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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3390 - 11/08/17 at 08:16:02
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Psalm 141:3 (KJV)
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.


Think Before You Speak

Cheung was upset with his wife for failing to check the directions to the famous restaurant where they hoped to dine. The family had planned to round out their holiday in Japan with a scrumptious meal before catching the flight home. Now they were running late and would have to miss that meal. Frustrated, Cheung criticized his wife for her poor planning.

Later Cheung regretted his words. He had been too harsh, plus he realized that he could have checked the directions himself and he had failed to thank his wife for the other seven days of great planning.

Jesus, give us the words to say and the wisdom to know when to keep silent.

Many of us may identify with Cheung. We are tempted to blow up when angry and to let words fly without control. Oh, how we need to pray as the psalmist did: “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3).

But how can we do that? Here’s a helpful tip: Think before you speak. Are your words good and helpful, gracious and kind? (See Eph. 4:29–32.)

Setting a guard over our mouth requires that we keep our mouth shut when we’re irritated and that we seek the Lord’s help to say the right words with the right tone or, perhaps, not speak at all. When it comes to controlling our speech, it’s a lifelong work. Thankfully, God is working in us, giving us “the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Phil. 2:13 nlt).

Dear Lord, help us always to think before speaking. Give us the words to say and the wisdom to know when to keep silent.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

INSIGHT

Scripture has a great deal to say about the power of our words. One of the most familiar New Testament passages is James 3:1–12. According to James, keeping control of our tongue is one of the hardest things we can do. However, before we lose hope in being able to speak good words to one another, consider David’s words in Psalm 141.

Here, tucked in the middle of his other requests, David asks the Lord to set a guard over his mouth (v. 3). He desires to live a life that contrasts with the evildoers around him (v. 5). Spirit-controlled and God-honoring speech is one thing that separates the righteous from evildoers, and it is God who helps us control our speech.
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3391 - 11/09/17 at 07:23:41
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Revelation 22:3-4 (KJV)
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.


A Good Ending

As the lights dimmed and we prepared to watch Apollo 13, my friend said under his breath, “Shame they all died.” I watched the movie about the 1970 spaceflight with apprehension, waiting for tragedy to strike, and only near the closing credits did I realize I’d been duped. I hadn’t known or remembered the end of the true story—that although the astronauts faced many hardships, they made it home alive.

In Christ, we can know the end of the story—that we too will make it home alive. By that I mean we will live forever with our heavenly Father, as we see in the book of Revelation. The Lord will create a “new heaven and a new earth” as He makes all things new (21:1, 5). In the new city, the Lord God will welcome His people to live with Him, without fear and without the night. We have hope in knowing the end of the story.

God promises His people a good end to the story.

What difference does this make? It can transform times of extreme difficulty, such as when people face the loss of a loved one or even their own death. Though we recoil at the thought of dying, yet we can embrace the joy of the promise of eternity. We long for the city where no longer will there be any curse, where we’ll live forever by God’s light (22:5).

Lord Jesus Christ, give me unfailing hope, that I might rest in Your promises and welcome Your life eternal.

God promises His people a good end to the story.

INSIGHT

In Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, he writes about Revelation 22:1–5: “The presence of God in heaven is the health and happiness of the saints. . . . The devil has no power there . . . . There will be no night; no affliction or dejection, no pause in service or enjoyment: no diversions or pleasures of man’s inventing will be desired there.” In this “new heaven and earth,” Jesus will wipe away our tears and “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (21:4). The promise of an end to our suffering can bring a glimmer of hope and joy to our life when we face difficulties, but the brightest hope comes in the knowledge that one day we as His followers will be in the presence of our Lord who loves us. Free from temptation, free from sin, and free from pain and sadness and death, we’ll have only joy in the service of the King!

How does the promise of this bright future help you today when you face troubles and trials? What about heaven do you most anticipate?
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3392 - 11/10/17 at 07:54:53
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2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV)
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.


The Hand of Comfort

“Patient is combative,” the nurse’s notes read.

