Monday, February 18th

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"Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" Ephesians 4:24

 Dear Jesus, help me to face the week with my new clothes of your righteousness donned over my life. Help me to show the world what love and faith look like. When the temptations come to dress my heart like the world does, help me to say "no" to my old self and "yes" to my new spiritual self. And when I get it right, don't let be deceived by my pride that would creep in the back door of my heart. I love the peace from grace that you have given me. Help me to never lose it. AMEN

"Peace is knowing all things have been made right by someone who can keep it that way."

Sunday, February 17th

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"We thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe." - 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Dear Jesus, you have sent so many people into my life to teach me your thoughts.  When I let my mind drift back to my childhood, I think of all the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teachers - they were all volunteers sent by you to teach my soul about who you are and how much you love me.  I think of the faithful pastors, teachers in my schools, my parents and many friends who spoke up and out to me when I needed it the most.  Help me always to regard the messages you send through others as your very words.  And give me a desire to heed them and make them my anchor and guide.  I would have never found you without these faithful missionaries for my soul.  AMEN

"Thankfulness is the fruit of faith, dropping from a tree well watered by the Master Gardener."

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Saturday, February 16th

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"He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored." Proverbs 27:18

Dear heavenly Father, in this little proverb you are reminding me to take care of two very important things. I see you promise me that if I will 1) take care of the blessings you give me then I will enjoy the fruit of them the way you intended and 2) if I will honor and take care of those whom you sent to lead me (i.e. parents, bosses, pastors/elders and government leaders) then you will see to it that I am blessed to the max through them - How easily I stray from these simple little/big tasks and run after my own dreams. Please forgive me and help me to mind the business you have sent my way, all for Jesus' name's sake. AMEN

 "Good works flow from faith and show themselves in everyday life."



Friday, February 15th

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"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." - 1 John 1:7

Dear Jesus, I long to have close personal fellowship with the people around me. But sometimes it seems so hard to achieve. Yet, you promise that as I learn to walk in the light of your truth and love, - and the people around me do too, - then I will have rich personal fellowship with them, the way you always intended people to have. Help us to walk in your light so we can enjoy close relationships. Help us live honestly, humbly and comforted by grace that covers all sins. Drive out all criticism and judgmental-ness so I welcome people with open arms. All of this so we can be close to you and one another and enjoy what the world hasn't got a clue about. AMEN

"Being close to God and others is an achievement of grace and not rules."

Thursday, February 14th

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“This is love: Not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11

Everyone has a heart; it’s a muscle about the size of a fist, located near the center of the chest. This muscle beats about 70 times a minute, 100,000 times a day, pumping blood along 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the body. We can’t live without a heart. Because of its importance, we often associate love with the heart. That’s why so many valentines today are shaped like a heart. When God wanted to show his love for me, he did more than send me a heart-shaped card. His valentine was not brightly colored, pressed paper but the precious form of his own Son His card didn’t just speak of love for me on one special day but every day. God’s valentine to me is Jesus, God’s loving heart made visible. It is God’s loving heart doing for me what I couldn’t do—God’s loving heart saving me from my sins and for his heaven. What a valentine for me—today and every day!

The more I appreciate God’s valentine to me, the more my heart will respond in grateful love to those around me!

Wednesday, February 13th

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"By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead." - Hebrews 11:4

Dear Heavenly Father, it was Abel's faith in you that made him give a sacrifice from the heart. He was not trying to earn your favor or simply go through the motions. He was giving his all for you because he loved you and trusted you. By listening to your word about Abel in Hebrews I want my life to be a living sacrifice to you. I want every part of my life to be an offering of thanks to you. By faith Abel's life still speaks to me today. Please help me to make good choices each day (based on my faith) so my life will speak good things to my family and friends long after I am gone. I do not want the memory of me to cause them to stumble or make them shake their heads. I would rather it make them strive to live closer to you. It was Abel's faith in you that made him give a sacrifice from the heart. He was not trying to earn your favor or simply go through the motions. He was giving his all for you because he loved you and trusted you. Help me live that way so after I come home to heaven, others' faith will be strengthened when they remember me. AMEN

"When your kids dig through your things for the last time, make sure they find some faith gems."

Tuesday, February 12th

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"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:31-33

 Dear Jesus, you lived the life that mattered most for all people and yet you never had much of this earth's security and goods. You never worried about it either and in your words above, you tell me that I can live with the same kind of faith filled abandon. I am ashamed that so often when the car breaks down or a I lose my job that I worry and fret over where my help will come from. I am also ashamed that when my job is great and the economy is good, that I put my hope in those earthly things rather than in our heavenly Father. Thank you for grace. Now, help me to seek your kingdom and your righteousness for me and all those around me. Help me to put their spiritual welfare above my worries about providing for myself. I have our Father to take care of me. Give me what you want me to have and help me to want only what you give me. All for my good and your glory. AMEN

 "Contentment is not getting what you want but is wanting what you have."

