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Lord, What Do You Think of My Worship? —Nehemiah 9:1-4

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 8:13-10:39

Heavenly Father, as I read these verses I have many questions.

On October 31 the people assembled again, and this time they fasted and dressed in burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors. They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God. The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani—stood on the stairway of the Levites and cried out to the Lord their God with loud voices. —Nehemiah 9:1-4

How could they stand for two 3-hour stretches?

Were they really listening to Your Word for three hours or did their mind wander off the way mine sometime does?

Were they sincerely sorry for their sins or were they just going through the motions?

Lord, here’s the real question that is stirring inside of me:

Lord, what do You think of the time I spend with You? What do You think of my worship?”

Certain types of clothing, a pre-determined postures, or long seasons of prayer and worship aren’t seen in today’s worship but You but You deserve it. You deserve to be honored this way. You deserve this kind of worship.

I want to worship You in a way that pleasing to You. I want to be the kind of worshiper John spoke about:

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” —John 4:23-24

Lord, what is a true worshiper?

What do You mean by worship the Father in spirit and in truth?

Lord, show me! Teach me to worship You in spirit and in truth.

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26, 1 Chronicles 9:1b-34

Lord, Help Me Encourage My Children to Do Right—2 Chronicles 22:3

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 21:8-20, 2 Kings 8:23-29, 2 Chronicles 22:1-7, 2 Kings 9:1-10:17, 2 Chronicles 22:8-9, 2 Kings 10:18-31

Heavenly Father, this verse jumped out like a flashing,neon sign as I read today’s scripture:

Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong.                      —2 Chronicles 22:3

What a terrible thing to have said about a parent!

My first thought was Lord, “I” would never encourage my children to do wrong! I take my role as a parent very seriously. While that is true, I felt a pause come over me and I thought,”No, I don’t encourage my children to do wrong with my words but do I encourage them to do wrong by my example?”

I love to read about great leaders and look for leadership lessons in the lives of all kinds of people.  I’m so passionate about leadership that I’m a part of a  national women’s ministry called LeadHer that equips women to be the leaders You have called us to be. One of the founding principles of this organization is every woman is a leader. We all have people we influence but for those of us who are parents our greatest opportunity to influence is in the lives of our children.

Lord, the number one thing I’ve learned about leadership through secular study and following You all my life  is there’s only one way to lead:

By example.

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Holy Spirit, show me the areas where my words and my actions don’t line up. Allow my life with all it’s twists and turns, successes and failures, to lead my children straight to You.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 11:1-3, 2 Chronicles 22:10-12, 2 Kings 11:4-12, 2 Chronicles 23:1-11, 2 Kings 11:13-16, 2 Chronicles 23:12-15, 2 Kings 11:17-21, 2 Chronicles 23:16-21, 2 Kings 12:1-16, 2 Chronicles 24:1-22, 2 Kings 10:32-36

Lord, Help Me to Love Discipline–Proverbs 5:12


Today’s Scripture Reading: Proverbs 5:1-7:27

Heavenly Father, it must be part of the human condition to hate discipline.  Solomon discusses the consequences of an undisciplined life throughout the Proverbs. Here’s a few verses that stood out in today’s reading:

Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.”  –Proverbs 5:10-14

In this instance Solomon is discussing immorality, but his words apply to any type of undisciplined behavior.

Lord, I heard a saying years ago that seems to hold true to Your Word.

If we don’t discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us. – William Feather

Lord, help me to welcome any form of discipline that You choose to bring into my life. Help me to discipline myself according to Your Word.

Use me for Your Glory.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

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

Do You Have This Kind of Freedom? –Acts 26:32

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

As a Christian and an American freedom is important to me.  Add to that my strong-willed and independent personality and I’m a downright freedom junky.  The Apostle Paul taught me something about freedom today.

Then the king, the governor, Bernice, and all the others stood and left.  As they went out, they talked it over and agreed, “This man hasn’t done anything to deserve death or imprisonment.”

And Agrippa said to Festus, “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.” –Acts 26:30-32

My first thought was, “Why did Paul open his mouth and say he wanted to appeal to Caesar?” (Acts 25:10-12)

In my humanness, it looks like he made a mistake.

Until

I remembered the whole story.

Yes, they sent him to Rome.

