gospel is our mission. God, give us endurance for our race! In Jesus' name, amen.
Diamonds. The very word calls to mind something so beautiful and rare, people everywhere immediately form a sharp mental image. Many people dream of handfuls of these sparkling, valuable gemstones running through their hands. Nothing speaks of high value more than a diamond solitaire. Such a piece of jewelry signals to the world that a couple considers their relationship to be both priceless and eternal. Proverbs 31:10 says, “She is far more precious than jewels.” This is it. A Proverbs 31 woman has literally been made by the Lord to be a clear and radiant light so that people can see Christ living in her. Honestly? What humans label as beauty often misses the mark. Light comes from within, not from the surface. A woman who knows her worth is in Christ Jesus, is that stunning girl turning heads, and engaging and inspiring hearts. Not only is a woman who is an ambassador for Christ lovely, she is also durable. She is not smashed by the cares of life. When life presses in on her, she turns to her Lord and emerges as a thing that cuts the enemy to pieces. She shines. Let's pray. Lord, the beauty you create is not matched by human creativity. Thank you for the sparkling ‘diamonds' that come into and enrich our lives. In Jesus' name, amen.
As followers of Jesus, we are meant to be witnesses. And Christ's majesty and power are meant to blanket our world. He is intimately aware of you and where you are in life. Isaiah 60:1 says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” When we trust Christ—when we believe the Gospel—we're called to get in the game. If you've been changed, and if you believe that, sitting on such Good News doesn't make much sense, does it? Are you guilty of failing to shine a light in a dark world? If you're a friend of God, just as the Bible says Abraham was long ago, you are to invite others to live in his healing light. The glory of the Lord rises on you each morning. Put your feet on the floor and share His glory with the people that you encounter. God is so good! Walk in His light and see what He'll do in countless lives! Let's pray. Lord God, there are so many opportunities to share your love and your light with the world. Give us opportunities to do that, and give us the energy to seize them. In Jesus' name, amen.
Don't you love the nuances and uniqueness God put into the world? He created harmony and balance everywhere, including our individual best time of the day to be creative and productive. Some of us are ‘up with the chickens,' as they used to say. Others burn a candle late into the night. Whatever time is your time to connect in positive ways, God made you to shine for His purposes. Isaiah 60:1 says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” Embrace your uniqueness! Just because your eyes don't focus until later in the morning—after cups, plural, of coffee—doesn't mean you won't hit the mark today. You were built for this, to be a light to others and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. So, rise up, whenever that is for you, and make a promise to God that you will get everything out of today that you're supposed to. Let's pray. Lord, you made us to be a light in a world that is all too often dark. Thank you for the opportunities to make a difference for you. In Jesus' name, amen.
One of the best benefits about flying at night is to look out the window and see all those lights against the black backdrop. The lights signal that a city or town is down there—a place where families live. Our spiritual lives are the same way. This world has its share of darkness, but God looks down and sees His lights. He sees the good that says, “Love lives here.” Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” We are told in Scripture that as believers, we have indescribable joy. Jesus Christ lives within us, lighting us from the inside out. With that gift comes responsibility: We don't have the option of staying hidden. When Jesus told His followers they were “the light of the world,” they understood what He meant, sitting there on the mountainside above the Sea of Galilee. Many of them took this to heart, shining a light in the spiritual darkness and sharing the Good News every chance they got. Let's pray. Lord, help us to continually shine the light of your love and your Gospel in this world. In Jesus' name, amen.
