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Lord, I Don’t Believe These Are Just Clever Stories—2 Peter 1:16-18

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 5:12-14, 2 Peter 1:1-3:18

Heavenly Father, it’s two days before Christmas. Your Christmas story is being told around the world. Lord, it’s not just a story to me, it’s a historical fact.

For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. —2 Peter 1:16-18

Jesus, I didn’t see Your majestic splendor with my own eyes. I didn’t hear that voice from heaven but because Your Holy Spirit makes Your Word come alive, I know You and I know Your Word is true.

Father, thank You for Jesus!

Amen and amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:1-4:6

Lord, After All These Years, I’m Still in Awe—Ephesians 2:8-10

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 28:1-31, Ephesians 1:1-2:22

Heavenly Father, as I read Ephesians 2, it was like reading it for the first time. The whole chapter oozes with Your love but these verses grabbed my attention:

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. —Ephesians 2:8-10

Lord, You’re right, I can’t take credit for this gift. I don’t deserve it.

Father, Your loving kindness is like the most beautiful gift wrapping I’ve ever imagined.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. —Ephesians 1:7-8

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank You for the gift of eternal life!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:1-5:14

The First Christmas Gift Was Recycled–1 John 2:7-8, 1 John 4:7-8

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:7-5:21, 2 John 1:1-13, 3 John 1:1-15

Have you opened all of your gifts?

How long will it take for the new to wear off?

How long will it take for that new outfit, gadget, or toy to wind up in the Goodwill pile?

Did you know that the gift God gave us on that first Christmas was recycled?

Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.  —1 John 2:7-8

When Jesus gave us the command to love one another it wasn’t anything “new.” The first time God mentioned it was in Leviticus 19:18…

…but they didn’t get it.

They could not understand love.

So God had to show us love.

That’s exactly what he did 2000 years ago when He sent His only Son to a lowly stable. Telling us about love didn’t work, so He showed us how to love.

Yes, He sent Jesus to earth to pay the price for our sins, but it was also the greatest display of love we will ever see.

As Jesus grew EVERYTHING He did was about love. Through that love, the Truth of God was revealed. He restated that commandment in John 13:34-35.

This is the message the world needs– 

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. –John 3:16

–but they’re not going to get it from the Christmas story, as beautiful as it is…

They’re not going to get it from the latest gift or gadget.

They’re only going to “get it” if we live the love of Christ out in our daily lives.

The problem is many of today’s Christians are so caught up in receiving, they’ve done nothing to develop the discipline of giving and showing the love of Christ.

As we enjoy the final moments of this Christmas Day let’s make 2014 the year of love.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

Jesus, teach us how to love!

Merry Christmas!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Jude 1:1-25, Revelation 1:1-2:29

Do You Know What I Know? –1 John 3:16-19

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:1-4:6

Do you see what I see?

Do you hear what I hear?

Do you know what I know?

Listen to what I say…

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. —1 John 3:16-19

Friends, if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we KNOW what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.

My prayer on this Christmas Eve is that those who don’t know Him will see, hear, and know Christ because of our love, compassion and actions!

Harry and I send Christmas love and blessings to you and yours!

Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:7-5:21, 2 John 1:1-13, 3 John 1:1-15

It’s December 23rd: Who or What’s Controlling You?–2 Peter 2:19 (NLT)

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 5:12-14, 2 Peter 1:1-3:18

I know it’s a bad day to ask this.  It’s December 23; Christmas preparations and activities are definitely determining our plans for the day.  I have last-minute shopping and wrapping to do myself, but now that I think about it, maybe this is the best time of the year to ask this question…

Who or What’s Controlling you?

In 2 Peter 2:19, Peter says, we are a slave to whatever controls us.

I looked up the word control in my online dictionary…

Control: The power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

Here’s my paraphrase Peter’s statement:

We are a slave to whatever has the power to influence or direct our behavior or the events of our lives.

Who determines who or what has this special power?

Didn’t we take care of this question when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior?

Salvation is a gift God gave us.  Accepting the gift is the easy part.  Sadly, this is where many Christians stop and then they wonder why they go through life being controlled by people, situations, and sinful thoughts and behaviors.

