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Send Your Dreams Down the River–Exodus 2:3

Today’s Reading:  Exodus 1:1 through Exodus 2:25; 1 Chronicles 6:1 through 1 Chronicles 6:3a; Exodus 3:1 through Exodus 4:17

I have many dreams (a.k.a. goals, plans, and ambitions).  I believe many of them are special, God-given dreams.  But what do we do with our dreams when time has passed and we haven’t seen them come to fruition?

Have you  heard of a woman in the Bible named Jochabed?  You may not recognized her name, but your probably know her — she’s Moses’ Mom.

If I were Jochabed I would have prayed for my unborn child to be a girl, because Pharaoh, King of Egypt gave an order that every newborn Hebrew boy was to be thrown in the Nile River.  When Jochabed’s  baby boy was born  and she saw that her son was a special child (Exodus 2:2 NLT), she began to think of a way to get around Pharaoh’s decree.  All moms think their children are special but I believe the Lord instilled in Jockabed’s heart a dream of greatness for her son Moses.

So what did Jochabed do with her dream?

    • She hid her baby for 3 months.  This would probably be wise advice for all of us, when God gives us a dream let’s keep it to ourselves for a while until He tells us to share it.  Can I be the first one to say that I have been more like Joseph (Genesis 37) than Jochabed?  I’ll talk about my dreams to anybody who will listen.
    •  Jochabed  made preparations to launch her dream. She didn’t just sit around and fret.  She didn’t “just pray,”  she put action to her prayers.  She made a plan and got busy.  Exodus 2: 1-4, shows how Jochabed devised her plan:

–How– made a waterproof basket

–Where–placed the baby in a basket in the Nile River

–Why–to keep the baby from being killed

–When– the baby was 3 months old and too big to keep quiet

–Who–Jochabed personally put the baby in the water and then had the baby’s sister, Miriam watch over him

  • Jochebed never let her dream out of her sight. I’m sure the plan was for Miriam to continuously watch over this baby. Jochabed didn’t let negative circumstances distract her; she stayed focused.
  • She believed God to make her dream a reality. Jochabed and her husband, Amram were from the tribe of Levi.  The tribe of Levi will later become God’s chosen people to be the priests of the Jewish nation–they believed God!

Can you get in touch with the faith it took for Jochabed to launch that basket in the water?

As Pastor Boyce Teas says, “under God’s all-seeing eyes, Moses was as safe as he would have been in his mother’s arms.  Until Jochabed released that child into God’s care the next step in God’s plan could not take place.  When she put the basket in the water Jochabed was no longer in control of her son’s destiny.”

Until we are willing to release our dream into God’s loving care we can’t expect God to bring it to pass.  What dream do you need to “send down the river” today?

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Exodus 4:18 through Exodus 7:13

Is God Your Imaginary Friend or The Almighty Ruler of the Universe? Job 40:1-2

Today’s Scripture Reading: Job 38:1-40:5

For about ten days we’ve been in the midst of Job’s tests and trials. I don’t think many people have gone through as much pain as Job did and lived to tell about it.  Job is one of those stories that you definitely don’t want to read when everything in your life is going great.  You certainly don’t want to read the book of Job if you believe Christians don’t suffer.

But, if you are a child of God and your life is falling apart all around you and it just doesn’t make sense, Job is the book to read.

Why?

It lets us know–

  • Bad things happen to good people (Job 1:1-2)
  • Trials and tests don’t necessarily mean we’ve sinned or been punished (Job 1:8-12)
  • Evil comes from Satan (Job 1:6-7)
  • Everything that happens to us is filtered through the fingers of a loving God (Job 1:8-12)
  • Christians are tested (Job 1:12)
  • God is still in charge and defines the boundaries (Job 1:12)
  • God’s ways aren’t our ways (Job 1:12)
  • We are very small and God is very big (Job 38)

Today, Job found out just how small he was:

Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:

“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?
Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them. Job 38: 1-3

God asked Job 53 questions of which Job had no answers.  His last statement to Job summed up the one-way conversation:

Then the Lord said to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” Job 40:1-2

Sometimes I think today’s Christian culture has made God more like an imaginary friend than the one, true, living God; the Creator of the universe and Savior of the world.

I think when we come face to face with God our words will probably sound something like Job’s:

Then Job replied to the Lord,

“I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”  –Job 40:3-5

Heavenly Father, forgive us for thinking You are our servant.  Forgive us for questioning your plan.