It's been said that grace is simply favor from God, and we didn't do anything to earn it. Often, grace comes when we need it the most. The word grace is used about 170 times in the Bible. Most of those occur in the New Testament as the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ unfolds. His sacrifice for all of us, dying on the cross for our sins, was the backdrop for a lot of other moments in grace He gave to those He came in contact with. Jesus perfectly understood that there's a lot of suffering in the world. Those poignant moments when He stooped to heal a person in distress, or when He unlocked the emotional chains of people like Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene—that is supernatural grace. Grace is a moment in time when the living God intervenes in someone's life. We often hear stories of people being surprised by grace. It arrives when they least expect it, but is really needed. James 4:6 says, “But he gives us more grace.” That is why scripture says, “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” What we learn about grace from the Bible is that although God is the originator, we are also capable of giving grace. Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? Maybe that person is badly in need of that forgiveness. Swallow your pride and give that grace. There are many more ways to give grace. That family in your church that is struggling financially. Can you find a way to discreetly help them out? That kind of grace can be just the boost people need to rise above their circumstances. Some people are prideful, but the truth is all of us need God's grace. We need it for the duration. So think about that the next time a grudge or stubborn pride is blocking you from being a blessing to others. One day you might just find yourself on the other end of that situation. Let's pray. Father God, you are so good to us, all the time. If we stop and think about the unmerited favor you give us each day, amazing. Help us to keep this in mind as we find ways to pay it forward in our daily walk. In Jesus' name, amen.
Jane was the last child to receive a handmade blanket from her great grandmother. Pink and blue, festooned with angels and sprinkled with stars that sparkled in the light, the much-loved blanket was the little girl's constant companion. This childhood treasure became even more important when Gramma Ann passed away — a reminder of her love for her family, and her faith in God. Jane's blanket kept her warm in sickness and in health, but the washing machine proved its eventual undoing. One day, the last remaining fragment of Gramma Ann's very last blanket was lost. Ephesians 2:8–9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” A few years after the remaining bit of Jane's ‘Gramma Ann Blankie' was lost to time (but not to memory), her mom stumbled across the best yard sale find of all time: the very same blanket, likely created from a quilting kit, in brand new condition. Jane and her mother cried together right there in a stranger's driveway, certain that Gramma was smiling down on them from Heaven in that moment of discovery. It was the best two dollars the pair ever spent. Grace can show up when we least expect it—even in the form of a long-lost family heirloom returned to us in the unlikeliest of ways. Let's pray. Lord, your grace is a constant delight. You are faithful to us when we seek Your face, and Your gift of grace shows up in incredible ways. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.
Theresa Rosenthal had a rough start in life. She watched her father abuse her mother, and then when she was six, a family friend sexually abused her. Like so many that suffered at the hands of a predator, Theresa pushed the pain down into a secret place, and for decades, she battled with depression and substance abuse. Finally, one day she was sitting in front of her house and just blurted out to God, “What am I supposed to do?” Within 24 hours, she had a Bible from a new friend who reached out to her, and even though some of Theresa's bad choices would land her in jail, her friend and that Bible, were constant sources of healing. Today, she's a member of a loving church, and she tells anyone who will listen about God's grace in her life. Daniel 4:2 says, “I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the most high God has done for me.” Too often we are too tribal. We think God only works in our circles, but the fact is, God has always been the definition of inclusive. The Bible makes it very clear that God's grace is available to anyone in all times and places. Matthew 5:45 is a very interesting verse that illustrates this. It says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” That's fascinating. What might seem unusual or even unjust to us is routine for God. Because God takes the long view. He knows that our lives on Earth are brief. So if he gives grace to a bad person, he's thinking of that person's eternal place. And let's face it, there are plenty of times in our lives that we didn't deserve grace. But he gave it anyway. In God's economy, a Babylonian brickmaker from 3,000 years ago is as valuable as you are. Theresa Rosenthal was warmed by that grace at a time when she was doing drugs and spiraling into depression, and she had no ability to improve her life. And that's the point of grace. God gives it to a variety of people and circumstances. And life would be unbearable without it. Let's pray. Father God, your grace sustains us, in bad times and in good times, and we might take our focus off you. Sometimes that grace is almost unseen. We might not be aware of it until years later when looking back gives us insight. Thank you for giving us what we don't deserve. In Jesus' name, amen.
