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Lord, I’ve Done Some Agonizing in 2014—Colossians 2:1-4

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:24-4:18

Heavenly Father, I guess it’s true that “misery loves company,” because when I saw that Paul agonized, I suddenly felt righteous in my “agonizing” of the past year.

I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. -Colossians 2:1-4

Lord, I’m sure my agony isn’t in the same galaxy as Paul’s but his desires for the Colossians and Laodiceans and my desires for my loved ones are the same.

Jesus, You know about agony. I’m learning that the best prayer to pray during life’s agonizing times is the same prayer you prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “Father, not what I want but what You want.”

Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane. He said to them, “You sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him. He began to have much sorrow and a heavy heart. Then He said to them, “My soul is very sad. My soul is so full of sorrow I am ready to die. You stay here and watch with Me.”

He went on a little farther and got down with His face on the ground. He prayed, “My Father, if it can be done, take away what is before Me. Even so, not what I want but what You want.” —Matthew 26:36-39

Jesus, as I move into this new year, teach me how take my struggles, concerns, and agony to You in prayer and then trust You with the outcome.

In Your Name. Amen and amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Philemon 1:1-25, Philippians 1:1-2:11

Lord, Help Me to Intercede Like Moses—Psalms 106:23

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalms 105-106

Heavenly Father, I’m thankful that You included this psalm in Your Word. The story of the redemption of Your people is one that needs to be read over and over.

 

So he declared he would destroy them.
But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people.
He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them.  —Psalm 106:23

Lord, Moses was a true intercessor. It’s hard to understand and explain intercessory prayer. I came across this devotion from “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers that gave a beautiful picture of this type of prayer that is needed in today’s world.

 . . . men always ought to pray and not lose heart —Luke 18:1

You cannot truly intercede through prayer if you do not believe in the reality of redemption. Instead, you will simply be turning intercession into useless sympathy for others, which will serve only to increase the contentment they have for remaining out of touch with God. True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance. Intercession means to “fill up . . . [with] what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24), and this is precisely why there are so few intercessors. People describe intercession by saying, “It is putting yourself in someone else’s place.” That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.

As an intercessor, be careful not to seek too much information from God regarding the situation you are praying about, because you may be overwhelmed. If you know too much, more than God has ordained for you to know, you can’t pray; the circumstances of the people become so overpowering that you are no longer able to get to the underlying truth.

Our work is to be in such close contact with God that we may have His mind about everything, but we shirk that responsibility by substituting doing for interceding. And yet intercession is the only thing that has no drawbacks, because it keeps our relationship completely open with God.

What we must avoid in intercession is praying for someone to be simply “patched up.” We must pray that person completely through into contact with the very life of God. Think of the number of people God has brought across our path, only to see us drop them! When we pray on the basis of redemption, God creates something He can create in no other way than through intercessory prayer.  My Utmost for His Highest

Lord, forgive me for failing to intercede for those who come across my path. Holy Spirit, change me.  Give me Your heart.  I want to “do” less and intercede more. A little “patch up” isn’t what’s needed. Redeem the life of the person that’s on my heart today.

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: Psalm 107, Psalms 111-114

What’s Under Your Armor?—Colossians 3:12-15


Today’s Scripture Reading:  Colossians 1:24-4:18

In yesterday’s reading we discovered the supernatural power of the Armor of God.  As I read Ephesians 6:10-20, the thought briefly crossed my mind, “I wonder what we’re supposed to wear ‘under’ the armor?” In today’s scripture reading I think I’ve found the answer.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. —Colossians 3:12-15

So it seems that there are six pieces of clothing we should wear under our armor:

  • Tender-hearted mercy
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience
  • Love

There are actually eight, if we include peace and thankfulness.

Granted I’ve never tried on a suit of armor, but it would seem that armor could actually be painful next to bare skin.  Think about it, it would be cold and rough; it would probably cause blisters if there wasn’t a barrier between the armor and bare skin.