Everyday WE make a choice, every day WE determine who or what has the power to control us.

Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. –Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

As we go through this day WE get to choose…

  • The joy of the Lord or the anger, sadness and depression of the world
  • The holiness of the season or the commercialism of the media
  • To spend time reflecting on the birth of our Savior or worry about everything that didn’t get bought, baked, decorated, or cleaned for the season
  • To focus on our blessings or our lack

The world tells us to take control of our lives, but the Bible tells us to give that control to Christ–it’s a choice.

If you have a few minutes, listen to Carrie Underwood’s thoughts on allowing Jesus to take control…

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Jesus, we choose YOU!  Heavenly Father, take control of our thoughts, plans, and outcomes of this day.  We give up the power to control, we trust you with our day, our Christmas, and our future.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 John 1:1-4:6

All I Want for Christmas is… 1 Peter 3:10-12

Today’s Scripture Reading:  1 Peter 2:4-5:11

 

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..To enjoy life and see many happy days.

In today’s reading Peter tells the early Church and us how make this wish a reality.

For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” —1 Peter 3:10-12

Once again we have a conditional statement;

something 21st century humans don’t like

If we…

  • Want to enjoy life
  • See many happy days

Then we must…

  • Keep our tongue from speaking evil
  • Keep our lips from telling lies
  • Turn away from evil
  • Do good
  • Search for peace
  • Work to maintain peace

Oh and here’s the icing on the cake…

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right

and His ears are open to their prayers.

One of the favorite sayings of my dear friend and mentor Cheryl Beyer was a quote from Edwin Markham:

All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.

I guess enjoying life and seeing many happy days isn’t a wish to be granted, but a choice to be made, one day at a time.

Heavenly Father, remind us of the part we play in our happy days.  Help us to remember that living a life of kindness, honesty, goodness, and peace will bring the happiness we’re looking for.  Jesus, for those who don’t know you, help them to realize that the first step to this Christmas wish is accepting You as their Savior (John 3:16).

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Peter 5:12-14, 2 Peter 1:1-3:18


It’s the Most “Difficult” Time of the Year –2 Timothy 3:1-5

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 2:1-4:18

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” How many times have you heard this song in the last month?

I love this time of year, but as I talk to people this Christmas season and look into their eyes their song sounds more like “it’s the most difficult time of the year!”

What do difficult times look like in 2013?

…people out of work, rising costs of food and health care, foreclosures every where we look, life-threatening health issues, stress, exhaustion, addictions, rage, suicide, crazy people shooting people because they didn’t get their way…the list could go on and on.

In today’s reading Paul warns Timothy of difficult times in the last days.

In the last days there will be very difficult times.

People will…

  • love only themselves and their money
  • be boastful, proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents and ungrateful
  • consider nothing sacred
  • unloving and unforgiving
  • slander others and have no self-control
  • be cruel and hate what is good
  • betray their friends, be reckless, puffed up with pride and love pleasure  rather than God
  • act religious but reject the power that could make them godly

Friends, Paul was talking to Timothy, a young leader of the church of Jesus Christ.  These were problems with religious people, not atheists.

Do any of these “signs of the times” look familiar in those around you?

Do you see any of these signs in your heart?

Heavenly Father, help us to be on the lookout for “heart changes” in these difficult times. This is our finest hour to reach out to the lost and hurting. If Paul’s description is a description of us, we will be no value to Your Kingdom. Help us to see ourselves as you see us.  Jesus, break our heart for the things that break Yours.  Send us into the hurting world this Christmas season to show Your love in these difficult times.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 4:19-22, Hebrews 1:1-4:13

Are You Afraid to Open Your Gifts?–2 Timothy 1:6-7

Today’s Scripture Reading:  1 Timothy 6:11-21, Titus 1:1-3:15, 2 Timothy 1:1-18

I’m afraid. No, I actually I have a phobia, of frogs and lizards.  The unfortunate thing is my grandchildren know it.  When I see them bringing me a “gift” that’s wrapped a little funny and they’re laughing with a devious laugh I get a little scared.

During this season of gift-giving do you have gifts you are afraid to open?

