Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

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Daily Devotional Bible Verses

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
(Luke 11:1-4 ESV)

Jesus’ closest followers came with a significant request: “teach us to pray.” Surely, they had prayed before, but somehow they recognized their need for instruction on how to pray most effectively. Jesus’ instruction on prayer began with this familiar statement: “Father, hallowed be your name.” To hallow something means literally to “render or acknowledge, to set apart.” Jesus knew that we are designed to render and acknowledge something or someone who is bigger and better than us.

We see this concept play out every week as we “hallow” exceptional people and exceptional things:

  • Fans will congregate in packed stadiums to cheer on exceptional athletes on football teams.
  • Every evening people pack Broadway theaters, the Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall as they’re moved by exceptional actors, singers, dancers, and other performers.
  • During 2009 and 2010 the movie Avatar grossed over 2.78 billion dollars as it wowed audiences with its exceptional 3D special effects.
  • Each year 5 million visitors visit the Grand Canyon to marvel at its exceptional natural beauty.

We often “hallow” or worship worldly things, without realizing we were designed to hallow an exceptional God.

As we pray, our natural inclination is to begin by focusing on our needs or our struggles. God clearly cares about those needs and struggles, but our prayers will always be limited in scope and depth when we begin by focusing on ourselves rather than God. Fixing our minds and hearts on His glory, His power, His wisdom, His justice, His authority, His holiness, and His love is what gives us the proper context for everything else we pray. Notice how your needs and your struggles look different when you focus on God’s glory first.

Do your prayers begin with God as the focus or you? Take some time today to praise God for who He is and what He has done.

“…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 NIV)

Picture a large meadow of yellow flowers bowing to a gentle breeze. This golden pond of beauty is densely populated on the outer edges by trees that stand stoic throughout the course of time. The summer sun hangs lazily alone in the afternoon sky against a canvass of aqua blue. The air is punctuated periodically by God’s curious creatures that fly about on cue — assuring the casual observer that life is more than worrying about the next event.

But that’s not all.

The sound of a rushing river nearby captures the essence of energy as it follows its familiar path toward the open sea. All marvel at its ability to remain constant. Nothing stops its flow. Its strength is undeniable. Its will, undeterred. The river beckons those who are thirsty to partake of its power to quench. For the filthy, it calls them to bathe in its capacity to cleanse. For everyone who seeks healing, it invites them to take a leap of faith and jump in.

Similarly, Father thank you for being the ever-present river of life in our lives. May the richness of your presence flow from us to others so that they may see your mercy and grace. May those who feel discouraged or depressed find supernatural strength in your heavenly reservoir of love.

“How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103 ESV)

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter found in Scripture and is known for it’s teaching on God’s law. Psalm 119 is not simply about what to do and not do, but about how God’s law leads us into a deeper devotion with him than the things of this world ever could. In Psalm 119:103 the words of God are said to be sweeter than honey. Honey was and is used today as a natural sweetener. God’s words or laws bring a sweetness to the life we live. Our tongues crave a sweet dessert or treat as our lives should crave the sweetness of God’s word if we are followers of Jesus (1 Peter 2:1-3).

This desire does not come from good works or going to church, but from the one and only giver of sweet things, God (Psalm 119:18). While we can learn much from God’s word as we listen to a pastor preach or musician sing, we shouldn’t rely on just these as our honey. We need to learn to enjoy God’s word by ourselves also.

As we look at our lives we can see many things that bring sweetness. Unfortunately, many of us rely on the things of the world to bring satisfaction to our lives. C.S. Lewis said:

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Ask God to open your eyes to behold his wondrous law and give you a sweet tooth for it. (Psalm 119:18).

Disaster comes upon disaster; rumor follows rumor. They seek a vision from the prophet, while the law perishes from the priest and counsel from the elders. (Ezekiel 7:26 ESV)

A humble man said of leadership, “Never let your public anointing exceed your private devotion.” In other words, leaders ought to walk intimately with Jesus more often when none are watching than when the multitudes are present. This sentiment is not aided by our culture, however, as we live in constant need of the feeling of validation. We walk in a misguided cycle of measuring our spirituality in comparison to one another (2 Corinthians 10:12), instead of measuring ourselves against the “cornerstone” (Acts 4:11).

Like the Israelites of Amos’ day, we are not square with the “plumb line” (Amos 7:8) the Lord has set in our midst. Many of us seek validation through experience, and our leaders seek that same validation by giving, sometimes even fabricating, the spiritual high we so desperately crave. These are leaders who seek glory and fame by delivering everything but Scripture, but the Gospel; and because we people want to feel secure, holy, and righteous we reward their wayward leadership. We do this by purchasing their books, attending their conferences in droves, and focusing our eyes on that part of the body rather than its Head.

