Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 31 - A Time For Change


There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

In Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon outlines various seasons in life when things happen. From crying to laughing, or scattering and gathering. Solomon simply and eloquently states that there is a reason and season for everything in our lives. What season of life are you in? Are you grieving or healing? Loving or hating? Plating or harvesting? No matter the season of your life embrace it as God's perfect plan for you. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again (Ecc. 3:15). Finding peace with the season of your life requires accepting, appreciating, and discovering God's perfect timing for your life. He does not make mistakes. So long as you do not doubt God's plan for you you will not fall into danger. Embrace his plan for you and you will find forever solutions to your problems.

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-5:20 for more on Solomon's wisdom on life.

Dear Heavenly Father I come before you today to praise your name and your perfect plan for my life. O Lord when I despair or doubt your ways let me now fall into danger but rather into your loving embrace. I know your plan for my life is perfect and I willingly accept all that you have in store for me. May I walk down the path you have set before me with confidence, wisdom, and strength knowing that you are there beside me. Although seasons of my life may be difficult I know that you will see me through them and I will learn valuable lessons from everything you set before me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.


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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 30 - Controlling Anger

 
My dear borthers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not 
bring about the righteous life that God desires. 
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent 
and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:19-21 

Anger is such a strong word; it contains so much meaning and emotion. There are two types of anger. First, we get angry with injustice and sin that corrupts our world. Proverbs 14:21 Blessed is ho who is kind to the needy tells us that this type of anger is justified because it is in defense of someone that is being hurt. On the other hand, our anger can stem from selfishness and and personal self-righteousness. Have you ever kept a mental note of your conversations with others? Do you talk more than listen? Do you get mad when you feel unvalidated in your opinions? Or do you get mad when your child disrespects you? From time to time these are things we all struggle with. You are not alone in your anger. But fellow sibling in Christ, I urge you to ask for the Lord's strength and wisdom in controlling your anger. It is such an insidious emotion. It is the devil at work within your heart. Today I want to encourage you to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

For more encouraging words read Ephesians 4:17-32

Dear Father God, I come before you today to ask for your forgiveness. O Lord please forgive me for my quickness to get angry and my in ability to listen patiently to those around me. Father please guide me and strengthen me today as I go about my day. I do not want to be quick to anger. I want to feel calm and peace within my heart. Show me O Lord when I need to be patient, when I need not take others comments personally, and the confidence to feel validated through you even when I don't feel it from others. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29 - Your Are Beautiful

                     

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. 
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

You are beautiful just as is everyone around you. Whether your hair is perfect or your makeup is flawless or your clothes fit just right, none of that matters to our Heavenly Father. Your outward appearance is no reflection of your inner beauty. Similarly, we must caution against judging others by their outward appearance.  When we judge someone by their appearance we can miss their inner splendor. Their makeup, clothes, or worldly possessions bear no reflection on their inner values and worth to our Lord. Rejoice and appreciate all that everyone around you has to offer. Be thankful for everyone God graciously puts in your life, regardless of outward reflections. 

You are beautiful, may you never forget that!

Dear Father in Heaven, I come before you today to ask for forgiveness. O Lord please forgive me for my self-centerdness and focus on others appearance. Today and always Father please give me the wisdom to see and appreciate the inner beauty and worth of those around me.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 28 - Open Your House


Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.
Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, 
for some who have done this have 
entertained angels without realizing it.
Hebrews 13:1,2

Is it easy for you to open your house to friends and guests? Do you worry about what your house looks like? Oh the toys that are strewn all around, the messy bathroom, or what about the dirty dishes in the kitchen. So often we let the little things get in the way of freely and joyously opening our home to friends and family. What a shame? Think of all the laughter, fellowship, and sharing we could have experienced had it not been for our worldly worries. Fellowship does not depend on the cleanliness of your house.