What she didn’t realize until later was that I was having an allergic reaction as I awakened after a complicated open-heart surgery. I was a mess, with a tube down my throat. My body began shaking violently, straining against the straps on my arms, which were there to keep me from suddenly pulling out my breathing tube. It was a frightening and painful episode. At one point, a nurse’s assistant to the right side of my bed reached down and simply held my hand. It was an unexpected move, and it struck me as especially gentle. I began to relax, which caused my body to stop shaking so badly.

Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us.

Having experienced this with other patients, the nurse’s assistant knew that a hand of comfort could minister to me as well. It was a vivid example of how God uses comfort when His children suffer.

Comfort is a powerful and memorable tool for any caregiver, and Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 it’s an important part of God’s toolbox. Not only that, but God also multiplies the impact of His comfort by calling us to use the memory of the comfort He gives us to comfort others in similar situations (vv. 4–7). It is but another sign of His great love; and one we can share with others—sometimes in the simplest of gestures.

Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us, either directly or through the acts of Your children. Help us to see where we can apply that same comfort to others in and for Your name.

Simple gestures can bring powerful comfort.

INSIGHT

This passage demonstrates how our personal pain can help others who suffer. Paul uses the word comfort both vertically and horizontally. God extends comfort to us, then we can offer comfort to others. In this way, our pain can become a conduit of care for those in distress and lead to gratitude in the midst of pain. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3).

Can you think of a time when God used others to encourage and comfort you?
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3393 - 11/11/17 at 08:12:11
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Genesis 1:9-10 (KJV)
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.


The Good Earth

While orbiting the moon in 1968, Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders described the crew’s close-up view of the moonscape. He called it “a foreboding horizon . . . a stark and unappetizing-looking place.” Then the crew took turns reading to a watching world from Genesis 1:1–10. After Commander Frank Borman finished verse 10, “And God saw that it was good,” he signed off with, “God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”

The opening chapter of the Bible insists on two facts:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Creation is God’s work. The phrase “and God said . . .” beats in cadence all the way through the chapter. The entire magnificent world we live in is the product of His creative work. All that follows in the Bible reinforces the message of Genesis 1: Behind all of history, there is God.

Creation is good. Another sentence tolls softly, like a bell, throughout this chapter. “And God saw that it was good.” Much has changed since that first moment of creation. Genesis 1 describes the world as God wanted it, before any spoiling. Whatever beauty we sense in nature today is a faint echo of the pristine state God created.

The Apollo 8 astronauts saw Earth as a brightly colored ball hanging alone in space. It looked at once awesomely beautiful and fragile. It looked like the view from Genesis 1.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace, whose robe is the light, whose canopy space; His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form, and dark is His path on the wings of the storm. Robert Grant

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

INSIGHT

Comparing Genesis 1 with John 1, we see all three members of the Godhead engaged in the work of creation. The Bible begins with a bold declaration in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In verse 2, the author continues to paint the picture of creation, telling us that the Spirit of God was “hovering over the waters.” John illuminates the involvement of Christ in creation: “Through [Christ] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3).

As you reflect on the beauty of creation, what does it tell you about God’s character?

  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3394 - 11/12/17 at 08:43:52
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2 Chronicles 2:5 (KJV)
And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.


What’s the Best Gift?

My husband recently celebrated a milestone birthday, the kind that ends in a zero. I thought hard about the best way to honor him on this important occasion. I discussed my many ideas with our children to help me home in on the best one. I wanted our celebration to reflect the significance of a new decade and how precious he is to our family. I wanted our gift to be in keeping with the importance of this milestone in his life.

King Solomon wanted to give to God a much greater gift than a “big birthday” would merit. He wished for the temple he built to be worthy of God’s presence in it. To secure raw materials, he messaged the king of Tyre. In his letter, he remarked that the temple would be great “because our God is greater than all other gods” (2 Chron. 2:5). He acknowledged that God’s vastness and goodness far exceeded what could ever be built with human hands, yet set about the task anyway out of love and worship.

The most treasured gift we can give to God is our love.

Our God is indeed greater than all other gods. He has done wondrous things in our lives, prompting our hearts to bring Him a loving and precious offering, regardless of its external value. Solomon knew his gift wouldn’t match God’s worth, yet joyfully set his offering before Him; we can too.

Lord, You are indeed a great God, matchless in worth. May my offerings be pleasing in Your sight.

