Posts

Showing posts from November, 2020

Verse 2

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2‭-‬4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jas.1.2-4.NIV

Verse 1

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬8 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.1.3-8.NIV

New Plan Restoration (Day 1)

  Day 1: Restore Me  “Use all this pain Use all this hurt To grow me If that’s what it takes to know what I’m worth Restore me” God is not surprised by our trials and our pains. We live in a broken world, marred by sin. But in the midst of the pain, God does not abandon us. In fact, he uses that pain to develop perseverance and make us mature believers.  While pain and suffering are essential ingredients to growth and maturity in our faith, we should be careful to avoid boiling Christianity down to a suffering existence. Instead of interpreting our faith through the lens of suffering, we are encouraged to look at our suffering through the lens of faith. When we experience hardship, and see the brokenness of our world's systems, we are encouraged to consider it joy. As citizens of God’s kingdom, these things should serve as reminders our hope is beyond fulfillment in this world—our hope is in Christ! This hope made fully mature in us has the power to change the world.  We do not des

Verse 3

 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 NIV https://matthew.bible/matthew-19-26

Verse 2

 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV https://2timothy.bible/2-timothy-1-7

Verse 1

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV https://2corinthians.bible/2-corinthians-5-17

Day 5 - Last Day

  We Have a Choice How we think directly affects how we live.  This may sound terrifying, but, in fact, it’s exciting. Because while we may not be able to take every thought captive in every situation we face every day, we can learn to take  one  thought captive and, in doing so, affect every other thought to come. So what is the one thought that can successfully interrupt every negative thought pattern? It’s this:  I have a choice.  When we’re spiraling in noise or distractedness, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through stillness.  When we’re spiraling in isolation, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through community.  When we’re spiraling in anxiety, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through trust in His good and sovereign purposes.  When we’re spiraling in cynicism, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through worship.  When we’re spiraling in self-importance, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through humility.  Wh

Verse 3

 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV https://isaiah.bible/isaiah-26-3

Verse 2

 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV https://1corinthians.bible/1-corinthians-2-16

Verse 1

 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in

Day 4

  You Don’t Have to Live This Way! If our toddler is throwing a fit in the grocery store, we correct him, redirect him—yet we have allowed our minds to have outright meltdowns with zero correction. We walk around acting as if we have no power over what we think about.  Paul tells us that when we take captive our thoughts, we can wield our power for good and for God, slaying strongholds left and right. What incredible power is available to us every moment of every day! In Romans 8:5, Paul said that “those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh” and that “those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (ESV).  I have read and reread this passage in the past few months, mulling over how life would be if I could truly have a mind that dwells on the Spirit. A mind that is full of life and peace. A mind that consistently thinks about God—who He is and what He wants for me. I so desperately want the “perfect peace” God pr

Verse 3

 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “ Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14‭-‬17 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.8.14-17.NIV

Verse 2

 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12 NIV https://john.bible/john-1-12

Verse 1

 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— Ephesians 1:4‭-‬5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.1.4-5.NIV

Day 3

  Thinking About Thinking Learning to capture our thoughts matters. Because how we think shapes how we live. Lies such as  I’m helpless, I’m worthless, I’m unlovable,  shape our thinking, our emotions, and the way we respond to the world around us. They trap us in their cycle of distraction and distortion and pain, preventing us from recognizing the truth we should believe. Most detrimentally, they change how we view God. Every lie we buy into about ourselves is rooted in what we believe about God.  Let’s say I tend to feel worthless and invisible. And let’s say I read Ephesians 1 and learn that God because He deeply loves me, chooses me and adopts me. Even if I don’t overtly deny the validity of that premise, I still doubt it is true for me. I nod at the truth, but I never fully absorb it and let it shape my identity.  Then let’s say I am married to a spouse who is typically distracted with work. I don’t feel seen in our marriage, which confirms my deep-seated fear that I am indeed wo

Verse 3

 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NIV https://john.bible/john-8-44

Verse 2

 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:12‭-‬17 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1ti.1.12-17.NIV

Verse 1

 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21 NIV https://philippians.bible/philippians-1-21

