Devotions
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March 14, 2017, 5:00 AM

Guardrails protect us from danger.



Years back I was driving to work after an Ice storm.  The rode was covered with ice, all except for 2 grooves where everyone was driving.  I had to cross several bridges on the way to work.  At one on the last bridges a car behind me decided to pass me.  As they went around me it pulled me out of the groove and sent me sliding. Luckily, there was a guardrail there to protect me from the ice water that lay on the other side.

 

Guardrails protect us from danger. These boundaries are there to keep us from heading to places we don’t want to go. They alert us to danger on the other side. But, here’s the thing. Boundaries aren’t only necessary in our everyday experiences.  They are critical in our spiritual life where we are to pursue integrity and reflect God’s character.  “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:15-17

 

Boundaries are important no matter who you are or what you struggling with. The problem is our tendency is to push the limit and get as close to the line as possible. From our limited perspective, boundaries appear restrictive.  Nothing about them appears freeing. We want to live our lives without restriction.  Rather than restricting our life, boundaries free us to live a life without worry.  Setting boundaries is a way of preserving yourself for God’s plans for your life.  “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.  Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. “ Ephesians 5:10-11    

 

What guardrails do you need to setup?  Most likely you already know where you need to plant a guardrail.  No one has ever said they’ve regretted setting up boundaries, but there are numerous people who can tell you story after story about the chaos that was caused due to the lack of guardrails in their lives.

 

This is my Prayer: God, open my eyes to the places in my life where I need to plant guardrails.  Lord help me to avoid the danger on the other side by creating these boundaries in my life. Holy spirit teach me to follow Your guidance and direction.  Jesus give me strength to see the boundaries as freedom and not restriction.  In Jesus name, Amen.




March 13, 2017, 5:00 AM

Hopeless or not God is there!



Do you believe God exists in what you may consider a "hopeless" situation? Hopeless is a strong word isn’t it?  “Hopeless” takes away our strength, fills us with fear and doubt. God tells us to "Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you." Deuteronomy 31:6

So what can brings us out of these “hopeless” situations? We must be constant with God because he is constant with us. As we seek and listen, the doors are opened and our path is made straight, hope then follows. Remember 2 Corinthians 4:17 "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."   If God is truly in you; don't worry about tomorrow for He is right alongside you today, and He is not going anywhere. God wants us to rely on him alone, seek His hope, and allow Him to anchor us.


So how do we stay constant with God? We talk to Him. You’ve heard stories about how shipwreck survivors, marooned on a desert island, put desperate messages into bottles and threw them back out into the surf. Talk about long shots! For all they knew, those messages were never going to connect with anybody. Lot of people view prayer in the same way. “Nobody’s listening and nobody’s coming to help” overtake their thoughts and they feel hopeless.  The God who created us and redeemed us is also interested in helping us. Here is his promise: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14).

God hears every attempt we make to communicate with Him whether it’s praying, singing, whispering, shouting, or even thinking. I love the story of Abraham’s Servant Finds a Wife for Isaac.  In Genesis 24 Abraham servant promised he would bring back a wife for Isaac.  In verse 12 “Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.” Then in verse 15 “Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.”  Did you catch that?  “Before he had finished praying”, God answered before he even finish praying for it.  God knows what’s on your mind. He is not only listening He is already working on it. How secure is your anchor with God?  Do you stay constant with him, believing he is constant with you? How about talking with Him right now?

This is my Prayer: God please be my anchor. Holy Spirit guide me into the hope I can have in You.  God give me confidence in You and the faith to walk in that confidence. Lord I know You are in control, will protect, and guide me.  Jesus you know my thoughts and hear my prayers.  Thank You for already answering them.  In Jesus name, Amen.




March 11, 2017, 5:00 AM

Are your plans His plans?



What are your plans today? Like most, you probably have a long list of things to get done. If God could sit with you and go over your list, how would He prioritize it? Would he just scrap the entire list and add the items that you've been putting off for a long time, the items that belong to Him? "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

As the Apostle Paul sat in a Roman jail, he wrote a letter to the Philippians to help strengthen their love of Christ. In his letter Paul wrote "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.... I can do all this through him who gives me strength" Philippians 4:12-13  Christ is our answer to living a content life. Once we submit to Him, he strengthens us in all situations so that our priorities can shift. What we once planned for our own lives can take a backseat to God’s plan.  How do we know what God’s plan is?  Can you imagine trying to assemble an automobile without an instruction manual? Then why would you try to figure out how to put together your life without instructions from God?