When I begin worrying about what my house looks like to visitors I do two things. First I reassure myself that the condition of my house doesn't matter to my heavenly Father. Second, I enlist my family to help me do a quick surface clean of the areas visitors are most likely to see. We quickly pick up any clutter and stash it out of sight until a later time when we can clean and organize in a more formal manner.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the family, friends, and fellowship you have blessed me with. O Lord please calm my worries about the appearance of my house. May I always been open in mind and heart to welcome any and every visitor you send to my blessed home. Thank you Father for everything you have blessed me with, may I openly share those blessings with others. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 27 - Run the Race for God


 
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.
Hebrews 12:1,2

Conquering the struggles you have in your life is like running a race. Much like races, someone else is either running the same race or has ran that race before. The struggles you are enduring now, someone else is feeling the same way. Also, there are others who have conquered the difficulty your are dealing with now. Others have won their race and so will you. Use their accomplishments as encouragement as you run your own race.

Running the race that God has set before us requires endurance, strength, and perseverance. To run your race easier, you must strip off all the excess baggage you are carrying. Free yourself from the sin that weighs you down. There are 3 principles in our life that will help free us from excess baggage so that we can more effectively and easily run the race our Father has set before us. First, choose your friends wisely. Positive, empowering, Christian friends will free you of the weight that comes from activities that are less than righteous. Second, reconsider the activities you are committed to. Drop some activities for a while and see if it has a positive impact on the weight on your shoulders. Lastly, get help for your struggles. Be them hidden shameful secrets or addictions. Free yourself and run more easily with God.

Always remember you are running for Christ, not yourself. Keep your eyes on Him and you will win the race.

Today, I would like to encourage you to say your own prayer. You know your struggles and the race you need to run. You know the weight that is on your shoulders. No one can say a better prayer today than you. God Bless!!

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Friday, March 26, 2010

March 26 - Humble Yourself

 
Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because 
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, 
that he may lift you up in due time.
1Peter 5:5, 6

Peter's words to us are two-fold. Humility comes in the form of respect for others as well as pride for what we own and our status in society. First, we all need to remember that everyone we meet has been placed there by God and has potential for teaching us something invaluable. Older people should not discount the younger generation and young people should not ignore the wisdom of their elders. Peter urges us to serve each other in a humble and non-conceited way. Be humble enough today and always to admit that you can learn from others. Second, do not worry about your status or position in society. Do not look to others for recognition of your achievements. God's recognition counts more than anything you could ever receive from someone here on earth. God will bless you according to His timing. You must always obey Him regardless of your present circumstances. One day, whether here on earth or in heaven, you will receive your honor.

Personally, for a long time I struggled with bragging to others about my children's achievements. I  would boast about this or that and then afterward feel awkward and silly for having just spewed forth information that wasn't important to anyone but myself. Parents gloat about their children from the day they are born. In reality I have found that this boastful attitude does nothing to help the dear friend we are speaking to. Often it leaves them feeling lowly, they wonder what is wrong with their child if theirs isn't doing what mine can. In the end I have found none of that matters. I am just as accomplished as a Mother whether I brag or not. I have now taken to keeping my children's accomplishments largely to myself, I will only share when asked. Then the conversation is mutual and I am not monopolizing the precious time I have with friends talking about my kid's abilities. Your own struggle with humility may be different, but in the end the emotion is the same. We will all have our honor in heaven!

For more on humility and imitating Christ's humility, study Philippians 2 1-11

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:3

Dear Father I come before you today meek and ashamed. O Lord please forgive me for my boastful nature. Please give me the wisdom and strength to humble my heart and hold my bragging words within today and always. Lord please forgive me for any ill or hurt feelings I have caused my dear friends with my boastful words. Today and always O Father, I will work to be more humble and Christ-like. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 25 - A Postive Mental Attitude

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

Your mental attitude can play such a huge role in how your day unfolds. If you are tired, sad, or in pain your day typically drags on and does not feel joyous. God has created this beautiful day for you! Of course there is a rightful time for grief, sadness, and pain but if you feel as though you have fallen into a rut make today the first in a long line of wonderful days. Realign your thinking towards that which is positive, happy, reaffirming, and thankful. Look around you and drink in all that you have been blessed with. Our Father is a caring and giving caretaker. He loves you and has blessed your life in immeasurable ways. Just as Paul urges us in Phillipians, think about those things which are excellent and praiseworthy. If you set off to have a positive mental attitude today, I pray that you have a joyous and happy day. This is the day that the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it!