I wonder…

Since this is true with physical armor and clothes, would it also be true with spiritual armor and the clothing Paul is talking about in Colossians?

Is it ever painful to try to wear…

  • The belt of truth when you have no mercy?
  • The breastplate of righteousness when you aren’t humble?
  • The shoes of peace when you aren’t peaceful, gentle and kind?
  • The shield of faith when you don’t have the patience to wait for God’s timing and thankfulness for the blessings of the past?
  • The sword of the Spirit when you can’t speak the truth in love?

It sounds like tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, peace and thankfulness are God’s Underarmour; we should never suit up without them!

Heavenly Father, it’s no wonder we walk through days, even seasons of defeat;  too many of Your children are trying to make it in this world without using the “equipment” you designed for us.  Thank you Lord for Your Word!  Lodge the need for Your armor AND under-armor into the depths of our spirit. Help us to put them on everyday!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Philemon 1:1-25, Philippians 1:1-2:11

It’s Time to Find a Phone Booth! —Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Today’s Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:15-6:24, Colossians 1:1-23

I love the movie Superman!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could jump into a phone booth and come out with an answer to the day’s crisis.

  • Superpowers
  • Saving the world
  • A special suit that gives me confidence, strength and courage

Yep, that’s just what I need.  How about you?

Friends, it’s time to find the phone booth, because I’ve found the suit!

Yes, we can live in today’s troubled world with confidence, strength, and courage.

Yes, we can rescue others from the depths of despair…if we put on the suit!

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. —Ephesians 6:10-18 (emphasis mine)

If this supernatural “suit” is available is every Christian, then why is it that many 21st century Christians aren’t strong enough to fight their way out of a wet paper bag, much less rescue the perishing and care for the dying!

Because we aren’t disciplining ourselves each day to put on the “power suit;” we sort of look like a weak “Clark Kent” before he goes into the phone booth.

Paul told us exactly what to do, put on every piece of God’s armor and then we will be able to stand firm against the strategies of the devil.

Just like Superman, we must be ready at all times.  We can’t wait until a crisis to find our “suit,” we need to put it on first thing, every morning.

No we don’t really need a phone booth and it’s not a physical “suit” but the armor of God is our only hope of a victorious life that causes others to know Him more.

Heavenly Father, help us to remember our armor each day.  Teach us to be intentional in equipping ourselves to be strong and courageous and stand against the strategies of the enemy of our soul.  Lord, use us to rescue someone today!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Colossians 1:24-4:18

Does Your “Yes Mean Yes” and Your “No mean No?”

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 27:1 through Leviticus 27:34; Numbers 1:1 through Numbers 1:54

As we approach the final chapter of Leviticus, the book filled with the laws of holiness, we see a warning against making vows to God and not keeping them. This is an important lesson for today’s world; letting your “yes be yes” and your “no be no” is a rarity in the 21st century.  This wasn’t just an Old Testament concept.  Here’s the Apostle Paul’s take on being a person of your word:

2 Corinthians 1:19-21 (Read this out loud.  It’s powerful!)

For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.  For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.  It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ.

Isn’t that an amazing scripture?

One of the problems we have with making promises is not counting the costs.  I have always thought I could do more that I really could.  I can’t tell you how many nights I have sacrificed sleep to honor a commitment, because I didn’t count the costs.  Pastor Phil, the senior Pastor at Niceville Assembly said something in a leadership class a few years ago that I have not forgotten.  “There are a lot of things we can do but the question is should we do it.”  Jesus had words of wisdom for us on counting the costs.

But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?  Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.  They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’  –Luke 14:28-30

If you’ve made a commitment, follow through.  Do it with excellence.  You’re doing it unto God and other people are watching.  Your life is a testimony, be a person of your word.