The Bible is a gift that shows you how dear you are to God.  He took such elaborate pains to prepare a document that explains everything you need to know about life on earth and life in heaven. He wants you to know what he’s like, what he’s done, how he thinks, how he talks. We must remember that God is the author of our life. Is your life what you planned? Are you making plans without God? Are there things God has put on your to-do list that you keep procrastinating… stop drinking, start going to Church, get counseling, stop the affair, turn to Him completely? Today, make your top priority to "do all this through Him who gives me strength" and remember He is here with you today. He has a plan for you, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. “But how will you know what His plan is if you won’t read it.

 

This is my Prayer: God give me the strength to make You my top priority. Lord give me the wisdom to see Your plan for me as You reveal it in Your word. Jesus ready my heart, mind, and spirit for Your purpose.  God teach me how to feel content in You and Your plan and follow it.  In Jesus name, Amen.




March 10, 2017, 5:00 AM

Doubt and fear are everywhere, but hope is in the Lord!



Isn’t it difficult being a heaven bound spirit in a broken world? Doubt and fear are everywhere.  The media, schools, the workplace, and sometimes even the church seem to present reason to have fear and doubt. Without our eyes focused on God daily, it is easy to be tossed by the sea and wind of this world  "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." James1:5-6

Personal prayer is a powerful way to direct the focus of our day on God. God can generously give us His wisdom, especially when we are in the depths of doubt and fear, God wants us to "...not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6 But be careful how you pray.  What do I mean by that? Well, how many times do you think you have spoken the words of the Lord’s Prayer? A hundred? A thousand? In school we used to say it before all sporting events. I can’t count how many times I have said, “Your will be done on earth as in heaven?” I know I didn’t and I’m pretty sure you didn’t realize that every time we said those things we were telling God that HIS agenda is more important than ours.  Did you mean what you were praying? I know I didn’t because I sure would get mad when I lost a game or competition, how about you?  Many find their trust in God draining away because he doesn’t seem to be doing what they want when they want it, and doubt and fear begin to creep in.  

 

When we are struggling, God wants us to turn to Him first. He wants a deep relationship with us, his children. If you do not know exactly what to say to God, think for just a moment, what is God’s greatest desire for you. It is not to make you wealthy, famous, powerful, comfortable, or give you worldly victory. It is to get you home to heaven.  “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.” 1 Peter 3:18 Let God’s ultimate goal for you be your prayer.  Replace the worries of this world with the hope of the next.  “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:18.


What are your doubts and fears today? Have you taken these fears to God knowing that He is in control and will hear you? Have you checked your will at the door and asked for His will to be done?


This is my Prayer:  God help me overcome my fear and doubt. Father Your will be done on earth as in heaven.  Lord prepare me for the outcome of that, make Your will clear to me, and give me the strength to follow it.  Jesus help you focus my day on You and Your eternal hope.  Lord I know You got this.  In Jesus name, Amen.




March 9, 2017, 5:00 AM

What or who are you pretending to be?



Do you remember when you where a child every game you played involve pretending.  You played cowboys and Indians or tea party (or whatever game girls played), and it didn’t take any effort to envision a box as a pirate ship or a castle, in fact, that sort of make-believe is critical to a child's development.  Children love to pretend, but the plan is to quit pretending when you are an adult and learn to see and accept reality. If only. I bet you know plenty of other adults who are still pretending. Single people move in with each other and pretend to be married. Married people act as though they are single. Many people pretend that their lives are fine, while they are in bondage to tobacco, drugs, or alcohol.  People pretend to be financially successful, when they are staggering under enormous debt such giant mortgages, mountains of loans, and maxed-out credit cards.

 

The worst thing is when you pretend that you are morally good enough for God. You can blame other people for your sins. You can compare yourself with people farther down the food chain and feel superior. You can indulge in selective memory, remembering only what makes you look good.  But and it’s a big But.  God has a different view of us and it’s not the one we are pretending to be, He sees us as we truly are.  “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:13 

 

This scripture tells us we must accept reality, because we are accountable to God for it.  Living in a state of spiritual denial is deadly, especially spiritual self denial. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). You need help and I need help. We all need God’s help.  “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Romans 3:23-24 No matter what your situation is today, you have to acknowledge the realty of who we are and ask Jesus makes us right in his sight. Jesus is the only who can free us from the penalty of our sin and pretending.  What or who are you pretending to be?  Will you quit pretending and admit to God who you really are and what you really need?

 

This is my Prayer:  God help me to accept the reality of who I am, and the fact that I need you.  Teach me not to live in my delusions or denial, but live in Your grace.  Lord help to be honest with myself and with You.  Jesus I know You know exactly who and what I am, and You still love me and made a way for me to be right in Your sight.  Lord I give all I am to You free me from my sin and give me real life.  In Jesus name, Amen.


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