Dear Lord please forgive me for my negative attitude lately. Truly I am thankful for all that You have blessed me with. Please give me the strength and wisdom to refocus my thoughts on all that is beautiful in my life. My family, my children, my friends, and the beautiful weather you have give me today. O Lord, You are wonderful and gracious. Thank you for your never ending blessings in my life. May my heart and mind stay positive and right with You today O Lord. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 24 - Acceptance

 

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement 
give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify 
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you,
in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:5-7

Undeniably it is human nature to judge others and show preferences toward certain groups of people. It is something we have struggled with for countless years. However, this does not serve as an excuse for our behavior. Jesus accepted everyone while He walked this earth. Men, women, children, sick, poor, homeless; He loved them all. Everyone who believes belongs in His kingdom. Today I encourage you to not think ill thoughts of those around you. Treat everyone fairly, just as you want to be treated. We are all worth in His eyes. Glorify His name today by accepting those around you. Your neighbor, your enemy, that certain group of people you do not particularly care for; show them the respect they are owed. With one heart and one mouth, I Pray that His acceptance of everyone may work through you and your heart today.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1Peter 4:3

O Lord, I come before you today to ask your forgiveness. I have not been accepting of everyone around me Father. You have placed these people in my life for a reason and I have turned my back on them. Heavenly Father I ask that you work through me today to glorify Your name and accept everyone around me. Lord please soften my heart towards those that have sinned against me. Father please give me the wisdom and strength to be more loving, kind, gentle, and respectful towards my neighbors. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. 

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 23 - God is Our Guide

 
Yes I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Psalm 73:23, 24

Have you gone astray? Are you wandering aimlessly in your life? Or perhaps you just feel like you have lost your way recently? Who do you turn to when you feel this way? God wants to be the guide in your life. He wants to lead you down the righteous path, the road to redemption and ever lasting life. If you are feeling lost just reach out your hand and He will lovingly embrace you.  When facing a big life decision do not rely on your wisdom alone. Look to your Father in heaven for all the answers. He will not lead you astray, He will not desert you, He will not make the wrong choice. Though Jesus you will make the correct decision in your life, the one that He has planned for you. Do not try and do it all on your own. He wants to steer your life, all you have to do is to give Him the steering wheel. Through God you will arrive safely at your destination. Have faith and trust in Him for all the days of your life.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:9,10

Dear God please forgive me of my sins and foolish ways. For too long I have been handling the steering wheel of my life. Today and always O Lord, I want You to be in control of my life. I will go where you lead me, faithfully and without question. I know You will lead me down the path of righteousness and everlasting life. Praise be to You O Father for Your wisdom and patience in a soul like me. You know my struggles O Lord, please show me the path you have chosen for me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22 - Sweet Words

  
Pleasant word are a honeycomb sweet to 
the soul and healing to the body.
Proverbs 16:24

How conscious are you throughout your day of the words you speak and the tone you use in your voice? Emotions, tiredness, and stress can all affect how we communicate with not only our family and loved ones but also the people we encounter as we go about our day. The tone in your voice can set the stage for an entire conversation. A negative or angry tone can change the mood in your house in an instant. None of us intentionally speak ill or use an angry tone in our voice. But it still happens. I would like to encourage you today to be a good steward of the precious gift God has given you; today. Wholeheartedly try to keep a friendly, kind, compassionate, and sweet tone to your voice today. Choose your words carefully and think about how others will interpret them before you speak. Tell your family how much you love them and give them all an honest compliment. Tell your spouse how much you appreciate them and all the hard work they do for your family. Pleasant words are truly a sweet sound to the soul. Relish in the joy your words will create today. Can you go the whole day without saying anything negative?

Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, 
but a fool is consumed by his own lips.
Ecclesiastes 10:12

Dear Lord please shepherd me today as I strive to be kinder, gentler, and more compassionate with my words. Father I pray that my words may be a sweet sound to all those around me. I want to be a shining light and an example of your graciousness. Please give me the wisdom and strength to remove the evil from my spirit and allow the beauty that you have created within me shine through. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21 - God is Our Hope

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, 
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you; 
you brought me forth from my mother's womb.
I will praise you. I have become like a portent to many, 
but you are my strong refuge.
Psalm 71: 5-7

Have you lost hope? Has life gotten you down lately? Life can certainly seem overwhelming, stressful, and chaotic at times. Maybe there is a situation in your life that seems hopeless. Be rest assured that God is walking with you during these tough times. He has not left you, nor will He ever. There is hope though Him. Reflect back upon all the wondrous things He has created in your life. Your family, your friends, your home; it is all because of your Father in heaven. He has never forsaken you when you needed Him, nor will He do it now. Reach out and ask for His help, He is waiting for you. He wants to help, you only need to ask. Profess the love you have in your heart for Him, reaffirm all the beautiful things he has created for you, let Him know that you believe and trust in Him. He will provide for you and give you the hope you need to make it through all of your days.

O Father I come before you today with a heavy heart. My hope in wavering Lord. I know I should put all my trust, faith, and hope in You but I am struggling Father God. I need your help to see me through these dark days. Restore my hope in all your wondrous works Lord. I know You will provide and Your will, will be done in my life. I owe all glory and honor to You Father! Praise be Your name and all hope and trust be placed in Your loving arms. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.


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Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 20 - God's Power of Healing


Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4,5
Truly, by His wounds we are healed. Are you struggling with illness? Or possibly a loved one is battling a disease or chronic illness. Experiencing or witnessing pain due to illness is heart wrenching. Often times it is illness that bring people back to God and help them to grow stronger in their faith. You might be crying out asking "Why? Why God are you doing this?" Be rest assured though that what ever health struggle you are enduring, it is part of His perfect plan. What His plan is, we may never know. But when you struggle with the why's and how's, be rest assured that your Father in Heaven will provide all that you need to get through this struggle. If you feel like your faith is wearing thin because of health issues, open up your heart to God. Profess all of your concerns, questions, worries, and doubts to Him. He is listening! Nothing is too big or too small for our Almighty Father.

If you are emotionally supporting someone who is dealing with a health issue you may feel tired, weary, and stressed. How are you going to help and support your loved one for another day when you feel like collapsing? I have friends all over the world struggling with this issue. They are supporting a spouse, a child, a parent, or a close friend through a difficult illness. There is no easy answer for this situation. There is nothing I can saw or do to make these tough situations easier. However, God can. He will give you the strength, energy, wisdom, patience, and every other tool you need on a daily basis to continue your ministry of support. Your were chosen for this role because He knows you can handle it. Go to God for all of your concerns, He will answer and comfort you in your time of need.

If time permits, read Matthew 8 and 9 which detail many stories of Jesus' healing.
Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart daughter," he said,
"your faith has healed you."And the woman was healed from that moment.

Father in heaven I come before you today with sorrow and despair. Lord you know my struggles. You know the health issues I am dealing with. O Lord, in You I have faith and trust that Your desires will be done in my life. No matter the outcome O Lord, I trust in You with my heart. Father please continue to grace my life with the strength, wisdom, and compassion I will need on a daily basis to walk the path you have set before me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19 - Temper, Temper, Temper


"In your anger do not sin." Do not let the sun go down while 
you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Ephesians 4:26,27

Are you struggling with your temper? Do your emotions seem to be a bit out of control lately? The devil can so easily get a stronghold of our lives and emotions when we allow him to. Kids, spouses, finances, household chores, they all compound and wear us down when we let them. When we aren't careful anger and short tempers can become an everyday occurrence. Out of control tempers can have severe consequences. Do not let the devil control your emotions any more, but rather put God in control of your emotional vehicle, give him the steering wheel. With His strength you can overcome anger and temper issues.

If you are battling with anger and frustration today I want to encourage you to read Ephesians 4.

