"...Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" (John 11:40)
In John 11, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother, Lazarus, was very sick. They thought He would come right away and heal Lazarus. But days passed, and Lazarus died. When Jesus showed up, Mary and Martha were so upset. They said, "Jesus, if You had been here, our brother would still be alive." Against all apparent odds, Jesus went to the tomb and raised Lazarus from the dead.
Sometimes God will wait on purpose till the odds look way against you. You're ready to bury that dream or promise. You don't see any way it could work out. But God's ways are not our ways. Mary and Martha prayed for a healing, but God had a resurrection in mind. Maybe God's not going to answer your prayers the way you thought. Maybe He has something better than you ever dreamed. Trust Him. Odds don't determine what He can and cannot do.
A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You that You are the keeper of my dreams. I trust that You are totally for me when all the odds are stacked against me. I believe that You are working behind the scenes and bringing a resurrection to what I thought was dead. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
Thanks for Life
O mighty God, I was born a weak, defenseless child, but Your angel spread his wings over my cradle to defend me. From birth until now Your love has illumined my path, and has wondrously guided me towards the light of eternity; from birth until now the generous gifts of Your providence have been marvelously showered upon me. I give You thanks, with all who have come to know You, who call upon Your name. Through Christ I pray,
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Luke 12:13-21
** The Parable of the Rich Fool **
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
"But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17)
Everywhere you go these days, people are hurting and discouraged; many have made mistakes; their lives are in a mess. They need to feel God's compassion and His unconditional love.
Is your heart of compassion open to them? Do you take time to make a difference in others' lives? God has given you a heart of compassion, but you must decide to keep it open and allow the love of God to flow through you to those around you.
In order to experience God's abundant life, you must keep your focus on helping other people. Don't allow the enemy to keep you so busy that you overlook the needs of those around you. Make a decision to show God's love and goodness wherever you go.
Be on the lookout for people you can bless. Go out of your way to show God's compassion, and as you do, you will rise higher and experience the best plan God has for your life!
A Prayer for Today
"God, you have my best interests in your heart. I want to learn to show that love to the people in my life. Help me to open my heart and find ways to show compassion and love to those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
Prayer to Dedicate This Day to God
Holy God, as I face another day, I know I am going to face many challenges: to my faith, to my patience, to my love for others. I am going to have constant temptations to lapse into sin. Come to me now, Lord, and stay with me all day. Let your Spirit encompass my mind. Let me know your presence. Steer my hand, direct my words, guide my thoughts in everything I think and say and do. I resolve to live this day as a beacon of your glory, the best I can, with your help. I commit myself to give this day to you. In the name of Christ, be with me and help me.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 2:17
"For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ."
Heavy with Favor
"Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you." (Isaiah 60:1)
Notice that today's verse doesn't say that the glory of the Lord is going to come on you one day. It doesn't say, "Maybe when the economy gets better, when you graduate from college, or when you get that good break." No, it says God's glory is already on you!
The word "glory" in the original language indicates that God's favor, blessing and splendor is on you in a heavy way. It's something that is tangible and has weight. Think about it this way: You are not less than, intimidated or weak; you are heavy with God's favor. You are dripping with God's goodness. Your attitude should be, "There's no telling what's in my future! I am weighted down, not with burdens, not with problems. I am weighted down with the favor of God."
When you really understand that you are heavy with favor, then it's easy to be heavy with expectation. It's easy to believe for big things when you know God has favored you in a big way. It's time for you to arise. It's time for you to shine. Let that sink down into your spirit today because it's time for you to arise and shine because His glory, His favor is heavy upon you!
A Prayer for Today
"Heavenly Father, I come to You today with an open and humble heart. I know that Your glory is upon me. I thank You for Your favor upon me, and I thank You for Your anointing power which breaks every yoke and moves me into freedom and blessing in Jesus' name. Amen."
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, this morning I pray for those who are beginning to know Christ: may You strengthen them on their journey. I pray for all children, and for those who take care of them, especially those who awaken them to faith.
I pray for the ill and those who are ending their lives in loneliness: Oh Lord, give them the strength they need. I pray for those who are condemned to prison or exile: Lord, sustain their hope. I pray that the fire of your Spirit may renew the energies of all your saints and enable us to welcome those who do not know you. And finally, Lord, may your Church be constantly renewed, in prayer, in your Word and in your worship; in Christ’s name, this I ask,
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Luke 12:4-7
Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Choose Your Friends Wisely
"...do not throw your pearls before swine..." (Matthew 7:6)
Do you realize you have treasure on the inside of you? You could say that your pearls are what God has given you to be a blessing to the world around you--your gifts, talents and abilities. When you get around true friends, people who really believe in you, they won't be jealous of your gifts. They won't constantly question who you are. They won't try to talk you out of your dreams. It will be just the opposite.
