Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

From the best person you know to the worst person you know, we all have one thing in common: we are sinners in need of our Saviour Jesus Christ. He loves so much that He gave His One and only begotten Son to die a shameful and horrible death on a wicked cross to take away the sins of the world. To us His free gift of His salvation He offers. Will you accept Jesus Christ into your heart today? Have a blessed day.

How does one respond to the resurrection? It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. You can experience the power and the presence of the risen Christ, and it’s as simple as ABCAcknowledge, Believe, and Confess.

First, you must acknowledge that you have messed up and gone in the wrong direction—away from the God who loves you. The Bible calls that repentance, which means to turn. Right now, you have the opportunity to turn back to God, ask for His forgiveness, and receive the grace and mercy Christ died to give you. When you turn back to God, He will welcome you with arms open wide.

Next, you must believe. This is more than just mental assent—it is trusting your life and eternal soul to what you know is true. You cannot earn salvation, and you don’t deserve it—that’s the bad news. But the good news is that God offers it to you as a gift because of Jesus. You must fully trust in that gift! The Apostle Paul gave simple directions: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10).

After you believe, you must confess. That means to publicly attest to your faith in Christ, though you might be persecuted or rejected. Even today, many people give their lives for their witness of the risen Christ. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32–33). Your faith in Jesus is not just a private matter. When you confess Him, you become His ambassador in the world. If you’re ready to acknowledge, believe, and confess, why don’t you pray right now in your own words —or you can use this prayer:

Dear Father God, I come to You a sinner, needing salvation. I have messed up and cannot save myself, so I cast myself upon Your mercy. Please forgive me. Take my sin, my shame, my addictions, and my darkness. Give me Your righteousness, Your freedom, Your light, and Your love. I accept You into my heart as my Lord Saviour. Please wash me white as snow, and use me to bring others into Your Kingdom in Heaven. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:9‭-‬13 KJV

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 10:32‭-‬33 KJV


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What a blessing it is that our faith is real. There were witnesses to the resurrected Christ Jesus of glory! Have a blessed day.

The heart of the gospel, the good news, is Christ was raised from the dead. He is risen indeed! That means faith is fruitful rather than futile; preaching is powerful rather than pointless; the disciples were dependable rather than deceptive; salvation is certain rather than imaginary, and death is defeated rather than victorious. Because Christ rose from the dead, those of us who believe are of all people the most blessed and the happiest because the resurrected Christ lives inside of us. Because Jesus rose from the dead, one day we will rise too! What a glorious truth!

Remember, Paul didn’t say they were just believers in the resurrection. He said they were witnesses of the resurrection, and there’s a big difference between a believer and a witness. A witness testifies to what he has seen, heard, and personally experienced, which makes Christianity different from every other religion and every other philosophy. The resurrection is not just a historical fact. It’s not just a sign from God validating Christ. It means Jesus is alive right now, and He can be known by you, right here, right now. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Living people can show up for themselves. That is the ultimate evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—the reality of His power and His presence. You don’t have to merely believe it; you can witness it for yourself.

When we witness Jesus alive, we become like the disciples, who, despite the forces trying to silence them, continued to share the truth of the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrected Christ was at the core of the gospel the disciples preached. None of them changed their story, even while being tortured. None of them simply stopped talking about the resurrection and quietly went away. They all gave their lives, proclaiming Jesus had risen from the dead!

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33 KJV

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As the time draws nigh to celebrate His resurrection, an important action for our faith, we are reminded again of the truth of the hope which we share. Yes indeed. Have a blessed day.

In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul, himself a witness of the resurrected Christ, imagined the implications of a reality in which Jesus has not risen. It’s a chilling passage that paints a picture of a bleak and hopeless world. He said that if Jesus is still dead, preaching and faith are useless (v. 14), the disciples are false witnesses (v. 15), we are all still in our sins (v. 17), the dead are gone forever (v. 18), and those who believe are the most pitiful of all people (v. 19). But then, in Verse 20, Paul changed the tone with this amazing declaration that makes all the difference: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (NIV). Early Christians would greet one another with Paul’s words! In place of “hello,” a believer would say, “Christ is risen,” and the other would respond, “He is risen indeed!”

Jesus Christ did rise from the grave! He is risen indeed! The resurrection was God’s supernatural vindication of what Jesus did for us. It means Jesus is exactly who He claimed to be—the Son of God, sent into the world so we could have forgiveness, full and free. The resurrection means God accepted Jesus’ death in our place on the cross. It means Jesus was ultimately victorious over sin, death, hell, and the grave. Because death couldn’t hold Him, because sin has no power over Him, and because Jesus is alive, we have great hope in Him! The Bible says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). That hope is “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 KJV

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Hebrews 6:19 KJV

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His story is incomplete without the resurrection. If Christ Jesus did not rise from and conquer the grave, He would be just another man. Our faith would be in vain. But He did rise from the dead! O glorious day! Come to the Saviour today and be saved. Have a blessed day.

The crucifixion of Jesus was a very important historical event. We usually hear more about the cross than the empty tomb in the church world, leaving the resurrection for Easter. But the resurrection is not just an Easter message; it lies at the heart of Christianity, even in one sense eclipsing the significance of the cross. For without the resurrection, the crucifixion was just an execution. Lots of people have died on lots of crosses, but there is only One who rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

The Apostle Paul said, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:17–19 NKJV). That means if Christ didn’t rise, all the things we’ve done wrong would keep us separated from God forever, and if that is the case, we are to be pitied. Paul didn’t say if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Christianity is still a good religion that will make you a better person, instill good morals, and make your life a little better. He said if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then this whole thing is a lie, everything we are doing is for nothing, and believers are the biggest fools in the world.

Some scholars and preachers try to sound rational or intelligent and say maybe the resurrection wasn’t literal and physical. Perhaps it was a metaphor for something or just a spiritual resurrection. But if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then He was not who He claimed to be. If He didn’t rise from the dead, there’s nothing He can do for you: He can’t save you, He can’t forgive you, He can’t wash your sins away, and He can’t heal you… If He didn’t rise from the dead, then He’s just another dead guy.

The good news is Christ did rise from the dead, and that changes everything!

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1 Corinthians 15:17‭-‬19 KJV

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Having a glimpse into the character of the disciples before the resurrection (they were not too courageous), something miraculous happened to give them boldness and a purpose to live and die for the Word of God. That was resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also have an opportunity to know Him! Praise God and have a blessed day. (This is a new reading plan below.)

Did Jesus really die and rise from the dead? Some say there is no evidence for the Christian faith, but actually, from a historical perspective, the resurrection of Jesus is probably the most well-documented fact in antiquity. People have tried to dispute it numerous ways—Jesus wasn’t really dead, the disciples went to the wrong tomb, or the disciples stole His body. However, none of the theories that try to disprove the resurrection hold water. Ultimately it is indisputable that the disciples (and hundreds of others) believed they had personally seen, touched, ate with, walked with, and talked with the resurrected Jesus. They died for this testimony, and who would die for a lie?

Perhaps you would answer that many have died throughout history for things that were not true. However, there is one very important difference between the disciples and other martyrs. The disciples did not just believe Jesus rose from the dead; they claimed to actually be eyewitnesses of His resurrection. In other words, the resurrection wasn’t just something they believed to be true; it was something they knew for a fact as true. That means if they were lying, they knew they were lying—and they all died for a lie they knew was a lie. Highly unlikely! Not one of them changed his story when faced with the gallows or the sword. They all gladly testified with their blood to the reality that Jesus had risen from the dead.

The courage the disciples displayed in the face of death was not only remarkable; it was especially unusual given everything we know about them from Scripture. They totally dropped the ball when Jesus was crucified. One betrayed Him, another denied Him, and the rest ran for their lives. They weren’t courageous and bold; they were weak-willed cowards. But then, something radically changed them. Something transformed them into bold witnesses, proclaiming the gospel everywhere. What changed them was being with the resurrected Christ—they talked with Him, walked with Him, touched Him, and even ate with Him for weeks after He rose from the dead!

The disciples lost everything because of their witness of the resurrection of Christ, and they stood to gain nothing in this world by it. If Christ didn’t rise from the dead, all the disciples died terrible deaths to perpetuate a hoax. Do you really believe that happened? Not a chance.

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 1 Corinthians 15:14 KJV

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: Acts 1:3 KJV

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Shepherds were considered to be of no report, the lowest of the low. Jesus, however, chose them to set an example to us that we can never do anything that He won’t forgive if we would only repent. Amazingly He has already laid down His life for us and praise God, He has defeated death by picking it back up! Today’s verses are John 10:1‭-‬21, Zechariah 13:7, Matthew 26:31, and Philippians 2:4. Have a blessed day.

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

In order to lead like Jesus, we must become shepherds. But the people of Jesus’ day did not think much of shepherds. Because of their work, shepherds were often ceremonially unclean and not permitted in the temple courts. Most self-respecting Jews considered shepherds dishonest, transient and unsavory. As a result, shepherds were often treated as outcasts. So disregarded was a shepherd, his testimony was not even admissible in a murder trial if he was the only witness.

Why then would Jesus relate his own ministry to the job of a shepherd (see John 10:1-21)? While a shepherd might not appear to be of much consequence to the world, he is the friend, protector and defender of his sheep – even to the point of death. To be more like Jesus, we must be willing to humble ourselves in order to care for those we lead.

The Good Shepherd even lays down His life for the sheep. Jesus quoted Zechariah 13:7 when He predicted His death to His disciples. He said, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered'” (Matthew 26:31). When the Good Shepherd was struck down, He ensured the safety of His sheep. He willingly sacrificed His own life to save the sheep.

It’s true that leaders must lead. Leaders must cast the vision, set the direction, inspire and motivate, and give orders. However, the leadership style of Jesus shows us that a leader does much more than that. A true shepherd-leader knows, serves, and sacrifices for the sheep.

Prayer: Dear Father God, please forgive my prideful ways. I turn to You as the right example for servant leadership. Instill Your attitude within my heart, that I may lead from Your attributes. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:4).

John 10:1. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 19. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21. Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

Zechariah 13:7. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Matthew 26:31. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Philippians 2:4. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

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We have a humble and magnificent leader. His name is Jesus, and we can learn much from His leadership style. This is a 10 day reading plan. Today’s verses are John 8:53, 5:45-46, and 4:37. Have a blessed day.

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Everyone receives help from the people who have gone before, the people who stand alongside, and the people who follow. No one is a self-made man or woman, and good leaders know they can’t take full credit for their successes.

Jesus Himself had the right to take credit for everything from creation onward. Yet, He exemplified the humility of a servant. Jesus could have pointed out the flaws and failures of those who went before Him: You think Abraham was great? Remember, he had his share of failings. And Moses? Don’t forget all the times he got angry and disobeyed God. And don’t forget how Abraham feared Pharaoh so much that he lied and said Sarah was his sister! If you want to know what real greatness is, look at Me.

But Jesus was not driven, as so many leaders are today, by the need to receive credit, applause and attention. He was driven by love for the Father. Jesus acknowledged those who went before Him, including Abraham (see John 8:53) and Moses (see John 5:45-46). If we want to follow the leadership style of Jesus Christ, we must acknowledge others in the same Christ-like way He did.

Do you take time to acknowledge the contributions others make to your successes? If not, make a plan to personally and publicly thank God and these people.

Prayer: Dear precious Lord, I praise You for the group of people You have aligned me with who help me and support me. Without Your divine plan in bringing these people into my life, I would not be where and who I am. Thank You. I pray this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

“Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps…is true” (John 4:37).


Discover vital leadership principles from the greatest leader of all time: Jesus Christ. If you are a leader in any area of life, your approach to leadership will be transformed by the examples from Jesus’ life outlined in Dr. Michael Youssef’s new book, The Leadership Style of Jesus. For more teachings, books, and downloadable resources from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, visit us online at www.LTW.org.

John 8:53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

John 5:45. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

John 4:37. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

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This letter is about troubles we still have in churches and what to do and not do. The video is minutes long. The verses are 3 John 1:1-14. Have a blessed day.

If you watched the video, you may scroll down to See for Yourself.

What’s Happening?

John’s third letter is directed not to a group of churches, or even one church, but to Gaius, a man John deeply loves (3 John 1). Gaius is a faithful Christian whose hospitality is well known (3 John 3-5). Traveling missionaries frequently stayed at Gaius’ house and then told their home churches about his generosity and love (3 John 6). John wants Gaius to keep doing what he’s doing. For John, hospitality towards missionaries is a litmus test of inclusion in God’s Kingdom. And people like Gaius are co-workers—valuable partners in the mission of Jesus (3 John 8).

But not everyone in Gaius’s community is as humble and hospitable as he is. Diotrephes refuses to listen to John and other apostles’ calls for hospitality (3 John 9). He resents their authority, slanders their character, and refuses to welcome their missionaries (3 John 10a). Worse still, Diotrephes has some level of authority in Gaius’s church. He both threatens and excommunicates those willing to support John’s missionaries (3 John 10b).

Knowing that Gaius would read his letter to everyone in his church, John tells them to imitate the good they see in Gaius and reject the evil of Diotrephes and men like him (3 John 11). John ends his third letter the same way he ended his last, with the hope of seeing his friends face to face soon (3 John 13-14).

Where is the Gospel?

John has talked about loving one another in every one of his letters. It’s the defining mark of those who know God (1 John 4:7). And the failure to love your brothers and sisters is the defining mark of those who don’t know God (1 John 4:8). Hospitality towards missionaries is a litmus test of inclusion in God’s Kingdom.

When Jesus first sent out his disciples, the hospitality shown by a town towards them determined whether God’s peace or God’s judgment would fall (Matthew 10:13, 15). Near the end of Jesus’ life, he said that whether or not we show hospitality to “the least of these” signals our eternal destiny (Matthew 25:45-46). That’s because hospitality isn’t just serving others—but Jesus himself (Matthew 25:40). To give or withhold hospitality (especially towards those sent to proclaim the way of Jesus) is to accept or deny that Jesus was sent by God.

Fittingly, Jesus revealed himself through his own hospitality. He gave wine to a wedding (John 2:11). He hosted feasts in the desert (Luke 9:16). He offers his body and blood as a meal to be eaten (Matthew 26:26-28). And when he finally convinced his disciples that he rose from the dead, it was over a shared meal (Luke 24:35). Jesus is generous and hospitable to his people. And when his people are hospitable in kind, God shows up. Jesus reveals himself. And we become coworkers and God’s chosen partners in the proclamation of Jesus and his Gospel.

Don’t imitate the evil of Diotrephes. Don’t invite the judgment Jesus warns against. Instead, love your brothers and be hospitable to your sisters, especially those who have been sent, like Jesus, to proclaim good news.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who is generous. And may you see Jesus as our hospitable host inviting us to a feast of his generosity and love.


We invite you to continue seeking Jesus in God’s Word. We have lots of other reading plans available on YouVersion. Just search for “Spoken Gospel” in the reading plans section.

We hope this has helped you see Jesus in God’s Word more. We pray this final day helps you worship Jesus even more.

3 John 1:1‭ The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6. Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 7. Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

9. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 11. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.  He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

12. Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. 13. I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 14. But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

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Do not entertain deceitful people. It will cause you harm. John is giving a refresher letter here. Today’s verses are 2 John 1:1-13. The video is 3:41 minutes long. Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

If you watched the video, you can skip this until you get to Bible verses of the day.

Lies have always been the greatest threat to God’s people, and in John’s second letter he warns a church he affectionately calls his chosen lady and children about them (2 John 1). In many ways it summarizes in one chapter what he spent five chapters explaining in his previous letter. 2 John is an apostolic booster shot to a church in need of care.

Like before, John reminds the church to love one another and keep God’s commands (2 John 5-6). He warns them of deceivers who deny that Jesus came in the flesh (2 John 7). He also emphasizes that those who do not live the way Jesus taught them to live do not have God (2 John 9). The gift of the Father’s power and the Son’s presence is only given to those who abide in the Gospel John preached, and the commands that Jesus prescribed. John calls this the way of living the truth (2 John 1-2).

That’s why it’s imperative that this church not welcome pastors or teachers who reject the Gospel and teach a different way to live (2 John 10). People of the truth should reject lies that are dangerous. Lies have the potential to rob this specially chosen lady and her children of their full reward of God’s truth and eternal life (2 John 8). John also warns that platforming these deceivers in their churches will make them complicit in their deceit and wickedness (2 John 11).

Where is the Gospel?

John abruptly ends his letter and hopes, like a caring father, that paper and pen will soon give way to face to face conversation (2 John 12).

Lies have always been the greatest threat to God’s people. In the garden of Eden it was a lie that convinced God’s first chosen lady, Eve, to abandon fidelity to God and his commands (Genesis 3:4, 13). Like the antichrists in John’s day, the serpent robbed her of the full reward of Eden made her complicit in the Deceiver’s evil, and forfeited eternal life with God (Genesis 3:23). The temptation to platform false gospels, tolerate false narratives, and entertain deceitful teachers is one of humanity’s original failures. And no matter how far we are removed from the world of Genesis, holding onto the truth in a world of lies is a perennial problem.

But the good news is that the Truth has already and will again win. God promised Eve that the Truth would one day crush the lie of the Deceiver (Genesis 3:15). And on the cross and by his resurrection, Jesus shows that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:16). It’s no wonder that the defining teaching of these antichrists is to deny that Jesus came in the flesh (2 John 7, 1 John 2:22a). The best tactic the ancient Deceiver and his children have is to deny it ever happened (John 8:44).