Dear Father God you know my struggles and challenges today. Today O Lord I lay my problems at your feet. Cleanse me Father of my sins. I do not want to struggle with anger. I do not want the devil to control my emotions. Lord, please buoy me up and give me the strength and wisdom to overcome my anger and frustration. Bring a peace to my heart that only You can create. I love You O Lord with all my heart and all my soul. I do not want to be controlled by anger or my temper any longer. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 18 - Disciplining our Children


Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind.
Proverbs 29:17

Every parent struggles with discipline. A new day presents itself with a new set of challenges from our children. The list of discipline reasons is endless but thankfully and by the grace of our Father so is the love for our children. The love you feel for your children is limitless. Discipline is a necessary and loving way to show our children that we care for them today and always. Of course ignoring bad behavior is easier, but it is not what our Father in Heaven wants us to do. God loves you enough to discipline you when you cause problems. So too, should you discipline your own children with fairness and kindness. Your Father Almighty will give you the strength and wisdom to discern attitudes and enforce punishment. Consistency is key. Whatever you feel led by God to discipline, do it fairly, with love, and always.

O Father in Heaven I struggle so often with disciplining my children. They are all a blessing from you Father, I want to do what is best and raise them up to be good Christians, faithful and strong. I know you love me O Lord. May the love and discipline you show me rain down upon my own children in my own discipline of their behaviors. Please give me the wisdom to discern their attitudes and the strength to be consistent in my punishments. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17 - Laugh Today


A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

My dear siblings in Christ I want to encourage you today to laugh. There is so much in life to be thankful for and appreciative of! Fill your soul with joy and happiness today. Shake off the sorrow of yesterday for today is a new day that your Heavenly Father has graciously given to you. The seasons are changing, the birds are singing, and hopefully where you are the sun is shining. Give thanks for everything you have and put a smile on your face. Sit with your children and tell funny jokes, recount a funny memory, share your joy with those around you. Happiness and laughter is infectious, spread this infection to everyone around you. Our God is a wonderful God, a forgiving Father, and a righteous teacher. Give praise and thanksgiving to Him, enjoy today and laugh!

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!
Psalm 66:1 
Almighty Father in Heaven today I bow at your feet with praise and thanksgiving. Thank you Father for all the blessings you have bestowed upon me. All I have O Lord, I owe unto You. Today God my cup of joy and laughter will run over for praise and appreciation of all that you have given to me. Despite my struggles O Lord, I am blessed and fortunate. May my actions and words bring joy and pleasure to You today. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 16 - Positive Attitude

 


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:4,5

Have you ever considered the attitude you portray to those around you? Be honest, what do you think is the first impression a stranger makes when they meet you or even see you walking in the grocery store? People watching is a pastime I learned from my Father. I used to watch and judge but now I know that is sinful so I watch and marvel at all the different people my Heavenly Father has put on this earth. Admittedly so, some people walk around with a smile and an air of contentment. While others, well lets just say the frown lines are probably permanently etched on their brow. Which person are you? Which person do you want to be?
Life is not always easy and our emotions can vary from day to day. A positive attitude can make all the difference in day. Ever noticed when you wake up feeling lousy or grouchy your kids act up more and grate on your nerves. But then there are those days when everything falls into place. What is the difference? The attitude you woke up with. No matter what your morning has been life, hold up the stop sign and switch gears. Today will be a good day. Why? Simply because it is another day that God has given you and that in and of itself is a blessing. Appreciate and treasure everything around you, yes even the pile of laundry and the screaming kids. You have been blessed. You can wear a positive attitude on your face today, tomorrow, and everyday in the future. (for no other reason than to prevent frown lines on your forehead). Did you laugh? Good, now go make it a good day with a positive attitude smeared all over your face.

Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put in practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8,9

Father God I want to thank you for this beautiful day you have given. Despite all that is on my to-do list you never forsake me. Whenever I need you, you never leave me. Lord please forgive me for my sour attitude. I know it is not the work of your hands and your love. It is my hearts desire to bless myself and those around me with a good attitude as a symbol of your love and graciousness. Lord when I begin to falter please nudge me spirit to send it higher. Thank you again Heavenly Father for all that you have blessed me with, everything I have I owe to you. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.