Heavenly Father, help us to taking our commitments seriously.  We want to honor You in everything we do.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Numbers 2:1 through Numbers 3:51

What’s Under Your Armor?—Colossians 3:12-15


Today’s Scripture Reading:  Colossians 1:24-4:18

In yesterday’s reading we discovered the supernatural power of the Armor of God.  As I read Ephesians 6:10-20, the thought briefly crossed my mind, “I wonder what we’re supposed to wear ‘under’ the armor?” In today’s scripture reading I think I’ve found the answer.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. —Colossians 3:12-15

So it seems that there are six pieces of clothing we should wear under our armor:

  • Tender-hearted mercy
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience
  • Love

There are actually eight, if we include peace and thankfulness.

Granted I’ve never tried on a suit of armor, but it would seem that armor could actually be painful next to bare skin.  Think about it, it would be cold and rough; it would probably cause blisters if there wasn’t a barrier between the armor and bare skin.

I wonder…

Since this is true with physical armor and clothes, would it also be true with spiritual armor and the clothing Paul is talking about in Colossians?

Is it ever painful to try to wear…

  • The belt of truth when you have no mercy?
  • The breastplate of righteousness when you aren’t humble?
  • The shoes of peace when you aren’t peaceful, gentle and kind?
  • The shield of faith when you don’t have the patience to wait for God’s timing and thankfulness for the blessings of the past?
  • The sword of the Spirit when you can’t speak the truth in love?

It sounds like tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, peace and thankfulness are God’s Underarmour; we should never suit up without them!

Heavenly Father, it’s no wonder we walk through days, even seasons of defeat;  too many of Your children are trying to make it in this world without using the “equipment” you designed for us.  Thank you Lord for Your Word!  Lodge the need for Your armor AND under-armor into the depths of our spirit. Help us to put them on everyday!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Philemon 1:1-25, Philippians 1:1-2:11

It’s Time to Find a Phone Booth! —Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Today’s Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:15-6:24, Colossians 1:1-23

I loved the movie Superman!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could jump into a phone booth and come out with an answer to the day’s crisis.

  • Superpowers
  • Saving the world
  • A special suit that gives me confidence, strength and courage

Yep, that’s just what I need.  How about you?

Friends, it’s time to find the phone booth, because I’ve found the suit!

Yes, we can live in today’s troubled world with confidence, strength, and courage.

Yes, we can rescue others from the depths of despair…if we put on the suit!

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. —Ephesians 6:10-18 (emphasis mine)

If this supernatural “suit” is available is every Christian, then why is it that many 21st century Christians aren’t strong enough to fight their way out of a wet paper bag, much less rescue the perishing and care for the dying!

Because we aren’t discipling ourselves each day to put on the “power suit;” we sort of look like a weak “Clark Kent” before he goes into the phone booth.

Paul told us exactly what to do, put on every piece of God’s armor and then we will be able to stand firm against the strategies of the devil.

Just like Superman, we must be ready at all times.  We can’t wait until a crisis to find our “suit,” we need to put it on first thing, every morning.

No we don’t really need a phone booth and it’s not a physical “suit” but the armor of God is our only hope of a victorious life that causes others to know Him more.

Heavenly Father, help us to remember our armor each day.  Teach us to be intentional in equipping ourselves to be strong and courageous and stand against the strategies of the enemy of our soul.  Lord, use us to rescue someone today!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Colossians 1:24-4:18

A “Heavenly” Market Research Experiment—Luke 17:11-19

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37

Several times during this year’s Journey I have shared research from The Barna Group, a  research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. In today’s reading Jesus conducted His own market research experiment.  It seems that things really haven’t changed much in 2000 years.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.  As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” —Luke 17:11-19

One person out of ten was thankful…a 10% return

Wow!  And I thought thanklessness was just a 21st century problem!

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines thankful as being conscious of the benefit received.

You would think all ten lepers were conscious of the benefit they received in their healing…they may have been; maybe they just got so busy with their new life that they put verbalizing their thankfulness to their healer at the bottom of their list of priorities.