This time of year Christians and some non-Christians reflect on the gift of the Christ-child.  God sending His Son to earth to die on the cross for our sins is the greatest gift we will ever receive.  But in today’s reading Paul reminds Timothy (and us) about some other “gifts” God gave us.

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. –2 Timothy 1:6-7

What are spiritual gifts?

Here are several scriptures that talk about spiritual gifts:

Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12

What spiritual gifts have you left in the package because of fear or shyness?

I wonder how the Holy Spirit feels about us not opening our gifts?

When I was a little girl we would go to my grandparents every Christmas morning.  My Mom would rack her brain to think of something to get my Granddaddy for Christmas.  After finding something she thought he would like and wrapping it in beautiful Christmas paper, my brother and I would rush into the house excited to see him open his gift.

EVERY YEAR he did the same thing…

He received the gift and then set it aside to open it at a more convenient  time.

Friends what gifts has God given you that you’ve left unopened because of fear, shyness, or just thinking you don’t have the time or skills?

As we approach this new year let’s take to some time to sit down and open our spiritual gifts and make plans to use them in 2014.  If God has given you a gift, He will equip you to use it for His Glory!

Heavenly Father, show us the gifts You’ve given us.  Help us to step out in faith and use them to bless others in 2013.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 2:1-4:18

How Much Money is Standing Between you and a Merry Christmas? 1 Timothy 6:10

Today’s Scripture Reading:  1 Timothy 3:1-6:10

Have you finished your Christmas shopping?

Are you thinking, “If I just had a little  more money, then we would really have a good Christmas?

How much money is  standing between you and a Merry Christmas?

$25

$50

$100

$500

$1000

I wonder if Mary and Joseph felt that way on the very first Christmas?

“The birth of our Savior isn’t going to be that great since…”

  • We don’t have a nice, warm, clean place for his birth
  • None of our family can be here
  • We don’t have any gifts to give him

Have you ever said…

IF

we only had…

  • A beautiful home
  • All of our family with us
  • Gifts to give to all our loved ones

IF… we only had $_______

Then…we’ve have a great Christmas.

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people,

craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves

with many sorrows. —1 Timothy 6:10

Paul probably wasn’t talking about Christmas when he wrote this verse to young Timothy, but we could almost paraphrase and say “the LOVE of money is the only thing standing between us and our best Christmas ever.”

Mary and Joseph made a choice that first Christmas–they focused on what they had…

The Son of God in their midst, rather than the material things they didn’t have.

They had a Christmas that all the world has talked about ever since.

If

we have Jesus Christ is our life,

If

He our Savior and Lord

Then

a great Christmas is what we should expecting, not because of decorations or money but because of the gift we were given 2,000 years ago in a dreary, cold, and dirty stable.

Jesus, in the busyness of the next couple of weeks help us to remember…

You are the reason for the season!  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Timothy 6:11-21, Titus 1:1-3:15, 2 Timothy 1:1-18

Have You Had Your Christmas Meltdown? James 2:13

 

Today’s Scripture Reading: James 1:1-3:18

Everywhere you go people are stressed.  Too much to do, not enough time, not enough money.  Unfortunately, it’s a great set up for a meltdown.

During this stressful time, what is the thing you need most from family, friends, and checkout people at the grocery store?

Understanding?

Empathy?

Kindness?

Compassion?

Forgiveness?

Guess what if we want to receive that gift, we have to give it.

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.  –James 2:13

You may be one of the fortunate ones who receives mercy from people you have not given it to, but that won’t be the case with God. He clearly tells us that we won’t be receiving mercy from Him unless we first give it to others.

Guess what?  This applies to our unthankful spouses, complaining-hard-to-please parents, jealous siblings, unappreciative children, lazy coworkers, and the tele-marketer that calls you at 9 p.m. on a Sunday night.

We all need mercy.

We all have people in our lives who make it challenging to give mercy.

If we want mercy from God, we all have to give mercy before we can receive it.

The question is: Are we going to be obedient to the God of the universe?

Heavenly Father, there have been so many times when I have wanted and expected mercy from others but haven’t given them any mercy. Holy Spirit, help me to understand that people have a lot more going on that what I see.  Help me to give them mercy.  Lord, fill me with compassion so that I can give it away.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: James 4:1-5:20

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