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Lord, I Need Your Courage—1 Thessalonians 2:2

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 17:16-18:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:11

Heavenly Father, I’m not a doomsday prophet but it’s easy to see the day is coming when a line in the sand will be drawn and I will have a choice, Your Son or serious negative consequences.

Lord, I want the courage of Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition. —1 Thessalonians 2:2

Jesus, the last couple of nights as I’ve drifted off to sleep, thoughts have crossed my mind about what it would happen if I had to choose You or death.

Jesus, You chose me over death. I want to have the courage to stand tall and strong for You, in spite of the great opposition.

Holy Spirit, You know the future, equip me with supernatural courage to boldly declare the good news of Jesus whatever the consequences.

In the mighty Name of Jesus. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18, Acts 18:4-23

Lord, Sometimes I Disagree—Acts 15:36-40

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 15:22-Acts 17:15

Heavenly Father, thank You for including this passage in Your Word:

After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. —Acts 15:36-40

Lord, I know there are many scriptures that speak to love, peace, long-suffering, and gentleness as it relates to dealing with others . Displaying the Fruit of the Spirit is definitely my goal but sometimes I fall short. These verses give me a ring-side seat into a biblical disagreement and offer my “Paul personality” a break from the occasional condemnation that plagues my mind. Here are five things I see in these verses.

Sometimes believers…

1. Disagree

2. Have different standards

3. Can be passionate and raise their voices

4. Have to agree to disagree

5. Can’t work together

Lord, I don’t see these verses as license to fly off the handle but once again Your Word lets me know that no one is perfect and sometimes a good old-fashioned disagreement can be the human response.

Holy Spirit, forgive me when I handle confrontation in a way that’s not pleasing to You. Teach me how to disagree.

Thank You for Your grace. In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 17:16-18:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:11

Lord, There’s a Fight Going on Inside Me—Galatians 5:16-17

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:24-6:18, Acts 15:1-21

Holy Spirit, I want You to guide my life.

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. —Galatians 5:16-17

Lord, I’ve known You since I was a little girl but sometimes I wonder, “Am I ever going to destroy my sinful nature?”

From everything Your Word tells me, the answer is no. As long as I’m on this earth the fight will continue. But that sinful, evil nature will become smaller and smaller as I submit my human nature to You.

This story is the perfect visual…

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Holy Spirit, You represent everything good about me. My evil nature doesn’t have a chance against You. I already know how the story ends—YOU WIN!

Holy Spirit, today I choose to feed the God woman in me. I choose to rely on Your guidance, listen to Your voice and make a conscious effort to silence the voices of my sinful nature.

Looking to You for guidance today.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 15:22-Acts 17:15

Lord, Do We Still Have to Obey the Old Testament Laws? —Galatians 3:19

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 14:21-28, Galatians 1:1-3-23 

Heavenly Father, I love Your Old Testament! The stories of the patriarchs and prophets build my faith. But it can be challenging to understand how the law of the Old Testament and the free gift of salvation Jesus died to give us fit together into today’s world.

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. —Galatians 3:19

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Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. —Galatians 3:21-22

Lord, the Bible I’m using has some commentary on this question—do we still have to obey the Old Testament Laws?

When Paul says that non-Jews are no longer bound by these laws, he’s not saying that the Old Testament Laws are of no value to us today. One way to think about the Old Testament laws is to think about three categories:

Ceremonial law-Related to Israel’s worship. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial laws, the principles behind them—to worship and love a holy God—still apply.

Civil law-Dictated Israel’s daily living. Because modern society and culture are so radically different, some of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. But the principles behind the commands should guide our conduct.

Moral law-A direct command of God—for example the Ten Commandments. It required strict obedience. It reveals the nature and will of God, and it still applies to us today. We are to obey this moral law, not to obtain salvation, but to live in ways pleasing to God. —Chronological Life Application Study Bible

Holy Spirit, I know these are man’s thoughts. Give me Your wisdom and Yours alone to apply Your Word to my daily life.

Jesus, thank You for releasing me from the prison of sin. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your law. Teach me how to know You more through both.

In Your mighty and awesome name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:24-6;18, Acts 15:1-21

Lord, Fill Me With These Two Things—Acts 13:52

 

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 12:6-25, Acts 13:1-52, Acts 14:1-20

Heavenly Father, reading through the book of Acts had made something apparently clear—I am empty.

And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. —Acts 13:52

The cares of this world have sucked the life out of me.

Holy Spirit, fill me up, top me off. I want my life overflowing with joy.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:Acts 14:21-28, Galatians 1:1-24, Galatians 2:1-21, Galatians 3:1-23

Lord, Receive My Prayers and Gifts to Others As an Offering—Acts 10:4

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 10:1-48, Acts 11:1-30, Acts 12:1-5

Heavenly Father, I’ve been sitting here for a while thinking about these verses, wondering what it would be like to be Cornelius, a Roman army officer, a Gentile in the days when the Jews were Your chosen ones , and a man who was visited by an angel.

In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. “Cornelius!” the angel said.

Cornelius stared at him in terror. “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel.

And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering! —Acts 10:1-4

Cornelius hadn’t been trained since birth in Jewish religion. Yet he was one of Your devout followers.

I’m sure Cornelius had seen the Jews making all their daily animal sacrifices. He may have compared his relationship with You to theirs and felt less than, after all the Jews had many outward demonstrations of worship.

Lord, You don’t say this in Your Word but the thought came to my mind that You sent an angel to say to Cornelius, “No, you’ve never killed an animal and offered it up to Me but You have given Me many offerings.

