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Lord, Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Think—Luke 2:48

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-23, Luke 2:41-52, Mark 1:1b-8, Mathew 3:1-12, Luke 3:1-18, Mark 1:9-11, Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22

Heavenly Father, today I saw this verse in a new light.

His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” —Luke 2:48

The story of Mary and Joseph leaving Jesus at the temple was one I first heard as a small child but as I read it today it gave me comfort as a parent and an aging adult who spends a lot of time shaking my head over the inconsistencies and self-centeredness in today’s world.

Mary and Joseph were parenting the son of God. Jesus was sinless, yet his parents went through three days of hell when they realized he wasn’t with them when they started home to Nazareth (Luke 2:41-52). Their first thoughts were “why have you done this to us?”

Lord, I must admit that I’ve asked myself this question many times over the years as a parent. The answer Jesus would give and the answer my kids would give would most likely be the same one: “I wasn’t thinking about you at all.” In Jesus case, He was about His Heavenly Father’s will for His time on earth. In the case of my kids, they were thinking about their life, their agenda, and their ideals.

This is really hard for parents to understand because from the time we find out we’re pregnant everything we do is for our children. It is a rude awakening when we realize that the opposite is true with them—the moment a child is born they begin the fight for their independence from their parents.

Lord, I’m sure You understand this because You are a parent. You sacrificed Your son so that we can be with You in heaven and most days it’s all about us and we don’t think about You or Your Will at all.

For Mary, this was a turning point. Jesus was only twelve but she knew the tearing away had begun and it was going to be painful.

Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. —Luke 2:51

Heavenly Father, I want to follow Your example as a parent. The most important gift You gave Your children is the freedom of choice. Help me to encourage my children, grandchildren and future generations to experience Your gift of choice. I pray they choose You!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 1:12-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-15, John 1:19-2:25

Holy Spirit, Come Upon Me—Luke 2:25-27

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 1:39-80, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-40

Heavenly Father, sometimes when I read Your Word I sound like I’m window shopping at my favorite mall. “I want that” and “I want that” and “Oh, I need that!”

Those were exactly my thoughts when I read these verses:

At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple… —Luke 2:25-27

Lord, I want to be…

  • Righteous
  • Devout
  • Eagerly waiting Your return

I want the…

  • Holy Spirit to come upon me
  • Spirit to lead me

Jesus, before You came it was rare for Your Spirit to come upon people. We live in such an amazing time. Your death, burial, resurrection, and return to heaven not only gave those who accept You as their savior the promise of eternal life but You Sent the Holy Spirit to live within us as our constant counselor, comforter, and guide.

Holy Spirit, as this day begins, please come upon me and lead me to the places, situations, and people who are part of Your plan for my day.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-23, Luke 2:41-52, Mark 1:1b-8,Matthew 3:1-12, Luke 3:1-18, Mark 1:9-11, Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22

Lord, May Everything You Have Said About Me Come True—Luke 1:38

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 1:1a, Luke 1:1-4, John 1:1-18, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23b-38, Luke 1:5-38

Heavenly Father, there are so many voices in the world and in my head telling me what I should be and how I should think. You are the only voice I want to follow.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. —Luke 1:38

Lord, Mary trusted You completely. It would have been easy for her to doubt. I’m sure over the course of her life she was the subject of gossip and criticism but she made a decision to believe You and what You said would come true in her life.

Lord, I want the faith of Mary. No one knows me better than You. You made me. You know what I’m capable of being, You know how my life is going to play out. You are the only one who will never leave me.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me,O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!—Psalm 139:14-19

Lord, may everything You say about me come true!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 1:39-80, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-40

Lord, I Want My Name On This Scroll—Malachi 3:16-18

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Malachi 2:10-4:6, Joel 1:1-3:21

Heavenly Father, this is who I want to be—a person who fears You and always thinks about the honor of Your name. I want to be Your special treasure.

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.