It’s telling that the apostle John in the, book of Revelation, describes the entire history of God’s people as a conflict between a deceiving dragon and a chosen lady and her children (Revelation 12:1, 4b). And it’s even more telling that God’s people conquer the Deceiver by the blood of Jesus the antichrists deny, and the truthful testimony the deceivers cannot admit (Revelation 12:11).

By his coming and by his cross Jesus has spoken Truth to a world cursed under a lie. And the Truth is we will not surely die, but have eternal life in God alone through Jesus alone (John 3:16). And one day soon when Jesus returns, every lie will be silenced, all temptations will end, and Truth and Life will be all that’s left.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who is Truth. And may you see Jesus as the one who defeats the lies of the Deceiver by his coming and his cross.

2 John 1:1. The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; 2. For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. 3. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 4. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. 5. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

7. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

12. Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. 13. The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

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There is eternal life in Jesus Christ through His blood which was shed on the cross. All we need to do is accept Him as Lord and Savior. We serve a mighty and awesome God. Today’s verses are 1 John 5:6‭-‬21. The video is minutes long. Today I’ve included the written version of the video in case you don’t have YouTube. Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

If you would prefer to watch the video, it says everything below except for the Bible verses. ☺️

John wants everybody who reads his letter to know they have eternal life in Jesus—and specifically life in Jesus’ bloody death (1 John 5:13). But this is offensive to several false teachers. They claim they’re eyewitnesses to a more “spiritual gospel” that doesn’t include Jesus’ coming in the flesh or his bloody death. In denying that Jesus came in flesh and blood, the false teachers deny there is eternal life in Jesus, and they’re calling God a liar (1 John 5:10).

But John says his Gospel has more reliable eyewitnesses (1 John 5:9). John’s Gospel is attested to by the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and empty tomb. The testimony Jesus proclaims isn’t speculative or spiritual but actual life from the physically dead in him (1 John 5:11). That’s why, John says, Jesus came by both water and blood (1 John 5:6). They’re references to Jesus’ two baptisms: the baptism at the beginning of his ministry when the Holy Spirit landed on him like a dove and God testified that Jesus is his Son, and the baptism of blood Jesus went under on the cross where he killed our sin and God raised him the dead (Mark 10:38). Contrary to the testimony of the false teachers, the testimony of Jesus’ baptism, his death, and the Holy Spirit proclaim that God has come in a body, died a bloody death, and rose (1 John 5:7-8). And the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, now lives in us and secures eternal life with God forever.

Where is the Gospel?

John wants everybody who reads his letter to know they have eternal life in Jesus (1 John 5:13).

And more than knowing that our life will extend indefinitely, John wants us to know that our lives will be marked by the power of God. John says if we ask anything according to his will in prayer, God will hear and will give (1 John 5:14-15). Eternal life doesn’t just mean living a long time—eternal life starts now because God lives in us and always hears our prayers.

And John doesn’t hedge his bets when he’s talking about prayer. He doesn’t say God might give what we ask, but that he will. Even our prayers for brothers and sisters who are walking towards death will be answered with the gift of resurrection life (1 John 5:16). Contrary to the false teachers, the God who died is the God of life, and through us he even gives life to others. We pray infused with the life and power of Jesus because, like Jesus, we have been born of God (1 John 5:18).

John ends his letter of encouragement by reminding us of the Truth: Jesus is both the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20). Only in Jesus’ body is there love that covers our sin, only in Jesus’ bloody death, is there resurrection. All other gospels are inferior, they’re just man-made idols to lesser deities (1 John 5:21). There is only one place to find life and love—and that is in Jesus.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who has come by water and blood. And may you see Jesus as the one who is eternal life and love in the flesh.

1 John 5:6‭ This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 16. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. 18. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 19. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 20. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 21. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

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Just to clarify: God has many characteristics, and we are studying His love for us and how we should respond rightly in this study. Today’s verses are 1 John 4:7–5:5. The video is 3:46 minutes long. Have a blessed day.

1 John 4:7‭. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19. We love him, because he first loved us.

20. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21. And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 John 5:1. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

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There are only two families on earth since the beginning. The family of God, and the family of Satan. To which family do you belong? I am a child of the living God. Would you like to be also? Believe in your heart that Christ died for our sins, repent, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and be saved. Yes, it’s that easy. Today’s verses are  1 John 2:28-29 and 3:1-24. Have a blessed day.

1 John 2:28. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
1 John 2:28‭-‬29

1 John 3:1‭. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3.  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

11. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15.  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

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In this study, the antichrist is referring to people who used to be members but no longer are. They deny Jesus’ deity, they kill others who believe in Him, and it is unfortunately a part of church life even now. “The good news is that John’s disciples have been anointed by God, and those who are against God’s anointed have no power (1 John 2:20).” The video is 3:11 minutes long, and today’s verses are 1 John 2:18‭-‬27. Have a blessed day.

1 John 2:18. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

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Today’s message is one of hope to the believers and urgency for the unbelievers. They must be reached, because Christ Jesus has already paid our sin debt in full and has overcome the world. That is why and how we can focus on Jesus rather than the things of this world. We serve an amazing God! Today’s verses are 1 John 2:12‭-‬17 KJV. (You can skip reading the context if you listen to the video.) The video is 3:06 minutes long. Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

Being a follower of Jesus means following him into a battle against evil. This battle isn’t a war of weapons, but of desires. Loving God means not loving the world (1 John 2:15). Not loving the world means not loving what the world loves. The world loves to invent and satisfy desires for our body, lusts for our eyes, and pride in our life (1 John 2:16). The world builds systems, economies, cultures, and religions designed to tempt and destroy us. But John says the way to overcome a world of desires is by remembering that this world and those who love it are passing away. But those who obey and love God live forever (1 John 2:17).

And to a people at war, John recites a poem. This poem shepherds and soothes a community under fire from the lies of false teachers and the condemning voice of the evil one. And John assures three different groups of people: children, fathers, and young men.

John often calls his whole community—both men and women—“children” (1 John 2:1, 18, 28). And he reminds them that their sins really are forgiven and they truly know God as Father (1 John 2:12, 13a). Despite their temptations and failures, God has already forgiven them! Then to fathers (or mature believers) he reminds them twice that their age doesn’t disqualify them, but instead brings them near the God of eternity. As they approach death in this world, they know the Eternal One has their lives in his hands (1 John 2:12-13). And finally to the young men, or those who are most active in the battle of living and working in the world, John reminds them twice that they have overcome the evil one (1 John 2:13b, 14b). John’s point is simple. Yes, we are in a battle, but we’re on the winning side.

Where is the Gospel?

Jesus has defeated the powers of evil on the cross. By his Spirit we’re strengthened against every temptation. Even when we die we will continue to live with God our Father. We overcome the world, its desires, and the evil one by remembering the Gospel. Because Jesus lives forever, evil is passing away. Because God is our Father, we will live forever with him.

Our battles with the desires of our body and eyes have been dealt a death-blow in Jesus. In love, Jesus has died, covered our sins, and been resurrected. This is the spiritual weapon we need to fight the evil one (Ephesians 6:11). The devil is on his back foot, and we’re armed to the teeth. Whether we are fathers and mothers or young and strong, we are all children of a victorious Father who only sends his daughters and sons into battle once armed with resurrection life. We don’t need to be afraid of the world. We will overcome its temptation. The good news is that the One in us is greater than the one in the world (1 John 4:4).

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who is light. And may you see Jesus as the One who has defeated the darkness of the world so that both He and we can live forever.

1 John 2:12‭. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 14. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

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Today’s video is 3:25 minutes. “God is light” commands us to love one another as Jesus loved us. What a privilege it is to have a relationship with God. Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

John says the Gospel of Jesus can be summed up this way: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Just as light brought life on the first day of creation and light gives life to every green plant, Jesus brings the light and life of God even from the grave (Genesis 1:3). Like the pillar of fire led Israel through dark nights in the wilderness, Jesus guides us by his Spirit (Exodus 13:21). Just as light judges and expels darkness, Jesus judges and expels the devil and his evil (1 John 3:8, Colossians 2:13). And one day, the brightness of God’s light will even swallow up the actual night (Revelation 22:5). The message “God is Light” is the eternal good news of Jesus summed up in three words.

But John also says the good news that “God is Light,” is a command to be obeyed (1 John 2:7). The command is that we should love one another as Jesus has loved us (1 John 2:10; John 13:34). Like the fire in the wilderness or the sun in the sky, this good news and good command will lead us to life (1 John 2:10).

But several in John’s community claimed to be members of the light, while hating one another (1 John 1:6). John says this is a contradiction and a self-evident lie. True members of the light, walk in the light (1 John 1:8). People transformed by the good news that “God is Light” will act like it. These liars are so darkened by their self-deception they call their hate loving (1 John 1:9, 11).

And while the liars are busy hiding their darkness under the guise of light, Christians freely confess their darkness because they know the light (1 John 1:10). They know that forgiveness has been bought by Jesus’ blood and are willing to step towards him (1 John 2:2). John says that those who walk towards the light, even if they sin, are truly God’s people and will be forgiven (1 John 2:3, 6). But those who refuse to admit their darkness and pretend to be in the light, will soon be blinded by the same light they deny (1 John 2:11).

Where is the Gospel?

The good news is that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. The light of God has come to us in Jesus. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). And like the fire that led Israel through the wilderness, Jesus’ Spirit always teaches us where to go (John 14:16). Jesus has overcome both our own and the world’s evil by his loving, sacrificial death (1 John 2:2).

But how do we know we’re in the light? How do we really know that we are in the life of God? John says that assurance comes when we love one another. Love for each other is how we know that we belong to God, and experience the fullness of God’s love and light (1 John 2:5). God’s light was most clearly seen in Jesus’ love on the cross, so it makes sense that we will most clearly experience our assurance as we live and love like Jesus.

And what’s beautiful is that even when we fail to love, if we confess our sin to God in whom there is no darkness, we can fully expect the light of his forgiveness. Because of Jesus we have an example to follow, but we also have an Advocate before God who has covered our sins, takes away our guilt, and shines the light of his love on all who ask.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who is Light. And may you see Jesus as our atoning sacrifice who covers all our sins.

1 John 1:5‭. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2:1‭. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

3. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 7. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. 8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

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We will now go deeper in our study of the books of 1, 2 and 3 John. Today our focus is on 1 John 1:1-4. A 2:51 minute video is provided. Jesus Christ is real, and John saw Him, talked with Him, ate with Him, heard Him, and witnessed many more miracles than were able to be put in the Bible! Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

John, Jesus’ disciple, writes to a community under attack from false teachers. John goes so far as to call them “antichrists” (1 John 2:22). These antichrists are pastors or church leaders who have left their churches and now claim that John and the other apostles are wrong about Jesus (1 John 2:19). They claim that Jesus did not come in the flesh (1 John 4:3, 2 John 1:7). They deny that God took on a body and they deny that God—in Jesus—bled on the cross for them.

So John begins his letter by grounding his message in what he heard, saw, and touched (1 John 1:1). John is an eyewitness, alongside the other disciples and apostles. He has firsthand experience with Jesus, with God himself. The antichrists want to spiritualize the Gospel, but John says they can’t spiritualize away his testimony.

John insists that the same God who was from the beginning was born, and the Word of Life became alive and lived in front of him (1 John 1:2). John has seen God with his eyes and heard him with his ears (1 John 1:3a). The antichrists’ spiritualized message is contrary to the facts: God has been born, the apostles have seen, heard, and touched him, and so eternal life is only found in Jesus.

Where is the Gospel?

The antichrists denied the incarnation of Jesus. And as a result, those who listened became plagued by doubts. If God didn’t join himself to humanity, how do humans know they are joined to God? If the incarnation isn’t real, how can we ever know we’re saved?

John’s answer is simple. We have real fellowship with God because God has physically joined himself to humanity (1 John 1:3)! Jesus was real. Eternal life was touched. That which was from the beginning was born to Mary. No one who trusts the good news of Jesus’ incarnation needs to fear where he or she stands with God. God has saved us just as certainly as we’ve been born of our mother.

And while it’s true that we, like John’s community, haven’t seen Jesus with our own eyes, John was an eyewitness. John ate, slept, and walked with Eternal Life in the flesh. John watched Jesus die, and John looked into his empty tomb. The antichrists have no leg to stand on. God coming in the flesh is a matter of history, and all the apostles agree. God has come in the flesh; his name is Jesus. And in him you are saved.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the Word of Life who came to earth. And may you see Jesus as God in the flesh.

1 John 1:1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

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1 John 1, 2, 3

Starting a new reading plan today in the book of 1 John. It is a 10 day plan, and it does get pretty lengthy. However, there is a video starting tomorrow. Today’s verses are Psalm 119:137-160, KJV. Have a blessed day.

Welcome to Jesus in All of 1, 2, & 3 John. Our prayer is that you will encounter Jesus and his Gospel in 1, 2, & 3 John like never before.

Each day, you will have the opportunity to read a short devotional or watch a short video that will walk you through the text and show you how it is fulfilled in Jesus.

Each day you will see the same three things:

1. What’s Happening?

This section explains what is going on in the text.

2. Where is the Gospel?

This section shows how this story ultimately points to Jesus and his Gospel.

3. See For Yourself

This is a short, Trinitarian prayer meant to propel you into Scripture to see the good news of Jesus for yourself.

Before jumping in, we’d ask you to prepare your heart.

Please consider starting with the passage from Psalms assigned for today. Use it like a prayer. Put the Psalmist’s words into your own words. Ask God to send his Holy Spirit to help you understand Psalms and see Jesus throughout it. Prayer is a critical part of engaging God’s Word.

We hope this journey transforms you. May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the beauty of Jesus in all of Scripture.

Psalm 119:137. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. 138. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. 139. My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. 140. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. 141. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. 142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. 143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights. 144.The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live. 145. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. 146. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. 147. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. 148. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. 149. Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment. 150. They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law. 151. Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth. 152. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. 153. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. 154. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. 155. Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. 156. Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. 157. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. 158. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. 159. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. 160. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

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This is the day we set apart to celebrate the birth of our dear Savior Jesus Christ. It is a wonderful miracle and gift from God above to come into the world He created to save mankind which He also created. Thank You Lord God for such a blessing as this! I love You. Happy birthday! Today’s verses are Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:30‭-‬35, John 14:16‭-‬17, and John 16:7. Have a very Merry Christmas and stay blessed.

What a miracle that the God of the universe chose to come to earth as a baby—such grandeur and humility all in one. It can be easy to question how this could be, and that’s exactly what Mary did when the angel Gabriel greeted her with the news that she would conceive the Son of God.

Gabriel responded in Luke 1:35 NIV,  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.”

Over 600 years before this miraculous exchange, the prophet Isaiah spoke the same news of the virgin birth, declaring that the son would be called Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.” With that, Isaiah told us the who and what of Jesus’ birth, but it was Gabriel who brought the news of how: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.”

As we consider the miracle that is “God with us” by the power of the Holy Spirit that came upon Mary, remember to rejoice that, through Jesus, the Holy Spirit is still available to us today. When Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure from the world, He told them that it was actually good that He would leave, that they would then receive the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. You see, on earth, Jesus was fully God and fully man—He could only be in one place at a time. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, each of us has access to Him all the time, wherever we are!

The Holy Spirit who conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb, making it possible for Him to be with us on earth, is the same Spirit that Jesus said would come in His place to be with us always. When God sent His Son through the power of the Holy Spirit, He created and confirmed a lasting presence for those who call Him Lord.

This Christmas, allow the power of the gifts God set in motion long ago to resonate in your heart. Whether you’re celebrating over gifts and dinner with loved ones or if you find yourself in a place of mourning, know that Immanuel has come for you. He didn’t just come to occupy a manger, a cross, or a tomb—He came to live in your heart through the everlasting power of His Holy Spirit. The gift of Christmas was always meant for you, and He is with you always!

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to earth and giving me such a gift to celebrate during the Christmas season. It’s humbling to know that You love me so much and that You want me to be with You always. Holy Spirit, help me to remember that no matter where I am, You are always with me. Happy birthday Lord Jesus Christ! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 7:14. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Luke 1:30. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35. And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

John 14:16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 16:7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

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Shepherds were of low esteem. It was hard & dangerous work. Sheep have a tendency to stray. Like sheep, we continue to go astray. That’s why Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. He laid down His sinless life for our sinridden lives. He is now living in us through His Holy Spirit. What an awesome God we serve! Today’s verses are Matthew 2:6, Matthew 18:12‭-‬14, Philippians 4:19, John 10:11, Luke 13:34, and John 10:27‭-‬30. Have a blessed day.

While the title of shepherd carried a specific meaning to the Jewish people of the time, it can be easy for us to skim over this reference and miss the magnitude of what God is saying about the nature of Jesus.

The traditional role of a shepherd was anything but glamorous. In fact, it was difficult, requiring long, dangerous hours and a complete commitment to the well-being of his flock. He led them to food and shelter, accounted for them each night, and sought out and returned any that strayed. He even protected them from thieves and predators at the expense of his own safety.

Just as sheep have no instinct for food, are prone to stray and get lost, and have trouble finding home, we too, are aimless without our shepherd. In Jesus, we find the provision, protection, and guidance we so desperately need.

Throughout the New Testament, we are reminded of Jesus’ role as our Good

Shepherd. In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to go after the one, giving us a beautiful picture of God’s heart for the lost and His commitment to bringing us home to safety.