Monday, February 11th

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"I trust in you O Lord, ... you are my God and my times are in your hands. deliver me from my enemies." - Psalm 31

Dear heavenly Father, so often I act like I am in control of everything about my life. Then when others threaten my physical, emotional or economic security, I get worried and scared as if it all depended on me. My times are in your hands and not mine. Help me to live with less stress because I recognize that nothing happens to me or my family that does not pass before your throne for permission. Help me to trust you and love those around me, even my enemies. Deliver me from anyone who would try to harm me, but also help me to love and forgive them so they will have an opportunity to see your love and grace before they face your throne of judgement. AMEN 

"Let God have what is rightfully his - everything!"

Sunday, February 10th

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"Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published (that no one could pray), he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem.  Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." - Daniel 6:10

Lord, I want to be like Daniel, resolute in prayer and my devotion to you no matter what threatens to interfere.  When he was commanded not to pray, he just went right on praying.  He loved you that much and knew you would bless him through it.  I know you love me and will never leave me.  So, I will do my best to not let anything (busy-ness, troubles, evil commands or good work) keep me from staying connected to you.  And I humbly ask that you would keep me on the right track in life by making your Spirit teach me in my heart every step of the way.  I am so grateful that because you are driven by grace, you gladly pick me up when I fall and encourage me when I need it.  Help me be like you to someone else today - forgiving and restoring. AMEN

 "Let NOTHING keep you from your time with God."

 

Saturday, February 9th

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"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?  Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." - 1 Chronicles 29:14

Dear Lord, David was astounded that he would get to participate in your big temple project.  He did not see it as a burden but as a blessing.  Help me to see all the opportunities you give me to serve as a blessing and not a burden.  Who am I that you should allow me with all my weaknesses to spread your precious words with people? Who am I that you would promise to make my money worth more if I invest in your movement on earth?  Who am I that you would ask me to fit into your holy congregation and work with these people who are made saints by you?  Melt my hard heart that so often selfishly complains and make me thankful like David.  In Jesus' redeeming name, AMEN.

 "To be thankful for an opportunity to serve is the blessing of faith."

 



Friday, February 8th

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"The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made." - Psalm 145:17

Dear heavenly Father, it is so easy for me to criticize you in my spirit.  I sometimes think you are neglectful or cruel when I see the suffering of people and animals around me.  Then I see in your word that you loudly proclaim that you are righteous and loving to all you have made.  You have plans that are past my finding out.  Your disciplines for us creatures are good and yet at times they seem so unfair.  Then I consider how sinful I am and how I deserve to be abandoned all together.  Since you have not abandoned me but have run toward me in your Son, I will sit quietly and trust you.  I will trust that you are good to me and all others and will wait to learn the meaning of our sufferings when you choose to reveal them to me either in this life or the next.  AMEN

 The goodness of God needs no explanation.  He turns all things for our benefit, whether we see it now or later in not important. 



Thursday, February 7th

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"When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven." - Nehemiah 1:4

Dear heavenly Father, as I read of how Nehemiah mourned before you in prayer for several days after he heard about how your old holy city lay in ruins, I marvel that all too often I and my generation avoid true spiritual mourning at all costs.  We are addicted to fun.  And we keep ourselves from properly grieving the real tragedies of the world around us. Help me Father, to have the same heart Jesus had and let myself take time to grieve over "Jerusalem."  Help me not to grieve over myself but for the needs of others that are not being met.  And when I grieve help me find peace in knowing that you are working it all out so that in the end I will see it all fixed in heaven. I love you Father and I know you love me.  That will always be my peace even when I grieve. AMEN

"The pure in heart see reality and still do not lose hope, because God stands next to them beholding the same mess while promising to restore all things." 

Wednesday, February 6th

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“Brothers, if someone you know is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently." - Galatians 6:1

 Lord, help me to always remember that if someone I know is caught in a sin, that person still feels and hurts like everyone else.  Help me to show the kindness and gentleness that you would show while I go boldly forward to show them the way back to you and your will.  Don't let me sit idly by while they fall into grievous problems either.  But get me going to speak the truth in love and to be as tenacious as Velcro as I fight for their soul. Help me to so value every person that I ache over their situation and hang in there with them.  And please put people like this in my life, - people who are loving, gentle and outspoken to me so that they keep me safe from sin and every evil and so save my soul eternally. AMEN

 "To have a friend who will patiently encourage you away from evil and back to God is to be rich forever."

Tuesday, February 5th

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Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. – 1 Peter 3:8

Dear Jesus,  You were kind and compassionate toward everyone you met.  You never once fell into a selfish thought.  You never once pulled back in disgust or froze someone out. You felt what they felt, saw what they saw and met their needs while neglecting yourself.  You showed us what it means to live a godly life.  It’s a life that oozes love toward other people. I, on the other hand, struggle to love.  But by your grace I can see what it looks like, and I can strive for it as my highest goal.  But I need your help to be what you want me to be.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit today so I see the needs of people and get excited about how I might be able to fill them.  Make me feel what they feel and give me the wherewithal to help them.  Then give me amnesia about what I did so I will say humble and ready for the next opportunity.  AMEN

 Life is just plain more fun when you’re serving. 