Yes, he went as a prisoner.

But

What he really went on was a missionary journey.

Paul’s lack of freedom was God’s way of getting His mission accomplished.  Paul didn’t have the money to travel to Rome but through his chains he got a free trip and witnessed to countless people along the way.

Is there an area of your life in which you feel trapped?

    • A dead-end job
    • An unhappy marriage
    • A chronic health struggle

Maybe…your chains are God’s tool to reach someone who is unreachable.

Maybe…you should look around and see who needs God that is within your reach.

Paul knew the real meaning of freedom–being in the center of God’s Will.

Heavenly Father, help us to look to Paul’s example and apply it to our lives.  Jesus, help us to seek after and desire the kind of freedom that is greater than anything this world has to offer–Knowing You and making You known!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 27:1-44

What is Godly Sorrow? 2 Corinthians 7:10


Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Corinthians 6:14-10:18

“Jeremy, tell Allison you’re sorry!”

Jeremy muffled under his breath, “sorry.”

Then  in my “Mom” voice I sternly said, “Nope, that’s not good enough.”

“Say it like this:  ‘Allison, I’m sorry for ___________.  Please forgive me.’”

Jeremy would grudgingly mouth the words. Was he really sorry? At that time, probably not.

When is the last time you told God you were sorry?

How did you say it?

What did your body language say?

Were you really sorry?

Were you just going through the motions?

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. —2 Corinthians 7:10-11

Godly sorrow, is this a worn-out term that’s no longer relevant for today’s “educated and intellectual culture?”

I say a very loud “NO!”

Do we really believe God sees and disapproves of our sinful behavior (and we all have it, by the way)?

I remember a time in my life when I was completely deceived.  No, I wasn’t a young Christian, I knew better.  I was like Eve in the garden… Satan said, “God really didn’t mean “that” was a sin.  Try it, you’ll like it.”

I bit the apple.  The funny thing about it… I was so deceived that I didn’t feel bad about it.  I knew the Word of God. I knew this was one of those black and white areas of the Bible; there was no question about God’s stand on this topic.  But somehow I thought, “This situation is different, it’ll be okay.”

There was no sorrow and certainly no godly sorrow.

Until…

… Some time had passed and the Holy Spirit began to show me my sinful state.  It was like a supernatural magnifying mirror, you know one of those kinds that show every wrinkle, bump, and imperfection.

With tear-filled eyes I can say that the godly sorrow came that day.  The depth of God’s disappointment hit me in a way I’d never felt before; it felt like physical pain.

“Sorry” wasn’t good enough for this situation.  I spent days and weeks journaling, crying, and grieving over my sin.  Yes, the Lord forgave me as soon as I asked but my sorrow over my sin still lingers today.

There is no regret for this kind of sorrow…it led me away from sin and to true repentance.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your conviction.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Please continue to show me the things in my life that aren’t pleasing to you.  Lord, use me for Your Glory, in spite of my failings and shortcomings.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

If you have a couple of extra minutes read Psalm 51.  King David gave us a great example of godly sorrow:

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God,

According to Your lovingkindness;

According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,

Blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,

And my sin is always before me.

Against You, You only, have I sinned,

And done this evil in Your sight—

That You may be found just when You speak,[a]

And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin my mother conceived me.

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,

And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear joy and gladness,

That the bones You have broken may rejoice.

Hide Your face from my sins,

And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence,

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,

And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,

And sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,

The God of my salvation,

And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips,

And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;

You do not delight in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and a contrite heart—

These, O God, You will not despise.

Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;

Build the walls of Jerusalem.

Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,

With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;

Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

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

Lord, What Does it Mean to be Your Disciple? — Matthew 5:3-12

Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 3:7-19; Luke 6:12-16; Matthew 5:1-12; Luke 6:17-26; Matthew 5:13-48; Luke 6:27-36; Matthew 6:1-4

Lord, I want to be Your disciple.  I want to serve You.  I don’t want to just “know” about You, I want to REALLY know You and I want to cause others to know You.

But, where do I start?

Can you give me an idea of what one of Your representatives looks like?

One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,

      for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

 God blesses those who mourn,

      for they will be comforted.

 God blesses those who are humble,

      for they will inherit the whole earth.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,

      for they will be satisfied.