In Philippians, we are reminded by the Apostle Paul that God will meet all our needs through Jesus, just as a shepherd cares for every need of his flock. Again, in Luke 13, Jesus speaks of His desperate desire to protect His children, if only we are willing to follow Him.

In John 10:27-30 NIV, Jesus said:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

What a Good Shepherd, indeed!

As we approach Christmas, remember that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and in Him we find provision, eternal life, and the promise that no one can snatch us from the safety of His care. Just as a shepherd can’t care for his flock from a distance, Jesus is always by our side. Let’s listen for His voice, having full confidence that He is close, and that He leads us to good pastures.

Prayer: Father, thank You for painting such a beautiful portrait of Jesus as my Good Shepherd, and for meeting all my needs through Him. Give me ears to hear Your voice clearly and the boldness to follow wherever You call me. I trust that You only have good things in store for me, and I will never be outside of Your care. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

Matthew 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Matthew 18:12‭ How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13. And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

John 10:27‭ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30. I and my Father are one.

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We serve an amazing God. He grants us perfect peace through His Son’s death and resurrection. We should not forget that He rose again. Otherwise, He would be just another man. Thank You Lord Jesus for the Christ child,! ❤️ Today’s verses are Isaiah 9;6, John 16:33, and Philippians 4:4-8. Have a blessed day.

What a gift we have in Jesus, who set aside the glory of heaven to come to earth in order to give us light, life, and healing—He truly is a King worth glorifying!

In Isaiah 9:6, God spoke through the prophet and foretold of the coming of Jesus—that among many of His roles, He would be known as the Prince of Peace, which translates “Lord of Peace.” But how do we move from seeing and believing this truth, to truly walking in and experiencing the peace only He can provide?

In the New Testament, Jesus told His disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) It’s no accident that when God announced Jesus’ coming, He called Him the Prince of Peace. God knew the struggles His disciples would face after His departure, and He knows the struggles we still face today.

We so often try to control every aspect of our lives, placing the weight of every situation on our shoulders, but He never intended for us to carry it alone. When we choose to prioritize our relationship with Jesus and bring our cares to Him, we’re freed to receive the supernatural peace that flows directly from Him. Even before the birth of Jesus, God provided us with the answer to any and every worry we may have through the Lordship of His Son—how incredible!

This season, let’s remember the freedom and peace we have available in Jesus. Though we are all guaranteed to face difficult circumstances, through His Lordship, we have access to a rest and a peace that surpasses anything we could achieve for ourselves.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the peace You provide me through Jesus. Help me to remember that and to rest in Your presence. No matter what I face, You are with me and You offer a peace that surpasses all understanding—thank You! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4:4‭ Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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Many people have had good fathers, and many people weren’t so fortunate. Either way, no one’s father was perfect. How awesome it is to know that our Heavenly Father is perfect and willing and able to love and help us always. Thank You Lord Jesus! Today’s verses are Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 7:9‭, 11; James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8, and Luke 15:11‭-32. Have a blessed day.

While we all have different experiences with our earthly fathers, we know that no relationship is perfect. Whether the name “father” brings fond memories or weighs heavily on our hearts, what a gift we have in Jesus, our perfect, Everlasting Father.

Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we are blessed with direct access to God. When we follow Jesus, we are adopted into God’s family, and, as His children, we enjoy all of the benefits of living under His care.

Jesus highlighted one of those benefits in the Parable of the Prodigal (or Lost) Son, showing the extent of God’s love for His children—how He never gives up on us, regardless of how far we wander! When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He also used the moment to remind them of how willing God is to provide abundantly for His children who are bold enough to ask:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11 NIV)

What an incredible blessing that, regardless of our experiences, we are invited into a relationship with an unchanging, good Father.

This season, be encouraged by this beautiful description of our Everlasting Father found in the book of James: “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1:17 NIV) In Him, we have hope, healing, and the promise of His care forever!

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for Your perfect example of what a Father should be. Soften my heart to receive the truth of knowing that the heart of this season is You, and Your heart in this season is for me. You are a good Father! In Jesus’ precious name I give thanks and pray. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Matthew 7:9‭ Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Luke 15:11‭ And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. 29. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30. But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31.And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

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We have a sovereign God who loves us so much that He chooses to use believers and give them the power and strength to share this gospel to the ends of the world. This is indeed humbling. He can use all believers in Jesus, no matter what we’ve done in our past. Thank You Jesus! Today’s verses are Isaiah 9:6, John 14:12, Acts 2:41, Acts 20:24, and Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21. Have a blessed day.

The words of the prophet Isaiah began to take shape in the form of an infant. Jesus, foretold as Mighty God, was coming to earth, and His power would change everything.

Jesus performed countless miracles—He gave sight to the blind, calmed storms with a word, and even brought the dead to life. He possesses power, strength, and wisdom beyond what we can imagine—He truly was, and is, sovereign in every detail.

But the miracle of Jesus’ power wasn’t limited to Him alone. To His disciples, Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 NIV)

What greater works could He possibly think us capable of?

Peter, one of Jesus’ closest followers, denied knowing Him three times, yet God still used him to preach a revival at Pentecost where 3,000 were saved. Paul was one of the worst persecutors of Christians, yet God redeemed him and used him to spread the gospel to the rest of the world.

While physical miracles were incredible and are certainly still possible with God, how amazing that He has called us to the work of opening people’s eyes to the eternal hope and peace we have in Jesus. Jesus charged His disciples with the important work of spreading the gospel, and this still applies to us today.

This Christmas, let’s consider the power we have through Jesus—that He gave us eternal life, and the same power that raised Him from the dead is alive in us. Be encouraged that God not only wants to move powerfully in your life, but He also wants to move powerfully through you to reach others. How humbling that the God of the universe chooses to use us to expand His Kingdom!

Prayer: Thank You, Father for loving us so much and choosing us to help build Your Kingdom. Your Word says that Your mighty power is at work within me. Help me, Lord, to always accomplish more than I can imagine through Your mighty name and power. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Ephesians 3:20‭ Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

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What a precious gift this child brings with His birth, life, death, and resurrection. A message of love and obedience to God for us to follow. Today’s verses are Philippians 2:1‭-‬11. Have a blessed day.

There’s no greater example of humility than our Savior. Let the reality of what we celebrate at Christmas really sink in:

Jesus laid down His royal position to pursue you and me.

He knew we would betray Him. He knew He would die a terrible death, and He came anyway. 

Jesus gave up all of His rights to obey God and serve us.

Truth time: It’s so easy to get caught up in our “rights.”

Rights can take many forms. We can get braggy about our good deeds, how long we’ve been a Christian, a hardship we’ve endured for the cause of Christ, the work we’ve done in His name, the sacrifices we’ve made, etc., etc., etc.

But no matter what our rights are or how impressive they may be, I can assure you:  Jesus’ rights were higher. 

Son of God. The picture of ultimate power and righteousness. Yet, He humbly set His rights aside. And not because He was seeking a promotion or some form of affirmation. 

He chose humility because He loved perfectly. Love was His motivation. 

Jesus loved God, so He obeyed Him. 

Jesus loved us, so He served us. 

So, quick question for today:

What “rights” are you clinging to?

Let them go, knowing that when you lay down your rights, you get to pick up His righteousness!

There are a few lines from “Oh Holy Night” that started really standing out to me as truth I want to understand and live out each year:

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 

‘til He appeared and the soul felt it’s


“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

Our broken world is desperately seeking the hope we have in Him, for their soul to feel it’s created worth. 

Praise the Lord that Jesus’ birth means Love came down in its truest form. 

What a gift it is to follow Jesus. Merry Christmas!

Dear Father God, Your love is overwhelming. Let us never lose the wonder that You came down to save us. You could have required us to do so much more to have access to Your Kingdom, yet because of our belief in Jesus, You freely give us eternity with You since we could never earn it on our own. Oh, what a Savior! We love You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

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Philippians 2:1‭ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2. Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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The Shepherds

When it came time to announce the birth of Jesus Christ God could have chosen the priests, a king, someone of great reputation; but He chose instead some outcasts of society. Is this you? It fits my description. When you get down on yourself, remember that God sees you and can use you for great purposes. Today’s verses are Luke 2:8‭-‬20. Have a blessed day.

Shepherds were the lowest of the low class. In fact, shepherds were deemed so untrustworthy by society, they could not even serve as a witness in court.

So if angels were going to appear to announce the birth of the Savior, why would God choose to send them to untrustworthy shepherds? Wouldn’t a group of priests seem logically like a better choice?

But purpose trumps logic. From the very beginning, Jesus came to “save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11 NASB). 

Seriously. It’s just so exciting to serve a God who is so intentional in the details.

First, the shepherds ran to Jesus. Then, they shared with others what they had experienced, and people paid attention. There must have been a drastic difference in these outcasts of society after they encountered Jesus. 

The Christian life is inconvenient, full of detours, and rarely simple. In fact, Dave Earley’s definition of ministry is my favorite. He says, “Ministry is getting dirty to make others clean.” 

In other words, genuine service is rooted in what we do for others, not what others can do for us.

So let’s ask ourselves this:

What have I done lately that serves another where I did not get anything in return? 

After all, it’s not really serving to serve only those who can serve us in return.

Just as the lives of those shepherds changed forever that night, we have the same opportunity with those whom God puts in our path to serve. 

As Christ-followers, we have the opportunity to be radically different in the work world. Let everyone else boast in their paychecks, fancy lifestyles, and crazy accomplishments. We get to show up every day and serve the one, true God. 

Let’s be more about what we give than what we get. 

Dear Father God, You came to seek and to save those who were lost, and to help us to do the same. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “business” way of life. But God, protect us from that. Give us Your eyes to see those who need You and Your heart to serve them. Use us as Your hands and feet. We love You Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 2:8‭ And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

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Such a valuable lesson today of worship with the right motive, to bring glory to God and not ourselves. Today’s verses are Matthew 2:1-12. Have a blessed day.

The wise men were just as their name describes: They were the intellectuals of their land. The wise men were the ones whom people of influence sought when they needed counsel. They were respected. They were leaders. They were successful.

And as they bowed down to worship Jesus, they laid what was valuable to them at His feet.

Let’s not miss this. Talk about a powerful lesson for us!

There is only one proper place for our gifts, talents, and treasures: at the feet of Jesus.

When our abilities are laid at His feet, they’re at His disposal to use however He sees fit. A posture of worship recognizes God as the One who filled us with the ability in the first place. He receives the praise. He receives the glory.

These wise men, though they’d had great worldly success, didn’t try to keep glory for themselves. They weren’t too prideful to bow before a holy God.

Success did not change them.

But that’s often not the story. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the whirlwind ride of earthly success. Before we know it, we’re patting ourselves on the back, rather than bowing at His feet.

How do we make sure our heart stays aligned with His? 

In the same way the wise men did: We prioritize living a life of worship. 

Worship is more than singing songs; it’s a way of life. 

Worship is a continuous, daily decision to live in a way that brings more glory to God than blessings for ourselves. 

Take an honest look at your life. Examine your actions, your thoughts, and your


Are you more consumed with living for the things of this life and what’s in it for you right now, or are you focused on living for the eternal?

They were wise men, after all. Let’s make the wise choice, too.

Dear Father God, help me to live a worshipful life. No matter what success I have or not, God, don’t let anything of this world stand between You and me. And God, if anything even begins to threaten our relationship, I ask right now that You would strip it away from me. Do whatever it takes to keep my heart aligned with Yours. I love You Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6. And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

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This is a deep problem and most of us can easily get caught up in it. The need for outward approval and power can make one do incredibly sinful things. Let us keep our eyes focused straight forward on Jesus Christ. Today’s verses are Matthew 2:1-12. Have a blessed day.

When we think about the particular Herod in the Christmas story (there are several Herods in the Bible!), words come to mind like: evil, deceptive, cruel and self-seeking.

Herod’s power was threatened by Jesus, and he was so consumed with his own authority, he decided to do whatever it took to eliminate the threat. Herod’s addiction to worldly power drove him to becoming a mass murderer.

Herod may be an extreme case, but the lesson for us remains: 

The desire to make a name for ourselves can lead us to sin we didn’t know we were capable of committing.

Our opportunities to bring God glory often require us to make decisions that go against the popular choice or the expected path. 

Ambition isn’t always bad, but if our ambition is for our own glory, we are likely to find ourselves entangled in a life of compromise and sin. 

Worldly power does not provide lasting peace or security. 

Herod spent his entire career in power looking over his shoulder, expecting to be overthrown, because he knew he wasn’t leading faithfully from the heart.

He couldn’t escape his own deceit or his own deception.

God is our only guarantee of lasting peace, contentment, and security. No other counterfeit solution will do.

We have to take our sin seriously.

Too often, we take our need for approval too lightly. We think because it’s a problem that a lot of people struggle with, it’s not that serious. 

But sin is sin, and sin is always serious because sin separates us from God. And when sin is left unaddressed, it can escalate quickly. 

We can’t dismiss our sin as something that is “just this once” or “not that big of a deal.” Because if we do, we’re likely to do it again… and each time, it usually progresses in the amount of damage done – to our own lives, to the lives of others, and to the cause of Christ.

Dear Father God, forgive me for the times I seek the approval of others. Every time, even if I gain the approval of others, it doesn’t satisfy me. You are the only One who can satisfy my soul. Keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Help me to take my sin seriously. Convict me and bring me back in line with You quickly. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Matthew 2:1‭ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6. And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

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The Innkeeper

Do we make Jesus a priority in our lives? Sure, we take some time to pray, read the Bible, and even go to church; but what do we do with the rest of the day? Let us make Jesus the priority of our lives by including Him in every decision, thanking Him for each blessing during the day, etc. Today’s verses are Luke 2:7 and Matthew 6:33. Have a blessed day.

While he somehow has made it into many versions of the Christmas story, there’s not an actual innkeeper recorded in the biblical account of Jesus’ birth. We can only assume Joseph tried to get lodging for them and couldn’t. 

Many of us have probably heard the question, “Have you made room for Jesus?” 

Let’s go one step further today:

What place does Jesus occupy in your heart? Does He have the priority spot, or have you given Him a “manger?”

Let’s be clear. I’m sure your nativity set is beautiful, but a manger is a feeding trough. Not exactly a bed to brag about.

Jesus deserves the priority place in our lives. He deserves the best room we have available. 

But so many times, we give our best to less-deserving things. We dismiss reading our Bibles to scroll Facebook for the 15th time that day. We choose Netflix over

prayer or comfort over serving. 

Do you want your life to explode with joy and purpose? That’s what happens when we give Jesus our best rather than our leftovers.

Matthew 6:33 NIV has been my life verse for the last decade: 

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” 

This world has it backwards, friends. They try to tell us to do “all the things” and fit God in with the rest. 

If you attempt “all the things,” insert Stress. Pressure. Chaos. Failure. 

If you seek God over it all, insert Peace. Blessing. Order. Approval. 

Let’s draw some boundaries for ourselves for what we seek. If you make a commitment to live for God alone and you daily revisit and live by that decision, you will do more of what matters and less of what doesn’t.  

Let’s learn from the “innkeeper” and make sure we set ourselves up to always give Jesus the priority spot He deserves in our lives.  

Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I often get caught up with things that aren’t as important as You. But God, I don’t want to live that way anymore. I don’t want to waste my life on an inferior purpose. Speak truth in my life. Reroute me when I get caught up in the trivial. Focus me back on You. I love You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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Caesar Augustus

Joseph and Mary had to travel to the land where it was prophesied that Jesus would be born. Can you imagine having to walk to your place of birth today just to be taxed? I’m grateful they did. After all, through each and every circumstance, God is actually in control. Thank God! Today’s verses are Luke 2:1‭-‬3. Have a blessed day.

Imagine if this happened today. How would you feel about having to interrupt your life to make a trip back to the city where you were born so you could register to pay taxes? 

As much as it would inconvenience us, they had even more complications back then. I’m sure many of them had crops and livestock to consider. There weren’t planes or trains. Travel meant walking…or at best, riding on an animal. 

No doubt, this wasn’t a very popular decree. But God was doing something bigger. 

Prophecy in Micah 5:2 indicated the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Because Joseph was from Bethlehem, he and Mary had to travel there for the census.

See the big picture? In God’s perfect timing, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy. 

God used a decree from a secular ruler to keep His promises to His people.

This isn’t a political statement but a biblical one: No one has more control than God does. 

Despite circumstances, we can trust God. Even if we can’t see the outcome, we can always trust His ways.

But let’s go just a bit beyond merely trusting God today. Hear the testimony of a recovering control freak:

Taking control of my life creates immense pressure I was never meant to bear. Giving God control of my life creates peace I can’t fully understand.

So, I have a habit that I started a few years ago. Each morning, when I get out of bed, I simply lift my hands up. 

I know it may sound silly, but it’s a physical demonstration of how I want the posture of my heart to be – total surrender to God. 

If this is a struggle for you, I’m going to encourage you to begin your day the same way. Just lift your hands up as a silent prayer to show God you’re letting go and releasing full control to Him.

Dear Father God, help us surrender everything we are to You. Help us not to fear the small worries of the world. Help us not to get wrapped up in circumstances. And even when we can’t see Your hand, help us to trust Your heart. We know that, no matter who is giving orders on earth, You are ultimately the One in control. We love You God. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

Luke 2:1‭. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

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Human logic, when it comes face to face with God’s plan, is no comparison. Yet we tend to forget this. Our faith is challenged. It happens to everyone. That’s why they call it faith. Today’s verses are Luke 1:8‭-‬23 and Luke 1:57‭-‬66. Have a blessed day.