Day 2

  One Thing It’s incredible, if you think about it: How can something we can’t see control so much of who we are, determine what we feel and what we do and what we say or don’t, dictate how we move or sleep, and inform what we want, what we hate, and what we love?  Capturing all our thoughts may seem an impossible task, especially when we consider our potential number of thoughts per minute. Researchers tell us that we have over 30,000 thoughts a day. That means we might think about thirty-one thoughts per waking minute. But what if  one  thought held the power to interrupt our spirals and bring peace to our mental chaos?  The apostle Paul’s own life was a picture of interruption. After the scales fell from his eyes, his mind centered on an entirely new reality. There was no other hope, no other narrative, no other track playing in the background. He stopped the things that had distracted him and let himself focus on one simple thing: “To me to live is Christ,” Paul wrote in Philippian

Verse 3

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV https://philippians.bible/philippians-4-8

Verse 2

 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NIV https://james.bible/james-4-7

Verse 1

 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3‭-‬5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.10.3-5.NIV

New Plan - GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD (Day 1)

  Every Thought Captive—Really? We once thought of the mind as an immutable thing. The brain you were born with and the way it worked—or didn’t—were just “how it was”; no sense fretting over what can’t be changed. We now know that the brain is constantly changing, whether or not we intend for it to.  With this in mind—and in hopes of discovering how we can break free from our spiraling thought patterns—I started studying the brain. I began to see a pattern at work in many of us. Our emotions were leading us to thoughts, and those thoughts were dictating our decisions, and our decisions were determining behaviors, and then the behaviors were shaping our relationships, all of which would take us back to either healthy or unhealthy thoughts.  Round and round and round we go, spinning down, seemingly out of control, our lives becoming defined by this endless cycle.  Depressing. Unless. Unless there is a way to interrupt it. What if, instead of spending our energy trying to fix the symptoms

Verse 4

 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— John 10:14 NIV https://john.bible/john-10-14

Verse 3

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV https://deuteronomy.bible/deuteronomy-6-5

Verse 2

 I sought the Lord , and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord , you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord . Psalms 34:4‭-‬11 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.34.4-11.NIV

Verse 1

 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23:1‭-‬6 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.23.1-6.NIV

Day 7 (Last Day

  Getting to Know the Good Shepherd "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—"  John 10:14 NIV I’d like to ask you two questions for your consideration. What is it like when you spend time with your heavenly Father?  What is it like to talk with Him? Please take a moment and try to describe these experiences. What I’m alluding to here is the topic of prayer. I think most people get hung up on this hyper-used word, “prayer.” We over-spiritualize it. You see, God knows we are mere man, yet we try to impress Him somehow with “good” praying. And then, we get distracted and give up until the next time we “try.” In doing this, we’ve missed the whole point of what prayer is meant to be! Prayer is simply how we connect with God. It’s how we relate to Him. And just how does God want us to come to Him in prayer? Well, His greatest desire is to have our total heart, mind, and strength as we read in Deuteronomy 6:5, right? To begin with, He wants us to enjoy Him—to f

Verse 2

 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”  “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1‭-‬5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/gen.3.1-5.NIV

Verse 1

 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.  Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill

Day 6

  Stranger Danger Many in the body of Christ have become increasingly vulnerable to the deceptions of the voice of  the stranger.  Listening to God’s voice becomes a real challenge due to competing, ungodly chatter. Tragically, they begin to doubt God’s character and the truth He teaches in His Word. We see the origin of this problem starting with garden dweller, Eve. And I wonder.  Why did Eve ever indulge in listening to the serpent’s sly shenanigans?  Why didn’t she recognize that this was the voice of the stranger?   I wonder.  How well did Eve really know God, her Shepherd?  She seemed so easily swayed by the enemy’s lies.  Why was Eve instantly gullible ? I believe that even though Eve knew truth, she wasn’t firmly grounded in truth. She knew what God “said” but never fully grasped Who He was—completely trustworthy and good. She didn’t understand He would never hold back any good thing from her. Before eating the forbidden fruit, she was unaware of evil, unaware of lies, and unaw

Verse 2

 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. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.  Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.  Furthermore, just as they did not

Verse 1

 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6 NIV https://genesis.bible/genesis-3-6

Day 4 verse

 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:4‭-‬6 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/gen.3.4-6.NIV

Day 4

  Deceived by Desire The origin of sin started with these lies: God isn’t good, He can’t be trusted, and He’s holding out on us. Certainly this deception continues today. And if that’s not bad enough, like Eve, our natural cravings join forces with these lies! All this deception is needed in order for Satan to attempt to separate us from God. Eve saw the fruit and thought it looked really good and pleasing. She was also seduced by the lure of greater enlightenment, knowledge, and possibly even power.  You will be like God.  Boy, was she duped! How about you? How many times have you been overpowered by the lust of your eyes and your limited understanding? I’m not trying to depress you with that question but alert you because, friend, it doesn’t have to be that way! Living connected to God’s voice means we follow His instructions to acknowledge Him. Give Him glory, thanks, and praise for each moment because He is with you! This holy connection means we desperately place our trust in Him

Verse 4

 Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2 NIV https://proverbs.bible/proverbs-18-2

Verse 3

 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15 NIV https://proverbs.bible/proverbs-12-15

Verse 2

 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20 NIV https://proverbs.bible/proverbs-13-20.