“Mom—I broke something! I'm so sorry!” Benjamin had slipped on the wet bathroom floor and managed to take down the shower curtain and curtain rod in one fell swoop. His mom's concern wasn't the state of the shower curtain, but whether the broken something was an arm or leg. Thankfully, her son wasn't hurt, and fixing the curtain was a lot easier than mending a broken bone. A reassuring hug from Mom was all the boy needed to mend his hurt pride. None of us are perfect, whether we're 8 years old or 80. Slips and trips happen in life, and beyond accidental mishaps, we also slip up and sin, making choices that disappoint the Lord and send us on a detour from the path He has planned for us. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God loves us dearly, and while our sin makes Him sad, He is ready and willing to forgive us; we only need to ask Him to. God's love for us is so deep He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins because He knew we'd need forgiveness. That's amazing grace! Let's pray. Lord, you love us even through our imperfections. God thank you for the incredible gift of your forgiveness. In Jesus' name, amen.
Have you ever thought much about grace? We hear the word, but the concept itself might be a little elusive. That might be because it's hard for humans to understand and embrace. Grace means simply that someone gives you something with no strings attached. Just for your good. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” The Bible tells a simple story, really. Mankind sinned and brought evil into the world. God made everything, so He has the right to set the rules. And in His system, sin cannot be tolerated. He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him, through His son, Jesus Christ. Often, we try to do things to help life along. We plan, plot, and come up with programs and agendas... Our own ideas seem like the right thing to do. But God's way is always the right thing to do. Setting aside our own ego is key to finding peace in Christ. We literally don't have to do anything for it. We accept it in faith. That's the gift of God. Let's pray. Lord, in your love for us, you make our path simple. Not always easy, but simple. We thank you for the gift of eternal life. In Jesus' name, amen.
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, and mom. She knows something of how fear can derail a person's entire life. You see, Debbie wrestled with fear and anxiety for years. And her recovery didn't happen overnight, but she did come to think about it all in a different way. She turned to the Lord, and He showed her practical things she could do to alleviate her fear. Now, for one thing, she began to notice something. When she thought about her fear and she studied her own patterns related to being anxious, she realized that the majority of her fears didn't actually happen. And this is where a journal can come in really handy. By keeping a log of your fears, and then after a certain period of time, say a month later, check back and see how many of those fears actually manifest themselves. And you'll probably be shocked at how low the percentage really is. Next, Debbie said that she began to read words of life, as she says, “Soaking them in over and over, praying them out loud.” And she makes the great point that there's power in the Bible's words because it is God's Word. Isaiah 35:4 says, “Tell everyone who is discouraged, ‘Be strong and don't be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies.'” Debbie also advocates what she calls guarding your heart. And this involves a daily concentrating power that reminds you of truth, even in the midst of confusion. Again, this is where reading words of life is so critical. In this way, you're making the peace in your own heart a top priority. And it's okay to say that to yourself—as many times a day as you need. With just these few things, overcoming fear is within your reach. Let's pray. Father God, how powerful your promises are to us. Your words of life bring harmony. Help us to be on the lookout for friends and family who are struggling so that we can remind them of the times you've delivered us from fear and anxiety. Help us to make guarding our own hearts a priority. In Jesus' name, amen.
One of the extraordinary stories in the Bible involves a young woman named Rahab. This story beautifully expresses God's love for all people. Rahab lived in the Canaanite town of Jericho, which was near the border of the Promised Land God had promised to His people, who had been wandering for years in search of a home after slavery in Egypt. Because the Canaanites were so powerful, Joshua sent a scouting party into the land to see what they were up against. The men sent ahead were hidden from harm by Rahab, because she had heard of the power that followed the Israelites. When she talked with the men, she showed remarkable understanding that their God was in fact the true God, and she made a bargain with them. Joshua 2:14 says, “So the men said to her, ‘Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.'” In the end, as the Israelites took possession of the Promised Land, Rahab's family was spared death. In this way, we see how God's inclusive love for all is worked out in practical ways that lead to life. Remember Rahab when you think that you are beyond God's protection! Let's pray. Lord, what an example of faithfulness this woman displayed. Bless all those who look for you. In Jesus' name, amen.