Similar to what many of us will encounter at one time or another, Zechariah’s faith was challenged, and he chose to give more weight to his own reasoning than a promise from God.

We must remember:

God’s promises are always more credible than human logic.

We serve a God we can trust with the impossible. We have real limits, but He does not.

Be honest with yourself today: Are there any “facts” about your life that weigh heavier in your mind than what’s possible through God? 

Human logic is a tool, and it’s one that God gave us to use. But when human logic comes face to face with a promise from God, God’s Word must always stand superior over our own knowledge. 

God accomplishes His will however He pleases. 

The way God chooses to work often leaves us dumbfounded, because God’s ways are so much higher than ours. We can’t expect or predict how He will act.

But just because we can’t figure God out doesn’t mean we have to doubt Him. In fact, a God that we could completely figure out wouldn’t be God at all. 

Having a history of doubt doesn’t make you incapable of a faithful future.

When Zechariah doubted, the angel told him he would be unable to speak until the day John was born (Luke 1:20). When John was born, others were confused when Elizabeth said his name would be John because “they had no relatives by that name” (Luke 1:61). 

Zechariah took his chance to change his mind and act in faith. He scribbled on a tablet, “His name is John,” and he was able to speak again.

But not just any words. As soon as he was able to form words, he chose to praise God (Luke 1:63-64 NIV). 

Our God is a God of many chances. You can make the choice right now to begin taking God at His Word, praise Him, and get involved in His work in the world.

Dear Father God, stop me whenever I believe the lie that my way is better than Your way. Fill me with humility so I remember that You don’t owe me an explanation when You require my obedience. Reveal the blinders of my own pride. I know that You have no limits. Help my unbelief, Lord. Use me however You need to for Your glory. I love You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 1:8‭ And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9. According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 16. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 18. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 21. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

Luke 1:57‭ Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. 59. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. 61. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.

64. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. 65. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. 66. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

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What a blessed opportunity. Elizabeth chose the good way, she called Mary the mother of my Lord. She was not envious of Mary’s blessing. We should all try to find ways in our daily lives to find joy in others and encourage them. Don’t miss your blessing. Today’s verses are Luke 1:5‭-‬7, Luke 1:24‭-‬25, and Luke 1:39‭-‬45. Have a blessed day.

Can you imagine Elizabeth’s joy to share with her friends and family that, after all this time, she was finally going to be a mother? And how exciting that her son was the one God had chosen to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah!

But then her cousin has news that her Son will be even greater than Elizabeth’s. No doubt, the temptation for jealousy was there, and thankfully, she didn’t fall for it.

A few lessons from Elizabeth’s example:

Nothing good comes from allowing bitterness or envy to creep into our lives. 

Mary actually stayed with Elizabeth for three months of her pregnancy (Luke 1:56).

Just imagine what it would have been like to get to feel the kicks of your Savior inside Mary’s womb! Because Elizabeth chose the selfless response, she got that blessing.

Celebration is the only appropriate response to God at work. 

When we see God moving in someone else’s life, instead of wishing that for our own lives, let’s rejoice with them, as Elizabeth did with Mary. 

There is so much greater joy in choosing to praise God for what He’s doing in others instead of selfishly dwelling on what He’s not doing through you.

In the big picture, what’s important is that God’s work is being done, not who is chosen to do it. 

Our choice to celebrate others encourages those around us. 

Can you imagine what it must have done for Mary’s soul when Elizabeth greeted her as “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43)?

I can only imagine Mary’s inner dialogue as she traveled to her cousin, unsure of her future and doubting the events of the last few days. But when Elizabeth greeted her as “the mother of her Lord,” all of those doubts transformed into sweet confirmation from God through from her wise relative.

Encouragement is never wasted words. Let’s look for opportunities for God to use us to affirm the work He is doing in the lives of others. 

Dear Father God, I confess that comparison is all too easy. I could blame social media and technology, but God, I know that my heart is the problem. Help me find joy in every way I see You at work, whether it involves me or not. I don’t want to miss the blessing of simply seeing You at work. I love You Lord Jesus. In Your precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 1:5‭ There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

Luke 1:24‭ And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25. Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

Luke 1:39‭ And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42. And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44. For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

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Joseph chose to believe God and obey Him. Sometimes that’s very difficult. Imagine the talk around town. I’m very grateful for Joseph who stayed when it would have been easier to leave. Today’s verses are Matthew 1:18‭-‬25. Have a blessed day.

Picture how others must have spoken to Joseph when the news of Mary’s pregnancy began to spread:

“She’s lying to you! She slept with someone else, and you’re falling for it.”

“Leave her, and save your own reputation. You can take another wife.”

Thankfully, Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord who visited Him. His faith was strong enough to seek the approval of God alone. 

But let’s go even deeper:

Joseph signed up for a background role for the rest of his life. When we think about the parents of Jesus, most would acknowledge Mary as His mother and that He is God’s Son. Joseph lifts out of the story quickly.

But Joseph worked to provide for Jesus’ needs as a boy. We even see that when Jesus went missing when he was a child, Joseph was worried and frantic trying to find him (Luke 2:48). 

Fulfilling God’s call on our lives should never be about getting credit for what we do, but simply about being obedient to God. If the world never knows of our service, God sees it all and knows it all, and that’s enough.

Really think about this for a few moments today:

Have you ever given up on what God has called you to do because no one seems to care or notice? 

Do you long for the credit and acknowledgement of others? 

Because there is something so much better: 

“…Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:4 NIV

Let’s be honest: It’s easier to do what’s right when recognition follows. 

This time of year, there are plenty of opportunities to do “good deeds” for others. But before we pat ourselves on the back for our generosity and sacrifice, let’s make sure we go deeper and check our motivation by asking ourselves the simple question: 

Would I still do this if God were the only one who knew about it? 

God’s rewards trump human applause every single time. Stay the course. God’s reward for humble obedience is guaranteed.

Dear Father God, forgive me when I try to take the credit, or when I think I’m owed affirmation. I know the world’s applause will never satisfy, and I know Your rewards never end. Help me fight the temptation for worldly recognition, and keep my eyes on You alone as my prize. I love You Lord! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Matthew 1:18‭ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

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We don’t have to wish we could have been there, because He is here with us each and every day. Would we live differently had we had been there? If so, what is stopping us from serving Him today? Today’s verses are Luke 24:13‭-‬35. Have a blessed day.

Cleopas and his friend decided to go home to Emmaus. They had hoped Jesus would usher in the kingdom of God, but when he was crucified, their hopes died with him. What else was there to do but to go home and start over?

As they walked along the road, a stranger approached and asked what they were talking about and why they looked so sad. They stopped dead in their dusty tracks. Really? Are you the only stranger in all of Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have happened here?

The stranger asked, “What things?”

The two men answered, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth.” As they retold the story, their disappointment was evident. They were sure he was the Messiah, but then he was delivered to the Romans and they condemned and crucified him as if he were a criminal.

There was no category in their minds for a suffering and dying Savior and because of that, they had no expectation for a resurrection. They had read the Scriptures one particular way, with one particular outcome in mind their whole lives. When it didn’t work out the way they thought it would, they were devastated.

The stranger answered, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe!” Not only were the friends restrained from seeing who this stranger was, but they also couldn’t see what the law and prophets had said about him from the very beginning. It had been right in front of them all along, they just didn’t have eyes to see it…yet.

Then in what must’ve been the most amazing Bible lesson ever given, the stranger began with Moses and expounded to them all the Scriptures which spoke about the Messiah. He had to die and he had to rise again to fulfill all the law and prophets.

By now the sun was setting, and they had reached their destination in Emmaus. They begged him to stay for dinner. As they sat around the table, the stranger blessed the food, tore apart the bread, and gave them each a piece.

As they reached for the bread, they immediately recognized him. It was Jesus! Then he vanished from their sight.

When trials come and things happen that don’t align with our expectations, we can lose sight of our faith. The two foolish friends walked to Emmaus in defeat, because they interpreted what had happened through their physical eyes. But when Jesus opened their spiritual eyes, they were able to see him for who he really was.

When our hearts are broken and the road before us seems dark, we must more diligently seek to see him in his Word. It’s then that we discover that he’s been walking beside us all along, we just needed eyes to see him.

Luke 24:13‭ And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19. And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30. And it came to pass, as he sat at the table with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

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It only took one word for Mary to understand and believe that Jesus Christ is alive and calling us to Him. That word was her name. He is now calling you. Will you answer His call? Today’s verses are Mark 16:6‭-‬7 and Luke 24:1‭-‬12. Have a blessed day.

Sometimes the economy of words the Bible uses to describe miraculous events is staggering. When volumes could be written about these events, we read short phrases that pack a powerful punch like…

“Let there be light.”

“Peace, be still.“

“Lazarus, come out!”


Sometimes less is more.

On one particular Sunday, one woman heard one word and it changed her life forever.

Mary Magdalene and a few other women rose before light to anoint the body of Jesus at the tomb. They had been grieving all weekend. Friday they witnessed their beloved leader and teacher, Jesus, die on a criminal’s cross.

Now the Sabbath was over and they began to do what women always do; they showed up ready to serve. On their way, they realized they had no way of getting to Jesus because no one was able to roll away the stone. But when they got there, they found the stone had been rolled away and an angel was sitting where Jesus once laid. The angel said,

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you” (Mark 16:6-7).

Instead of rejoicing at this good news, the women couldn’t yet comprehend it. The others ran away in fear, but Mary stayed behind and sobbed from grief, exhaustion, and confusion.

Jesus appeared and stood behind her. She didn’t recognize him and thought he was the gardener.

He said to her, “Woman. Why are you weeping?”

“Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus interrupted her grief, with one word.


That was all it took. He said her name with such a familiar intonation that she immediately knew it was him. With her face in her hands she suddenly stopped crying and stood upright, realizing instantly it was Jesus! He was alive and standing right in front of her! Her only response was to run into his arms and never let him go.

The empty tomb and the risen Christ changed absolutely everything for Mary at that moment. She heard her name, she believed, and she worshipped.

Today Jesus is saying your name, too. He invites you to also see him as the risen Savior and to respond like Mary did — in worship. Jesus is real, he’s alive, and he changes everything.

Mark 16:6‭ And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Luke 24:1‭ Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5. and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6. He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7. saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8. And they remembered his words, 9. and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. 11. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

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Is it too costly to follow Jesus Christ? Do we remain silent in the land of the free when we should have spoken up to testify about what Christ has done in our lives? Are we afraid of losing social standing when He actually gave His life to redeem us? Makes one think. Today’s verses are John 19:38, John 18:14, 1 Corinthians 15:12‭-‬19, and Luke 23:50‭-‬54. Have a blessed day.

Out of fear, Joseph had been following Jesus from a distance. His position on the Sanhedrin made it complicated for him to get too close. If his views on who Jesus was were made known, he’d be ridiculed, at best, or dismissed, at worst. Joseph was looking for the kingdom of God, and he was pretty sure he’d found it in Jesus of Nazareth.

He also knew the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin saw Jesus as a threat to their power. They watched Jesus like a hawk looking for any opportunity to catch him in his words or see him break one of their many rules. Every time they spoke of him, their agenda became more evident. Caiaphas, the high priest, admitted it would be “expedient” that Jesus should die for the people. 

Being a member of the Sanhedrin had once been Joseph’s greatest honor, but now it was his greatest horror. Fear kept him silent, but when they voted to get rid of Jesus, he alone did not consent. But his resistance was too little too late. 

The Sanhedrin, who were the Supreme Court of the land, were so desperate to get rid of Jesus they proceeded to mock the very system they had pledged their lives to defend. But in the middle of so much corruption and evil, Joseph risked his position and livelihood to give Jesus a proper burial. He took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Joseph disappeared from the biblical narrative after he rolled the stone across the entrance to his tomb sealing Jesus’ body inside. We don’t know what happened to him after his courageous stand, but that’s probably the way he would’ve wanted it. He wasn’t interested in fanfare. He just wanted to honor Jesus, even when everyone else ran away.   

If your devotion to Christ feels costly, remember Joseph of Arimathea. For whatever costs he incurred to his career, social standing, or bank account to honor Jesus, God amply repaid him. This once-distant admirer’s devotion is forever memorialized, and his donation was only temporary, which is the way God’s economy works. Whatever our faithfulness costs in this life God will repay, if not now, in the life to come. On this side of the cross, we see in full what Joseph only knew in part. Since Christ has been raised and Joseph’s tomb is empty, we too can be saved and counted among the faithful.

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

John 18:14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

1 Corinthians 15:12‭ Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13. But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Luke 23:50‭ And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 51. (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 52. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 53. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

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This is a hard message but true. We are all responsible for the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is vile. He has been faithful to His Father and to us by the sacrifice of His life. He didn’t have to die, because there was no sin in Him. He did it because He loves each one of us so much as to redeem us. Powerful message. Do you love Him enough to decide to follow Him? Today’s verses are 2 Corinthians 5:21, Luke 23:18-25, and Matthew 27:20‭-‬23. Have a blessed day.

The insurrectionists sat in their cells as they awaited their fate. They, who had once taken pleasure in creating chaos and fear, were now the ones who trembled for what was to come. Instinctively, they kept rubbing their hands and feet before the Roman spikes would be driven through them.

Barabbas heard the jailer unlock the cells of his two murderous friends. He heard the hardened men resist, cry, and curse as they were led out to the Praetorium for sentencing. The key turned in his lock now, and the soldiers lunged into the cell and grabbed him by his chains.

On the balcony, Barabbas saw Pilate and another prisoner they called Jesus, beaten and bloodied, standing across from him.

Barabbas wasn’t a smart man, but he could read people. There was something unnerving about that guy, Jesus. The way he stood, the way he looked at Pilate and the crowd through his nearly swollen-shut eye. Something about it all was very off.

Normally the prisoners pleaded for their lives, but Jesus just stood there seemingly resolved to his death sentence.

Pilate, however, was agitated and nervous. He called out to the crowd, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews” (John 18:38b-39)?

But to Barabbas’ surprise, even those religious guys with the long robes started yelling for Pilate to release him. “Give us Barabbas!” they shouted. Then their chanting became even louder and more frantic, “Crucify Jesus! Crucify him!”

Pilate knew Jesus had done nothing Pilate knew Jesus had done nothing deserving of death, and six times he declared there was no fault in him. In his effort to wash his hands of Jesus, he asked the most eternally significant question of all time:

“Then what shall I do with Jesus?”

The world chose to set a murdering rebel named Barabbas free and crucify the King of glory.

Three crosses stood on that lonely hill called Calvary. The center spot belonged to Barabbas where he should’ve hung between his two criminal friends. But Jesus willingly took his place and bore the wrath he deserved. He did that for Barabbas, and he did that for you and me.

So Pilate’s question still remains. What are you going to do with Jesus?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Luke 23:18. And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: 19. (who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) 20. Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 21. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. 22. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. 23. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. 24. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. 25. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Matthew 27:20‭ But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

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Can you imagine being Peter when the cock crowed three times and Jesus’ eyes met his? Thank God Jesus had told him He would be praying for him. Do you remember the lowest point in your life? Be reassured in the knowledge that Jesus is praying for you too. Today’s verses are Luke 22:31‭-‬33, Luke 22:60‭-‬61, and 1 Peter 5:8. Have a blessed day.

The fact that God used an imperfect screw-up like Simon Peter should give us all hope. He’s a study of mountain top successes and lowest of low failures.

Jesus was with his disciples in the upper room sharing the Passover meal, and his heart was heavy. He knew Judas was about to betray him, and his arrest and crucifixion were imminent. The weight of the world was quite literally on his shoulders. It was then the disciples started to argue.

It wasn’t an argument about theology or who got to sit next to Jesus. Instead, the men who had the greatest privilege of walking with the greatest person were arguing about who among them was the greatest.

Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon…Satan’s been demanding to have you. He wants to crush you and your faith. But don’t worry, I’ve prayed for you, that your faith will not fail, and when you return to me, I want you to strengthen your brothers.”

Return to me? Peter’s face must’ve fallen. How could Jesus say such a thing? Hadn’t he proved his love and devotion? He had left everything to follow Jesus. He adamantly responded, “I’ll never leave you, Lord! I’ll even go to prison and die for you.”

But sadly, after he made these claims, three times Peter denied he knew Jesus. Then as he was still speaking, a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered the signal. Peter turned and made eye contact with Jesus. Can you imagine the look he saw on Jesus’ face? What sorrow! Peter was undone and he went out and wept bitterly.

This was the lowest point in Peter’s whole life. He was so heartbroken over what he had done that if Jesus had not prayed for his faith to endure and for his future usefulness for the kingdom, it might’ve crushed his faith entirely. But did you notice that Satan had to ask permission to afflict Peter? He may be a lion prowling about to see who he may devour, but he’s a lion on a leash.

This should be a great comfort for believers. If you belong to Jesus, you’ll undoubtedly get tossed and scuffed up in the jagged holes of Satan’s sieve, but you won’t fall through. When everything else falls away, you’ll find a Savior who prays for you and holds you fast. That brings us unshakeable faith and unshiftable hope.

Luke 22:31‭ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

Luke 22:60‭ And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

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The new reading plan is titled “Faithful and Vile”, and it is for 6 days. In today’s familiar verses, have you ever considered the times we ourselves gave cause for Jesus to remain on that cross? Each time we knowingly commit a sin, is this not vile? Thank You Jesus for Your great sacrifice and love towards me. I’m so sorry for all the sins I’ve committed. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen. Today’s verses are Romans 5:10, Hebrews 4:15, Luke 22:48, and Psalm 55:12‭-‬14. Have a blessed day.

