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Lord, What Causes Quarrels and Fights Among Us? —James 4:1-3

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Today’s Scripture Reading: James 4:1-5:20, 1 Timothy, 1:1-2:15

Heavenly Father,

What is causing the quarrels and fights among  you(us)? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you (us)?

Lord,

You (we) want what you (we) don’t have, so you (we) scheme and kill to get it. You (we) are jealous of what others have, but you (we) can’t get it, so you (we) fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you (we) don’t have what you (we) want because you (we) don’t ask God for it. And even when you (we) ask, you (we) don’t get it because your (our) motives are all wrong—you (we) want only what will give you (us) pleasure. —James 4:1-3

Jesus, it sounds like evil desires and impure motives cause the quarrels and fights among us. James wasn’t talking about quarrels and fights with non-believers, he was talking about the church.

Holy Spirit, bind us together with love. Help us to grow in our relationship with You to a point where our motives are Your motives.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

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

Lord, The Sun’s Down and I’m Still Angry. What Do I Do? —Ephesians 4:26

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

Heavenly Father, I’ve learned a lot about anger this year. There have been some nights when I went to bed angry and as You predicted through the Apostle Paul, anger gave Satan a foothold in my life.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you. ”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. –Ephesians 4:26-27

Lord, thankfully I’ve moved past the anger and have learned some great lessons but it would have been much simpler if I would have turned it completely over to You before the sun went down.

Because I allowed anger to marinate, I gave Satan access to my mind. I was miserable. I knew I needed to forgive, yet something was holding me back; or should I say someone.

Lord, I believe You, the God who made me, answered my prayer and showed my how to fight this anger virus I had allowed to corrupt my thinking.

I sensed You saying that aggressive action was required to take back the foothold I had given to Satan.

I’m a person who loves solitude and silence. I can stay in my home for eight hours with no television or music—just silence, and be totally happy. Holy Spirit, I believe You told me that silence wasn’t good for me in this season. These were the instructions you gave me:

No silence allowed! Other than my morning quiet time, I was to have either Christian podcasts, Christian music, or Christian books going in my head every waking moment.

This doesn’t mean that I can only listen to Christian music forever, it means desperate tines call for desperate measures. I had to take back the ground I have given to my enemy. It was war but You taught me how to fight differently.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. –1 Corinthians 10:3-5

Jesus, I definitely had strongholds of human reasoning, false arguments, and rebellious thoughts. Saturating my mind with Your Word was re-teaching me to hear, obey, and submit to You. The second part of this assignment was capturing every thought that fueled the anger and replacing with Your Word.

Lord, I immediately made this change. I’m amazed how quickly the heaviness lifted. In a matter of days I felt the anger and hurt disappear. I am completely free from the anger and very grateful!

The thing I will never forget about this difficult season is the way You stayed so close to me. I know You didn’t approve of my lingering anger but You were with me in an unusual way. I even felt You speak to my spirit, “I understand. I get angry too. You will get through this and I will not leave you.”

Lord, thank You for never abandoning me! Thank You for going ahead of me and leading me through this difficult season.

 

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” —Deuteronomy 31:6

I love You!

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

 

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

Lord, These Four Things Could Change The World—2 Corinthians 13:11

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 11:1-13:14, Acts 20:7-12

Heavenly Father, I know You know this, but our world is in a mess. When I look at the desperation, it’s overwhelming. What can I do? I’m only one person.

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. —2 Corinthians 13:11

Paul, knew about changing the world. He knew that being an example was the only way to usher in change. He gave the Corinthians four ways to live that will cause others to know You.

1. Be joyful

2. Grow to maturity

3. Encourage each other

4. Live in harmony and peace

Lord, help me not to expect these things of unbelievers. They only have one problem, they don’t know You. Help me to use these four things to reach out to the lost and hurting of this world.

When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. Holy Spirit, help me to hold myself to a higher standard than the world. —1 Corinthians 9:22

Lord, these four things are my desire. Let each one be displayed in my life today!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!
 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 20:13-21:36

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, Why is There No Unity? —Ezra 3:1-2

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezra 2:1-4:5, 1 Chronicles 3:19b-24

Heavenly Father, every time Your people unite great things happen.

In early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose. Then Jeshua son of Jehozadak joined his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his family in rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel. They wanted to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. —Ezra 3:1-2

Lord, it must break Your heart to see division, discord, and strife among Your children. In my natural mind unity of believers seems like something only reserved for heaven. I’ve been a Christian all my life. It seems with every passing year Christians are becoming more polarized. Today’s Christians have different ideas about EVERYTHING! Some things don’t really matter, but many of our differences are changing our world.

Lord, what do You think about this?

Is this part of the downward spiral pointing to Your return?

What can I do about it?

I feel the number one thing I need to do is to get as close to You as I can. Your Word is very complex. It can easily be manipulated to support any cause. Holy Spirit, without Your direction, coaching, and counsel, I can easily be deceived.

Jesus, You kept Your message very simple. In our day of information overload, we have a tendency to complicate things. Help me to simplify my life and my message. The more information we have the more opportunities we have to disagree.

Lord, one more thing that comes to mind is the power of living a peaceful life.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. —Romans 12:18

It’s no wonder the enemy of our soul works tirelessly to steal our peace. Peace unifies! Lord, help me to promote peace instead of discord.

Jesus, I need Your discernment. I need Your wisdom.

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: Daniel 10:1-12:13, Ezra 4:24-5:1, Haggai 1:1-15

Lord, Decide What is Right—Judges 11:27

Today’s Scripture Reading: Judges 9:22-11:28

Heavenly Father, there is so much I don’t understand. Our country is so polarized. Christians can’t even agree over the easy things, much less the hard ones. Lord, sometimes I just don’t know what is right. Thankfully, I’m not the judge but I am concerned. I do care.