Verse 1

 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:5 NIV https://ecclesiastes.bible/ecclesiastes-7-5

Day 3

  Who Is on Your Spiritual Advisory Board? God will often communicate His will and wisdom to you through other followers of Christ! I can’t even begin to count the times God has used another Christian to get a message through to my heart! I hear His whispers through my pastors, a podcast, my friends, my children, a blogger, or someone in my LifeGroup. I actually view a few of them as my Spiritual Advisory Board. These are: my spouse, a mentor, a prayer partner, a friend, and my parents. How about you? Do you seek out and listen openly to other believers you respect? Staying consistently connected with other Christians (especially those who are growing and grounded in God’s Word) is vital for your own personal faith journey. Listening to them is not enough, though. Do you often apply or put into practice the advice or wisdom you’ve heard? Wise up and remain involved in Christian community! Listen to your faith-family. We need them, and they need you. Today's reading from Proverbs 18

Verse 3

 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’ Jeremiah 7:26 NIV https://jeremiah.bible/jeremiah-7-26

Verse 2

 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. Jeremiah 7:24 NIV https://jeremiah.bible/jeremiah-7-24

Verse 1

 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord , I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. Jeremiah 7:13 NIV https://jeremiah.bible/jeremiah-7-13

Day 2

  May I Have Your Attention, Please? There’s hearing, and then there’s  listening. Hearing is the ability to perceive sounds or information. Listening is  paying attention to them. Today’s Scripture readings in Jeremiah are tragically sad, but sadly not uncommon. These Old Testament accounts are huge red flags warning us of danger ahead when we don’t give God our full attention with all our heart, mind, and strength. Why? Well, if we aren’t paying attention to God and His ways, we’re headed in the wrong direction—going backward and not forward. Too often, these wrong paths take us to dark and destructive places. The culprit of distraction is usually some innocently attractive lure such as a full schedule, raising kids, a quest for more of something, or even an electronic gadget with a host of fun surprises! To my knowledge, my six children all have perfect hearing, but too often their listening can be passive! Sometimes the only thing that will grab their attention is my secret code wo

Verse 2

 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:20‭-‬21 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.30.20-21.NIV

Verse 1

 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.  I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. Job 23:11‭-‬12 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/job.23.11-12.NIV

Listening to God (Day 1) New plan

  Hearing God's Voice Like Job, I want to treasure (crave) God’s words and guidance more than my daily food! Don’t you? Like the Scripture from Isaiah taught, I want to be able to hear the voice behind me telling me the way I should walk in. But, how do I hear His voice? And, is He really still speaking? Take heart; God is a communicator! He created the gift of communication. That means He does speak, and we do have the ability to hear Him—and even respond to His voice. If God is still speaking, we should do everything in our power to recognize His voice and  listen ! The act of listening is what’s so desperately needed, yet often sorely lacking, for true communication. First, let’s look at some ways God will speak to us. God speaks through His Word.  God’s already revealed much of His will and plan for us through the Word of God. Spending time reading His Word is one of the strongest ways to hear directly from Him. God speaks through His Whispers.  He will often speak softly to ou

Verse 3

 I waited patiently for the Lord ; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord , who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Psalms 40:1‭-‬4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.40.1-4.NIV

Verse 2

 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1‭-‬2 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.12.1-2.NIV

Verse 1

 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but C

Day 12 - Last Day

  Conclusion Considering all that we have read and studied and contemplated these past several days, does your heart long to know true love and to truly love the Lord?! We need the Lord. He is the only one who can show us what true love is and how to let go of the sin that seems to cling so closely. Leaving self and putting to death the flesh is a lifelong task. It means DAILY we must put off our own ways and “walk it out by faith.” We need to practice Taking the Truth to Heart and Bringing It to Life daily. We must put off the lies of the flesh, the devil, and the world and put on the truth of God’s Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. The more we learn to lay off the comforts and ways of this world, the more we will be able to enjoy the joys and presence of Christ, and the more our appetite for Christ will grow. We will be transformed by the renewal of our minds and our hearts. We will desire to leave our old ways and cleave to the comforts and ways of Christ and know the true joys

