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Are You Window Shopping in Another Person’s Life? —Acts 23:11


Today’s Scripture Reading:  Acts 21:37-23:35

During the Christmas season it’s easy to wish for a more “Hallmark movie” type of life. You know, the man of your dreams magically appears on December 23rd and by Christmas morning he’s proposing or a check for a $1000 shows up in your mailbox just in time to buy your kid’s Christmas.

Do you ever look at someone’s life and say, “I want that?”

Maybe it’s…

  • their special family
  • their spouse
  • their material possessions, such as a home or car
  • their physical beauty
  • their strength
  • their youth
  • their education
  • their career
  • their wisdom
  • their influence

Window shopping in other peoples’ lives can get you in trouble…

God told us in the Tenth Commandment:

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” –Exodus 20:17

…but as I read Acts 23:11, I found myself saying, “I want that!”

That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”

I want the Lord to…

  • appear to me
  • encourage me
  • tell me what I’m doing well
  • tell me what to do next

The funny thing about wanting what others have is we don’t usually want to do what others did to get there.

Paul sacrificed EVERYTHING to be obedient to God, be His witness and serve Him for all of his life.

In these turbulent times there’s something more valuable that material possessions, education, and physical attributes—

It’s being comforted, encouraged, and led by the Holy Spirit.

Friends, the good news is, we can have what Paul had. Paul said it himself, God does not show favoritism. –Romans 2:11

But we have to do what Paul did:

When God spoke, Paul…

  • Stopped (Acts 21:7)
  • Listened  (Acts 21:7)
  • Asked, “What should I do, Lord?” (Acts 21:10)
  • Immediately began to do what God told him to do (Acts 21:10-11)

Are you like me?

Do you want a relationship with God like Paul?

Let’s make time today to…

  • STOP-get alone with God, away from the noise of our day
  • LISTEN for Him to speak to us either through His Word or to our spirit
  • ASK God what we should to, just for today
  • JUST DO IT!—be about the day’s assignment!

What’s God saying to you today?

Heavenly Father, I give myself and my day to you today. Speak loudly Lord.  Use me deliver Your joy, peace, and comfort to someone today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 24:1-26:32

Did You Miss a Miracle?—Romans 2:4

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Romans 2:1-4:25

I’m reading a great book, You Were Born for This:  Seven Keys to a Life of Predictable Miraclesby Bruce Wilkinson.

Here’s the excerpt from his book that got my attention:

He (God) did not place you on this earth to notice Him at work only once or twice in your whole life.  He did not create you to consistently miss out on the wonder of His presence and power.

The truth is, you were born to live a supernatural life doing God’s work by God’s power.  You were born to walk out your door each morning believing that God will use you to deliver a necessary miracle today (page 8).

We’re never more fully alive and complete than when we experience God working through us and in spite of us in a way that changes someone’s life right before our eyes (page 26).

Have you ever had a miracle happen in your life?  You know, something that simply didn’t make sense and left you scratching your head and saying, “Wow that was a miracle!”

There’s something better than receiving a miracle,  it’s being God’s miracle delivery agent for someone else.

When we hear the word miracle we immediately think of the really big things:  Raising the dead, blind eyes being opened, the lame walking, etc.  While I do believe Jesus promised those miracles to the New Testament Church (John 14:12), there are many different kinds of life-changing miracles any Christ-follower can deliver every day…

If we’re available

Basically we…

  • Get up each morning
  • Ask God to use us as His miracle delivery agents
  • Stop, look, and listen for the Holy Spirit’s signals
  • Move when He speaks
  • And then do the same thing the next day until Jesus comes back or our life on earth over

Yesterday, before I left for the grocery store I prayed and asked God to use me to deliver a miracle in someone’s life.  From the time I drove out of my driveway until I returned home I was looking for signals (it was so much fun!).  While I was in the store I made eye contact everyone I met and was friendly, kind and courteous, even when I had to ask three people to help me find some coconut (smile).  I had some great interactions with three or four people, no big deal…

Or was it a really big deal, maybe a miracle…

In Romans 2:4, Paul tells us what it takes to deliver the miracle that most of us miss:

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

Is kindness a miracle?  If His kindness overflows from us to someone in need, it’s a miracle.

The funny thing about yesterday… I was nicer than usual because I was God’s delivery agent, I was on “official” business.

What if during the next 30 days we made a pledge to be God’s “kindness delivery agents” to our spouses, children, co-workers, distant relatives, fellow shoppers and even strangers?

What if we asked God what type of kindness each person needed and then did our best to “deliver?”

Delivering God’s kindness to others opens the doors to all kinds of miracle possibilities.

What a way for the world to know that we are thankful and “Jesus is the Reason for the season!”

Are you with me?  Will you be God’s delivery agent?

Jesus, give us the pleasure of being used to deliver Your kindness that leads the lost to you today!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Romans 5:1-8:17

I Want That! — 1 Corinthians 13

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:2-13:13

I know, it’s Thanksgiving Week and it’s early to be sharing my Christmas list, but today’s reading caused me to bypass thankfulness and move straight to the “I’m making a list and checking it twice” time of year.

Today’s reading is about gifts.  Not your ordinary, pickup at Target kind of gifts, but heavenly gifts… gifts more amazing and miraculous than the kind a guy in a red suit brings down the chimney.

Paul pens 31 verses to explain and share many of the gifts (special abilities) the Spirit of God has available for us (1 Corinthians 12). He called these helpful gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31a).

Here are some of them:

    • Apostles
    • Prophets
    • Teachers
    • Those who do miracles
    • Those who have the gift of healing
    • Those who can help others
    • Those who have the gift of leadership
    • Those who speak in unknown languages

Hummm, helping others sounds more like giving than a gift.

Receiving and using these gifts is a lot of work, but there’s no better feeling than to be supernaturally gifted and used by the God of the Universe.

Except

There’s something better?

Paul tells us there’s something better than being a Billy Graham, Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer or John Maxwell?

The Apostle Paul made it very clear:

So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. –1 Corinthians –12:31-13:3

I want that.

I want the kind of love Paul was talking about.

Yes, all the world would love to receive that kind of love…

but

being

capable

of

GIVING

that kind of love

is the greatest gift.

Here’s what it looks like:

Love never gives up. 

Love cares more for others than for self. 

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. 

Love doesn’t strut, 

Doesn’t have a swelled head, 

Doesn’t force itself on others, 

Isn’t always “me first,” 

Doesn’t fly off the handle, 

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, 

Doesn’t revel when others grovel, 

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 

Puts up with anything, 

Trusts God always, 

Always looks for the best, 

Never looks back, 

But keeps going to the end. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (From The Message)

We’re not bankrupt when we aren’t loved.  We’re bankrupt when we can’t love others.

Heavenly Father, fill me with Your love so that I can love like You.  Forgive me for the times I’ve failed.   Lord, please give me the gift of supernatural love.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:1-15:58

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 2013 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!

 

© 2012 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 our love, compassion and actions!

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

Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:7-5:21, 2 John 1:1-13, 3 John 1:1-15

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

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

 

.

..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!

 

© 2012 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 it, 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 2012?

…people out of work and more expected to be laid off next year, rising costs of food and health care, foreclosures every where we look, life-threatening health issues, stress, exhaustion, addictions, rage, suicide, a crazy person shooting up  an elementary school…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!

 

© 2012 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.  All believers know that 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 2012.  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!

 

© 2012 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!

 

© 2012 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

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: James 4:1-5:20

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