Teach us the balance

Between

Petitioning You to–

  • Meet our needs
  • Rescue us from our trials
  • Heal our bodies
  • Protect those we love
  • Prosper us financially

While

Trusting Your Sovereignty.

Help us to remember Your ways aren’t our ways.  Help us to have faith to believe You will answer our prayer AND then trust You enough to say,  “Your will be done, O Lord.”

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Job 40:6-42:17

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Job 30:1 through Job 31:40

After reading today’s passage a couple of times a pattern seemed to develop.  I counted nineteen questions Job asked in these two chapters.

When Job finished his list of questions and realized he had done all the things he thought God wanted him to do; he couldn’t understand why he felt so unloved and abandoned.  It seems from everything we have read that Job’s greatest desire was to please God.  Job must have felt heart-broken when he “thought” God wasn’t pleased with him.

We know about God’s conversation with Satan.  We know God was so proud of Job that he bragged about ‘his servant Job’ to the Accuser (Job 1:6-8).  But Job didn’t know this.  If Job could have been a fly on the wall during that conversation he would have walked through this trial with his head held high.  But he didn’t know…and neither do we.

We do the same thing as Job.  We say things like, “God, why is this happening to me?

I…

  • Go to Church
  • Give to the poor
  • Pay my tithe
  • Am honest
  • Don’t cheat on my taxes
  • Care for my neighbor
  • Read my Bible
  • I pray everyday

…Well, I guess God doesn’t  love me or He has forgotten me”…just like Job.

Maybe, just maybe God has said, “Satan, have you noticed my servant   __ (insert your name) __.  He/she is the finest man/woman in all the earth.  He/she is blameless—a man/woman of complete integrity.  He/she fears God and stays away from evil (Job 1:8).”

Because Job didn’t know about Jesus he didn’t realize  “there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more and there’s nothing you can do to make God love you  less.”  (A quote I’ve heard many times over the years)

If you’re going through a “Job-like” season of life, run to your heavenly Father, climb up in his lap and wait out the storm.  Settle the question once and for all, HE LOVES YOU (John 3:16)!

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Job 32:1 through Job 34:37

The Fall of the Hurdle-Jumper–Job 17:11

My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. —Job 17:11

Today’s Scripture Reading: Job 15:1-18:21

I can’t imagine the depth of despair Job felt when he spoke these words.  It’s easy to read Job’s story and move through his losses as if it’s some Hollywood movie.  Friends, this really happened. Put yourself in his shoes.

What would you have done?

What if…

  • All your children were dead
  • All of your servants were dead
  • All of your animals were dead
  • All of your food was gone
  • All of your property was destroyed

Most of my life I naïvely thought seasons of depression, despair, and hopelessness could be avoided by Christian disciplines (prayer, Bible study, worship) and continual attitude adjustments. (Sounds like Job’s friends. Huh?)

Until…

Everything came crashing down.  I called it the fall of the hurdle-jumper.

As long is there’s enough space between the hurdles to recover, a hurdle jumper can go long distances, but let someone come and place all the hurdles side by side and even the best hurdle jumper will come crashing down.

That’s what happened to me.

In just about every area of my life I experienced a major loss: marriage, home, church, career, car, a great friend, and my Dad–all in a matter of a couple of years.

I said with Job, My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. –Job 17:11

This strong “hurdle-jumper” came tumbling to the ground and my misconceptions about depression fell as well. I needed a healing of this mental cancer that had zapped the life and joy out of me.  “I” couldn’t fix me.

That was fifteen years ago.  Through the grace of God, His healing power, and a good medical doctor I made it through that dark time. I’m so thankful for the lessons I learned.  I didn’t realize it at the time but at my lowest God was the closest. As I look back I see those as special times.

Today I vividly understand the power that hope plays in our lives. God is the giver of hope and just like Job we can be sitting in a pile of rubble scraping our wounds, thinking hope is gone forever, while our Heavenly Father is continually saying “Don’t loose hope.  Some things just take a little time.  You’ll understand when You see me face to face. For now just keep your hope in Me!”

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. –Psalm 39:7

Heavenly Father, we need Your hope today.  I pray for my friends who feel the way I did years ago, hopeless and depressed.  Touch them through your supernatural power and send the gift of hope their way.

Jesus, remind us of the needs of the hurting.  Show us who we need to call, write, or visit.  Use us to be delivery agents of hope today.

In Your Name we pray.  Amen and Amen!