Therefore, I have not sinned against you. Rather, you have wronged me by attacking me. Let the Lord, who is judge, decide today which of us is right—Israel or Ammon.” —Judges 11:27

Lord, show me what is right. Holy Spirit, give me a supernatural understanding of Your Word. Help me to stand strong. Help me to articulate Your Word to others.

Lord, I want to know You more.

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Judges 11:29-15:20

4 Ways to Prepare for a Fight and Expect to Win–Revelation 12:11


Today’s Scripture Reading: Revelation 11:1-14:20

How many fights did you have in 2013?

Who were they with?

What were they about?

Did you win or lose?

Did you win the battle and lose the war?

Maybe,

you

were

fighting

the

wrong

person…

I can’t imagine what John must have thought and felt when he received the visions that later became the book of Revelation.  I wonder if he really understood the spiritual battle between good and evil, heaven and hell, God and Satan before God let him peek behind the curtain?

There’s really only one battle in this world and it’s not with family, friend, or foe; it’s with the enemy of our souls.  If we could fully grasp what John is telling us in Revelation we would change our fighting strategy and direct every ounce of our fighting power at the source of all anger, frustration, trials and troubles–Satan and his even schemes.

Revelation 12:11 shows us four things we must do to fight and win this spiritual battle that constantly affects our physical world:

  1. Understand, accept and proclaim the fact that Jesus Christ came to this earth and shed His blood to make us a winner
  2. Believe that somehow God will use every tough place and fiery trial we go through for His Glory and our good
  3. Tell others about the tough places and times our God has brought us through
  4. Value eternal life and winning this spiritual battle more than our short time on this earth

This is a tall order.  I guess it explains why so many Christian people live defeated lives;  we aren’t prepared to fight.

Friends, as we come to the end this one year study of God’s Word and the year 2013, let’s determine to be different in 2014, let’s get focused on the real enemy, prepare for a fight and expect to win!

Heavenly Father, forgive us for being so worldly, for allowing ourselves to be deceived by our real enemy.  Holy Spirit, show us how to fight and win for the Glory of Your Kingdom!  Help us to realize our testimony scares the enemy and sends him running!  Give us the courage to be bold in this new year!  Thank you for sending Your Son!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Revelation 15:1-18:24

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

How to Determine How Much Control Your Sinful Nature Has Over You– 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

 

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Acts 18:24-19:20, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3:23

If you’ve taken a child to the pediatrician in the last 30 years, you’re probably familiar with growth charts. These growth charts plot the height and weight of infants and children and then compare those numbers to national averages.

It is very scary when a new mom and dad hear the doctor say “Your child has FTT.” Failure to Thrive (FTT) refers to a child whose physical growth is significantly less than that of his/her peers.

What does FTT look like in the life of a Christian?

Dear brothers and sisters when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? —1 Corinthians 3:1-3

When Paul was assessing the Corinthian’s spiritual state he measured their ability to resist being controlled by their sinful nature.  He referred to the weak as those who had to be fed milk and the healthy and growing as those on a diet of solid food.

How can we know the amount of control our sinful nature has on our lives?

Paul thought it was pretty simple:

How do you get along with other people?

Jealousy and quarreling with others is a sure sign of our sinful nature.  It is so bad that Paul said “it’s living like people of the world.”  In other words, our lives don’t reflect Christ at all!

It was such a problem with the Corinthians that Paul had to completely change the way he interacted with them.  They were like selfish babies.  So he had to talk to them like babies.

It is understandable for new Christians to need “milk.”  Paul wasn’t talking to them; it was the folks who had known Christ for years he was frustrated with.

What do we do when our “sinful nature” shows its ugly head?

  • Recognize our mistake, accept responsibility
  • Repent and ask for forgiveness and then do a 180° change
  • Re-commit to follow close to Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to help our “Christ nature” to grow and our sinful nature to “fail to thrive!”

Heavenly Father, we want to thrive and grow in our relationship with You.  Every day we want to become “more like You.”  Holy Spirit point out the areas in our lives that our sinful nature is controlling; show us how to grow past these areas of weakness.  Use us for Your Glory and Your Honor!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 4:1-7:40

Are You a People-Pleaser? –Galatians 1:10

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

Sometimes I wish I could be like the Apostle Paul.  He really didn’t care what people thought.  He is the perfect example of the way God uses us within the parameters of our personality.  Our Heavenly Father doesn’t change our temperament when we get saved, He just sands us down a bit and uses our uniqueness for His Glory.

Paul was bold and blunt.  He was definitely not a people-pleaser.

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.  I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. 

–Galatians 1:6-10

While I don’t consider myself a people-pleaser, I’m definitely not as bold as Paul. There have been times when I’ve missed it.  After those times I’ve often thought, “If I had been bolder maybe there would have been a different outcome, maybe that person would have come to know Christ?”

I don’t necessarily think Paul was telling us to be “like” him, i.e. bold, loud and in your face.  I think it was more like, “You must care more about what Jesus thinks than what people think.”

This makes me ask, “Do I really believe what I really believe is real?”

If we can ever get a glimpse of the reality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we will be God pleasers; just one more reason to be in God’s Word each day.

The more I know Him, the less of a people pleaser I’ll be.

Oh, that I could ALWAYS hear God’s voice and ALWAYS obey!

Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I’ve been a people-pleaser.  Forgive me for the times I’ve made You small so that I could seem big to others.  Lord, I want to know You more.  I want to please You!  I want to hear You. I want to do what You tell me to do. Speak loudly Lord, Your servant is listening (1 Samuel 3:9).

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:24-6:18; Acts 15:1-21

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