Have you ever gotten so tired of life that you wished you could disappear and start over somewhere else? Ever wish that fantasy would just pull you out of your circumstances? They make movies about things like that, but it's not real. John 14:2,3 says, “In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” How incredible that Jesus is actually going to do this for us someday. If you live long enough, the cares of life sort of wear you down and you need a good, long rest. Good for us that our Lord cares enough for us that He has already gone ahead to prepare a place of peace, rest, and joy for each of us. It will be a real place, not just a scouting location for a film. One day, in His perfect time, He will call you out of this groaning world, and take you to a spot that has literally been prepared with just you in mind! Let's pray. Lord, you are good to us in countless ways. We thank you so much for the home you have prepared for us. In Jesus' name, amen.
God does things on a big scale, but He's also in the details. He knows our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and every detail of our lives. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” In Ecclesiastes, God spends considerable time speaking to our innermost needs. Through the stories of Paul and the apostles, we see that He cares about our physical needs, and comforts us in times of danger. The diversity of God's intervention is awesome! Hannah couldn't have children, but she prayed and the Lord answered her…blessing her with six children! Gideon was facing an army much larger than his own, but God told him everything would be okay—and it was! Down through time and into the present, God speaks to us with words of comfort and courage. He is actively working in our lives now, and always. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for intervening in our lives, in ways big and small. We are grateful for your love, and blessed that you are standing by on our behalf. In Jesus' name, amen.
Have you ever gotten tired of treading water? Martha is a 20-something-old lifeguard in Los Angeles. Besides dealing with deck chairs purposely thrown into the water and parents asking her to babysit poolside, she's noticed another aspect of the job that really tugs at your heart. “Kids pretend to drown in the pool so that I will pay attention to them.” Wow. Think about that. At a young age, humans need to be nurtured and cared for. They want to be loved. So a young lifeguard becomes their emotional lifeline. These kids were actually pretending to nearly die so that someone would pay attention. It's pretty sad, but not that different from the rest of us. Everyone wants to belong, and sometimes life is like a raging storm, and problems can flood the soul. In Matthew 14, we read the story of Jesus providing comfort to his disciples in a difficult situation. He had gone to pray on a mountain while they stayed behind in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Normally, this is a very picturesque, calm lake, but this night, a storm came up. As the waves were about to capsize the boat, the men looked and saw a figure walking on the water. Peter cried out, and Jesus told him to get out of the boat and walk toward Him. Peter, known for his passionate faith, got out. But as he took his eyes off Jesus and began looking at the storm around him, he sank. Jesus, though, grabbed his arm and pulled him up. “Why did you doubt,” He asked Peter. It's a valid question—for anyone. Jesus has proven Himself to us many times over. When you feel overwhelmed, remember to call out to Him, and He will lift your burden. Let's pray. Father God, sometimes it feels like life is just pulling us under. We thank you so much that we have examples from scripture where you rescued drowning people. You're indeed our lifeguard. Help us keep this in our hearts and our minds daily so that we can be reminded of your blessed assurance and to call out your name, the one who provides for all of our needs. In Jesus' name, amen.
Geraldine Mock became the first woman to fly around the world in 1964. Landing for a short stop in Saudi Arabia, she watched as a man approached her plane. When he saw her, he shouted to his friends that this was no man. They applauded! Jerrie Mock's steadiness at the wheel, and in her encounters on the ground, were the very picture of self-control. Her journey was wildly successful. Titus 2:11–12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly…” In order to navigate this crazy world, we have to be steady, and the Fruit of the Spirit ends with a reminder to practice self-control in all we do. Be steady. As Scripture reminds us, don't look right or left, but ahead. God sees real value in this trait, because He knows we cannot possibly succeed if we let our emotions rule us, or we run ahead on our own instincts. Let's pray. Lord, help us to practice discipline and love doing good as we walk through life. In Jesus' name, amen.