They'll help you polish your pearls, so to speak. They'll help you develop and grow your pearls. In other words, they'll give you ideas. They'll connect you with people they know. They'll help push you further along. If you stay around people who don't value your gifts nor appreciate what you have to offer, that's casting your pearls among swine. Swine don't value pearls; they trample on them.
Your inner circle, those who are closest to you, should be people who celebrate who you are; people who are happy when you succeed. They should be people who believe the very best in you. Remember, it's not the quantity of friends that's important, it's the quality of friends.
Choose your friends wisely so you can be all that God has called you to be.
A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for the gifts, talents and abilities You have given to me. Help me to recognize the treasure within. Give me wisdom to discern the right relationships You have ordained for me in Jesus' Name, Amen."
Prayer for Renewal
As I start this day, oh Lord, I wonder: How will this day be different from any other day? Has my faith in you grown into a stale routine, or will I grow this day, closer to you than I have ever been?
Shake me up, Holy God! Rattle the door of my cage, set off my smoke detector, ring my doorbell until I answer the door! Let me read your Word until something new sinks in; let me pray until I hear your voice, until all smugness has given way to gratitude. By the power of your Holy Spirit, renew me afresh in your Word and power, today and every day, energizing me in your great commission. In Christ’s name, I pray.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Matthew 26:49-52
Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.
And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall die by the sword.”
Step Out of the Boat
"And Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' He said, ‘Come!' So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus." (Matthew 14:28-29)
Have you ever thought about why Peter wanted to get out of the boat? Why did he all of the sudden think he could walk on water? Well, you might say, "It's because he saw Jesus open the blind eyes and cleanse the lepers." Yes, that's true. But, the other disciples in the boat saw the same things. Why didn't they want to get out?
Peter understood that it was his time. He stirred his faith up. He believed at that moment that he could do what God placed in his heart. Jesus said, "Peter, do you want to get out of that boat?" He said, "Yes, I do." Jesus replied, "Well, come on out." Notice that Jesus didn't say, "Peter, stay in that boat. Don't you know I'm the Son of God?" No, He said, "Peter, I like your attitude of faith. I like the fact that you believe you can do great things."
Today, have that same kind of boldness! Start believing that your time is here! All the dreams that you've buried, those desires that you thought would never work out, it's time to start believing again. It's your time, and it's time to step out of the boat!
A Prayer for Today
"Dear Father, today I choose to believe Your Word. I believe You are faithful to complete the good work You've started in my life. I choose to hear Your voice and step out of the boat. Thank You for bringing to pass the dreams in my heart in Jesus' Name, Amen."
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Luke 6:45
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Prayer for Freedom from Fear
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: 2 Samuel 5:17-25
** David Conquers the Philistines **
When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he went into the stronghold. The Philistines arrived and spread out across the valley of Rephaim. So David asked the Lord, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”
The Lord replied to David, “Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you.”
So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). The Philistines had abandoned their idols there, so David and his men confiscated them.
But after a while the Philistines returned and again spread out across the valley of Rephaim. And again David asked the Lord what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” the Lord replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” So David did what the Lord commanded, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.
Ask What You Desire
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (John 15:7)
It pleases God to give you the desires of your heart! He wants to see you happy, whole, strong and enjoying His blessing. When you make the Word of God your number one priority, when you stay connected to Him through prayer and worship, God promises that He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 tells us again that if we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts. One of the root definitions of the word "delight" means "soft." This gives the picture of us being soft and mold-able, like clay, in the Potter's hands. As we allow Him to shape and mold our character, as we yield ourselves to Him, our thoughts become His thoughts, our words become His Words, and our desires become His desires.
Today, don't allow the distractions of everyday life keep you from spending time with Him. Abide in Him and let His Words abide in you because He will give you the desires of your heart!
A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I submit every area of life to You. I invite You to have Your way in my heart. Mold me and make me as I surrender every area of my life to You. I praise You and give You all the glory in Jesus' name. Amen."
It's the Hand of God
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (Acts 8:26)
Philip was having great success preaching the gospel in Samaria. It must not have made sense when an angel told him to go out to that desert road, but there was a man, the treasurer of Ethiopia, traveling by there in a chariot who was reading the book of Isaiah. When Philip explained to him that Isaiah was talking about how Jesus came as the Savior, the man believed, was baptized, and had his life changed forever.
Like this man, because you honor God, right now there's a Philip chasing your chariot. There are blessings that God has ordained to track you down, people who will use their influence, their knowledge, and their experience to push you forward. When you take time to put God first, to go to the house of the Lord, don't be surprised if on your way home, if sometime this week, sometime this month, Philip shows up--something unusual happens, an unexpected blessing. It's the hand of God.
A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You that You know where the good breaks are, the right connections, the opportunities that will thrust me into my purpose. Thank You that when I keep You first, Your goodness will rain down with blessings. I believe that Philip is already on the way. In Jesus' Name, Amen."