 

Monday, February 4th

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"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." - Romans 1:21

Dear heavenly father, the verse above enlightens me on what humanity is like.  By nature we are futile in our thinking.  We get lost in all of our own thoughts without any light of the reality of your truth and grace.  We think of ourselves like gods, who made themselves, control themselves and bless themselves with wonder things in life.  In truth, we were made by you, We are preserved by you and everything we have is a gift from your hand.  You decided who we would be and where we would live.  So often in the futility of our own thinking, being thankful is miles away from our brain.  Thank you God for everything.  And please, please, forgive me for living without thankfulness so often.  It's great to be alive, to be saved by your Son and to have meaningful work to do.  AMEN

 Help me to beam thankfulness to everyone around me this week and always.

 

Sunday, February 3rd

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Nehemiah wrote, “There were many priests who signed the agreement to follow God’s ways.  I listed their names.  But there were also doorkeepers, Levites, musicians and temple servants.  They all gathered along with their wives and children to commit to following the law given through Moses 1000 years earlier.  They committed to not give their children into marriage with non-Israelite people.  They committed to keep the Sabbath Day rest laws, to cancel debts every seven years, to bring tithes, sacrifices and first-fruit offerings to the temple in a consistent and timely way.  They committed to take turns supplying wood for the burnt offerings and to keep up the temple grounds to the glory of God.” – Nehemiah 10 paraphrased.

Dear heavenly Father,  It's the nature of faith to make us want to glorify you in the way we support the ministry of the word.  There is no temple anymore with all of its sacrificial demands.  Your Son is the temple and his body the church.  But we still have church properties, clergy who dedicate themselves to our spiritual health and the spread of your wonderful news of forgiveness through your Son.  I have benefited from this good news for many years.  I have peace in my soul and my guilty conscience has something to cling to when the devil comes hounding me with my mistakes.  I will support your ministry of the word with my money, my time and my unique abilities.  I will “be there” for those laboring in your field.  I will give and give with joy just as you give and give to me.  I want the world to know that you are a great God who restores guilty sinners and gives people a new lease on life every day.  Oh Good, cause your people to rise up today in committed support of your gospel mission. AMEN

The gospel is that something bigger than ourselves that we can be a part of without regret. 

 

Saturday, February 2nd

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"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

 Dear Jesus, I want to finish the race of faith you have given me.  But it is so easy for me to get way off track or to grow tired of the trouble it brings to run.  Help me to remember the great saints of the Bible and those you have put in my life who have finished the race in the faith.  Help me to draw insight from their lives, their successes, their failures and how you restored them.  Help me to see you at the end of the race, scarred, smiling and cheering me on.  I want to finish my life safely in the race of faith.  Even thinking about you gives me strength to keep running. If you see anything in my life weighing me down, point it out to me, and give me the wisdom to throw it off so I can run faster and better toward the finish line.  Keep me safe in the faith Lord Jesus!  AMEN

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” - Jesus Christ in Mark 8:36

 

Friday, February 1st

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"Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil." - Proverbs 3:7

Dear Heavenly Father, the first sin revealed itself when Eve felt like she was wise in her own eyes.  All too often I am overconfident in my own thoughts and my own evaluation of things. Then I make judgments which I have to take back later.  Help me to rely more on your truth and insights and not on my own opinions or those of other fallen people.  I believe that you are watching everything that all of us is thinking and doing.  Help my thoughts and actions fall in line with yours today.  I want the people in my life to see you and your ways when they look at my life.  In short, Father, I want to be like Jesus.  Help me to grow into his likeness. AMEN

 "To long to be like God in holiness is a byproduct of faith."

Thursday, January 31st

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"Peter said, " Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord," - Acts 3:19

Dear Jesus, when I hear the word "repentance" I often think of hard sobering thoughts.  It is so hard for a sinner to repent.  It is embarrassing, humbling and shaming.  But Peter's words give me hope.  When he called the people to repentance he said it was so, "times of refreshing may come from the Lord." Help me to remember that you want to bring me happy, refreshing times but the door I enter to get into that room is repentance and not stubborn pride.  Help me to readily say, "I'm sorry" to you and others.  Search my life and see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me to repentance.  Thank you that you refresh my life with forgiveness flowing from your cross, instead of condemning me when I admit my sins. AMEN

"The greatest encouragement toward repentance is the knowledge that God loves to forgive."

Wednesday, January 30th

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"He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.” Proverbs 10:5

Dear heavenly Father, at times I am tempted to be lazy and selfish.  Instead of taking advantage of the opportunities you bring I can squander away time sitting in front of the TV or just doing nothing.  Open my eyes and my heart to see all of the opportunities you give to make a brighter future for me and others. Help me to see how I can be happier spending my time making other people happy rather than focusing just on myself. And when it is time for me to spend a little extra time at my work in order to get the job done in a way that glorifies you, give me that strength and that spirit that makes me rise to the occasion and finish the job.  All to the glory of your Son for what he did for me. AMEN

"For a Christian work to the glory of God is play."