Who likes to wait for what we need or want? Basically—nobody. Of those nine elements that make up the Fruit of the Spirit, patience may be the hardest. Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” And patience is learned, which makes it one of the sweetest fruits the Spirit gives us. Waiting for a payoff of some kind makes the end result that much more rewarding, and life teaches us that. A childless Hannah endured mocking and ridicule, but the Bible tells us in First Samuel that she prayed, and she waited. Imagine how she felt when the date of her delivery drew near. She eventually had several children, but it was her patience in waiting on Samuel that made all the difference. If you're waiting for something very important, read and meditate on the Fruits of the Spirit, especially patience. Let's pray. Lord, give us the patience of Hannah when we're frustrated by waiting, and teach us humility in the process in Jesus' name, amen.
Fighting one day in the tough Iraqi city of Fallujah, a Marine sergeant decided to put himself at risk in order to get a frightened family to safety. He stepped into a courtyard and spoke quietly for a few minutes with the father. He took time to make sure the kids had water, and the toys his men gave them. Then it was back to the war. Gentleness can be misunderstood. Too often we think, for example, that a man is not masculine if he's gentle. Not true. This Fruit of the Spirit is a real strength, no matter one's gender. But for men, it can be more than that; gentleness can be an asset. Romans 15:7 says, “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” No matter where we are, we are to conduct ourselves with a gentle nature. In every encounter, we are to model the love of Christ, to show a damaged world that good is stronger than evil. Let's pray. Lord, you are so gentle with our tangled spirits! In our sin, you look at us with love. Thank you so much for that. In Jesus' name, amen.
Giving kindness is healing for the soul. A viral video made the national news: a police officer cut the hair of a prisoner being released so that he could go on a job interview. It was one of those inspiring “random acts of kindness” we love to hear about. Proverbs 31:26 says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” The thing that made Jesus stand out to people in Israel was His incredible kindness. He stopped to heal someone physically, or offered kindness to a person others looked down on. What abundance could you share with a stranger in need? Could you go to a person who is discouraged, and in need of a simple kind word? Kindness is within your power. It's within all of our power. Stopping to be kind bears much good fruit, and Jesus gave the ultimate kindness in His sacrifice for our sin. Isn't passing along a human kindness the least we can do? Let's pray. Lord, there is so much need in this world! Humble us at every opportunity to bring light to someone in need. Thank you for doing that for each of us. In Jesus' name, amen.
It's been said that in the Fruit of the Spirit list, all of them collectively practically define the nature of Christ. Even David the shepherd knew his Messiah was coming. Remember what he said about his loving God? He said, “Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” We instinctively know what goodness is. It's a kind touch, a gentle word, a gift that was unexpected. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” And in life, we understand the distinction between good and evil. These two, always warring with each other. The key thing to remember in this conflict is that God is good, and infinitely stronger than evil. And that's important to remember as we see injustice. What did Micah tell us? That goodness is wrapped up in the choices we make. Oppose injustice, love what is kind and be humble. And the truth is, all of us have been given so much good by our good God, that it should be second nature to model that for those we meet in our journey. Let's pray. Lord, thank you for your sweet goodness. Sustain us with that goodness for the journey. In Jesus' name, amen.
Of all the themes of the Bible, God's grace through His Son, Jesus Christ, is the greatest example. It's the most critical element in a person's life, and the choice to receive it is ours. The Bible tells us that before the world was created, God already had a plan to redeem mankind from sin. And because He knows all, He already knew what would take place in the Garden of Eden. Acts 15:11 says, “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved just as they are.” The greatest act of grace then was given at the cross, when Jesus willingly died in our place. Because God is all-knowing and all-powerful, He decides what is best for human beings. And since He cannot tolerate sin, someone had to stand in as a substitute. Otherwise, each of us would be required to receive the punishment for sin, which is death. And Jesus took all of that away from us. In Isaiah 50 and in Psalm 22, we read very graphic descriptions of the ways Jesus suffered during the crucifixion. He himself tells us what it was like. In the Greek and Hebrew, the concept of grace is a picture of someone stooping to help another, and more specifically, it is a picture of a superior person freely offering to help a person in great need, and incapable of doing it for himself. 2 Timothy 1 gives us a clear picture of how God's grace came into the world, emphasizing that we can do nothing to earn it, and this requires us to get rid of our pride. The passage also tells us that this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. Although we think of the Old Testament as more about law, while the New Testament focuses on grace, there are examples in the Old Testament reminding us that God has never abandoned anyone in any era. Whether you have plenty and don't feel you need any help from God or you're in great need, won't you consider accepting the free gift of salvation and forgiveness of sins that God is offering? Let's pray. Father, just like the old hymn says, Jesus paid it all, and that reality fills us with joy. Our salvation promises that one day when you make all things new, we will be able to fully enjoy that grace for all eternity. You are the great God, and we praise you for your grace. In Jesus' name, amen.