The glow from the torches and lanterns snaked along the road from Antonia’s Fortress toward the Garden of Gethsemane. The speckled line of light grew brighter and the marching footsteps grew louder as they drew closer to Jesus and his disciples.

Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, knew the place Jesus liked to go to pray. Under the cover of darkness, he led a small army into the grove of olive trees to arrest Jesus.

They came with torches to apprehend the Light of the World with clubs and swords to carry away the Prince of Peace. Judas’ betrayal was thick with irony and revealed how little he understood who Jesus was. He had been looking for the right moment to hand Jesus over to the Sanhedrin, and now, being possessed by Satan, his time had come.

Judas was only following Jesus for what was in it for him. He wanted money, fame, and power. When Judas realized Jesus’ way of ushering in the kingdom was going to be through men’s hearts and not a government overthrow, he was furious. Since he had wasted three years of his life with Jesus, he might as well get something out of it, even if it was only a few bucks.

Judas’ betrayal reminds us that we can be in close proximity to Jesus and miss him altogether. We can even act as one of his disciples and fool other people, but we can never fool God. Jesus knew Judas would betray him and told him to do it quickly (John 13:27). Yet, even under the gloom of betrayal of the perfect Son of God, there is a beam of light and hope for you and me.

Greg Morse said, “Jesus absorbed the traitor’s heel so that he could heal traitors.” By his grace, he heals all traitors who come to him in repentance at the foot of the cross. It’s there that the wretched and vile place their trust in Jesus, and by his grace, become transformed into the faithful.

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Luke 22:48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Psalm 55:12‭ For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13. But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. 14. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

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God knows us. That is why over 2000 verses in the Bible discuss this very topic! In America, we are very blessed. With blessings sometimes however, comes stumbling blocks. To have a proper attitude towards money, just remember that every good gift comes from God! Today’s verses are Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 13:5, and James 1:17. Have a blessed day.

Did you know that the Bible talks about money, possessions, and accumulating wealth in over 2,000 verses? In fact, 11 of the 39 parables Jesus taught are about that very subject. It’s probably safe to say that God knew that there would be a temptation and tendency to handle money poorly. 

Sadly, we do love and adore money more than we should. We often wish we had more. And we think that a possession or amount of money will bring lasting gratitude, when in reality, it’s just a temporary fix that will soon need to be satisfied once again.

James 1:17 (NIV) tells us that our God is the giver of “every good and perfect gift,” and if we’ll apply this, our mindset will change when it comes to our finances. Let’s consider these tips when it comes to growing our gratitude in this area:

  • Where you live. Whether our home is big or small, most of us have a place to live. Thank God for the gift of a place to live regardless of size or style.
  • What you possess. Many of us have clothes that we don’t wear, and have the ability to stream music or read books on a device that allows us to get any information we can find. But we still want what we don’t have. Take some time to reset your mind and thank God for the provision to have what you own.
  • At your fingertips. If you have the ability to get clean water at the turn of a faucet or buy food from a grocery store, then you are more blessed than most in the world. Thank God for the gift of these conveniences. 

No matter how much money we make, it’s wise to see our income as a gift. Chances are, there are more people in the world who might think the lives we live are amazing. Keeping our lives free from the love of money will help us be more satisfied. We do this by using money, not loving it. 

At the root of our desire to gain more money or possessions is a misunderstanding of what we truly need. Philippians 4:19 NIV says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” God cares too much about us to give us everything we want, but loves us immensely and will meet our needs.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

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Whatever you prayerfully decide to do in life, thank God for the ability to do it. Even if it’s not what you’ve planned, be grateful to have have a job. Some people don’t have one. Try a different attitude if you really don’t like your job. Do all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Today’s verses are Genesis 2:15 and Colossians 3:17. Have a blessed day.

When God created Adam, He gave him a job. Genesis 2:15 (NIV) tells us that God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to “work it and take care of it.” So, work has been around since the beginning of time! 

All of us work at something. Before we can earn a monetary wage, we may work at school or do chores at our house. As we age, we land that first job and find a newfound self-respect as we earn our first paycheck. Into adulthood, we find a role or career that suits us, even if it’s providing full-time care for our families at home. 

No matter what each of our “careers” look like, we have the opportunity to live a life of gratitude for how God has brought us to where we are. Here are some ways to be grateful for the work God has given us to do:

  • Change your lens. Even if you’re unhappy in your current job, be thankful for the ability to be employed (or stay at home with your family), and take time to pray for those who are struggling with unemployment.. 
  • You earn something.  Regardless of your income level, you can thank God for His provision in your life. You can be grateful for what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t.  
  • List what you love. Every job comes with things you love. It could be actual health or retirement benefits, or it could be a close friend you’ve made while working there. Focusing on the good will strengthen your heart toward gratefulness.

As we think about our work, we may have jobs that can bring more stress than we’d like. It’s also true that some of us may be without work at this time. Regardless, we can implement Colossians 3:17 NIV as a guide in our work life, which says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” When we adjust our outlook and see the blessing in having a job or a role as a full-time caregiver, our enjoyment of our work life will increase drastically.  

Whether you’re struggling to locate work or content where you are, always keep in mind that you’re working for God first. Do every task, assignment, and duty in His name, and thank Him regularly for the ability to do so.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

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In the four phases of health (physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental), God is in control. Thank You Jesus! While some times are harder than others, we can do our part to eat healthier, stay away from harmful habits, etc. Today’s verses are Psalm 118:24, 139:1-16, and 1 Corinthians 6:19‭-‬20. Have a blessed day.

In Psalm 139, we see a beautiful blueprint of how intimately God knows each of us. He “created our inmost beings,” “knit us together in our mother’s womb,” and “saw our unformed body.” He calls us “fearfully and wonderfully made.” How amazing is our God! 

In this fallen world in which we live, there will be struggles each of us face. Sometimes a health challenge is thrust upon us, while other times, we bring things upon ourselves.  

Regardless of where we are in these areas of our health, when we wake up each day, we have reason to thank God for our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. Let’s consider these habits as we walk in gratitude for our health:

  • Honor your body. Our bodies are God’s temple; meaning, His Spirit dwells inside of us. If we’re able to exercise and eat healthy food, let’s show our gratitude to God for having the ability to be active and choose the right foods for our bodies. 
  • Strengthen your mind. Sadly, mental illness is a real threat and often keeps people imprisoned. Most of us know someone struggling with some version of it and that can be hard to navigate. If we don’t struggle with this, let’s be grateful to God for the ability to help others through their difficult season.
  • Grow spiritually. Reading the Bible, attending church, and gathering with fellow followers of Jesus is forbidden in certain parts of the world, yet many people risk their lives to do it anyway. If you have the freedom to pursue Jesus and share Him with those around you, be thankful for this amazing gift!

In this life, we’ll experience many health issues. Some seasons will be harder than others. No matter what you’re facing in the spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical health realm, start each day with Psalm 118:24 ESV, which says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” 

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 139:1‭ O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10. Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

1 Corinthians 6:19‭ What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

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All of us have different roles in life: at work, at home, at school, etc. It’s easy to complain. Let us try to compliment. Below are some tips. Today’s verses are Romans 12:9‭-‬18 and Galatians 6:9. Have a blessed day.

Relating to people is the heartbeat of our lives. We’ll rarely go a day without having interactions with other people in our many roles. We’re daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and more. As we think about the different roles we have, let’s consider our gratitude level. Are we thankful for the people God has put in our lives? Do we express our gratefulness to (and for) them?

Maybe you’re in a marriage that’s become stale. It could be that there’s tension with a longtime friend. Or perhaps, you feel there’s too much stress between you and your child. Regardless if there’s strain or not, we have clear instructions from Romans 12 about how to treat others: be devoted to each other, honor each other, practice hospitality, and live at peace with each other, to name a few. As we learn how to be grateful for the people in our lives, here are some extra tips to help us: 

  • Replace complaints with compliments. This can be a challenge, can’t it? Most of us are prone to see the things that frustrate us instead of the things that bless us. Let’s choose to see the good! 
  • Serve someone. There’s someone in your life who’s load is heavier than yours. Show your gratitude by doing something that would lighten their burden.
  • Write it down. Write down something you’re grateful for about the people in your life. Write it on a note and leave it for them to find, or have an ongoing list and give it to them when you reach 50 or 100 things. Imagine the look on their faces!
  • Just say “thanks.” When we have eyes to see the gifts and blessings in our lives, we’ll see there’s much to be thankful for. So, daily thank your spouse, your child, your closest friend, or someone else for one thing.

It’s been said that we are like the people we spend the most time with. Who we allow in our personal inner circles affects our gratitude quotient. Be mindful of who you spend time with. One of the more challenging things in our relationships is that we may be willing to change, but other people may not. Sometimes that means relational adjustments are necessary. 

No matter who’s in our lives, we can’t neglect our role in growing our gratitude. As Galatians 6:9 NIV says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” As we express our thankfulness for—and to—the people in our lives, we’ll be overwhelmed by how it changes us, and in the process, we’ll get to watch it impact them. 

Romans 12:9‭ Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

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The new reading plan is How To Be Grateful For Your Life. It ta 5 day plan. I love gratitude for many reasons. I am most grateful for Jesus Christ. Today’s verses are Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, and Hebrews 11:1. Have a blessed day.

The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their trouble. — William Penn

As we read God’s Word, we can see the theme of being thankful. There are hundreds of verses telling us to give thanks or offer praise to God. Outside of the Bible, you’ll find lots of articles and research stating the benefits that come with being a grateful person. People who are thankful are known to be depressed less, get better grades in school, sleep better, stay healthy, have deeper friendships, and have a brighter outlook on life. Basically, gratitude is good for you! 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Living as grateful people is God’s will for our lives. God knew before the beginning of time how positively gratitude would affect us—long before an article or book was written about the topic. So, whether your life is moving along smoothly or it feels like you’re walking in quicksand, consider adding these daily habits to your life: 

  • Create new pathways. Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist and author, said, “As you think, you change the structure of your brain.” This isn’t easy. But, we have a choice in what we think about, so let’s allow thoughts of gratefulness to fill our minds.
  • Choose five things. Make a daily habit to say or write five things you’re thankful for. You can do it any time of the day—morning or night!
  • Set a gratitude alarm. Choose different times in the day. When the alarm goes off, ask God to bring to mind the blessings and gifts in your life and thank Him for them. 
  • Tell someone. Every day, talk to someone about what you’re thankful for. Maybe it’s their friendship, the sunrise, a powerful moment with God, or an unexpected blessing you received. Saying it makes it more real.

It’s vital that we make our gratitude habitual so that when life’s storms come upon us, we know how to navigate the rough waters. And part of this is trusting God and even choosing to be grateful when we don’t understand the world around us. 

As we build this gratitude muscle, it won’t be something we have to think about—it’ll become as natural as breathing.

Proverbs 3:5‭ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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This video is 4:44 minutes. It is also the last in this series. My prayer is for us to have grown deeper in love with the knowledge of God. Today’s verses are Genesis 15:1‭-‬6, 1 Kings 3:6, and Romans 15:8. Have a blessed day.

The word emet is a common word used to describe God in the Hebrew Bible. It can be translated as “faithfulness” or “truth.” So when the authors say that God is “full of emet,” they are saying that he is trustworthy—we can trust him. But trust isn’t always an easy thing.

For example, God promised the Israelites that he would give them a king of peace that would rule forever and ever. But Israel’s kingdom collapsed, and they found themselves without a home or a king. They wondered if God was truly faithful to his promises and cried out to him, “Where is your loyal love that you swore to David in your emet?” (Psalm 89:49). Ultimately, God answered their cries in the person of Jesus—the embodiment of God’s trustworthy character. Jesus is the faithful king whose Kingdom will endure forever, and he invites all people to trust in him.

When it’s hard to trust God because our circumstances seem to contradict the promises he has made, we can remember the history of God’s trustworthy character. God has always been faithful in the past, and he will remain true into the future. So we can join the long line of people who have put their trust in God and discovered God’s enduring faithfulness!


1. How do the following passages portray God’s faithfulness?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s faithful character?

Genesis 15:1‭ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3. And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 4. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 5. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

1 Kings 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

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Slow To Anger

I am very grateful for God’s patience. When you look around and see what you think is others getting away with sin, they are not. (Please stop comparing yourselves to others and compare yourselves to Jesus Christ!) Today’s verses are Exodus 15:1‭-‬11, Romans 1:18‭-‬25, and 2 Peter 2:3‭-‬9. Have a blessed day.

What does it mean for God to be slow to anger? Let’s take a look at a strange Hebrew idiom together while we explore this characteristic of God.

The Hebrew phrase for “slow to anger” literally means “long of nose.” It’s a Hebrew turn of phrase that figuratively describes what happens when someone gets angry. In Hebrew, if someone wanted to say that a person is short tempered, they would say they are “short of nose” or “hot nosed.” So to say that God is “long of nose” is to say that he is patient. It takes him a long time to express his anger. He gives people plenty of time to respond to his gracious warnings.

But that doesn’t mean he never gets angry. If people do not respond to his call for justice, he will express his anger and give people over to the consequences of their own actions. So yes—he does get angry, just like we would if we saw someone bullying a young child. But unlike us, he’s slow to express his anger because he wants everyone to have a chance to turn from their wrongdoing.

God is not content to let people sit in their own self-destruction. In the Bible, God is on a mission to rescue his people. This is why Jesus went to Jerusalem to die a criminal’s death that he did not deserve. He was demonstrating his patient love by taking the consequences of his people upon himself. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see God’s anger and his love working together to provide forgiveness and life for humanity. This is what it means to say that God is slow to anger, and it’s good news for all of us.


1. How do the following passages portray God’s patience?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s patient character?

Exodus 15:1‭ Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11. Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Romans 1:18‭ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

2 Peter 2:3‭ And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5. And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6. And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7. And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

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This video is 4:39. God is so good to us. He blessed when we don’t deserve it. Praise ye the Lord! Today’s verses are Isaiah 30:18‭-‬19, John 1:11‭-‬14, Ephesians 2:8‭-‬10, and James 4:6. Have a blessed day.


What does it mean for God to be gracious? Let’s take a look at the Hebrew word for grace, khen. 

One meaning of khen is “delightful or favorable.” Things or people that naturally attract delight or favor (like jewelry or kindness) can be said to have khen, but something unattractive or someone undeserving can also receive khen. For example, when someone is in debt to another and they ask for khen, they are asking for favor in spite of what they deserve. 

Extraordinary acts of khen like these require a generous spirit. And no one does this better than God himself. He shows extreme khen over and over again. In fact, this characteristic of God is so reliable that over forty times in the book of Psalms, people cry out for God’s khen when they are sick, in danger, or in exile. And biblical prophets, like Isaiah, also talk about God’s khen as they declare that God will one day show his grace by delivering all creation from death and ruin. 

When we turn to the authors of the New Testament, they describe God’s khen with

When we turn to the authors of the New Testament, they describe God’s khen with the Greek word kharis, which means “gracious gift.” When we are introduced to Jesus in the John’s Gospel, we are told that Jesus is God’s glorious kharis become human. God knew that humanity’s destructive choices would continue to spiral into chaos, so Jesus died and rose again to give humans delight and favor instead of death and judgment. And just like any gift, all one has to do is receive it. When people humbly own their failures and ask God for grace, his response is consistent, generous, and gracious.


1. How do the following passages portray God’s grace?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s gracious character?

Isaiah 30:18‭. And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. 19. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.

John 1:11‭ He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Ephesians 2:8‭ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

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We could surely use a lot more of this in the world today. Let’s start with ourselves. Video is 5 minutes. Today’s verses are Isaiah 49:13‭-‬16, Matthew 9:35‭-‬36, and Ephesians 4:32. Have a blessed day.

What does it mean for God to be compassionate? Let’s take a look at the Hebrew word for compassion, rakhum.

Interestingly, this word is related to the Hebrew word for womb, rehkem. This correlation helps us understand that compassion is a powerful way to describe the strong emotional bond between a parent and their child. And it’s the first word God uses to describe himself in Exodus 34:6-7.

God is portrayed as a compassionate parent all throughout Scripture. And when we come to the story of Jesus, we see him embody the compassion of God. Jesus compared his feelings for people to that of a mother hen’s care for her young. And he suffered and labored so that many could live through him. Jesus demonstrates what God’s compassion looks like, and his followers are called to display that same compassion for one another.


1. How do the following passages portray God’s compassion?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s compassionate character?

Isaiah 49:13‭ Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. 14. But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 15. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

Matthew 9:35‭ And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 37. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Ephesians 4:32. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

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The Character of God

In this six day reading plan, we are going to discover some of the attributes of God. This first video is six minutes. Today’s verses are Exodus 34:6-7. Have a blessed day.

Exodus 34:6-7 is the first description of God’s attributes found in Scripture, and it’s the most referenced passage in the entire Bible. Here, we learn that all of God’s actions are an expression of his compassion, grace, patience, loyal love, and faithfulness. This passage has been carefully designed to help us see the meaning and importance of each trait in relation to the others and understand how these five traits relate to God’s justice.

Sometimes, God brings severe consequences in response to human evil. How does God’s compassion and grace balance with his anger at destructive human behaviors?