The most treasured gift we can give to God is our love.
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3395 - 11/13/17 at 05:49:43
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2 Corinthians 8:7 (KJV)
Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.


Multiplied Generosity

Cheryl was in for a surprise as she pulled up to deliver her next pizza. Expecting to arrive at a home, she instead found herself outside a church. Cheryl confusedly carried the pepperoni pizza inside, where she was met by the pastor.

“Is it fair to say life hasn’t been easy for you?” the pastor asked her. Cheryl agreed it hadn’t. With that, he brought out two offering plates that church members had filled with money. The pastor then poured over $750 into Cheryl’s delivery bag as a tip! Unbeknownst to Cheryl, the pastor had asked the pizza shop to send their most financially strapped driver over. Cheryl was stunned. She could now pay some bills.

See that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7

When the first Christians in Jerusalem faced poverty, it was a church that rushed to their aid. Though in need themselves, the Macedonian Christians gave sacrificially, considering it a privilege to do so (2 Cor. 8:1–4). Paul cited their generosity as an example for the Corinthians, and us, to follow. When we use our plenty to supply another’s need, we reflect Jesus, who gave away His riches to meet our own spiritual poverty (v. 9).

Cheryl told all her customers about the church’s kindness that day, and, following its example, donated the rest of the day’s tips to others in need. An act of generosity multiplied. And Christ was glorified.

Lord, You meet our needs in surprising ways sometimes. Use us to do that for others as well.


Our generosity meets needs and glorifies Jesus.

INSIGHT

The believers in Jerusalem were suffering because of a severe famine (see Acts 11:28–29), and the Macedonians—though needy themselves—responded with generous financial aid (2 Cor. 8:1–5). The Corinthians had enthusiastically offered help, but they were slack in carrying it out (8:10–11; 9:1–3). Paul reminded them that God had blessed them abundantly so that they could be generous and share that abundance (8:14–15; 9:8–11). He challenged them to honor their promise completely (8:6–12; 9:5) and quotes Psalm 112:9 to encourage their generous giving (2 Cor. 9:9).

How might God be leading you to show generosity today?
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3396 - 11/14/17 at 05:41:34
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1 John 3:1 (KJV)
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.


Great Love

Recently, we took our twenty-two-month-old granddaughter, Moriah, overnight for the first time without her older brothers. We lavished lots of loving, undivided attention on her, and had fun doing the things she likes to do. The next day after dropping her off, we said our goodbyes and headed out the door. As we did, without a word Moriah grabbed her overnight bag (still sitting by the door) and began following us.

The picture is etched in my memory: Moriah in her diaper and mismatched sandals ready to depart with Grandma and Grandpa again. Every time I think of it, I smile. She was eager to go with us, ready for more individualized time.

How deep is the Father’s love for us!

Although she is as yet unable to vocalize it, our granddaughter feels loved and valued. In a small way, our love for Moriah is a picture of the love God has for us, His children. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

When we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we become His children and begin to understand the lavish love He bestowed on us by dying for us (v. 16). Our desire becomes to please Him in what we say and do (v. 6)—and to love Him, eager to spend time with Him.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving us so much that You died for us and rose again that we might have eternal life with You. Help us to be examples of Your love to all we meet.

How deep is the Father’s love for us!

INSIGHT

Another great statement on God’s love is found in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This dovetails with the key verse in today’s devotional because God’s love that declares us His beloved children is made available to us by Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf. He has proven His love on the cross and lavishes that love in relationship—revealing a divine love that could not be satisfied any other way. John 3:16 says that God gave His Son for us. His unquenchable love for us could only be satisfied by doing everything it took to reconcile us to Himself.
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3397 - 11/15/17 at 04:54:09
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Luke 11:13 (KJV)
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?


How Much More!

In October 1915, during World War I, Oswald Chambers arrived at Zeitoun Camp, a military training center near Cairo, Egypt, to serve as a YMCA chaplain to British Commonwealth soldiers. When he announced a weeknight religious service, 400 men packed the large YMCA hut to hear Chambers’s talk titled, “What Is the Good of Prayer?” Later, when he spoke individually with men who were trying to find God in the midst of war, Oswald often quoted Luke 11:13, “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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The free gift of God through His Son, Jesus, is forgiveness, hope, and His living presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit. “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (v. 10).