Verse

 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but 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. Isaiah 40:28‭-‬31 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.40.28-31.NIV

Day 11

  The Outcome of True Love? J! O! Y! On any given day our soul can ache from the effects of indwelling sin, and our heart grieves in our weakness. John Owen would say he felt as weak as water. Some days can be much more difficult than others. The winds change and the storms of trial come and go in our lives. The enemy accuses. Where is our hope? In Christ! When trials hover for months, years, even decades, where is love then? Where is our hope? In Christ! Our submission to God is tested and tried. Where is our obedience? Through Christ! In the throes of a trial, so many thoughts and feelings crash, collide, and careen through our heads and our hearts. Where is our energy, our strength, our youthful zeal? In Christ! J JESUS is your all and all; your everything. Take Him at His Word and believe what He says and not what you think, nor what anyone else says, or what you feel. He is central, foundational, core, everything, preeminent--ALL. Christ! His life, death, and resurrection were all

Verse 4

 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NIV https://nehemiah.bible/nehemiah-8-10

Verse 3

 Wait for the Lord ; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord . Psalms 27:14 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-27-14

Verse 2

 Teach me your way, Lord ; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Psalms 27:11 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-27-11

Verse 1

 One thing I ask from the Lord , this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord . Hear my voice when I call, Lord ; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord , I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Psalms 27:4‭-‬9 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.27.4-9.NIV

Day 10

  Our Sole Desire Is True Love. Read Psalm 27:4-9, 11, 14 and Nehemiah 8:10. If our sole desire is to love Christ fully, we must cling to His side and follow Him fully. To follow Him fully, we must pick up our cross and lose our life to live His. We must die to self, to our ways, our wants, our exaltation. It is in this death, the death of self-love, that the love of Christ comes to life in us. We must look to Him--to no one else, to nothing else--for peace, acceptance, approval, direction, and worth. We must find all of our joy in Him. He must be our great reward. We must rest fully upon the benefit we have hoped for in Him. We must rest in the Lord and not in our own righteousness. We are to put no confidence in self. In fact if we leave self behind that is when we will more fully encounter Christ. Leaving self is no small feat, however. It means that we must leave behind our own ways, insights, wants, will, fears, insecurities, problems, concerns, must-haves, etc. The more we leave

Verse 2

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34‭-‬35 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jhn.13.34-35.NIV

Verse 1

 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 1 John 4:16‭-‬17 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1jn.4.16-17.NIV

Day 9

  How Do We Walk in True Love? Read 1 John 4:16-17 and John 13:34-35. What releases love? How do we rid ourselves of sin and self-love and walk forward in true love? We can’t do this without Him and without His help. It is so easy to lose focus or be thrown off. The love of Christ and the gospel is our only hope. Jesus came and lived, died, was buried, and rose again to overcome sin, Satan, and death. The Son of God who loved us also gave himself for us. He laid the path before us in His love. "Lord Jesus, I want to walk in this love. Help me put all of my hope and all of my trust in you." Reading the hymns of old saints can help us focus our mind in the fight. We hear their hearts exulting in God, worshiping Him, living lives of holiness, and loving Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Consider these stanzas by Isaac Watts in his hymn "Awake My Zeal, Awake My Love." Does your heart long to love the Lord like this?  Awake, my zeal; awake, my love, To s

Day 8

  Resistance to Love If Christ is love and to love as Christ is the goal, then there will be resistance to this pursuit. If God is love, then Satan our enemy is diametrically opposed. Life is not only difficult, it is a battle. Just like sheep need a shepherd to remain on the right path and to remain safe, we need to follow our Lord closely to keep from wandering, becoming entangled in the world, lost in ourselves, or deceived by the enemy. We can see the frailty of our frame and cry out with the Puritan, “O Lord, I am a shell full of dust . . . I am no rare object of valuable price, but one that has nothing and is nothing . . . I am deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a sinful state, of the vanity of creatures” (from “Man A Nothing,” in The Valley of Vision). If God is love and we have trusted in Christ as our Lord and Savior, we know we are loved. We also know that we have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness that opposes love and have entered into the kingdom of this tru

Verse 3

 That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20‭-‬22‭, ‬24 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.4.20-24.NIV