Exodus 34:6-7 tells us that God’s core character traits are rooted in generous mercy and loyal love, which means that God’s anger is not a primary attribute. It’s a divine reaction to selfish and destructive human decisions, and it’s rooted in God’s love. Just like you would get angry if you saw a beautiful work of art being vandalized, so God’s anger is a response to evil done to or by his human image-bearers.

God’s anger and judgment are really important themes in the Bible, but they’re not the whole story. God’s core character is one of generous love that created the world, and he plans to rescue and restore his creation from human evil. Exodus 34:6-7 invites us into a lifetime of pondering the depths and mysteries of the character of God.

Let’s start by understanding the significance of the characteristics listed in Exodus 34:6: compassion, grace, slow to anger, loyal love, and faithfulness. Join us for the next five days of this reading plan to take a closer look at each attribute of God.


1. What do you think it would be like to live in a world that had compassion but no consequences for wrongdoing?

2. What do you think it would be like to live in a world that had consequences for wrongdoing but no compassion?

3. Why is it good to have both compassion and justice?

Exodus 34:6‭ And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

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God’s Word transforms the world and my life. How amazing is our God that He cares and thinks about even me! Today’s verses are Matthew 24:35, Matthew 28:18‭-‬20, John 1:1, and Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21. Have a blessed day.

Imagine everything is dark and without form until God breathes out the words, “Let there be light.” In an instant, everything changes. The light pierces the darkness, and what was once invisible is now seen clearly. One word from God changed everything … but it didn’t stop there.

The same God who created the universe with one breath is continuing to breathe new life into the world through the power of His Word. God’s Word continues to pierce the darkness. God’s Word transforms lives and renews hurting hearts. God’s Word is alive and active because He is alive and active. And we have constant access to His Word.

The more we study the Bible, the more we discover that God wants everyone in the world to experience a personal, active, restorative relationship with Him.

No matter what trials or hardships we face, God’s Word will still continue to go out and pierce the darkness. His words will continue to transform people like Ghana, Sumu, the Populucan people, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, and William Tyndale. And His words have the power to change you.

So pause and think about your story. How has God’s Word transformed you? And in what ways might God be bringing Scripture alive in your life right now?

Celebrate what God has done in your life so far, and reflect on what He’s doing in the world around you.

Going forward, choose to take part in the story God is telling. It’s a story that began when He spoke the world into being, and will continue until the day Jesus returns—a story that transcends history and is continually transforming the world.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Matthew 28:18‭ And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Ephesians 3:20‭ Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

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Imagine the Bible were not translated into English. How would we know about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Thank You Jesus for Your word! Today’s verses are Hebrews 13:7 and 1 John 2:5. Have a blessed day.

Imagine introducing yourself to someone from a different country by telling them you belong to a people group whose name means “babblers.” That’s what the name “Popoluca” means, and it’s associated with an indigenous people and language of Veracruz, Mexico.

To this day, “Popoluca” is still used to describe the 35,500 people within that region who speak that language. Those who speak it though, call it “Nuntajɨ̱yi”— “the Straight Speech.”

While Nuntajɨ̱yi may seem insignificant to some, those who can now read or listen to the New Testament in their language understand it matters to the One who created it. Carolina is one of these people. A granddaughter of the translator of the Popoluca New Testament, Carolina is the first Popoluca woman to graduate from college. She has dedicated her life tosharing God’s Word in her language, and is now leading a team translating 50 of the Psalms. 

“When we read the Bible in Spanish, it seems like a wasted effort. But when we read it in our language, it arrives all the way to our heart. It touches our hearts—it moves us—because we can really understand it.” 

Carolina is an active part of the YouVersion Community, and she regularly uses YouVersion to study and share God’s Word in Nuntajɨ̱yi. 

“We’re very happy you’ve put our words into your app, because now anyone in the world can see it—our language is right there with well-known languages! So often our language is not seen as valued, but in this app, it is clear that our language is highly valued.”

Today, take a moment to thank God you have the Bible in your language. Thank God for Carolina and thousands of other Bible translators working around the world today. Because of their faithfulness and passion, God’s Word continues to spread throughout every area on earth, transforming the identities of the people who hear and understand it.

Hebrews 13:7. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

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The Blessing

Jesus began His teachings with praying and as He left this world to receive His glory, He blessed and prayed. What a powerful testimony and example to live by. Today’s verses: Luke 24:50‭-‬51 and 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Have a blessed day.

What was this blessing that Jesus gave to these disciples as He ascended to heaven? Whatever He said, it caused the disciples to stop and worship Him. Then they returned to Jerusalem with great joy—not just joy, but great joy! How could these disciples, who had been through so much with Him, leave that place full of joy, even after Jesus had vanished to heaven?

The answer if simple: Jesus had all authority, and now it was going to be bestowed on them. In a short time they would engage the most powerful force in the universe—Spirit-empowered prayer. How could they not be filled with unspeakable joy?

Those of us in the teaching profession recognize that there are many ingredients that make an effective teacher. Nonetheless, no matter how many pedagogical theories or strategies emerge, the greatest and most effective method that teachers identify is example, example, and example. Jesus’s life was the supreme example of prayer. He began His ministry in prayer at His baptism. He prayed about all things. Now, Jesus was ending His time on the earth in prayer as He ascended to the Father.

My wife’s brother, Paul, lived to serve others, in particular at-risk boys. He spent a lifetime giving himself to young men. At Paul’s funeral my wife told a story about Paul’s grandson. During the last years of Paul’s life he watched his little grandson a few days a week. One of Paul’s habits was to bring a cool bottle of water out to the trash collectors when they came. A few days after Paul’s death, his grandson was in his own home with his mom. The garbage truck could be heard coming down the street. Paul’s grandson ran to his mom and insisted they get some bottles of water from the refrigerator to take out to the trash collectors. Oh, the power of example. A living example imparts its very life to others (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Jesus’s life was a living example of prayer.

Because we have many different gifts and unique parts to play in Christ’s church, we will leave a variety of legacies. However, there is clearly one great legacy open to all of us. I believe it is one to which we all should aspire. Let this be our prayer, Lord: “May the legacy of our lives be answered prayer, as was Yours.”

Luke 24:50‭. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

1 Thessalonians 2:8. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

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In order for Christ Jesus to bear our sins and redeem us, our Father God had to turn away from His Son at that time. That is the greatest price ever paid so that we may receive the gift of salvation freely. Today’s verses are Mark 15:34 and Proverbs 16:4. Have a blessed day.

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Have you ever felt forsaken by the Lord? Abandoned? It is a lonely feeling to find yourself in the middle of a crisis or situation you can’t explain or do anything about. Can you trust Him with all the challenging events of life and live in faith? Even in the midst of suffering and pain? We must come to the conclusion and understanding that the Lord uses all things to accomplish His purposes in our lives. The Lord even uses evil things that come from the evil one (Proverbs 16:4).

Jesus claimed God as His Father, yet He lamented that the Father was withdrawing His love and care for Him. The Father abandoned Christ while Christ bore our sins on the cross. It was the greatest price that could be paid for our sin, Christ’s suffering. Though forsaken, Christ remained faithful to His mission—redemption for those who would choose salvation through Him.

I know a couple who are the epitome of godly people—they mentor and pour their lives into others like few Christians I have ever known. Their youngest daughter was the worship leader at the Christian school where I was headmaster. She was a beautiful, talented, zealous, anointed Christian girl. The first time I saw her was in a church service when she was twelve years old and giving words of encouragement to others. After she graduated from our school, she attended a Christian college to study nursing. Shortly after her first semester of college, she was tragically killed in a car accident. Many years before the same family had lost its only son in a tragic accident and later had a stillborn child. If ever people had cause to become disillusioned and lose their faith, this couple did. Yet they are full of the Spirit of our Lord, humble, peaceable, and joyous.

There will be times in life when you feel abandoned. The burden may seem more than is humanly possible to bear. We want to ask why these events happen, but why? isn’t the right question. The right question is, will you worship and follow God even if He does not meet your expectations? Will you follow Him even when you feel forsaken? Will you still pray?

Mark 15:34. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Proverbs 16:4. The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

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Pray in the Spirit for the strength to be able to pray with endurance Heb. 12:1. Try it! Today’s verses are Matthew 26:36 and Matthew 26:38‭-‬44. Have a blessed day.

How much time in prayer is sufficient? Fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? An hour? Jesus was distressed and troubled, and He needed the disciples to watch with Him in prayer. He had modeled prayer, and now it was time for them to support Him in prayer. But they couldn’t even pray one hour. Is prayer this tough for you?

When we pray in the flesh, we are like couch potatoes trying to run a marathon—we are winded and simply do not have what it takes to finish. When we pray, we must pray in the Spirit. It is the Spirit who provides the strength and the energy to pray. The Spirit, pneuma in the Greek, is more properly termed “breath” or “wind” (Acts 2:2). Just like the couch potato trying to run, our flesh has no strength and no breath, but the powerful wind of the Holy Spirit fills us and gives us the strength and breath we need to pray. By praying in the Spirit, we can finish the marathon of life without running out of breath. We can persevere (Ephesians 6:18). We can develop the discipline of prayer. We can “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

One of the lessons about prayer our Lord repeatedly taught is we must persevere. This may be the greatest stumbling block to the prayer life of most Christians. Answers to prayers don’t come as quickly as we anticipate.

Let’s be completely honest with ourselves here—patience is not exactly something we practice a great deal in our nanosecond -response – time culture. My definition of lust is “I want it, and I want it now!” If there is a sure prescription for failure in prayer, it is the attitude of “I want my answer, and I want it now.” Our love of ease, impatience, and spiritual laziness don’t contribute to persevering prayer.

But why doesn’t God just go ahead and answer our prayers? That’s a great question. God has an end game with us—an eternal, essential purpose. That purpose is oneness with Him and being conformed into His image. Above all things, including answering our prayers, He wants to draw us deeply into Him. Persisting in unanswered prayer is the training ground for increased faith. It’s the place where God extends grace to us, and it is the perfect soil for character building. Unanswered prayer leaves us vulnerable before the Lord, the ideal place for surrender.

Matthew 26:36. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

Matthew 26:38‭. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

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Satan is the father of disunity amongst God’s people, and we are to fight to keep God’s people unified spiritually. Today’s verses are more this, but John 17:1‭-‬26 and 2 Corinthians 10:4‭-‬5 are declared. Have a blessed day.

We need to learn this lesson—we experience the Lord three ways: through our personal experience, through the Word and prayer, and through our fellowship with others in our community. In all three of these realms Satan is at war to destroy God’s essential purpose: unity.

Satan lies to us about our personal relationship with Christ. He constantly attacks the credibility of God’s Word and diverts our attention away from prayer. Satan does this because he knows it is through the Word and prayer that we mature as Christians and become equipped to battle against him. And the enemy schemes to create division in our fellowship with other believers because he understands that division will discredit the love of Christ. Disunity in the body of Christ will cause people to doubt if Jesus really is who He said He is, the Son of God. Much of Jesus’s prayer in John 17 addresses His plea to the Father for the unity of believers with them (the Father and Son) and with one another (vv. 11, 21-23).

The Word of God reveals that there is a furious spiritual battle taking place right now in the heavens and the unseen realms (Ephesians 6:12). Most of us are unaware of this war. And if we are aware, there is an additional rebutting that takes place with many Christians when it comes to spiritual warfare. The thought of battling demons, evil spirits, or Satan himself is overwhelming and frightening.

The truth is that we are to war against Satan. God has called us to use the weapons of our warfare to defeat the enemy and crush him underfoot (Romans 8:37-39; 16:20; 1 John 2:13-14). Everyday people such as you and me are called to put on the armor of light and cast aside the works of darkness (Romans 13:12). We are called to bring God’s kingdom of heaven to earth (Matthew 6:10).

Through prayer and the Word of God we are able to discern the strongholds of the enemy and tear down his defenses (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The powers of darkness will be broken in our lives and the lives of others as we learn to war in the spirit. We will be God’s warriors, fully equipped to see the forces of evil destroyed and His kingdom and unity established in our midst. Christ’s prayer in John 17 will be realized in our lives.

John 17:1‭. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

2. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

3. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

4. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

5. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

6. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

7. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

8. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

9. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

10. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

11. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

12. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

14. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

18. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

19. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

20. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

24. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

25. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

26. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

2 Corinthians 10:4‭ (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

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The transforming miracles of God occur in our every day lives. Answered prayers for others and ourselves, safe travels, waking up, etc. Look with your spiritual eyes, and you will see so much more. Today’s verses are Luke 9:28‭-‬29 and 2 Corinthians 3:18. Have a blessed day.

Too often we believe that we must answer the call to a particular service or put forth some heroic act to elicit the miraculous. I believe what the transfiguration of Christ reveals to us is that as we pray and seek God, we are changed and the miracles of God will slip into our ordinary life (2 Corinthians 3:18).

What qualifies as miraculous in our everyday mundane lives? It is one thing for us to encounter a great injustice and stay true to God as others see our godly character.

But what about praying for a coworker’s salvation? What about the wife who works and takes care of a home and prays for the ability to keep it all together? Are answers to prayer in these situations any less than miraculous? No, they are not.

Flashes of lightning, visions, dreams, revelations, and what we typically view as miraculous aren’t daily occurrences for most of us. I believe the Lord does want us to have huge answers to prayer every day and see miracles. That is what I am contending for in my prayer life. Truthfully I am not there. But I am a holding on, and I am putting into proper perspective the miraculous events in my daily life that aren’t lightning bolts from heaven.

When we go to work every day, we are plunged into toil and worldly things. The everyday sameness or lack of spirituality at work could cause us to miss what the Lord is doing. The same is true for those who care for children and the home or an elderly parent. But there is a great breakthrough that the Holy Spirit has planned for us. He wants us to experience His miraculous power in the dailiness of life. Prayer is the key to this experience. We can indeed live in an attitude of prayer the entire day, in every conversation and through every task we undertake. And it is through this that the mundane is truly transformed into the miraculous.

But the transformation of prayer can go much deeper. As we face the world every day, we face temptations, and this is where we need the Lord to purify us. Prayer is the vehicle that frees us from the bondage of flesh. Prayer is our road to transformation. “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” (Luke 9:29, NIV).

Luke 9:28‭. And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

2 Corinthians 3:18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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This new reading plan, 10 DAYS THROUGH THE PRAYERS OF JESUS, is a deeper study of effectual prayer. Today’s verses: Luke 3:21‭-‬22, Isaiah 50:4, and Psalm 46:10. Have a blessed day.

It didn’t matter if the issue at hand was profound or an everyday incident, Jesus began all things with prayer. While Jesus was being baptized, He prayed (Luke 3:21-22). Before setting out to preach and cast out demons throughout Galilee, He rose a great while before sunrise to pray (Mark 1:35-39). When the people rolled the stone away from Lazarus’s tomb, Jesus prayed for all to hear before raising him from the dead (John11: 4-44). And as He sat at a table for dinner with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He simply prayed (Luke 24:30-31). Jesus’s example leads us to pray before taking that new job, before a proposal of marriage, and on the way to work every morning.

Beginning all things in prayer is a foundational discipline of the Christian life. The times of praying in stillness and solitude are when God reaches into our minds, emotions, and wills—the deepest minds, emotions, and wills—the deepest places of our souls. In the quietness of prayer we free ourselves from the constant distractions of the world and the nagging whispers of our past, dysfunctions, and sins. Beginning all things in prayer during the day and having close and continual fellowship in prayer with God will leave its mark on us. As we follow our Lord by beginning everything in prayer, we position ourselves to receive the glorious benefits that flow from this way of living. First and foremost, prayer is our path to intimacy with God. There is no other way to deeply know God apart from the stillness of prayer (Psalm 46:10).

One of the sweetest and most powerful benefits of beginning all things in prayer is that our “spiritual ears” will be trained to recognize His voice. We learn to quiet our thoughts, our educational training, and our persuasions. We become deaf to anything except His voice and will. By following Christ’s example and beginning all things in prayer, we are able to discern His voice above the cacophony of the world and the murmurs of the enemy. Learning to recognize His voice is fundamental preparation for hearing the Lord through the Word.

Beginning all things with prayer leads to right hearing. Right hearing produces right speaking. This is how we learn to speak words of life to people, to speak the language of the kingdom, and to call people to their destiny in Christ (Isaiah 50:4).

Luke 3:21‭. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Isaiah 50:4. The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

Psalm 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

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Happiness is fleeting, joy is a deeper sense of contentment. I choose joy. Today’s verses are John 15:11; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; and Proverbs 17:22. Have a blessed day.

Most people are confused with the distinction between joy and happiness. The difference is substantial. Often, we move through our days performing one tedious task after another—washing clothes, cooking dinner, catering to a demanding boss, without much joy or happiness. Most people seek happiness as a life goal. The truth is the Bible never promises happiness; however, it does promise joy. It even says our joy may be full or complete . . . a better goal. 

Happiness is an emotion based upon “happenings.” It’s easy to be happy when things are going well . . . when you have freedom from suffering, financial security, and all your relationships are good. But when you have trouble with one or more of these areas in life, what happens to your “happiness?” It’s probably gone. And you feel sad. 

On the other hand, joy is a stronger, deeper, yet less common feeling than happiness. It is not dependent on circumstances. It is rooted in who God is. It is birthed out of relationship with God, and subsequently, others. His joy supernaturally sustains our souls in seasons of heartache, injustice, and sorrow. Enduring the valleys of life is nearly impossible without the life-giving fuel of joy in Christ.