“They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” —Malachi 3:16-18

Lord, I have failed You many times. Show me when my heart begins to stray. I want to serve You in a way that honors Your name for the rest of my life.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 1:1a, Luke 1:1-4, John 1:1-8, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23b-38, Luke 1:5-38

Lord, Give Me Cause for Great Joy—Nehemiah 12:43

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 12:27-13:6, Nehemiah 5:14-19, Nehemiah 13:7-31, Malachi 1:1-2:9

Heavenly Father, I can’t imagine the feelings of the people of Judah as they gathered to celebrate the completion of the new wall of Jerusalem. Yes, they were happy because things were getting back to normal and the finished wall made them feel safe but I think there was another reason for their joy.

Many sacrifices were offered on that joyous day, for God had given the people cause for great joy. The women and children also participated in the celebration, and the joy of the people of Jerusalem could be heard far away. —Nehemiah 12:43

Lord, You knew this project would be something that would unite this divided group of people. You knew the power of working towards a cause that is so big that it’s impossible for one or two people to make it happen. You knew the power of teamwork. Nehemiah was Your chosen leader for this project and You gifted him with a supernatural understanding of the power of joy.

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” —Nehemiah 8:10

Jesus, when you came to earth and died for us, Your message and Your kingdom became our “cause for great joy!” Help us to unite and work as a team to help others to know You more.

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Malachi 2:10-4:6, Joel 1:1-3:21

Lord, Help Me to Learn From The Mistakes of Others—Nehemiah 13:26-27

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26, 1 Chronicles 9:1b-34

Heavenly Father, Nehemiah was an amazing leader. He gave us so many lessons on leadership, character, and perseverance. The lesson in these verses focuses on learning from the mistakes of others.

Wasn’t this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?” I demanded. “There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives. How could you even think of committing this sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women?”—Nehemiah 13:26-27

Lord, as I read the Bible I’ve asked myself the same question Nehemiah asked, “how could they do that again and again?” Why didn’t they learn from the mistakes of their ancestors?

Learning from the mistakes of others is what the Bible’s all about. Adam, Abraham, Noah, Saul, David, Solomon, Peter—they all made their fair share of mistakes. Your Word gives us a look into the consequences of those mistakes and encourage us to learn from their poor choices.

There’s an old cliché that says experience is the best teacher, but that’s not true. By the time you’ve personally learned the all the lessons, you’re too old to use the knowledge. Learning from the experiences of others is the best teacher.

Lord, help me to learn from the mistakes of others and help others to learn from my mistakes.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 12:27-13:6, Nehemiah 5:14-19, Nehemiah 13:7-31, Malachi 1:1-2:9

Lord, What Do You Think of My Worship? —Nehemiah 9:1-4

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 8:13-10:39

Heavenly Father, as I read these verses I have many questions.

On October 31 the people assembled again, and this time they fasted and dressed in burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors. They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God. The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani—stood on the stairway of the Levites and cried out to the Lord their God with loud voices. —Nehemiah 9:1-4

How could they stand for two 3-hour stretches?

Were they really listening to Your Word for three hours or did their mind wander off the way mine sometime does?

Were they sincerely sorry for their sins or were they just going through the motions?

Lord, here’s the real question that is stirring inside of me:

Lord, what do You think of the time I spend with You? What do You think of my worship?”

Certain types of clothing, a pre-determined postures, or long seasons of prayer and worship aren’t seen in today’s worship but You but You deserve it. You deserve to be honored this way. You deserve this kind of worship.

I want to worship You in a way that pleasing to You. I want to be the kind of worshiper John spoke about:

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” —John 4:23-24

Lord, what is a true worshiper?

What do You mean by worship the Father in spirit and in truth?

Lord, show me! Teach me to worship You in spirit and in truth.

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26, 1 Chronicles 9:1b-34

Lord, I Need an Idea-Nehemiah 7:4-5


Today’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 7:4-8:12

Heavenly Father, I am continually amazed at the simplicity of Your Word.  Yes, there were times when You parted the waters, raised the dead, and killed the giants, but there were also times when You just gave someone an idea!