God blesses those who are merciful,

      for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure,

      for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace,

      for they will be called the children of God.

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,

      for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.   –Matthew 5:1-10

Yes, Lord.  I want to be this kind of person.  Make me more like You today.

 

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:5-7:6; Luke 6:37-42; Matthew 7:7-20; Luke 6:43-45; Matthew 7:21-29; Luke 6:46-49

When You Ask God for Advice You Should Take It–Jeremiah 42:3-43:7

Today’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 42:1-44:30; Ezekiel 33:21-33

Do you ever ask someone for advice knowing that you aren’t going to take it?

Or,

Maybe you ask 5 or 6 people and take the advice that got the most votes.

Or,

Maybe you do what  Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men did… you refuse the advice because it wasn’t what you wanted to do in the first place.  They wanted God to approve their plans and when He didn’t they decided to go their own way.

Then all the guerrilla leaders, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached  Jeremiah the prophet. They said, “Please pray to the Lord your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before.  Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go.”  –Jeremiah 42:1-3

Jeremiah prayed and ten days later the Lord answered:

‘Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you.  Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore,’ says the Lord. ‘For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power.  I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land.‘    —Jeremiah 42:10-12

But, it wasn’t what they wanted to hear:

When Jeremiah had finished giving this message from the Lord their God to all the people, Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, “You lie! The Lord our God hasn’t forbidden us to go to Egypt! Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, because he wants us to stay here and be killed by the Babylonians or be carried off into exile.”  —Jeremiah 43:1-3

The people refused to obey the voice of the Lord and went to Egypt.

It’s one thing to refuse advice from family, friends, or coworkers, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you ask advice from the God of the universe and refuse to take it.

Friends, because of Jesus we don’t have to go to a prophet or priest for advice, we can hear from God ourselves.  God sent the Holy Spirit to be our counselor, but how often to we take advantage of this gift?

If we are smart, we will

  • Ask God’s advice about anything that has life-changing impact
  • Wait for Him to speak (Jeremiah waited 10 days)
  • Do what He says

Heavenly Father, it’s so easy to read about these guys and analyze and criticize but how many times have I done the same thing?  Because of Your Word, the Bible I know Your advice on many topics yet, I have either refused to read it or gone directly against it time after time. Lord, forgive me.  Holy Spirit, speak loudly!  I want to hear Your voice.  I want to take Your advice.  Make me like You Jesus!

In Your Name I pray.  Amen and Amen!

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 34:1-36:38

Lord Will You Bless Me? –1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Ruth 4:13 through Ruth 4:22, 1 Chronicles 2:9 through 1 Chronicles 2:55, 1 Chronicles 4:1 through 1 Chronicles 4:23, 1 Samuel 1:1 through 1 Samuel 1:8

Talk about the icing on the cake, not only did Ruth get swept off her feet by her kinsman redeemer, she became the great-grandmother of King David AND Jesus Christ came through her lineage.

Who knows?

Let me say that again: WHO KNOWS, the plan God has for our lineage.

I’m speaking to myself here…

We spend our whole life looking for a way for God to use us when the greatest and most important thing we may ever do is bring the next generation into this world!

Sowing seeds of greatness into the next generation is every Christian’s calling!

I would love to stop here and tell you about my five children and twelve grandchildren + one on the way, but it would take more time than you have all week!

That’s not all, there are people who God has placed in my life, that aren’t  part of my family that He has called me to sow seeds of greatness into their lives as well.

Speaking of lineages, we sure read some today.  Did you notice the little nugget hidden in the midst of all the descendents?

There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers.  His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful.  He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory!  Please be with me in all that I do and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request. –1 Chronicles 4: 9-10

…the sons of this one, the sons of that one…There was a man named Jabez…the sons of this one, the sons of that one…

Do you wonder why the story of Jabez was placed in the middle of this genealogy of the twelve tribes of Israel?

We could read  Bruce Wilkinson’s best-selling book, The Prayer of Jabez, published in 2000 and get the scoop, but here’s what “I” think:

The Jabez “success story” reinforces the importance of the little window of time (stuffed between chronicles of genealogies) we’re here on this earth.  It also shows us that no matter how painfully our lives begin or how insignificant they may seem in the big picture of life; God has a blessing and a purpose.