An “attitude of gratitude” is commanded in the Bible:

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful .  –Colossians 3:15

Even though God knows our hearts, He let us know in Luke 17 that He thinks thankfulness should be verbalized.  The Samaritan’s demonstration of thankfulness was seen as an act of faith by Jesus.  Because the Samaritan returned to thank Jesus for his healing he walked away healed in his soul as well as his body (New Bible Commentary)

As a parent, I know my children are thankful for the things I’ve done for them but I really like for them to express their thankfulness to me through words, either written are verbal.   From today’s reading it seems that our Heavenly Father feels the same way.

Jesus deserves our thankfulness:

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. –James 1:17

I wonder if faith to believe God to heal the pain of our past comes

from our demonstration of thankfulness for the things He’s

already done for us.

The nine unthankful lepers missed out on God’s best by not coming back to thank Jesus, their healer.

What is one thing you are thankful for today?

Heavenly Father, we have so much to be thankful for.  We are blessed to be called your children.  Holy Spirit help us to verbalize our thankfulness to our God each day.  Teach us how to be thankful.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 18:9-14,Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17, Mark 10:17-31, Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 18:18-30

Are You Like Vinegar and Smoke to Your Boss? Proverbs 10:26

Today’s Scripture Reading: Proverbs 8:1-10:32

Lazy people irritate their employers, like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes. Proverbs 10:26

The Bible has a lot to say about lazy people and none of it is good.  One of the worst things a professing Christian can do for the cause of Christ is to be lazy in the workplace.

You may be seen as lazy by your boss if…

    • You are often late for work or walk in the door at the exact minute you are supposed to be starting your day
    • You overlook things like picking up a piece paper in the parking lot or filling the copier with paper because “that’s not your job”
    • You stop working an hour before your day’s over so that you can watch the clock and walk out the door exactly at 5 o’clock
    • You have to be told what to do; you have no initiative
    • All you care about is your paycheck and never think about the success of the business
    • Your boss sees you standing around doing “nothing” when he/she comes into your area
    • You don’t work “as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23)

What would you add to this list?

If you said, “Yep, that’s me” to more than one or two of these statements your boss may see you as lazy.  You may be irritating her/him like vinegar to the teeth or smoke to the eyes.

The day-to-day, routine, and mundane things in life are where we show our character and integrity.  Excellence in the workplace is one of the ways we worship God…

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  –Colossians 3:23

Heavenly Father, in this world of mediocrity teach us to stand out above the crowd as a child of the One, True, God who does everything with excellence!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Proverbs 11:1-13:25

What’s Under Your Armor?—Colossians 3:12-15


In yesterday’s reading we discovered the supernatural power of the Armor of God.  As I read Ephesians 6:10-20, the thought briefly crossed my mind, “I wonder what we’re supposed to wear ‘under’ the armor?”

In today’s scripture reading I think I’ve found the answer.

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Colossians 1:24-4:18

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15

So it seems that there are six pieces of clothing we should wear under our armor:

  • Tender-hearted mercy
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience
  • Love

There are actually eight, if we include peace and thankfulness.

Granted I’ve never tried on a suit of armor, but it would seem that armor could actually be painful next to bare skin.  Think about it, it would be cold and rough; it would probably cause blisters if there wasn’t a barrier between the armor and bare skin.

I wonder…

Since this is true with physical armor and clothes, would it also be true with spiritual armor and the clothing Paul is talking about in Colossians?

Is it ever painful to try to wear…

  • The belt of truth when you have no mercy?
  • The breastplate of righteousness when you aren’t humble?
  • The shoes of peace when you aren’t peaceful, gentle and kind?
  • The shield of faith when you don’t have the patience to wait for God’s timing and thankfulness for the blessings of the past?
  • The sword of the Spirit when you can’t speak the truth in love?

It sounds like tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, peace and thankfulness are God’s Underarmour; we should never suit up without them!

Heavenly Father, it’s no wonder we walk through days, even seasons of defeat;  too many of Your children are trying to make it in this world without using the “equipment” you designed for us.  Thank you Lord for Your Word!  Lodge the need for Your armor AND under-armor into the depths of our spirit. Help us to put them on everyday!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and amen!

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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Philemon 1:1-25, Philippians 1:1-2:11

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