At that time the city was large and spacious, but the population was small, and none of the houses had been rebuilt. So my God gave me the idea to call together all the nobles and leaders of the city, along with the ordinary citizens, for registration. I had found the genealogical record of those who had first returned to Judah. 

Nehemiah 7:4-5

Nehemiah’s job was done. The wall was complete; everyone inside was safe, right?

Not exactly.

Nehemiah knew very well that the safety of a city, under God, depends more upon the number and valour of the inhabitants than upon the height or strength of its walls.

Nehemiah knew what was needed–the Jews to return to the city, but what he didn’t know how to get them to come home.

Until You gave him the idea…

Lord, You’ve given me some great ideas in my life. Some that completely changed the course of my life. Forgive me for taking credit for “Your ideas.”  Help me to be like Nehemiah and recognize Your ideas and then tell the world that You are the “idea giver!”

Lord, I don’t know what today holds. I know things will come up that I don’t know how to handle. I’ll be waiting for You to send me a great idea!

 

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 8:13-10:39

Lord, Help Me to Think It Over—Nehemiah 5:6-7

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 3:1-7:3

Heavenly Father, thank You for Nehemiah’s example of dealing with conflict.

When I heard their complaints, I was very angry. After thinking it over, I spoke out against these nobles and officials. I told them, “You are hurting your own relatives by charging interest when they borrow money!” Then I called a public meeting to deal with the problem. —Nehemiah 5:6-7

In today’s reading Nehemiah was angry. He wasn’t just angry he was VERY angry. Not only was he angry, he was tired, stressed, and dirty; not the best conditions to exhibit self-control.

Anger happens. It rises up in us as a knee-jerk reaction to the circumstances around us. To suppress our anger and pretend to be “fine” isn’t healthy, emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Neither is allowing anger to empower us to lash out at those who make us angry or take it out on the first person we see.

Nehemiah chose a different path. He chose to think it over.

Lord, “thinking it over” is a choice. In times of extreme anger it’s not the easy choice, it’s sometimes not the choice I want to make. In my anger I’d rather lash out and “share my pain” with the person or persons whose actions, or lack of actions have caused my blood to boil.

Lord, through Nehemiah You gave us a great example of the appropriate way to confront difficult situations and deal with our anger. Help me to remember these four steps the next time I’m overcome with anger:

Step 1: Acknowledge my anger

Step 2: Thinks it over

Step 3: Confronts the situation calmly and sensibly

Step 4: Finds a solution

 

Lord, Your Word is so relevant for my life. I’m constantly amazed by You!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 7:4-8:12

Lord, Revive Me for Your Purpose—Ezra 9:9

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading:  Ezra 9:1-10:44, Nehemiah 1:1-2:20

Heavenly Father, You spared a remnant of Your people for a purpose. They may have thought they were coming home to settle down to a way of life that was secure, familiar, and comfortable but You had other something bigger in mind. Your people were revived for a purpose.

For we were slaves, but in his unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery. Instead, he caused the kings of Persia to treat us favorably. He revived us so we could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins. He has given us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem. —Ezra 9:9

Lord, when I think of the word revive, my first thought goes to the defibrillator machines hospitals use to shock a person’s heart into beating properly. I would think the Jewish exiles needed a supernatural jolt to revive them to have the energy, passion, or strength to rebuild the Temple.

Holy Spirit, like the Jews returning from exile, I need to be revived. The world is a hard place these days and it’s easy to allow discouragement to leave us feeling overwhelmed.  I need to be revived by Your supernatural power.  Lord, I don’t just ask this for my comfort. My greatest desire is to be revived and anointed to carry out the plans You have for me.

Lord, I know You have a purpose for this day. Revive me, then use me for Your Glory!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:Nehemiah 3:1-7:3

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