This is the day that YOU have made
and we will rejoice and be glad in it!
So for this day we are GRATEFUL.
We acknowledge that we don’t enter this day because we created it,
But You gave us this day as a GIFT
Your breath in our lungs
So we give You the praise.
We give You the power.
We acknowledge Your Sovereignty
That doesn’t push us away from feeling worthless,
But it keeps us from becoming prideful.
It brings us to a place of great need for a Savior who desires to save.
Desires to protect.
Desires to draw close.
God there is nothing that you desire more than for your children to acknowledge your Presence
for in your presence there is fullness of joy.
And this joy does not disappoint.
This joy does not quit.
This joy does not grow weak.
But it strengthens us. It purifies us.
It shows us that there is a far greater Anchor for our soul than the ways of this world.
So Father I pray that we understand that there is no distance from where Your Presence is and from where we are.
It’s only our awareness of it.
So God, as we come to You in prayer,
I ask that the Holy Spirit would awaken us and cause our spirit to see You.
To get a glimpse of You.
So that we may be forever changed.
For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does (Psalm 33:4 NIV).
Some people just seem happy and positive all the time. They appear to never worry and fret. These people act like they eat rainbows for breakfast and ride a unicorn to work. But life isn’t all lucky charms. Sometimes it is just plain hard. We anticipate trials. Jesus promised trouble. “In this world you will have trouble,” He warned (John 16:33).
So what if the worst thing you can imagine does happen? What then?
What if my child gets sick?
What if my husband does leave?
What if I lose my job?
What if I get on a plane to go to a speaking engagement and the plane crashes?
I decided a long time ago, when I get on a plane, I’m either going to get where I’m headed, or I’m going to heaven. Either one is all right with me. I know that whatever may happen in this life, God’s still on His throne, and He’s in control.
Yes, worry is a down payment on a problem that you may never have . . . but sometimes you do have the problem. Sometimes the sinkhole is worse than you ever imaged. But here’s what you can always grab hold of when you feel you’re being sucked down: God will be right smack dab in the middle of your sinkhole even if your worst “what if” does occur.
What is your greatest fear? What worries threaten to hold you hostage? Perhaps you’ve already experienced your greatest fear. Maybe you have lost a child, gone through a divorce, foreclosed on your home. Perhaps you’ve already gone through radiation, filed for bankruptcy, or lost your job.
If you have already experienced your greatest fears, then oddly enough, you have an advantage over those who haven’t. You’ve seen that God does give you the strength to get through your most horrendous seasons imaginable. You’ve come out on the other side and realized that by the grace of God you’ve made it.
None of us would choose to experience the horrific losses or painful situations that are part of living this side of heaven. But some treasures can only be discovered in dark places. One such treasure unearthed by those on the other side of their worst “what ifs” is the knowledge of God’s sustaining power that got them though and held them up--that gave them the power to move on despite the losses and live bold despite the pain.
The truth is, the worst “what if” that could ever occur already has--what if someone killed the Son of God? What if they forced a crown of piercing thorns on his head, thrashed a flesh-tearing whip embedded with sharp objects across his back, spat in His face, beat Him with fists, nailed his feet and hands to a splintery cross? What if they plunged a sword into his side? What if they murdered Jesus? What if that happened?
Oh, friend, it is with tears in my eyes that I type those words. But there’s more to the story. You know the rest.
Death was not the end of the story. It never is. Three days later God rolled the stone away from the mouth of the cave in which Jesus was buried, and Hope walked out in newness of life--resurrection life.
Because of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ; because of the power of the Holy Spirit who now lives within us, we no longer have to buckle under the spirit of fear or go weak-kneed due to worry. We can live bold knowing that God empowers and equips us to do everything He has called us to do. We can refuse to bury our dreams in shallow graves of fear, but live in bold obedience expecting the best.
Lord, no matter what happens in my life, I know that You are faithful, loving, and kind. Help me to trust in Your Sovereignty, knowing that You are in control. Even if the worst “what if” happens in my life, I know that You can use it for good.
In Jesus’ Name,
By Sharon Jaynes
Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get. (Matthew 7:12, MSG)
On our recent vacation I was captured by the joyful spirit of our LYFT driver, Denise. She greeted us with a big welcoming hug (at 6:30am!) and after battling the traffic to the airport for an hour, she left us with a soft smile and an even more intense goodbye embrace. But during the drive she described the daily care of her son stricken from birth with sickle cell anemia. His recent graduation to heaven at age 19 opened up new options for her energy to be reallocated to serve others outside her family. Denise was our new friend, because she gave us the gift of her loving presence and caring interest. Love grabs the initiative to serve, just as it enjoys being served.
The verses preceding the Golden Rule illustrate the requirement for our loving relationship with people to flow out of our loving relationship with our heavenly Father. The Golden Rule is empowered by the Platinum Rule: to see others as God sees them, to serve others as Jesus would serve them and to love others as the Lord loves them. Our love alone is inferior—it only takes us so far, but when our love is infused by the Holy Spirit it is superior in its ability to go the second, third and fourth mile for the sake of others. Our visible love is sustained by God’s invisible love.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).
What does it mean to be other centered? One attribute is the art of asking heartfelt questions:
How is your family? How is your heart? How is your health? What are your dreams? What gives you energy? What is the biggest challenge you are facing? What are you learning from the Lord? How can I pray for you? Caring questions are a safe and effective way to express to others how much we care for them. People tend to come alive when they open up about themselves.
Make sure you go the next step and not only ask good questions, but be an even better listener. Traits of a good listener are eye contact and the ability to repeat back to the individual what they said in a way that makes them feel understood. Also, others are convinced of your genuine interest in them when you don’t highjack the conversation to “relate” to them with your similar story. Share small examples of your life experience to show you empathize, but refocus quickly on the other person’s story. Interest in others is infectious. What are you doing for others - today?
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me by Your Spirit to love and care for those who cross my path. Give me an interest for what interests others.
By Boyd Bailey
God is WITHIN me
I WILL NOT be Disgraced
When we think about God’s love, it’s hard for us to not filter it through how we view love which in our humanity, is confined by our limitations. We can often restrict the love that we give by the love we receive. But God’s love doesn’t work that way. The love He gives and the love that He is doesn’t hold into account the love we give to Him. Often, the love we give to Him is confined by shame that we feel when we realize we aren’t worthy. We’ve done this. We’ve done that. How can God love me? How can He still accept me?
Shame is real. Feeling like a disgrace is real. But God’s love within us covers those powerful emotions and beckons us closer.
Check out this week’s #GodWITHINme video that reminds us that we will NOT BE disgraced. His love is oh so powerful. Oh so welcoming. Oh so near.
Sometime it’s so hard to trust what you don’t see
Sometimes it gets discouraging to wait in joy
Sometimes it’s tempting to give up.
In these moments Father,
I pray You give us the strength to remember
The way You have led us up until this point.
The way Your faithfulness has carried us even when
We were unfaithful.
The way Your love captured us even when we
Weren’t looking for it
The way Your Truth found us when
We were living a lie.
When we can’t trace Your hands in our lives
Let us resolve to trust Your heart for us.
In Your name,