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Monday, March 15, 2010

March 15 - Finding Peace

 


"I have told you these things, so that in me you amy have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! 
I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

From out of no where life can throw you a curve ball. Something you were least expecting. Perhaps at a time in your life when you were rejoicing you are suddenly grieving. How do you cope? How do you move on? Some days, how do you even face the day? The answer is through our Heavenly Father, our Savior, and our Redeemer. Even in our hour of anguish and despair we can receive peace, comfort, and the strength to move on through our Almighty Father. Give your pain and sorrow to Him. In return He will give you peace and comfort. You are not in it alone, all you need to do is ask and your Father will come running.

Reflect upon Romans 5

And we know that in all things God works for the good for those 
who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Dear Heavenly Father, you know my struggles today. I know you have placed these struggles in my life for a sovereign purpose. Today I ask Lord that you give me the wisdom, strength, and guidance to ford these rough waters. It is my hearts desire to do Your will O Lord even in difficult times. Please let me see past my selfishness and grief to be a heartfelt worker in Your kingdom. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 14 - Walk Upright

 


For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory;
no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11

What does it mean to walk upright? Walking upright according to scripture is not simply the act of walking with good posture, but rather walking proud and of great stature with the Lord. He will not withhold from those who walk uprightly. Do you walk upright each day? Are you going to walk upright today? To walk upright with the Lord you must free yourself of the judgment you pass onto others, be not hasty in your remarks, and be gracious in your actions. Release the gossip that fills your heart. Rather replace it with His love and graciousness. 

If time allows, also read Isaiah 11:3-5
Jesus said, "Judge not, and you will not be judged. 
Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven."
Luke 6:37 

Father God I come before you today to ask for your forgiveness. O Lord, please forgive me of my judgment of others, for the gossiping, and for the condemnation I have given others. Lord I am no better than all the rest. I am a lowly wretch who has been saved through Jesus. You are my rock and salvation. Spare my tongue and thoughts today of evilness. May your grace shine through me to others today O Lord. May I be a beacon of hope to those around me rather than a swamp of negativity. Blessed be to You O Lord, in Your name I pray, Amen.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 13 - Working for God

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's 
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10 

You have been saved through Christ not merely for yourselves but also for the benefit of others. Are you working for your Heavenly Father each and everyday? Your ministry need not be large, international, or even well-known. He simply wants you to do good deeds to others, show kindness to people He puts in your daily life, and lead others to salvation when given the opportunity. Your family and all the effort you put into raising Christ-centered children is an incredibly important ministry for his kingdom. Do not despair in the daily drudgery of life, maintaining a welcoming and happy home is pleasing to our Father in heaven. Do not boast about your accomplishments or good deeds. No one needs to know of your actions other than your Savior.


If time allows read Ephesians 2:4-10

Dear Heavenly Father you know my pain and my struggles. I come before you O Lord today to ask that you strengthen me under the weight of my burdens. Lord, please take the weight and in its place give me peace of mind and heart. Your plan for my life is perfect. Show me Your way O Lord. Show me the ministry you have prepared in advance for my life. I will wait patiently Father for your will to be shown. I desire to work all my days for your kingdom.  In Your name I pray, Amen