I know I’m reading things into this, but what if the reason Jabez’ birth was painful was because his Mom had him out-of-wedlock?  Or maybe Jabez was a chronically ill child?  Or maybe Jabez’ Mother died a pre-mature death because of the complications of childbirth?

Jabez could have missed God’s best because of his painful beginning; he could have blamed his mother, his  God, his community or the government. But instead he boldly asked God to bless him.

Here are 3 things I learned from Jabez:

  • Live an honorable life
  • Pray to God
  • Boldly ask God for His Best for our lives

Heavenly Father, oh that you would bless me and expand my territory!  Please be with me in all that I do and keep me from all trouble and pain!

In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Samuel 1:9 through 1 Samuel 4:11

What’s Your First Thought When You Hear the Word “Discipline?”–Hebrews 12:6

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

What’s your first thought when you hear the word discipline?

  • Pain
  • A spanking as a kid
  • Self-control or the  lack thereof

How about extreme love?

Love = discipline

Discipline = love

…that’s what the Bible says.

God’s discipline proves His love for us.

For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one

he accepts as his child.  —Hebrews 12:6

So if…

  • God doesn’t give us everything we want, exactly when we want it, and allows hard things to come into our lives to make us strong
  • Parents hold their children accountable to daily chores, respect for adults, and keeping their word
  • Employers expect an honest day’s work for a day’s pay, which includes completing tasks on time with a high degree of excellence
  • Humans push away from fleshly addictions (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, food, caffeine, T.V., Computers, etc) and implement healthy habits such as exercise, life-long learning, and helping others

…we are somehow loved by God, others, and ourselves?

Hummmm…

What are your thoughts on the connection between love, discipline and a healthy, productive life?

Heavenly Father, the average person in today’s world doesn’t want to discipline themselves or others and they certainly don’t want to be disciplined by anyone, including You.  Holy Spirit, show us the importance of loving and being loved through discipline. Help us to hold out for the greater good rather than settling for a mediocre life.  Help us to follow your example Jesus. Lord, help us to accept Your discipline.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Hebrews 13:1-25, 1 Peter 1:1-2:3

The Favor of God…What does that mean?—1 Corinthians 15:10


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

As I sit in my cozy little room, in my comfy chair, surrounded by my favorite books and pictures of my family; the Apostle Paul stopped me in my tracks.  It was like I ran into a brick wall and could go no further.

But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. —1 Corinthians 15:10

Paul was talking about God’s special favor on his life…

God’s special favor…

Special favor…

Favor

How many times have I asked for, bragged out, and claimed the favor of God?

  • God give me favor as I meet with this person today
  • God give me favor as I negotiate the price of this purchase
  • God give me favor and help me to find a parking space close to the entrance of the mall

What did Paul’s favor look like?

  • Three times he was beaten with rods (2 Corinthians 11:25)
  • Once he was stoned (2 Corinthians 11:25)
  • Three times he was shipwrecked  (2 Corinthians 11:25)
  • Once he spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea  (2 Corinthians 11:25)
  • He faced death daily (1 Corinthians 15:30)

What’s the difference between Paul’s favor and mine?

Mine is about me and mine and Paul’s was about Jesus and the lost world.

In most translations of this verse grace is used instead of favor, so I looked up “grace” in my Strong’s Lexicon:

Grace comes from the Greek word charis , which means the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

Wow!  Pretty different from my parking space favor…

I think I’m going to think twice before I use the word favor and looking for a parking space in the same sentence.

And

I’m going to ask for God’s grace and favor to come through my life to others so that they will turn to Him.

Friends, I’m probably having my own revelation here, but since we’ve been in the New Testament everything I read shines a light on the selfishness of our society, many of today’s Christians, and me.

It’s not about us, it’s about Him.

What’s the Holy Spirit teaching you today?

Heavenly Father, I know you are teaching me and working to change me.  Please don’t ever stop!  I want Your grace, Your unmerited favor in my life, for two reasons, to know You and cause others to know You.  Lord, I don’t want to be complacent, lukewarm, or cold.  Show me the things in my life that aren’t pleasing to You.  Thank you for sending Your Son to redeem us!  Use our lives to glorify You!  Use our lives to bless others!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 16:1-24, Acts 19:21-20:6, Romans 1:1-32

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