God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is available to each of us today.

On November 15, 1917, Oswald Chambers died unexpectedly from a ruptured appendix. To honor him, a soldier led to faith in Christ by Oswald purchased a marble carving of a Bible with the message of Luke 11:13 on its open page and placed it beside his grave: “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” This amazing gift from God is available to each of us today.

Father, You are the giver of all good gifts. We thank You for the great gift of the Holy Spirit who lives in us and guides us in Your truth today.

God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is available to each of us today.

INSIGHT

Would you want a God who gave you everything you asked for? Or would that be a bit frightening? While Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1–4), He described God as being like a loving Father who would not give them a scorpion if they asked for an egg.

Was He just assuring us that God is good? Or was He gently suggesting something about us? Was He hinting that sometimes we don’t know how to pray for our own good? (Rom 8:26). Maybe that’s why He promised that His Father would share His Spirit with those who trusted Him for what is best (Luke 11:13).
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3398 - 11/16/17 at 08:45:30
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Psalm 89:15 (KJV)
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.


In His Presence

The seventeenth-century monk Brother Lawrence, before a day’s work as cook in his community, would pray, “O my God . . . grant me your grace to stay in your presence. Help me in my labors. Possess all my affections.” As he worked, he kept talking to God, listening for His leading and dedicating his work to Him. Even when he was busiest, he would use intervals of relative calm to ask for His grace. No matter what was happening, he sought for and found a sense of his Maker’s love.

As Psalm 89 confesses, the fitting response to the Creator of all who rules the oceans and is worshiped by hosts of angels is to lift up our lives—our whole lives to Him. When we understand the beauty of who God is we “hear the joyful call to worship”—whenever and wherever we are, “all day long” (vv. 15–16 nlt).

Every moment can be lived in God’s presence.

Whether it’s standing in store or airport lines, or waiting on hold minute after minute, our lives are full of moments like these, times when we could get annoyed. Or these can be times when we catch our breath and see each of these pauses as an opportunity to learn to “walk in the light of [God’s] presence” (v. 15).

The “wasted” moments of our lives, when we wait or lay ill or wonder what to do next, are all possible pauses to consider our lives in the light of His presence.  guest writer

Every moment can be lived in God’s presence.

INSIGHT

This Messianic psalm reflects on the eternal covenant that will ultimately be realized through King David’s descendant, the Lord Jesus Christ. It develops themes of God’s love and protection for His covenant people, laying the foundation for worshiping God wherever we are.

What opportunities can you take today to praise God?
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3399 - 11/17/17 at 05:48:47
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Philippians 4:10 (KJV)
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.


Serve and Be Served

Marilyn had been ill for many weeks, and many people had encouraged her through this difficult time. How will I ever repay all their kindnesses? she worried. Then one day she read the words of a written prayer: “Pray that [others] will develop humility, allowing them not only to serve, but also to be served.” Marilyn suddenly realized there was no need to balance any scale, but just to be thankful and allow others to experience the joy of serving.

In Philippians 4, the apostle Paul expressed his gratitude for all those who shared “in [his] troubles” (v. 14). He depended on people to support him as he preached and taught the gospel. He understood that the gifts provided for him when he was in need were simply an extension of people’s love for God: “[Your gifts] are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (v. 18).

Dear Lord, thank You for caring for us through Your people. May we graciously give and receive help.

It may not be easy to be the one on the receiving end—especially if you’ve usually been the first one to help other people. But with humility, we can allow God to gently care for us by a variety of means when we need help.

Paul wrote, “My God will meet all your needs” (v. 19). It was something he had learned during a life of trials. God is faithful and His provision for us has no limits.

Dear Lord, thank You for caring for us through Your people. May we graciously give and receive help.

Receive love. Give love. Repeat.

INSIGHT

Paul was a tentmaker by trade and often worked to support himself while he ministered to people in various cities (see Acts 18:3). However, at times Paul relied on the giving and generosity of others (see Phil 4:14–16). He also encouraged generosity among the churches, calling on members of the global body of Christ to meet each other’s needs (see 1 Cor. 16:1–4).

Many times God provides for us through the giving of others. Reflect on how God has provided for you or used you to meet the needs of others.

  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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