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Job 19:1-21:34

Lord, Tell Me What I Have Done Wrong–Job 13:23

God, do You hear me?

Lord, do You see the mess I’m in?

Lord, what have I done wrong?

Have you ever felt like Job and said these things to God?

I know I have.

Just like Job, when tough times hit I begin looking over my life, thinking of the mistakes I’ve made and wondering which one caused this calamity?

Job had done nothing wrong?  It was what he had done right that had caused his world to fall apart. God was so pleased with Job’s love and loyalty towards Him that He spoke like a proud father to Satan and said, “Have you noticed my servant Job?” (Job 1:8)

When hard times hit me personally, I do some soul-searching:

  1. Is there unconfessed sin in my life?
  2. Have I lived my life contrary to God’s Word? (One more reason it’s important to read the Bible)
  3. Do I have unforgiveness in my life?

If the answer to any of those is “yes,” I immediately begin ask God to help me correct that area and ask for His forgiveness.

And God immediately forgives me.

But,

The situation doesn’t usually change immediately.

Why?

Maybe my sin wasn’t the reason for the trial.

Maybe God was sending me ahead for someone else.

Maybe there is something He’s teaching me that I haven’t learned yet.

Many times my answer to those three questions is “no” and like Job I want God to send me an email and tell me what I have done.

But maybe like Job, I haven’t done anything wrong.

Maybe God is proudly saying, “Have you noticed my servant Dianne?”

Maybe God has me on a special assignment.

I really don’t have the answers (the reason for all the maybes) but I know that I trust Him with my life.  I can’t wait to get to the last few chapters in the book of Job so that you can see the faithfulness of God!

God allows hard times into our lives to…

  • Grow us
  • Correct us
  • Cause others to know Him more.

You will hear me say this many times in the next year…

We are on this earth for two reasons: To know Christ and to help others to know Him

That’s it.

This world is not the party, that will be in heaven.

Blessings in Jesus!

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Job 15:1-18:21

The Blended Family that Didn’t Blend

Wow!  Today’s reading was really short.  I guess stopping at the death of Abraham gave us time to reflect  on his life before we change gears and move to Jacob and Esau.

Today’s Reading:  Gen. 25: 1-4, 1 Chron. 1:32:33, Gen, 25:5-6, 12-18, 1 Chron.1:28-31, 34, Gen. 25:19-26, 7-11

As I sat and read and re-read today’s section I kept thinking about Abraham and all the drama he had with his family.  In today’s world we would call Abraham’s situation a blended family, but from what I can tell, they were too much like oil and water to blend.  Here are the highlights:

  • Sarah and Hagar, the mothers of Abraham’s two children couldn’t stand each other
  • Ishmael was constantly ridiculing Isaac; so much so that Sarah sent him away when he was in his teens
  • Abraham got a new wife and/or concubine (today’s reading is confusing about that) after Sarah died and had six more sons
  • “Ishmael’s descendents lived in open hostility toward all their relatives.” (Gen 25:18)
  • Jacob and Esau, Abraham’s grandsons began their sibling rivalry in the womb

My husband Harry and I got married ten years ago.  He has two daughters and I have a son and two daughters.  Our youngest daughters actually set up our first date. All of our kids knew each other and liked each other before we got married so it has been easier for us to “blend” than many families whose parents marry when they are adults.  Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t perfect but I count my blessings everyday.

As I try to imagine Abraham’s world, the only word I can think of to describe it is “drama”!  The culture of that day didn’t play fair; everybody didn’t get an equal share.  From what I know as a parent in a blended family, making an effort to treat each child as equally as possible is a critical element in the success of bringing two families together.  As the mom and step-mom in our huge family of 22 (includes 11 grandkids), it is my goal to have peace, harmony, and laughter in all of our times together.  Of course that isn’t always the case, but it’s my desire.

From the viewpoint of a person who does not like drama, it seems like Abraham had a tough family life, but from the last comment made about him it seems he had it all in perspective.  “Abraham lived for 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life.” (Genesis 25:7)

“A long and satisfying life”…isn’t that what we all want?  If you have a chance, take a trip over to Hebrews 11:8-19 and find out why Abraham’s life was so satisfying.  My favorite part of this passage is “All these people (includes Abraham) died still believing what God had promised them.”  Lord, help me to believe your promises until the day I die and then I will have that satisfying life Abraham talked about!

One more thing, I was so glad to hear that Isaac AND Ishmael buried their father together.  I would like to think they sat around the fire and talked about all the good things they loved about their father.  What do you think happened?