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Friday, March 12, 2010

March 12 - Doing Good To All


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper 
time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Life can seem overwhelming at times. You may be questioning your purpose or commitment in a particular project. You started with good intentions but now you are wavering about continuing. Ministry is a commitment that needs to be reevaluated from time to time. If you have Christ in your heart chances are you have been called to one ministry or another. God has called you to do good for others. You are serving His kingdom with your words, time, service, energy, or creativity. You are actively growing the faith as He has called you to do. However, that does not mean your heart will always be in the ministry. Active ministry is hard work, it is a time commitment that you might otherwise want to spend on other things. In Galatians, Paul encourages us to persevere in the good work we are doing to grow God's kingdom, "for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Ministry work can come in many different shapes, sizes, and purposes. They are all important to our Heavenly Father. My husband for example posts scripture on his facebook page each day to encourage his friends. My family, as well as this blog and Shepherding Kind Hearts are my ministries.  I feel a strong calling from my Heavenly Father toward each of my ministries. However, that doesn't mean that my zest for each of those activities does not waver from time to time. Of course it does, I am human and made of flesh. When I doubt my commitment though, I immediately pray to God and ask him for guidance. He always gives me the encouragement I need. If you too are doubting your involvement in something good in your life, I would like to encourage you to ask God for help and guidance. He has the answers.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, 
especially to those whole belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:10

Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today with doubt and worry in my heart. Lord I know you want me to continually work for Your kingdom, growing it ever more strong and sturdy. My heart has grown weak though Father. Please buoy me up and encourage me to continue. I need Your strength and words of wisdom to persevere. I will work all the days of my life for You, O Heavenly Father. So long as it is Your will, I will work in the ministry you have called me to do. Thank you Father for my special calling. I know you have created me for a special purpose, I pray that I fulfill all your hopes and expectations. Through you Lord anything is possible. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.


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Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11 - God Will Honor You


So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, 
and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
1Peter 5:6
  
Our Heavenly Father does not want us to worry about our earthly status or position within groups. Your job title, social group popularity, or paycheck amount mean nothing to Him. Unfortunately though it is all too easy to fall into this mindset that has been ingrained in our brain for so long. You look around your neighborhood and see all the nice cars, stylish clothes, expensive home furnishings and you yearn to be like them. Or perhaps you strive to have all those nice things so that others will look upon you with favor and adoration. In 1Peter 5, Peter is advising us and perhaps more importantly reminding us that God's recognition and favor counts more than any of your neighbors, friends, or coworkers. God will bless your life according to His perfect plan. So stay humble and obey your Heavenly Father regardless of your circumstances. He will reward your commitment and trust in this life and the next. Your Heavenly Father will honor you and that is the greatest honor any of us can ever hope to receive.

If you have time read 1Peter 5. Consider writing a prayer to God about your glory and honor to Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today with a humble spirit to as your forgiveness. Lord please forgive me of my sinful nature, my desires to be like others, to attain and impress my friends. Lord I give it all up to you. You are the only one that I want to impress. Your view of me is the only one that matters in eternity. Give me strength today and always Lord to battle the thoughts that may creep in my head. I owe all glory and honor to you my Almighty Father. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 10 - Embracing Contentment


Keep your lives free from the love of money and be 
content with what you have, because God has said, 
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

How much emphasis and importance do you put on material things in your life? Are you dreaming of a "perfect" house? A "perfect" family? Dreaming of your next income raise? My dear friend, if you continue to dream of a "perfect" life, you will dream your entire life away. Set aside your discontent and appreciate the beauty and marvel of your life today. Despite struggles, despite hardships, your Heavenly Father has created a perfect life for you here and now. He is owed all praise and honor for the blessings in your life. You will not be taking any of your material possessions with you to heaven. Your bank account will be worthless when He calls you home. The bigger TV, the better car, those new washers and dryers will all stay here when you go home to God. God said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." He has given you all that you need and for that you should be thankful and content.

Hebrews 13:5 had a profound impact in my life. For so long I dreamed about a bigger house, a sprawling yard, and an endless bank account. Then God led me to this verse. My eyes were opened and although I knew I should be content, this verse shook me to my core and I finally understood. He will never leave me! I have all that I need. It doesn't matter what size my house is, what type of car I drive or what my washer and dryer look like. It comes down to one question. Do I have all that I need? Of course I do. Sure those other things would be nice, but I don't need them. I have a roof over my head, food on my table, clean clothes, and a reliable car for my family. I have all that I need through Him and because of Him. This verse has also prompted my husband and I to pursue a simpler life. We now realize that a job title and fancy house mean nothing to our Heavenly Father. Through this verse we have the strength and confidence to move forward with plans  laid upon our hearts long ago. A seed of the simple life we know was planted by our Father.