Have you ever felt a surge of pride because you had it all together? As if your brains and talent and charm was just dazzling to the whole world? It sounds funny, but let's be honest. We've all at some point thought quite a lot of our own abilities. Pride—something God hates—trips us up. We are flying high… And then the crash comes. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Are you hurting today because you didn't anticipate some obstacle? Were you a little smug in how you could handle challenges? Then tell God! Humble yourself, and ask Him to make you whole. You might not have it all together—it's probably guaranteed that you don't—but He does! Let's pray. Lord, you are a fortress of strength for each of us, especially when we mess up. God, you reveal our need for you through our own brokenness. Lord, we are grateful for your mercy, and your grace. In Jesus' name, amen.
The lack of gratitude in our world can be contagious. It's kind of like a negative “pay it forward.” How did we get to this place? Are we too prideful to thank each other, or even to thank God? Too busy? Too self-absorbed, maybe? As believers, we know life is a rich blessing from God. The clearest path to becoming a person of gratitude is to choose it. If we don't choose gratitude, we choose ingratitude. Psalm 107:1 says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Yes, we're busy. Yes, life gets us down in legitimate ways. But research proves being intentional about gratitude on a consistent basis, can bring positive benefits to almost every area of our lives. Realizing we're too negative is a great first step, but keep going by actively counting and considering your blessings each day. Before long, you'll be amazed how little you think about what you don't have. You'll be too busy enjoying what you do have! Let's pray. Lord, you never leave us. And along the way, you bless us with big and small acts of kindness and mercy. Thank you for the grace in our lives! In Jesus' name, amen.
As humans, we tend to have a problem asking for help. We can chalk that up to our proud hearts. Often, when we are really up against it, that's when we resist seeking help. The God of the universe does away with all that. Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Ask yourself: is my pride keeping me from asking for help? If so, mull that over. And then, take a step toward the Lord and ask for what you need. God opens doors when we ask Him to. Sometimes what we find on the other side isn't what we expected. And when that happens, we choose patience, and we remain open to His good plans for us. When you've asked God to help and your prayers are answered, share the Good News with the people you meet. Tell anyone who will listen that the Lord of the Universe cared about you, and delivered you from a problem no one else could solve. And if the answer He gave was totally unexpected and sent you in a different direction—share that, too! Accepting God's plan when it doesn't match up with our own best laid plans is what faith is all about. Let's pray. Lord, please give us a heart that seeks you. God, we want to be obedient. And we know that your blessings, whatever they look like, will follow. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.
What would you think is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for us as we try to live our lives with integrity? If you said “pride,” you win! The Bible tells us that the sin of pride can lead to a whole range of bad outcomes. Micah 6:8 says, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Walk humbly? Wow, that can be the most difficult part of living out this verse. We must constantly check our spirits to make sure our motives are pure and centered on God's plan for us and those we encounter. Micah is communicating to us that God actually requires certain things of us. Justice and love are critical, to be sure, but staying humble is no less important. It puts legs to the journey God has mapped out for us. Lay down your pride and see what God will do! Let's pray. Lord, we are at war with ourselves at times. Our desire is to be the object of attention. Help us to lay this aside and live only for you. In Jesus' name, amen.
