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Are You Thinking LIke An Animal? Jude 1:10

Do you think Fido and Fluffy are as smart as humans?  For many the answer is yes.

At some point most of us have wished for a life as easy as our family pets.  While most of us don’t have it as easy as our pets, many of us think like our pets more than we realize.

Today’s Scripture Reading: Jude 1:1-25; Revelation 1:1-2:29

But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.  –Jude 1:10

They do whatever their instincts tell them…

Have you had a moment in the last few weeks when you did what your animal instincts told you?

I know I have.  I hate it!  You know, those times when your natural, fleshly, instincts get the best of you.

The animal instinct that’s on my mind this day after Christmas is eating.

Eating, Eating, and Eating–Have you ever seen your pet eat until they make themselves sick?  Their self-preservation instinct is to eat while there’s food;  just in case there’s none to be found tomorrow. They don’t understand things like moderation, calories, fat, etc.  That’s why our pets need owners to portion out their food.

I have had a stomach bug the last couple of days; I don’t need to eat anything but bananas and toast.  What do I want?  Raw oysters, horseradish and a coke.  Why would anyone in their right mind eat oysters a day after a stomach bug?  Because today I was at my brother’s and he had a bag of delicious, salty, Apalachicola oysters and was willing to shuck some for me.  Just like all the other Christmas treats, it’s my once a year chance; I better eat all I can, while I can.  Doesn’t that sound just like Fido or Fluffy?

I think I need an owner to supervise my food intake.

Seriously, in today’s culture we live by the “If it feels good, do it” mentality.  I think it’s more like were living by our animal instincts.  The more we override our conscience, the more our animal instincts become the norm. I don’t think that’s what God planned for His children.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” –Genesis 1:26

We’re supposed to reign over the animals rather than become like them.

Which animal instinct are you struggling with?

Heavenly Father, you are my owner.  Holy Spirit, as I move into a new year, please supervise my animal instincts, put me in my place.  Fill me with your Spirit so that I will be drawn to Your ways instead of MY ways. Forgive me for succumbing to my fleshly desires.  Jesus, rescue me from myself.  Rescue me from the destruction Your Word talks about. Lord, You made me in Your Image; help me to be a reflection of You.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Revelation 3:1-6:17

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!

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©2011, 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

…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.

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

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!

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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller

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


Who Are You Motivating? Hebrews 10:24

We all enjoy being around inspiring people.  I have loved attending motivational classes and workshops, since my first experience at a Mary Kay meeting, twenty-six years ago.  In today’s reading, the Lord tells us that we’re to think of ways to motivate one another.

Today’s Scripture Reading: Hebrews 8:1-10:39

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

–Hebrews 10:24

Does this surprise you?

Christians are supposed to think of ways to motivate other Christians to acts of love and good works. Isn’t that the preacher’s job?

When I look around the average church in America, most people walk through the doors like a cement statue, daring the pastor to “move” them. Today’s Christian looks to the church and the pastors to meet their needs and if they don’t, they quickly look for a place that does. It’s quite different from what the writer of Hebrews instructed.

How do we motivate another person?

By inspiring them to take action.

I think there are two ways to do this:

  1. Give inspirational and instructional messages
  2. Live a life that inspires

The greatest leadership principle I’ve ever learned is the importance of leading by example.  Most of us aren’t gifted to inspire with words, but everyone can inspire by example.

If all the world were just like you, would there be acts of love and good works taking place?

Heavenly Father, help us to realize our purpose on this earth is bigger than just having a comfortable life.  Help us to realize other people need us; other people need our example.  Use us for Your Kingdom today.  Fill us so that we can motivate others to acts of love and good works.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:1-12:29

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

“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 2011?

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

…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…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!

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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller

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

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


I’m afraid, 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?

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

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. —1 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?

Years ago 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 2012.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

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©2011, 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

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

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

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!

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©2011, 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

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 story?

Understanding?

Empathy?

Kindness?

Compassion?

Forgiveness?

Guess what if we want to receive it we have to give it.

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

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

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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: James 4:1-5:20

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