Read Proverbs 30:8-9

Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today to ask that you wipe clean the discontent from my heart. Father I know you have given me all that I need in this  life. Please teach me through your word to be content and satisfied with all the wonderful blessings you have bestowed upon a wretch like me. Thank you Father for all that you have given me. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March 9 - Practice Patience


A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension,
but a patient man calms a quarrel.
Proverbs 15:18

Patience at times in our life is difficult to practice. Someone in our lives is causing us grief or we are impatiently waiting for something "big" to happen; both of which can cause patience to wear thin. God has a perfect plan and perfect timing for everything in our life. It is all according to His schedule. There is no rushing our Heavenly Father and there is no pleading with Him to give you what you want. Temper tantrums do not work with Him. Today I encourage you to put aside your impatience, bring calm to your heart being rest assured that everything in your life will work itself out according to His plan. Maybe not yours, but according to His. Impatience is a waste. You could be using that energy to be more useful, productive, and worthwhile in His kingdom.

For Moms, when our patience runs on thin ice it is most often with our children and husbands. I have seen increased arguing within my own family on the days I feel my patience is at its worst. Proverbs 15:18 speaks volumes to me during these situations. Walking away from the child that is on your last nerve, giving yourself a timeout, our simply closing your eyes and counting to 10 slowly are all useful tools you can practice today if you find yourself at the end of your patience rope. Please don't regret saying or doing something to your children or spouse simply because your patience was on thin ice today.

Read and apply to your life Isaiah 40:25-31


And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, 
encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
1Thessalonians 5:14

Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today to ask for renewed patience and peace of mind. Please Lord help me to release the frustration and impatience I feel in my heart. Lord please forgive me for my sins of impatience. You are such a patient and loving Father. May I gain strength today from your example. Father God please open my eyes to the arrangements and dissension that I am causing as a result of my impatience. May I have the wisdom and understanding to correct these situations in order to bring calm to my life as well as the life of others. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8 - Be Proud of the Gospel


I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for 
the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, 
then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God
is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, 
just as it is written: "The righteous live by faith."
Romans 1:16,17
In Romans, Paul teaches us that he was not ashamed for his message of Good News about Christ. The gospel is for everyone; Jew and Gentile alike. God's gospel for us is about redemption from our sins and how through Him we will have eternal life. Are you feeling ashamed about the Good News? Do you falter when asked about your faith? Today and for all the days to come, stand tall in your convictions. Christ is our Savior and He alone died for our sins. His message is truthful, honest, and for everyone. We are right with God through faith and faith alone. Focus on God and what He is doing in your life and around the world. When you set your sights on Him you will not be ashamed or embarrassed.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!
  But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.
1Corinthians 1:18

Oh Heavenly Father I come before you today to ask for forgiveness. Forgive me of my shortsightedness and my stubbornness.  Father God I have not always opened the door to your Good News about Christ when given the opportunity. Lord I will no longer be ashamed, reluctant, or embarrassed. When given the opportunity I will gladly proclaim Your glory and honor and lead unbelievers to your glorious kingdom. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 7- Forgiveness


Bear with each others and forgive whatever you may 
have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

Forgiving someone that has hurt you deeply is incredibly difficult. Human nature can often times impede what our Lord wants us to do; forgive. Paul teaches us in Colossians that forgiving can be made easier by remembering how much God has forgiven us. God's love for you is unending. May you gain comfort, strength, and solace in forgiving those in your life that have sinned against you. Today, give to God all the wrongs you have endured. He will judge them when the time is right, it is not our job. Live each day with love and joy in your heart rather than the ill that comes from harboring ill towards others.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
since as members of one body you were called to peace. 
And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Oh Heavenly Father, I come before you today to thank you for forgiving me of my sins. Lord I give to you all the pain and anger I hold towards those that I feel have done me wrong. Father God I ask that you take the hurt I feel towards these people and remove it from my heart. I want to live the rest of my days full of love and joy. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.

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