Pastor Rick Warren is quoted as saying “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” Let’s settle our hearts in this assurance and hope.

Joy can also be a by-product grounded in the idea of doing something good for someone. We have joy when—even in our suffering—we are acting for the benefit of someone else’s well-being. If you have ever selflessly given of yourself or your possessions, you are certainly familiar with this feeling of joy.

So, what motivates us in life? Is it success? Happiness? Or lasting joy? If all of our efforts are focused on trying to be happy, we are missing the point. But if our purpose is to have joy in a fulfilling life, then we have to commit to and trust the Lord and love one another in a way that seeks something better than simply personal self-satisfaction. 

What are you doing in your world that is causing you joy? Are you connecting with God and others through relationship and service? Do something good for someone else, and see how you feel. This is joy. Paul tells us that if we walk in the ways of God that joy is a resulting fruit of the Spirit. So also is love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control 

Having joy includes feeling happy. But being happy doesn’t always include joy. In its fuller spiritual form, joy involves living from God’s goodness and expressing God’s goodness to others. May the joy of the Lord be your strength as a joyful heart is good medicine for your soul. It is key to a grateful life.


Ponder the difference between your happiness based on happenings and your joy based on an inexhaustible relationship with Your Heavenly Father. Tether your heart to His gift of joy.


Dear gracious Lord, Help me recognize the difference between worldly happiness and Your gift of deep, abiding joy. Continue to develop this fruit of Your Spirit within me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 15:11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Romans 15:13. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Galatians 5:22‭-‬23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Proverbs 17:22. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

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Heart Healing

This new 5 day reading plan, The Great Physician, hopefully will be able to touch your hearts and souls as no other can; through Scripture. Today’s verse is Psalm 51:10. Have a blessed day.

This verse is often associated with our need to be cleansed from sin and to reset our spirit on God’s ways. It’s like, ‘clean me of the gunk, and help me never do it again’.

I wonder, though, if we can’t also read it through the lens of healing. 

There are hundreds of scriptures about how we need to ‘guard our heart’, how our heart is the ‘wellspring of life’, and how ‘out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’. Our hearts are a reservoir of our innermost thoughts and wellbeing. 

So what do you do if you have a sick heart? Maybe it’s been broken, become weary with life, or is simply feeling hopeless and unenthusiastic about what your future holds. 

It’s in those times we need some heart-healing. 

We need God to create in us a pure heart – one free from the bitterness, worry, and pain that may be weighing it down, and instead, one that’s full of energetic trust in Him. 

That may not be an easy process. Clearing out the gunk may involve some professional help and support from your community, but as you pray this prayer you can also ask God what steps you need to take for Him to do His work. 

Let Him guide you, and let your spirit feel fixed on Him once more.


Psalm 51:10. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

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This is the last day of this 12 day reading plan, Righteous Roots In The Heart. Thankfulness is the chosen state of contentment. I am glad we have had this opportunity to dig a little deeper into the fruit of the Spirit. Today’s verses: Psalm 100:1‭-‬5; Jonah 2:9; Ephesians 5:3‭-‬4; Philippians 4:11‭-‬13; Colossians 2:6‭-‬7; 3:15‭-‬17; and 1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18. For more information on Julie Gossack, https://gbcmt.org/womens-ministries/#kardiology101. Have a blessed day.

Thankfulness is a contented state of heart that expresses itself in words of praise and gratitude. It is a humble love offering to God that does not demand any perceived rights.  A thankful heart is overwhelmed by the gracious gifts that flow from the mercy and goodness  of God. Contrary to thankfulness  are anxiety,  selfishness, greed, envy, and pride. 

THANKFULNESS in the heart says things such as:  “I will give thanks in all things.” “I will not grumble or complain.” “I am joyful and content.”

Psalm 100:1‭. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 .Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Jonah 2:9. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Ephesians 5:3‭. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Philippians 4:11‭. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Colossians 2:6‭. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Colossians 3:15‭. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16‭. Rejoice evermore. 17. Pray without ceasing. 18. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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Oh, if I had only such a wonderful gift! Many of us struggle with temperance, but we have the Holy Spirit to help us. We must learn to yield to His will, not our own. Today’s verses: Proverbs 25:28; Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; 1 Thessalonians 5:5‭-‬8; Titus 2:11‭-‬12; and 2 Peter 1:5‭-‬9. Have a blessed day.

Self-control, which is often translated “sober,” is a sober-mindedness that gives thought before acting.  Self-control, which is produced by the Holy Spirit, gives way to righteous desires rather than sinful desires. Having self-control is looking to future and eternal realities rather than indulging our immediate sinful impulses. 

SELF-CONTROL in the heart says things such as: “I will give thoughts before I act.” “I will refrain from using my body to sin.” “I will deny myself.”

Proverbs 25:28. He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Thessalonians 5:5‭. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

Titus 2:11‭. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

2 Peter 1:5‭. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

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Julie pretty much said it very well below. Today’s verses: Psalm 4:8; Isaiah 26:3; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; Philippians 4:6‭-‬9; and Hebrews 12:14. Have a blessed day.

Peace is a contented state of heart produced by the Holy Spirit.  It is a tranquility of being that is not dependent upon our external circumstances.  Peace embraces  the very goodness of God in every situation and demonstrates a spirit of thankfulness and rest. Contrary to peace are anxiety, fear, envy, anger, and despair. 

PEACE in the heart says things such as: “I am at rest because of God’s promises.” “I trust His provision for me.” “I will fix my eyes upon Jesus and not my circumstances.”

Psalm 4:8. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Isaiah 26:3. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

2 Corinthians 13:11. Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Philippians 4:6‭. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Hebrews 12:14. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

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Patience is something I struggle with many times, although not always. It is getting better the more I draw near to our Lord Jesus. Patience is also an action of inaction. We determine not to be angry or repay evil with evil. It is also the act of having mercy on others, as Christ Jesus has had mercy on us. Today’s verses: Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; Ephesians 4:1‭-‬3; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; and James 5:7‭-‬10. Have a blessed day.

Patience, or long-suffering, is forbearance shown toward others.  It is a merciful restraint  produced by the Holy Spirit that does not retaliate or give way to anger.  Patience is love for others that shows self-control, even when we are wronged.  Contrary to patience are anger, wrath, pride, selfishness, and bitterness. 

PATIENCE in the heart says things such as: “I will show kindness to others.” “I will not repay evil for evil.” “I will forgive.”

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Ephesians 4:1‭. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

1 Thessalonians 5:14. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

James 5:7‭. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

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Meekness does not mean we are to lay down and allow people to treat us like a doormat. It is the wonderful acknowledgement that God is our sovereign King and Lord, and we accept Him with joy. Today’s verses: Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5; Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:21; and James 3:13. Have a blessed day.

Meekness, also translated “gentleness,” is primarily a response to God. It is a state of heart that not only acknowledges God’s sovereign rule but also embraces His sovereign rule as good. With meekness we do not blame God for undesirable circumstances, nor do we become angry with Him when we do not get our way.

MEEKNESS must come from the power of the Holy Spirit. Contrary to meekness are despair, anger, wrath, impatience, anxiety, fear, and envy. 

Psalm 37:11. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Matthew 5:5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

James 1:21. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

James 3:13. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

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Love is an action. There are many descriptions of love, but the kind the Holy Spirit blessed us with is a sacrificial and giving love. It is the love which prefers others rather than ourselves. It is one that I have to work on every day! Today’s verses: Proverbs 10:12; Matthew 5:43-48; 22:37-40; Romans 12:9-10; Galatians 5:22-23; and 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13. Have a blessed day.

Love is a benevolence and goodwill toward others that is produced by the Holy Spirit. It is a deliberate affection and a friendly regard toward God and man that displays itself in purposeful acts of sacrifice and kindness.  Contrary to love are anger, impatience, bitterness, and envy.

LOVE in the heart says things such as: “I want to love God by obeying His Word.” “I want to consider others’ interests.” “I will sacrifice for another’s benefit.”

Proverbs 10:12. Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Matthew 5:43‭. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 22:37‭. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Romans 12:9‭. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Thessalonians 3:12‭. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13. To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

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Kindness is the “new” hearts desire to be gentle and to have a servant’s heart granted by the Holy Spirit. Today’s verses: Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; Romans 12:10‭-‬13; Ephesians 2:4‭-‬7; Colossians 3:12; and 2 Peter 1:5‭-‬7. Have a blessed day.

Kindness is a pervasive spirit of gentleness and servanthood that is shaped and molded by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power. It is motivated by sincere love for others. Kindness is similar to goodness, but goodness is the act of good works whereas kindness is the heart attitude behind the good works. Contrary to kindness are anger, bitterness, selfishness, and pride. 

KINDNESS in the heart says things such as: “I want to be useful to benefit others.” “I want to care for others.” “I do not want to be harsh, rough, or rude.”

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Romans 12:10‭. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Ephesians 2:4‭. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

2 Peter 1:5‭. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

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Joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit, and it produces a deep, inner peace and contentment we have no matter the circumstances around us. Today’s verses: Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 9:2; 63:4-8; John 15:11; Romans 15:13; and Philippians 4:4. Have a blessed day.

Joy is a gladness of heart produced by the Holy Spirit. Joy permeates our disposition despite trial, heartache, or pain. It is an attitude of spirit that is fixed upon eternal glories and heavenly blessings so much that the sorrows of earth do not cause our soul to despair. A joyful heart is a thankful heart. Contrary to joy are despair, anxiety, anger, and envy. 

JOY in the heart says things such as: “I will rejoice when others receive good.” “I will remember all God’s goodness on my behalf.” “I am content with God’s sovereign gifts.”

Nehemiah 8:10. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

Psalm 9:2. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

Psalm 63:4‭. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6. When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

John 15:11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Romans 15:13. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

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We studied the fruit of the Spirit last night Church. Goodness can be a verb in that it is an action. It is more than being kind, it is the act of willing service toward our fellow man. Today’s verses: Romans 12:10-13; 15:1-3; Galatians 5:22-23; 6:9-10; and Titus 3:8. Have a blessed day.

Goodness is an active expression of benevolence toward others that is produced by the Holy Spirit.  It is a love that motivates us to serve others and help human need. Goodness  is similar to kindness, but kindness is the heart attitude behind the good works whereas goodness is the act of good works. Goodness does manifest itself in gentle correction of others for their benefit. Contrary to demonstrating goodness is doing evil or harm.

GOODNESS in the heart says things such as: “I want to help human need.” “I want to serve others.” “I seek to do good works.”

Romans 12:10‭. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Romans 15:1‭. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. 3. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 6:9‭. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Titus 3:8. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

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This new reading plan is titled, “Righteous Roots In the Heart.” It is a 5 day devotional, and I hope you enjoy it. Today’s focus is on Faithfulness, in this instance meaning to”win over” or “to persuade.” Trusting in God is not always easy, you do have to give up that control of your life; but it is always worth it. He is truly worthy of our trust, holiness, obedience, and good good works! Share this confidently with family, friends, and neighbors. This is the Will of God, Have a blessed day.

The word for “faithfulness” in Galatians 5:22 means to “win over”  or “to persuade.”  Faith, or faithfulness, as produced by the Holy Spirit, is a firm persuasion and conviction. It is a belief and confidence in the person of God  and His revealed Word such that it brings forth  holiness, obedience, and good works. Contrary to faithfulness are unbelief,  disobedience, and ungodliness. 

FAITHFULNESS in the heart says things such as: “I want to obey God even if it is difficult.” “I believe and trust in God even if I don’t understand my situation.” “I want to be diligent in all things.”

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Proverbs 14:14. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

1 Corinthians 4:1‭. Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

2 Corinthians 5:7. (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Galatians 6:9. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

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Living on solid ground through God’s Word has changed my life. I will never be able to repay Him, and He doesn’t ask me to. His desire is for me, and all of us, to follow Him. If we would only hide His truth deep within our hearts, we would be able to smell one of Satan’s lies a mile away! At least that is my prayer. Today’s verses: 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 28:7; Philippians 4:19; and Deuteronomy 31:6. Have a blessed day.

God’s Word is your solid ground for truth. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The truest thing about you is what God says, not what you think or feel and also not what others say, think, or project onto you. You have a new identity in Christ. You are who He says you are. 

God’s Word is true, regardless of our past experiences, our own reason, emotions, performances, experiences, or circumstances. Joy is our birthright. Hope is our birthright. Love is our birthright. The scriptures are loaded with truth about our rightful Christian identity. Memorize them!

Here are a few of the common lies we believe and some truths in scripture to combat them:

·  I am not good enough. (You are a royal son/daughter of the King: 1 Peter 2:9, I am perfect in Christ: Heb 10:14, Col 2:10, Eph 2:10)

·  I am unloved (You are very loved: John 15:9, Rom 8:38-39, Eph 2:4, 5:1-2)

·  This is impossible. There seems to be no way. (Jesus IS the WAY and makes a way: John 14:6, Ps 37:23, Jer 29:11, Eph 2:10)

·  I am a fearful, anxious person (You are free from fear: Ps 34:4, 2 Tim 1:7, 1 Peter 5:7, 1 John 4:18) 

·  I am not strong (You have God’s power and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit: Acts 1:8, Rom 8:9-11, Eph 1:18-19, Ps 28:7)

·  I do not have enough money for my needs (God is Jehovah—that means provider. He will meet all of your needs for His glory! Philippians 4:19, Ps 23:1)

·  I can’t make it. I don’t know which way to go. (Pray to God, He will show you the right path. Seek His word; it will light your way. Psalm 119:105, Ps 32:8, Jer 33:3)

·  I am alone. (The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged: Deut 31:6,  Ps 73:23, Is 41:10)

You are called and equipped to do the good works God has ordained you to do. Don’t allow the enemy to use limiting beliefs or lies to rob, steal, and destroy your joy in your destiny. Choose and memorize His truth. 


How much time do you spend memorizing power-filled truths to help navigate discouragement or lies in your life? Are you living on the solid ground of His truth?


Dear Lord, I confess to believing lies and not walking in the power of Your truths. Help me learn to hide Your truths in my heart so I can live a life which is glorifying to You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

1 Peter 2:9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Romans 8:38‭. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 28:7. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Philippians 4:19. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Deuteronomy 31:6. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

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Media, parents, friends, papers, internet, social media, people’s personal agendas, etc. With so much “information,” how can we be sure we are being told the truth? If it disagrees with the Bible, it is wrong. We all have things we have believed for a long time. That doesn’t make them true! Remember from whom lies come, and put on the full armor of God each day. Today’s verses: James 4:7; John 8:44; Ephesians 6:11-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; and Romans 6:6. Have a blessed day.

Just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Lies can be perceived as truth if you believe them to be so. Have you ever felt in your gut that you were being lied to but couldn’t quite pinpoint it? This world has so many messages coming at us from every direction. Most are subtle lies from the prince of the world and the father of lies—Satan (John 8:44). Many lies start as simple misinformation early in our lives and then end up as ugly strongholds in later years.

The real tragedy of believing common lies is that the people of God do not follow and live in their God-given identity and destiny. We all fall into this trap in one way or another; no one is exempt. We all have been lied to by the media, by our bank account, by our past experiences, by our feelings, and even by loved ones around us. Our tendency is to allow our reason, emotions, or circumstances dictate our truth as final authority. 

How do we identify these lies so that we can live in the truth? The Bible is the Lord’s inspired Word, His holy instructions on how to combat the lies and live the BEST life of truth, love, and peace. 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV says that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” Psalm 119:105 NIV says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” We invite the Holy Spirit, by a volitional act of faith, to cleanse and renew our minds so we can stand on the truth and authority of God’s word. As a child of God, we simply dare to believe that we are who HE says we are! As a Christian, we are not the same anymore. The old has gone and a new life has begun. When we become followers and believers in Jesus, we lose our identity in this world and embrace our new identity in Christ. 

Memorize His power-filled truths to combat pervasive lies in your mind. When the truth is on the forefront of your mind, you will be more cognizant of the lies, and able to call them out and dismiss them. Imagine going onto a battlefield with no sword, no shield, or helmet. That would be foolish. In the same way, we need to wear the FULL ARMOR OF GOD to conquer temptation and protect ourselves from the lies of the world. We must die to the lies so that we can walk in HIS truths over our lives.


Identify areas where you are living below your Christian privilege as a child of God. Research the Bible for truths to shed a light on dark areas of your life.


Oh Lord, shed Your light on the subtle lies that I have believed to be true. Help open my eyes to the enemy’s lies and reveal Your truths so that I may walk in them. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

James 4:7. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

John 8:44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Ephesians 6:11‭. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Romans 6:6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

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It is very important that we yield our will to God’s will for our lives if we desire true joy and peace. God has a special plan for each one of us individually. No matter what the circumstance we find ourselves in, knowing it is God’s will is the greatest comfort of all. Today’s verses: Psalm 139:13-18; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 26:39; and Isaiah 55:8. Have a blessed day.

Creators create things with reason, purpose, and intention. Things don’t just accidentally appear. Scriptures say that we were “knit together…fearfully and wonderfully…in the secret place…with days assigned to each of us.” That doesn’t sound accidental. It goes on to say that we were knit as the Creator’s “masterpiece/handiwork…to do good works that were assigned in advance for us to do.” Whoa! So, I was planned ON purpose, WITH purpose and FOR purpose? He intentionally created me with a personalized calling on my life.