Have you ever wondered what your place in this world is? Of course, you have. That's the human experience. Alone with our thoughts, we wonder who we even are, and what we are meant to do. It's a mysterious journey, but the fog lifts and the way becomes clear when we get to know King Jesus. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” You were made for something! You were made to do things for your Lord. And the truly beautiful thing is, God created a custom plan just for you. If you aren't a famous athlete like Tim Tebow, you can still share your faith in wonderful ways. Ways that are life-changing for those you encounter. Think of that verse again. God made you for a purpose! Created to have the mind of Christ in making this world a better place and making disciples for Him. And God prepared it long, long ago. You are His child. That's who you are. Let's pray. Lord, when we begin to understand even a little bit of your love for us, it transforms us and it renews our minds and our hearts. Thank you so much for that! In Jesus' name, amen.
Sometimes life can be overwhelming. I think we can all agree about that. A huge wave of despair can seemingly come out of nowhere, and push us toward disaster. Anita's life was like that, growing up in Hong Kong where revolutionary movements brought violence and loss of hope. She couldn't see how the pieces of her life could be put together. She would ask herself, “How do you make peace with a potential that is frustrated?” Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Over time, Anita saw that God had always been shaping her to find her calling in Christ. She did that, and today operates a ministry that helps women see that they are daughters of the Living God! Truly, Anita didn't always have it together, but her life is living proof that God puts us back together for His purposes. Let's pray. Lord, someone listening needs a dramatic move from you in their life. God, please bring your peace and comfort to them today. In Jesus' name, amen.
Have you ever noticed how much we love ritual and form as part of religion? We become so good at it, so obsessed with it, that we lose sight of the essence of what it means to be a Christian. To know God. That is the primary purpose of our journey, and it will be the end of our journey. It is so foundational to who we are as humans that even the great Moses basically begged God to let him see Him. So close were they that according to Jewish tradition, when Moses died, God drew his spirit from him with a kiss. Isaiah 5:19 says, “Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it; And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near And come to pass, that we may know it!” The Bible is clear that we can know God. As individuals, we can have a personal relationship with Him, the very One who created all there is. The splendor of that reality should drive us to read His Word and pray to Him every day. It should be the longing of our hearts. He knows, and He welcomes us into His presence. Let's pray. Lord, your mercy in making yourself available to us is something we can't even fully understand in this life. But we thank you for it, and love you. In Jesus' name, amen.
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is widely looked upon as the most famous painting in the world. By some historical estimates, the Mona Lisa took as many as 16 years to finish! Capturing Mona Lisa's famous smile on a poplar plank was no hack job; Leonardo accepted a commission for the work in the year 1503, and completed his masterpiece supposedly around the time of his death in 1519. Clearly, this level of artistic achievement takes time. When you hear the word “masterpiece,” what do you think of? A famous painting? A beautiful building maybe? Your child's latest artwork? What about a giant sequoia tree? A symphony? A pink flamingo? The intricate, miraculous design of the human heart? Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Before you were even born, God knew you, and He had a plan for your life. He created you for a purpose, and He considers you one of his personal works of art. You are a living, breathing miracle capable of wonderful things—God's own masterpiece. Let's pray. God, we thank you and praise you that in all of creation, you have chosen to make us in your image, and to fashion us as a masterpiece—a work of art designed with care. Help us to be worthy of your effort. In Jesus' name, amen.
Do you struggle to wonder what God's will is for your life? Many of us do. Although it isn't a quick answer, the best way to find God's will for your life is to read His Word. The Bible will tell you the answer to that question. Romans 8:31 tells us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Actually, finding God's will isn't the hardest part. Deciding to follow His will is where we get tripped up. People need the skill and the discipline of being persistent. Too often the impulse is to give up and then, if we're honest, pretend that God hasn't revealed His will to us. Good old Abe Lincoln had it right when he said that the only important response is to make sure we are on God's side, not whether He's on ours. God has already told us that He's on our side. He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the penalty for our sin. It doesn't get any more “on our side” than that. Change your thinking a bit. Don't focus on what you think God is supposed to do. Resolve instead to follow God, and to do it every day. Let's pray. Lord, your will is the thing that drives us on, to find our purpose in this life. Thank you for sticking with us. Help us to stick with you. In Jesus' name, amen.