Blessings in Jesus!

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Genesis 25:27-28:5

Abraham, My Hero


When we left off yesterday I had grouped Abraham with the rest of the dysfunctionals, but today he  recovered his position as a Patriarch of my faith.

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Genesis 21:8-23:20, Genesis 11:32, Genesis 24:1-67

My thoughts on today’s  reading–There were so many things I wanted to share I had to list them in bullets:

  • I realized for the first time that Abraham actually was willing to sacrifice both of his children.  At the last minute he got a reprieve and did not have to sacrifice Isaac but he did sacrifice Ishmael. No Abraham did not have to kill Ishmael and burn him on an altar, but he did have to send him away and not get to be a part of his life for the good of God’s plan. In Genesis 21:12, God told Isaac not to be upset about Ishmael leaving because Isaac was the son through whom Abraham’s descendants would be counted.
  •  Abimelech, King of Gerar (the king who was going to marry Sarah because he thought Abraham was her brother) came back into Abraham’s life and the two men made a treaty to live peacefully together.  The king had been observing Abraham and came to the conclusion that, “that God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do.”  How wonderful would it be if the people in our neighborhood or office at work would say that about us!
  •  From my observations of Adam, Noah, and Abraham that God required three things from his chosen:
    • To listen for God to speak
    • To hear God when He speaks
    • To be obedient to God’s instructions
  •   Abraham was a man of character who wanted to pay his way.  He insisted on paying  for the family tomb to bury his wife Sarah even though he was offered it for free several times.
  • Isaac and Rebecca stories still happen today.  God is still in the match-making business.  I’ll have to tell you my story sometime!
  • Nose-rings aren’t anything new.
  • I want to be able to say these words of Abraham  at the end of my life: “The Lord is whose presence I have lived…” (Gen 24:40)
  • I can’t imagine allowing my young daughter to ride off into the desert on a camel with a man I just met yesterday, knowing I would probably never see her again.

This is the seventh day of our journey.  As I look back on what I’ve learned, two scriptures come to mind.  No, they weren’t written during Abraham or Isaac’s lifetime, but I believe our omnipresent God had already set them in place as spiritual laws before the world was created.  These two scriptures help me to rest in the things I can’t explain:

Genesis 50:20– You (Satan) intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.  (Italics mine—in this instance Joseph was talking about his brothers, but harm and evil ultimately comes from the devil)

Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Congratulations on completing your first week of the journey!

Thanking God for you! 

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Genesis 25:1-4; 1 Chronicles 1:32-33;     Genesis 25:5-6, 12-18; 1 Chronicles 1:28-31, 34; Genesis 25:19-26, 7-11

Thank You Noah!

I would like to publicly thank Noah and his family for saving the human race!  They made a huge sacrifice for us!  I don’t think I could have done it! I probably would have jumped overboard after a week!

Today’s Reading:  Gen 7:1-10:5, 1 Chron 1:5-7, Gen 10:6-20, 1 Chron 1:8-16, Gen 10:21-30, 1 Chron 1:17-23, Gen 10:31-32

I just don’t think I could have survived!  From my calculations (don’t quote me because I’m not very good at math), Noah and his family were on that boat for twelve and a half months.  Twelve and a half months with…

  • No baths (I couldn’t make it one week without a bath)
  • All those animals (poop, urine, slobber…can I say stink!!)
  • Reptiles (frogs, lizards, and snakes) I would have had a heart attack
  • No privacy (just think about it.  There were young, hormonal men on that boat)
  • He said, she said/meow-meow (can you imagine how they must’ve gotten on each other’s nerves)
  • (SAD)Seasonal Affective Disorder (12.5 months with no sunlight and no Prozac—the animals were probably as depressed as the people)

Can you imagine how they must have felt the day they walked off that boat?  Most of us would have probably kissed the ground, but not Noah; he immediately built an altar to his Lord.  God was pleased with Noah’s offering and made a promise that is still in effect today:

“I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood.  I will never again destroy all living things.  As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (Gen.8:21-22)

The next time you see a rainbow, take a minute to remember the covenant that your Heavenly Father made with Noah and you. Because of the rainbow neither Noah nor anyone since has had to worry that God is going to destroy the earth with water. Can you imagine the first time it rained after Noah and his family got off the ark?  They probably thought, “Where’s the boat?  Here we go again.”–Remember it had never rained before the flood.  Our all-knowing God knew they would be afraid, so He gave them a sign-a rainbow.  That’s just amazing!