When I was a little, I had big dreams of what life would be like when I grew up, much like you did. I had plans. Big plans. My will, my way, so to speak. But, somehow, my entire world didn’t cooperate with all my “big plans”. As years and experience bred greater learning and wisdom, I realized that I am not completely in charge of my world. I needed the cooperation of other humans. I had a hope to do things the “right way.” But what was that? My spouse had one opinion. My boss had another opinion. My children had another opinion, all about the right way. 

After a season of heart-breaking, life lessons I read about the grace of yielding. We have a choice of yielding to others, but I pondered the idea of yielding to God’s greater plans and purposes for my life, not just my little girl dreams. I was reminded of Jesus’ words and His example: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:23 NIV) This statement shows the yielding or the dying of self. Jesus chose the will of the Father over his own will. This highlights a definite “dying of self to greater purposes.”

We are all self-centered creatures with a vast propensity for “my will, my way.” Consider the grace of yielding to “His will, His way.” As our creator, His original ways for our lives are higher than ours, as His thoughts and plans our higher than ours.  When you die to your self-centered way, you then discover the beauty and power within yourself that God intended. We live in the greatest fullness of life when we are in the sweet center of that purpose and that plan. 


How can you live a life with a grace to yield to God’s greater plans and purposes for your days? Ponder your life’s story for His greater glory.


Oh Lord! I need Your help to remind me that I truly do want “Your will, Your way” over “my will, my way” as Your ways are so much higher than I could think, hope, or imagine. I choose to die to myself and my ways so that I can live for Your greater purposes for my life. Lead, guide, and direct my steps! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 139:13‭. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Ephesians 2:10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Matthew 26:39. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Isaiah 55:8‭. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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When we are serving others, we (hopefully) lose track of our focus is on them, not ourselves. We use the gifts God has blessed us with, even if we never knew we had them until then. Remembering that this is all God-centered and not me-cented is a great gift from God which I treasure. Today’s verses: 1 Peter 5:6 and 1 Peter 4:10. Have a blessed day.

Whenever something takes time it requires patience. In 1 Peter 5:6, we are encouraged to humble ourselves before God and if we are patient we will be exalted in due time.  One of the best ways to humble ourselves is to serve others with the gifts God has given us.  Our reading today reminds us that we have all been given spiritual gifts. In serving others we practice patience by using our gifts to further the kingdom of God and not our own agenda. Whether we receive recognition or not isn’t the focus of serving. It is about honoring God and serving people.  

I was taught that when you serve others, your focus is shifted and you receive a new perspective on your situation. I encourage you to patiently listen to the needs of others and to serve them with the gifts God has given you.


Make a list of your talents and gifts

How can you serve others with your gifts and talents?


Dear God, Thank You for the talents and gifts you have given me. Holy Spirit, help me to use these gifts to patiently serve others. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

1 Peter 4:10. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

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We’ve made it to the list of this reading plan. I hope this has helped you in your prayer life. I believe the next reading plan will be on patience. Today’s verses: Hebrews 5:7-8; 2 Corinthians 12:9; and James 5:16-18. Have a blessed day.

Hopefully, you’re praying more on your own, adding prayer to some daily habits, and are regularly looking for opportunities to pray with others. If you’ve followed each of these steps, you are moving toward confidence in your prayer life. But guess what? It’s still tough. After years of praying out loud, we still get nervous. We still cower and sometimes choose to remain silent. Although we feel scared, it is ok. Let’s remember that when we feel prompted, we are getting the chance to live like Jesus.

You are just about finished with prayer boot camp. Congratulations! Whether you completed all of the challenges or created a few modifications along the way, we are proud of your accomplishment. 

Now, invite someone to go through prayer boot camp with you. Send this plan to them, and do it together. Prayer will change your life. Praying with others… changes their lives, too.

While on earth, Jesus prayed. In Hebrews 5, it is stated that Jesus’ prayers were answered not because of His perfection but because of His “reverent submission.” Let’s humbly give everything we have to God.

Dear sweet Lord,

We devote ourselves to prayer. We desire to have a reverent and submissive position before You. We are at Your feet, inviting You to lead us. As You continue to provide strength, we will do our best to follow Your direction. Thank You that Your strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

We are proud of you for completing this plan. If you’d like to learn about other reading plans and resources by Chuck and Ashley, sign up here: https://www.elliottlifecoaching.com/subscribe.

Hebrews 5:7. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

2 Corinthians 12:9. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

James 5:16‭. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

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Today’s focus is on focusing our prayer time into four sections: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (asking God to fulfill our needs and requests). With the time we have to pray separated like this, we can have a more balanced prayer time. Please remember that this is only an overview of the lesson below written by someone else. Today’s verses: Gen. 1:1; Job 42:2; Psalm 51:1-13; Psalm 7:17; Phil. 4:6-7; and 1 Peter 5:7. Have a blessed day.

Step 7. Take a moment to consider the contents of your previous 2-3 prayer moments. Did you ask God for something? Did you pray for someone else? Did you honor God for His amazing attributes? Were you thankful?

Using a tool such as an acronym or prayer worksheet can help you be more balanced in prayer.
The acronym ACTS was first documented in writing back in the 1800’s to guide prayer time.

ACTS stands for:

How many minutes would you like to pray today? Divide that number by four and spend time on each topic. For example, if you want to pray for 8 minutes, spend 2 minutes on each topic.

Spend time adoring God; take time to contemplate His amazing qualities. He is your Creator, Father, and Friend. He holds time and is High above all things, yet He deeply cares for you.

As you move to confession, reflect upon your life and commit to turning away from sin. During this time, you may also feel compelled to make amends with those you have hurt as a result of your behavior.

Giving thanks can be so much fun. We (Chuck and Ashley) enjoy helping our toddler pray. We begin by saying, “Thank You God for ___.” He loves to look around the room and fill-in-the-blanks. Thank You God for… “mommy,” he exclaims. Thank You God for… “blanket,” he whispers as he looks around and smiles.

As our hearts are filled with gratitude, jealousy dissipates. Our mind can only actively process one thought at a time. When we choose thankfulness, we create neural pathways that make it easier to be thankful in the future.

What is supplication? Simply put, it is making requests to God. After taking time to glorify Him, repent, and thanking Him, spend some time asking God to meet your needs and the requests of people around you.

Dear Heavenly Father,
My Creator and Friend, please forgive me of our wrong attitudes and behaviors I’ve had. Thank You for Your mercy. Lead me toward the path of life in Your Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Job 42:2. I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Psalm 51:1‭. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Psalm 7:17. I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.

Philippians 4:6‭. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

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Step 4’s focus is on opportunities for boldness. You won’t have to look for them, God will provide the opportunities. Remember, God can use each of us with our different gifts. After all, He is the one who blessed us with them. ☺️ Verses for today: 2 Corin. 10:5; Acts 4:29-31; Romans 8:31; and 2 Timothy 1:7. Have a blessed day.

As you continue with regular prayer time, ask God for boldness. Then, notice that God will provide opportunities for you to engage with neighbors, pray with friends, or invite someone to dinner. 

Some of you introverts may be rolling your eyes about now! But, God will use your unique personality to glorify His Name. We (Chuck and Ashley) are extroverts who have been praying with others and engaging in other “bold” activities for years. Yet, it is still difficult for us.

Every boot camp exercise session we attended required endurance. And that’s ok. We humans enjoy challenges. Although it should get easier, being bold will always bring about some resistance because the enemy doesn’t want us to be brave. When the next opportunity to be bold appears, and defeating thoughts approach, take them captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Invite God’s Holy Spirit to supernaturally fill you with boldness as He did for many in the book of Acts.  

Dear Sweet Lord,
There have been times we have been too busy, too fearful, or have overlooked opportunities to reach out to people around us. “Give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word” (Acts 4:29). In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 4:29‭. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30. By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Romans 8:31. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

2 Timothy 1:7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

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The focus today is on praying Bible verses. It is amazing at what comfort we can have when we remember to turn our eyes upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Our temporary situations are put into perspective. Maybe this is an opportunity to find out if your family member or friend is sure they are going to Heaven when that day comes. Something to think about instead of questioning why. Today’s verses: Phil. 4:13; Col. 3:15; & Psalm 119:11. Have a blessed day.

Are you getting a bit more comfortable praying out loud? If not, keep at it. You’ll get there. If you’ve ever done a burpee, the first time was a bit more awkward than the 1000th. 

Step 3:  Pray Scripture out loud.
Now that you’ve begun praying out loud, begin incorporating Scripture into your regular prayer time. If you’ve hidden God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11), it will be easier to recall verses while you’re walking around your home, school, or workplace.

Recently, while traveling across a rainy university campus, I (Ashley) felt a bit overwhelmed by life. I began to pray, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). My confidence began to shift. I had the opportunity to stay overwhelmed by the rain and my circumstances, or I could turn my attention to the One who controls the rain. God didn’t suddenly stop the rain. But He encouraged my heart through His Word. 

Dear Heavenly Father,
Help us hide Your Word in our hearts. As we go about our days, bring the right verses to our hearts to encourage us and remind us that You are with us. Give us thankful hearts, filling us with peace and a desire for unity in our relationships. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Colossians 3:15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Psalm 119:11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

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Today’s focus is on step two, praying out loud on your own. This is a good way to practice in case you are ever called to pray. It is also a confidence builder. I want you to remember this: Everyone thought their prayers were not as eloquent as most people’s. As long as you pray to God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord, it will be freeing. Please practice this daily. It is like having a conversation. I do, and the words just seem to come. Today’s verses: Luke 18:9-14 and 1 John 5:14. Have a blessed day.

Do you ever pray out loud while talking to God on your own? If not, try it today. Consider it practice. If you would like to pray out loud with others, praying aloud on your own is a great opportunity to build comfort. 

Sometimes we lack confidence, worrying that our prayers are inadequate. Typically, when we have these thoughts, it’s when we are around others who seem to pray more eloquent prayers. But in Luke 18, Jesus explains how the sinful tax collector’s prayer is more acceptable than the religious Pharisee’s prayer. Why? Because the sinful person was humble, honest, and focused on communicating with God rather than elevating himself. 

When you begin to feel nervous, remind yourself that the goal of prayer is to communicate with God, not to impress others.

But why pray out loud?

Hearing your own prayer does a couple of things.
1) It helps keep your attention focused on prayer, preventing your mind from wandering.
2) There’s something about hearing your own prayers that instills a bit more faith into your heart.

Strengthen our ability to pray for others. As we pray out loud, increase our faith and confidence in You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen. 

Luke 18:9‭. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

1 John 5:14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

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This is a 15 day reading plan we are beginning. The first day’s focus is on beginning a prayer relationship with God. If it is more of a one on one between God and you, rather than a chore; you will get more out of it. Step one is praying more on our own. In all things we do, let us work toward bringing others to Christ Jesus. If I may be so bold, please pray for my Mom. She is in the hospital getting tests. She 86 years old, and we are praying she doesn’t have stomach cancer. Thank you. Have a blessed day.

Congrats! You signed up for prayer boot camp. During our time together, we’ll do some exercises that will strengthen your ability to pray more alone and with others. By the end of this plan, if you follow each of the steps, you will have a stronger relationship with Jesus and more confidence regarding your ability to lead others to Christ through prayer.

Have you ever done a bootcamp-style workout? For years, we attended an outdoor boot camp program at our local YMCA. A great friend of ours led the program, and we loved it. The diversity was great. People brought courage and determined to get better. 

The exercises were set for the group, but each person had the opportunity to perform at their fitness level. If we traveled a certain distance, some ran while others walked. If we completed an obstacle course, we competed against ourselves to see how many times we could finish the course in a set amount of time. 

In a similar way, some of the prayer exercises will be super simple. Others will take grit. We will start out easier and will increase in challenge. Consider the beginning to be the warm-up. 

So what is step 1?

Step 1:  Pray more on your own. 

If you have never planned to pray on your own, let today be the first. Consider setting an alarm to remind you to pray.
How long does it need to be? This will depend on how much you’ve been praying in the past. If you’ve never planned prayer, start with 30 seconds. If you already pray for 5 minutes at a time, try to increase it to 10 minutes or improve the consistency of your prayer, carving out daily prayer time.

Pick one or two important topics that relate to your own life. Why? We are more likely to keep praying if prayer feels less of a burden and more like a relationship. God wants you to share your life with Him. For example, pray that God will increase your desire to read His Word or spend time meditating on the amazing blessings He has brought into your life.
First, we will pray together. Then, pray on your own as you read God’s Word.

We desire to be close to You. We choose to discipline our bodies, training them to follow You (1 Corinthians 9:27). When we look in the mirror, help us see strength like David, Elijah, and Paul. We give You our weaknesses. We give You our strengths. And we ask that You make us stronger. Make us prayer warriors.

1 Corinthians 9:27. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Romans 8:26‭. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Jeremiah 29:12. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

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Today the focus is something that may make many Christians nervous. You won’t find you specific answer in the Bible when your question is of this world. Such as: Should I buy this house or that one, should I marry this person or that person, etc. A better way to frame the question would be: Would this choice be against God’s truth? Are any fears guiding my decision? Is this a wise decision (financially, emotionally, etc)? Have I sought God’s wisdom? These are easier to answer, and He does answer His children. Remember those times when you thought He didn’t answer you? The answer was No! LOL. I’m so happy I learned that. Have a blessed day.

Over the past two days, we’ve talked about both the Known and Unknown wills of God. But there’s one more aspect of God’s will that makes so many followers of Christ nervous. We often want to know just how specific His will is.

Should I buy this house or that house?
Should I go to this college or that college?
Should I marry this person or that person?
Should I choose this plan or that plan?
Should I take this job or that job?

The Bible does not answer these kinds of questions specifically, nor does it say, “You should be a doctor,” or “Marry Jim next year.” Maybe we need to take our specific questions to the Word of God and see how our desires and questions line up with the truth from God’s Word. 

Is there one perfect person for you to marry? Probably not. If that were the case, then if one person chooses the person

they shouldn’t have, then everyone else’s choice is wrong. Instead, what we do when it comes to spending our lives with someone is use wisdom and discernment as to what is God’s best. 

Now, that doesn’t mean God won’t answer a specific prayer we pray. God loves us and often surprises us with exactly what we asked for! But, most of the time it’s wise to allow God’s Word to be our guide, for it has plenty to say about decisions we should make. Let’s pray for wisdom and discernment as we learn from God’s Word and consider asking these questions:

Would this choice contradict God’s truth?
Is this the wisest decision? (financial, relational, emotional, etc.)
Are any fears guiding my decision?
Would I regret this in a week, month, year, or ten years?
Which path brings me the most peace?
Have I sought Godly wisdom? 

Too often we live with anxiety about making the wrong choice. Chances are strong that we’ll make some decisions we wish we hadn’t. Making wrong choices is often what leads us to making better choices in our future. 

But no matter the choice we make, God’s love for us never increases or diminishes. He’s absolutely smitten with us. God’s transformative power changes us. With a renewed mind that is led by God’s Spirit, we can discern God’s best for our lives. 


  • In your life, do you often feel paralyzed when it comes to making big decisions? List a few things you are fearful about and ask God to reveal His truth to you. 

Psalm 119:105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Proverbs 3:5‭. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 12:15. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

James 1:5‭. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

James 3:17. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

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On this third day of this 5 day reading plan, our focus is on conforming not to this world but being transformed in our minds by the Holy Spirit to do God’s Will. We will never know it all, so relax if you don’t know it. Join the Christian crowd! Be comforted in knowing the known Will of God and do it. In so doing, God is more able to reveal His Will to us. Amen! Have a blessed day. P. S. Verses for today: Luke 22:39-46 and Romans 12:1-2.

There’s so much about God’s will that we don’t know. No matter how smart we are or what we try, we’ll never know what’s going to happen in the future. That’s God’s realm. Not only that, but there are things we pray for—even beg God for—that won’t happen as we desire. We’ll still have questions until the day we depart this earth.

While we can’t know it all, we can know more of God’s will. It’s true. Romans 12:2 states that God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect and that we’ll be able to test and approve it. But, in order to do that, we have to do something that can be quite a challenge. We must eliminate our need or desire to conform to what everyone else is doing and instead, allow our minds to be transformed by God’s power. 

This isn’t easy. It’s challenging because we are surrounded by influences that are far from godly. At every turn in our lives, we get bombarded by new ideas, new fascinations, and new people. New things aren’t bad, but we do have to figure out which ones pull us from God’s best. In order to grasp any part of God’s Unknown will, we have to bring Him our transformed mind. We have a transformed and renewed mind when we seek to follow Him in the Known will of God and the things He calls us to. 

Think about it like this. When we’re living in sin, giving in to every harmful temptation that crosses our path, how likely is it that we’ll be able to truly discern what God’s best is? We wonder why we can’t sense where God is leading us, and it’s because our lives can sometimes be wrapped up in the pleasures of this world. But when we obey God’s Known will by loving others well, choosing to refrain from gossip, and walking honestly in our lives, won’t it be easier to possibly discern God’s Unknown will that is “good, pleasing, and perfect” because our minds have been transformed? 

Today begins our daily opportunity to cast aside the standards our society puts in place as truth. As we do, we seek the power of God’s Holy Spirit to transform our minds. And with transformed minds there is no telling what God will reveal to us in His perfect timing. 


  • When it comes to the Unknown will of God, what are the things that you wish you could know now?
  • Instead of focusing on what will happen, what do you sense God is calling you to do right now?

Luke 22:39‭. And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46. And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Romans 12:1‭. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

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