Cornelius, You…

-Are devout

-Are God-fearing

-Have introduced me to your family 

-Have given generously to the poor

-Talk to Me regularly

Cornelius, these things are beautiful offerings to Me

Father, because of Cornelius’ reverence and fear of You, You moved Peter to do something he had never done so that Cornelius and his family could receive eternal life through Your Son.

Lord, this story reminds me that You went to great lengths to introduce me to Your Son and my relationship with You is one-of-a-kind. My story is unique. Every prayer I pray and every gift I give are received by You as a love offering.

Thank You for pursuing me!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 12:6-25, Acts 13:1-52, Acts 14:1-20

Lord, Can You Give Me These Kind of Directions?—Acts 8:26-29

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 8:1b-9:43

Heavenly Father, my slightly dormant spirit of adventure is jumping up and down right now.

As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
He was humiliated and received no justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.

As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.

Jesus, that was wild! Talk about adventure, Phillip was out on the road minding his own business when Your angel says “go this way!” In a matter of minutes he introduced the Ethiopian eunuch to You, baptized him, and was snatched away by Your Spirit!

I just can’t imagine.

If I could speak with Phillip he would probably say, “what’s adventurous about it, I was just following Jesus’ instructions.”

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” —Acts 1:8

Jesus, help me to awake each morning expecting Your instructions and directions. Holy Spirit, empower me with a supernatural sensitivity to hear Your voice and power me up to be Your witness everywhere I go.

Let the adventure begin!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 10:1-12:5

Lord, I Don’t Want to Be This Kind of Stubborn—Acts 7:51

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-8:1a

Heavenly Father, I don’t want to be this kind of stubborn:

 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! — Acts 7:51

Lord, it’s so easy to read the story of the stoning of Stephen and be filled with righteous indignation! How could those people have been that stupid? Why couldn’t they see what a mighty man of God Stephen was?

Jesus, I had to ask myself:

  • Have I ever been stubborn, close-minded, thinking I know the truth and everyone else is wrong?
  • Has there ever been a time with I looked godly on the outside but the thoughts in my heart were more like a heathen?
  • Have I ever ignored the truth proclaimed around me to the point of seeming deaf?
  • Have I ever resisted the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes

So, I could have been one of these people:

The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. –Acts 7:54-58

Holy Spirit, Stephen was a different kind of stubborn. He had a supernatural, stubborn love for the people who stoned him:

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. —Acts 7:60

Lord, give me a heart like Stephen. Help me to love like he did. When You see stubbornness and close-mindedness in me…

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. —Psalm 139:23-24

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 8:1b-9:43

Lord, Help Me to See Opportunities—Acts 3:12a

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-5:42

Jesus, I wonder if Peter and John had any idea what was going to happen on their way to the temple?

Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

I don’t think they were surprised. I think they probably prayed every morning and asked the Holy Spirit to anoint them to serve others as they went about their day.

But

They didn’t know there would be a lame man

and

They didn’t know there would be an opportunity to speak to a crowd about YOU.

Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. —Acts 3:12a

Yes, we’d all agree healing a man who had never walked in his life sounds like a divine appointment and getting to speak to a large crowd about Jesus sounds like a God opportunity.

But was THIS a God opportunity?

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. —Acts 4:1-3

Lord, maybe Peter and John immediately knew being thrown in jail was a divine appointment but if it were me, I would be thinking, “My God, My God why have You forsaken me! How can this be happening?”

There’s such a lesson in these verses. If we believe God has made an opportunity for us and we choose to step into that opportunity there may be opposition. The number one thing we get straight before we ever ask to be used is…

Will I be obedient to God when the going gets tough?

So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” —Acts 4:18-20

Holy Spirit, I want to immediately see the opportunities You place in my life and step out in faith believing that Your leading me. Lord, help me to be obedient and stand tall when opposition comes.

Lord, I want to serve others in Your name. Use me today.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-8:1a

Lord, I Want This Kind of Storm in My Life—Acts 2:1-2

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-2:47

Heavenly Father, as a native of the Florida Gulf Coast, I am well acquainted with wind storms. Yes, they’re scary but I’ve always had a fascination with the wind as it changes the water from a quiet calm to a roaring, mighty force to be reckoned with, in a matter of minutes!

The Holy Spirit is like the roaring of a mighty windstorm. 

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. —Acts 2:1-2

I could write paragraphs on the parallels between windstorms and the Holy Spirit but the most important commonality for me is they are both powerful.

Jesus, I made up my mind long ago that if You were giving it, I wanted it. I’ve said many times we are only on this earth for two reasons: to know You and to cause others to know You. Holy Spirit, the only way we can do these to things is with Your supernatural power:

“But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going.  Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. —John 16:5-8

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But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  —Acts 1:8

Holy Spirit, EVERYDAY I see You at work. For example, this morning I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. Some would say, that’s a bad start to my day but I’ve walked with You long enough to know if I can’t sleep I need to get up, You’ve got something to say. After praying for some urgent needs I saw through social media, I “happened” upon this article about the Holy Spirit and then I read today’s scripture and went Wow, thank You Holy Spirit! You are preparing my mind to write today’s prayer.

Holy Spirit, blow into my life today. Shake me up, stir me, anoint me, teach me, speak to me, speak through me, and use my life to help others know You more. You are powerful and unpredictable, just like a windstorm and that makes being filled with Your Spirit the greatest adventure of my life!

I am blessed!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-5:42

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