This form of Christianity furthers many “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). We may be validated in each other’s eyes, but there is no “law” (instruction), and the “counsel” of the elders is dead, and unredeemed. Don’t seek visions or gifts, seek Jesus and his truth today. Visions and gifts are useful and good, but only toward the end of glorifying and pointing people to Jesus, not ourselves.

“Many of us seek validation through experience, and our leaders seek that same validation by giving, sometimes even fabricating, the spiritual high we so desperately want.”

We live in a very negative world, and not an easy world to live in. So to be positive may be quite a strain to you. But it’s not only the world that affects this, your temperament plays it’s part also. If you’re an extrovert you may have a bit of an edge on the introverts amongst us. And there’s one extrovert temperament (which Tim La Haye calls a ‘Sanguine’) who seem to be positive and happy nearly all the time!

index

Then some of us are negative in our attitude, seemingly independent of the world and independent of our temperament type. Is it just because we WANT to be? The standard ‘test’ for this, of course, is to ask whether the glass is half full or half empty. You answer will tend to show whether you are a basically positive or negative person.

I see the half-full glass as more than half full *broad grin!*, so now you know which side I’m on. My primary temperament is that of an Introvert, but I have two sub-temperaments both Extrovert, so I can basically be either. I love the temperament that God and my parents gave to me, and I make the very best I can of it!!

Negativism is pretty awful really. I’ve read that it takes 10 positive words to overcome 1 negative one – isn’t that shocking! – so do watch your mouth, particularly with your children. When we feel and speak and act negatively ultimately no good can come from this.

Seems like God is well on the side of positivism. I was reading in Philippians and couldn’t help noticing these: Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice! PHILIPPIANS 4:4.That sure works for ME!! If you’re rejoicing, well, ALWAYS, then I can’t really see any room for negativism, can you? A verse or two later God continues with: Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything – which seems pretty straight forward to me.

But how is this possible in our lives? Well the verse continues with the answer: but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition continue to make your needs and requirements made known to God. PHILIPPIANS 4:6. NOT your wants“, your needs“, okay! BIG difference!!

There are definitely people in the world who are ‘Positives’ and others who are ‘Negatives.’ Do you think the verses above may mean that God is perhaps a ‘Positive?’Okay, I don’t dare ‘label’ God like that – just saying it seems to be that way. Continuing in Philippians I come down to the verse that I’m going to kind of summarize, so that hopefully we may get the full impact of it:

Whatever is true; and honorable and good; and just; and pure; and lovely; and kind and gracious – think on these things (fix your minds on them.) PHILIPPIANS 4:8. Whoo-hoo!! I just LOVE all of that!

Does that mean that I manage to do all in that verse? No, I’m not perfect yet. But you’re a positive, right; so were you always like that? Tended to be, but no, I’ve had to LEARN to do (OBEY!!!) the things in these verses, along with many others in the New Testament that lead us to be so grateful for all He’s given us and done for us, and I’m now ALWAYS joyful deepdown which the Holy Spirit can and will give you as part of the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.

I pray for you all – as part of this Fruit, that you gain deep-down Love, Joy and Peace!!

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:16 )

Heaven

We live here, we walk here, we eat and drink here, but may we never call it home. The ground beneath our feet and sky above our heads are the scenery we enjoy momentarily, but they will pass away (Matthew 24:35). Our family is more than people with the same last name (Mark 3:35), as believers we are united by blood, literally the shed blood of Jesus the risen Savior. We, the family, walk as sojourners (1 Peter 2:11), as travelers, loving and serving the people around us, all the while remembering we will one day be home. A home that has been prepared for us (John 14:3), where we will live in ever increasing joy.

Our lips will never again say, “It was fun while it lasted”, as the smile fades from our face. In our home there is no sorrow, there is no disease, there is no end to joy (Revelation 21:4). In our home our treasure does not fail, there is no thief to steal, no moneybag to grow old (Luke 12:33). In your heart, and in your head, where is your treasure and your home? For “there will your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

Where is your home?

John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Frozen Niagara Falls

An estimated 500,000 tons of water go over Niagara Falls every minute. On March 29, 1948, the falls suddenly stopped. Those who lived near enough heard the overwhelming silence, and immediately they thought it was a sign – the end of the world had come! However, after thirty hours had passed – the flow of water resumed.

What happened? Heavy winds had set the ice fields of Lake Erie in motion and tons of ice had jammed the Niagara River entrance near Buffalo. The ice blocked the flow of water until finally, there was a shift in the blockage and the river began flowing again.

The river had stopped flowing because of ice.

If we really want the flow of God’s love, peace, joy, and anointing in our lives – we cannot allow our hearts to become like ice. If we do, His life-giving current will stop.

Let the Lord search your heart for those areas where the ice has built up and needs to thaw out. He will show you where they are if you ask. Our hearts should be burning for Him, so let the river flow…. once again.