Verse 2

 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.  You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Joel 2:25‭-‬26 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jol.2.25-26.NIV

Verse 1

 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:10‭-‬15 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1co.3.10-15.NIV

Day 7

  Self-love Must Not Obstruct True Love Self-love not only prohibits true love, but also destroys it. What is self absorbed with? SELF. Fear. Unbelief. Mistrust. Conflicting thoughts. Conflicting feelings. Ungodly self-centered passions and desires. Anger. Hurt . . . deep hurt. Haunting emotions and memories. Untruths. Success. Fame. Fortune. Self-aggrandizement. The root that seems to be common in all lack of true love is a focus inward on ourselves instead of a focus outward on God and others. So where is your focus? How do you spend your time, your money, your resources, your talents, your affections? Where do your thoughts wander or even fixate upon during the day? What words come out of your mouth? In other words, what do you talk about or whom do you talk about? Is your focus on self? Although we may have laid the foundation of Christ in our life, we can discover that we have been building on that foundation with the rickety and shoddy workmanship of self. But God can redeem and

Verse 2

 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:11‭-‬18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1jn.3.11-18.NIV

Verse 1

 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:1‭-‬3 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1jn.3.1-3.NIV

Day 6

  The Way We FEEL Is Not Necessarily REAL Consider this: The way we FEEL is not necessarily REAL. We are so easily deceived by our emotions. Our actions and our attitudes tell us so much more about whether or not we love than our feelings do. And even when we self-examine, our view is distorted. We are blind and can barely see. We look at the one or two self-sacrificing things we might do in a day and yet the remainder of the day is following our own devices and desires. What do your actions say? How do we get to true love when we have been born and raised in a self-centered and self-loving world? How can we discern the difference and where do we even begin? We must look to who God is, for God is love. He is the source, and what He does and who He is gives us a proper understanding and definition of love. Thankfully God's love is not granted to us based upon merit. Praise God for His mercy because none of us deserve His love. But we graciously have been given His love in Christ. If

Verse 4

 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.  For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.  The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.  “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.  In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:4‭-‬8 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.54.4-8.NIV

Verse 3

 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.  But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”  “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:13‭-‬16 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.49.13-16.NIV

Verse 2

 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord ’s hand double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:1‭-‬2 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.40.1-2.NIV

Verse 1

 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalms 30:5 NIV https://psalm.bible/psalm-30-5

Day 5

  Love Gets Twisted Along with St. Augustine we can say that love is ultimate. But also with Augustine we can point out that the good that God gives gets twisted; that is the very definition of what evil is. So even love gets twisted and focused on self. As sinners we are so self-focused by nature, and we live in a self-focused world. As long as we are self-focused, we miss out on His love. We don’t want to miss what is right in front of us because of fear or pride or unbelief. We don’t want to go through life going through all the gyrations only to get to the end and discover that we missed the point. A proverb, having numerous variations over the centuries, warns us gently that seemingly insignificant omissions can have grave and unforeseen consequences. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, For want of a shoe, the horse was lost, For want of a horse, the rider was lost, For want of a rider, the message was lost, For want of a message, the battle was lost, For want of a battle, the

Verse 4

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV https://1john.bible/1-john-1-9

Verse 3

 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14‭-‬21 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.3.14-21.NIV

Verse 2

 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in he

Verse 1

 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 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. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ

Day 4

  Our Response to the Gospel Read Ephesians 2:1-10, Ephesians 1:1-15, and 3:14-21. No matter how familiar or foreign the gospel may be to you, take inventory and slowly and prayerfully meditate on the gospel. We have selected Scriptures and a reading that will assist you in this. Ask the Lord to bring the gospel to bear upon your mind and heart with great clarity, power, and tenderness.  We want to see Jesus and His sacrifice and see our hearts and ourselves as God sees them. We don’t want to be deceived. The gospel is not merely an intellectual exercise; it is an issue of the heart. Consider the power of the gospel in your life and its impact on you. Continue to do this over the next few days. Then look at your calendar and mark a day and time, a week from now, when you can spend 15-20 minutes thanking God and celebrating all that He has done in your life through the gospel. As you meditate on the gospel, make sure that you are being totally honest with yourself and totally transparen

A verse I wanted to share

 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3‭-‬4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1ti.2.3-4.NIV

Verse 3

 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15‭-‬17 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1ti.1.15-17.NIV

Verse 2

 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5‭-‬7 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/tit.3.5-7.NIV

Verse 1

 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.  Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is sil