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Lord, Help Me to Be Less Demanding and More Loving—Philemon 1:8-9

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

Heavenly Father, these verses spoke to me:

That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do. But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you. Consider this as a request from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus. —Philemon 1:8-9

Lord, I expect a lot of myself. My high expectations sometimes lead to unreasonable demands on the people I love. It’s interesting that my expectations for the world are pretty low but for me and the branches of my family tree—we’re supposed to be perfect!

Jesus, I am learning to lower my expectations. I’m learning to give myself and my loved ones the grace that You died for. I definitely haven’t arrived, but I’m not where I used to be.

Thank You for Your grace.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:12-4:23

Lord, Don’t Let My Family Tree Be Deceived and Fooled—2 Thessalonians 2:5-12

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18, Acts 18:4-23

Heavenly Father, it’s funny how our thoughts change as we enter different seasons of life. As I read these verses from the viewpoint of a mother and grandmother approaching sixty years of age, my thoughts turn to my future generations.

Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.

This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth. —2 Thessalonians 2:5-12

Lord, I don’t want my children, grandchildren and future generations being deceived and fooled into believing the lies of “the man of lawlessness.”

Heavenly Father, I declare in the Name of Your amazing Son, Jesus Christ that my family tree will be a mighty oak of righteousness, standing strong in the midst of the evil of this world. Each leaf of this tree will bring good news to the poor, comfort the brokenhearted, and proclaim that captives be released and prisoners be freed. Those who mourn in this world will stand under the branches of this strong tree and be blessed, comforted, protected and encouraged.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
though they have been deserted for many generations. —Isaiah 61:1-4

In the mighty Name of Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 18:24-19:20, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3:23

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, Can We Talk Parent-to-Parent? —Matthew 26:39-56

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 18:1-2, Mark 14:32-42, Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46, Mark 14:43-52, Matthew 26:47-56, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:3-24

Heavenly Father, can we talk parent-to-parent?

How did You control Your urge to snatch Your son out of the Garden of Gethesemane as he repeatedly pleaded for His suffering to be taken away? How did You do it? I know Your heart was breaking.

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” —Matthew 26:39-46

Lord, the hardest trials I’ve ever experienced have been watching my children suffer. It’s heartbreaking to helplessly sit on the sidelines watching their lives head down a road “I” would never want them to travel.  But there’s something harder than that—watching Your only Son suffer for sin He didn’t commit when You have the ability to rescue Him in an instant!

Father, in my humanness I don’t know how You did it but as I read today’s scriptures I saw two reasons why You, Your Son, and Your Holy Spirit were willing to go through this pain and suffering:

1. It was Your will. That’s settled it for Your Son. He didn’t want to go to the cross and die but Your will and Your plan were more important and His human suffering.

The second reason came later in this chapter:

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled. —Matthew 26:52-56

2. You do not lie. Repeatedly, in Your scriptures Your Son’s birth, death, and resurrection were predicted. You could have sent angels, You could have rescued Jesus with one word, but it is not possible for You to lie, so You kept Your Word and sent Your Son to rescue ME from sin and eternal death so that Your scriptures were fulfilled!

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. —Hebrews 6:18

Lord…

When I am fretting, crying, pleading for You to rescue my children from their suffering, help me to remember You know, You care, and You understand.

When I’m searching for reasons and answers, remind me that Your will and Your plans are bigger and better than mine and Your scriptures are being fulfilled in the lives of my children.

Lord, let Your Will be done in the lives of my children, grandchildren, and future generations. May we serve You all the days of our lives!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:53-65, Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:66-72, Mathew 26:69-75, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:25-27, Mark 15:1, Matthew 27:1-2, Luke 22:66-71, Matthew 27:3-10

Jesus, How Could You Wash Judas Feet When You Knew He Would Betray You? –John 13:1-5

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:1-2, Matthew 26:1-5, Luke 22:1-2, Mark 14:10-11, Matthew 26:14-16, Luke 22:3-6, Mark 14:12-16, Matthew 26:17-19, Luke 22:7-13, John 13:1-17, Mark 14:17-26, Matthew 26:20-30, Luke 22:14-30, John 13:18-30

Jesus, betrayal is my worst fear.

 

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.  It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. –John 13:1-2

 

Jesus, You knew Judas was going to betray You, yet You allowed Him the unique privilege of sharing the Last Supper with You.

Lord, did You wash His feet too?

Sounds like it…

 

Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? –John 13:10-12

 

Lord, You weren’t afraid Judas would betray You, YOU KNEW HE WOULD BETRAY YOU.

 

He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”

And Jesus told him, “You have said it.” –Matthew 26:23-25

 

Jesus, You gave Him one last warning and then You washed His feet.

