Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Jesus is our center! He is the hub around which we turn. Rather than trying to add on to the truth of Jesus, we must learn to accept it and trust it in child-like faith. But that child-like faith must be nourished and grown. As Jesus remains our central focus and our hearts remain thankful to God for his grace, we will that our faith is strengthened and that Jesus is more real than ever.
Holy and Righteous God, please give me eyes to see evil and avoid it. Please give me wisdom to know deceptive and false teaching when it is placed before me. Empower me to live a thankful life of holiness so that I can live in Jesus to your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
As a child, I loved to receive gifts. In such a simple time of life, a gift meant I was loved. I didn’t worry about the significance or hidden message in a gift. I wasn’t concerned about the “strings attached” to the gift. It was just a gift — a free expression of love I didn’t deserve, given to me by someone who truly cared for me. Isn’t it great to get to be God’s child and receive his gift and know we can receive it as a child?!
Thank you, generous Father, for the gift of grace, the gift of faith, the gift of salvation, and most of all, the gift of Jesus. I know I can never repay these gifts, but I look forward to saying “Thank you!” through my lifestyle now and I look forward to continuing to say “Thank you!” through all eternity. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
~ Phil Ware
Jonah was disobedient, rebellious, and selfish. He had run from the Lord. He had shunned the Lord’s command. He had endangered the lives of those on the ship where he had tried to hide. Yet even in the middle of his rebellion, God heard his cry and delivered him. If you are in rebellion, if you are seeking to hide some secret and all-consuming sin, please know the Lord wants to ransom and redeem you! Things won’t be easy, but coming back to the Lord means ultimate redemption and deliverance.
Holy and righteous Father, please forgive me for the times that I am in rebellion to your will. Help me to recognize those times and give me the strength to avoid those temptations. In your grace, dear Father, please not only help me to live as you want me to live but also lead me to someone else who needs to know of your grace and redemption. Please use me to help them escape from their bondage to sin and shame. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
. . . you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God —
that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Jesus is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Let’s unpack those church words.
Righteousness — the ability to stand before God and be declared free from guilt.
Holiness — the character and nature that reflect the glory and sanctity of heaven.
Redemption — the gift of freedom bought at great expense.
Christians aren’t perfect? Hmmm!
We know this is true. But, because of Jesus’ loving sacrifice, we also know that in God’s eyes we’re righteous, holy, and redeemed.
That, dear friend of Jesus, is what we call amazing grace!
How can I thank you, wise and merciful Father, for the gift of Jesus? Your love in formulating the plan to send him, your sacrifice in having him become mortal, your agony when your own creations murdered him are too wonderful for understanding. But in my heart I do know that you did these things because of your loving grace and I want to thank you and praise you forever. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf,
do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless
and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the
work of your hands.
— Deuteronomy 24:19
This is clearly a passage old Scrooge hadn’t seen! God has
always set aside a provision for the poor. In this time of the year
when many people the world over take special time to look after those
who are less fortunate, let’s open our date books and schedule a
week to dedicate time for special generosity in May and in August
to go with a heart committed to be generous all the time. Let’s not
let generosity and concern for those less fortunate be a once a
For all of your wonderful gifts of kindness and grace, I thank
you, dear Father and God. Please stir my heart to care for others
as you do. Please help me keep that spirit of concern alive all
year long and not just around Christmas time. In Jesus’ name I ask
I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with
— Psalm 69:30
When was the last time you sang praises to God outside a church
or devotional service? Why not open up the Psalms and find several
verses that reflect your own praise and thanks to God and give them
a tune — your own tune! God doesn’t care if your spiritual gift is
music or not; he’s just listening for your heart to be full of joy
as you share your praise and thanksgiving with him.
O gracious Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, forgive
me for relegating my thanksgiving and praise to special days and
special places. I praise you for creating your human children with
the capacity to celebrate goodness, to rejoice in your creation,
and to have the capacity for praise and thanksgiving. Thank you for
making our world so full of reasons to offer thanks to you, our
Abba Father and Creator. As you continually fill me with your
Spirit, may my heart overflow with songs of praise and words of
thanksgiving. In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.
1 John 3:2
2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may
become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a
crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in
— Philippians 2:14-15
“Don’t complain or argue!” We don’t normally associate these
things with purity and blamelessness. Paul was extraordinarily
close to the Philippians and knew them well. He knew their
weaknesses and shortcomings. He also knew the destructive power
that complaining and arguing have on the life of an otherwise
vibrant community of Christians. Let’s heed his warning today, as
we see church after church taken under by the negative and cynical
spirit that pervades modern culture.
Forgive me and cleanse me, O God, from my argumentative spirit.
Please empower me with your Spirit to use my speech only to bless
and to build up, never to tear down or discourage. In Jesus’ name I
3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—
arranging the hair,
or putting on fine apparel—
4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart,
with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is very precious in the sight of God.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the
dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my
blessing on your descendants.
— Isaiah 44:3
Growing up in West Texas in part of my early years, I certainly
know what “thirsty land” truly is. The black dirt shrinks, leaving
deep cracks in the ground. All the grass turns yellow, then brown,
and then dies. A wisp of breeze stirs swirls of dust over the
barren land. When the downpour finally comes, the “thirsty land”
swallows voluminous amounts of water as the rain runs off the wet
surface and finds its way into the deep cracks left from the
drought. The ground swells, the grass comes back to life, and life
is replenished. In a barren spiritual wasteland, God’s Holy Spirit
pours out his blessing, brings times of refreshment, and
replenishes our thirsty hearts.
Generous and loving Father, thank you for so many blessings you
have poured into my life. Most of all, dear Father, thank you for
the blessing of your presence, your strength, your grace, and your
refreshment given to me through your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I
thank you. Amen.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things
beyond our understanding.
— Job 37:5
How does God help us know his will? Clearly God has given us the
Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to help us understand the
Scriptures. What about more subtle and less defined ways? Most of
us have had a “cluster of divine coincidences” (several events in
close proximity to prayer): a friend calls/writes at just the right
time; we read an article or hear a sermon that has a comment or two
directed at just the area of our concern or confusion; several
songs in worship convict us in the area on which we are seeking the
Lord’s guidance; or we simply feel a pull on our conscience that
helps us discern right from wrong in a difficult situation. God
really means it when he says that if we will pray for wisdom
without doubting he’ll give it to us and that if we are truly
seeking him we will find him. His voice does thunder in marvelous
Holy God, please help me discern your will about several
important matters in my life. I don’t want to make my decisions
based on my limited human wisdom. Please lead me by your Spirit in
the direction you want me to go and use me to bring you glory and
praise. Thank you for caring about my life enough to show me your
way more clearly. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him
who knocks, the door will be opened.
— Luke 11:10
God answers prayers! Recent research in the recovery of surgery
patients for whom others prayed seems to validate this. Our
experience suggests it is true. The Bible promises us that it is
so. But Luke emphasizes one specific answer to prayer that
God-seekers receive. God longs to give us a truly great and
wonderful gift: his presence in us through his Holy Spirit (vs.
13). Because of the indwelling Spirit, God can do unimaginable
things for us and through us.
Loving Father, the sacrifice of your Son for my sins is a truly
incredible gift. The blessing of salvation through Jesus is more
wonderful than words. The gracious gift of your presence in me
through your Holy Spirit is comforting and empowering. Thank you
for your assurance that as I seek you, you are eager to bless me.
In Jesus’ name I thank and praise you. Amen.