I remember a time about 15 years ago when I was going through a difficult time financially.  I was literally wondering what I was going to do and if God had forgotten me.  One Saturday there was a knock on the door and a friend from my church began to unload $200 worth of groceries.  I had said nothing to anyone about our need.  For me that was a sign from God that He was with me, He knew everything that was going and that I could make it through.  It was also a sign to my children that God cared about us.  I will never forget that day.

Has there ever been a time when God knew you would be afraid so he gave you a sign so that you could make it through?

Praying for you!

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©2012, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Genesis 11:1-26; 1 Chronicles 1:24-27; Genesis 11:27-14:24

Don’t Be Faithless Any Longer–John 20:27


Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-43; Mark 16:12-13; John 20:19-23; Mark 16:14; John 20:24-21:25; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:44-49

“Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe.” These were the words Jesus said to Thomas.

We all know the story of doubting Thomas.  He wasn’t with the others the first time they saw Jesus so he made the bold statement, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”  (John 20:25)

I feel bad for Thomas.  He’s really gotten a bad rap over the years; what Christian hasn’t had times of faithlessness.  Who knows, God may have divinely had this story told to encourage all of us doubters that Jesus understands, cares, and doesn’t want us to live this way.

There have been so many times when I wanted to have faith, but I just didn’t.

I was just too scared.

But, in the same way Jesus spoke to Thomas, he speaking to you and I…

Peace be with you.  Put your finger here, and look at my hands.  Put your hand into the wound in my side.  Don’t be faithless any longer.  Believe! (John 20:26-27)

To me, Jesus’ words say that Jesus understands when we have doubts and questions.  He says, “Come closer to me, touch me; know me and then believe in me.”

He didn’t say, “Away from me, I never knew you.”

He said come closer.

Friend, if you’re struggling with your faith tonight…

Don’t be faithless any longer.  Get closer to Jesus and believe.

Heavenly Father, forgive us for doubting You.  Help our unbelief.  Holy Spirit, draw us closer to Jesus; draw us closer to Your Word.   Help us seek You out.  Increase our faith.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:1-2:47

Something Worth Arguing About?—Mark 9:16

I am so sick of turning on the T.V. and seeing two people with opposing views screaming at each other.  But the same kind of thing went on in Jesus’ day; they just didn’t have the media to show it to the world a hundred times a day. In today’s world we call that entertainment.  From today’s reading we see that the crowd was entertained by a good argument in Jesus’ day as well.

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 9:14-29, Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 9:37-43a, Mark 9:30-32, Matthew 17:22-23, Luke 9:43b-45, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 18:1-6, Luke 9:46-48, Mark 9:38-41, Luke 9:49-50, Mark 9:42-50, Matthew 18:7-35

In Mark 9, Jesus and three of His disciples walked up on an argument between a huge crowd of people, the local religious leaders, and nine of His disciples.  Jesus immediately asked what all the arguing was about (Mark 9:16).

Most likely the religious leaders were pointing out to the crowd that the Jesus’ disciples weren’t able to heal the demon-possessed boy.  They were probably getting louder and louder, with the noise of the crowd adding fuel to the fire. If I were one of the disciples I would have definitely felt the need to defend the healing power of Jesus.  Can you just imagine the shouting match that must have gone on?

Jesus, Peter, James, and John had just come down from the mountain where they had heard the voice of God…talk about “back to the real world!”

What happened next will probably be a surprise if you think Jesus would have run away from an argument!

Jesus got right in the middle of mix, raised His voice and addressed all of them, including His disciples:

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” Mark 9:19

It seems that lack of faith is one of the few things that frustrated our Savior to the point of asking, “How long must I put up with you?”

In almost every miracle Jesus did He either praised great faith or corrected the lack of faith.

Faith is important to God:

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6

How do we get more faith?

That’s where the problem lies.  There’s a price to pay for great faith.

The disciples asked this same question when they talked after Jesus healed the boy.

Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”

Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer. Mark 9:28-29

Most versions of the Bible say it can only be cast out by prayer AND fasting.

The spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting are crucial to live a life of faith in this fallen world.

Can you see why your humanness fights so hard when you set aside time to fast and pray?

I’m sure if Jesus were here He would be frustrated by our lack of faith.

I challenge you to find some time right now to spend with God in prayer!

Heavenly Father, help us to see the importance in doing our part to strengthen our faith.  Lord, we say with the father of the demon-possessed by, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-8:20

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