And then he  b-e-t-r-a-y-e-d  You.

 

Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.  So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. –John 3-5

 

Lord, how did You pick up that towel and wash Judas’ feet?

 

  • You knew who You were
  • You knew who had sent You
  • You knew Your mission
  • You knew who Your were fighting
  • You knew God’s plans were being fulfilled

 

Lord, in my everyday days I “know” these five things but when the scars of betrayal are forced open by current day issues, spiritual discernment and common sense go out the window. I get in crazy-making mode and begin reliving past betrayals similar to the way a soldier relives their times in battle.

Holy Spirit, I prayed and asked You to show me how to have peace when the fear of betrayal overwhelms me. You gave me these verses:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7

If I…

–Don’t worry

–Pray

–Tell You what I need

–Thank You for all You have done

Then I will…

—Experience Your  peace that exceeds my understanding

–You will guard my heart and mind

 

Lord, I give my fear of betrayal to You. Heal my deepest hurts.

Let this be so in my life.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: John 13:31-38, Mark 14:27-31, Matthew 26:31-35, Luke 22:31-38, John 14:1-15:17

Lord, Give Me Strength to Escape and Stand—Luke 21:34-36

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 13:32-37, Matthew 24:36-51, Luke 21:34-38, Matthew 25:1-46

Heavenly Father, for months I have been in a season where my heart has been dulled, not by carousing and drunkenness, but by the worries of life.

Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” —Luke 21:34-36

Lord, the circumstances haven’t changed. In the natural realm things look pretty bleak but I’ve changed. This past Sunday at Niceville Assembly You removed the scales from my eyes and allowed me to see my circumstances for what they truly are, the enemy of my soul’s attempt to steal the destiny of my family. It’s almost as if I was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and You pulled back the curtain and let me see that all the destruction that is happening is just smoke and mirrors. It’s the evil wizard’s attempt to deceive and keep me paralyzed, to keep me from using the mighty power afforded to every Christ follower.

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.   —Ephesian 6:10-12

Lord, last night these words came out of my mouth to a friend and I immediately knew they weren’t my words but Your words:

We are the church! We aren’t supposed to stand by and let the enemy win.

The fight isn’t with people, politicians, social agendas, countries, or terrorist organizations. The fight is with the enemy of our soul, whose desire is to destroy us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As Christie Love, the founder of LeadHer, an international women’s ministry says in an upcoming teaching on spiritual warfare, “God gives us two offensive weapons: The Word of God and prayer.” Lord, teach me how to us Your Word and prayer to fight our real enemy!

Holy Spirit, continuously walk me through these steps so that I can escape the strategies of the devil and stand strong in the coming days.

1. Watch out

2. Guard my heart

3. Watch for traps

4. Keep Alert

5. Pray for strength to escape and stand

 

Lord, thank You for Your Word! Help me to guard my heart!

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:1-2, Matthew 26:1-5, Luke 22:1-2, Mark 14:1o-11, Matthew 26:14-16, Luke 22:3-6, Mark 14:12-16, Matthew 26:17-19, Luke 22:7-13, John 13:1-17, Mark 14:17-26, Matthew 26:20-30, Luke 22:14-30, John 13:18-30

Lord, Teach Me to Have Shameless Persistence—Luke 11:5-13

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 8:21-59, Luke 10:1-11:13

Heavenly Father, when discouragement and doubt come remind me of this story. Remind me to have shameless persistence.

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Father, once again I bring my desperate needs to You. Lord, hear my prayer.

The days have long since passed of me trying to tell You how to fix the people and situations that cause my heart to break. I have no answers but my shameless prayer is please don’t leave us or forget us. Please don’t leave us the way we are. Please work everything out for Your Glory and our good (Romans 8:28).

Lord, we have so many needs but my greatest desire is that my future generations know You, REALLY know You and spend their days sharing Your good news with the world.

Jesus, I will keep knocking and asking until I breath my last breath.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 11:14-12:34

Lord, There’s So Much to Do and So Little Energy—John 6:26-29

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 6:22-71, Mark 7:1-23, Matthew 15:1-20

Heavenly Father, our wild and crazy lives must be both humorous and sad to You. Busy is the buzz-word of our culture. It’s as we if we think our busyness makes us valuable to society, our family, and the church. You warned us about mis-aligned priorities in Your Word.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” —John 6:26-29

Each person only has so much energy. Some have abundant amounts and some have very little. The amount of energy isn’t our problem. It’s what we’re spending it on that’s the issue. Lord, we spend our most precious asset–our energy, performing for the world’s approval and acceptance and then we take that same philosophy and apply it to our relationship with You.  We think that’s we way You decide if we’re acceptable. That goes against Your Word.

Lord, the people in today’s lesson were following You for the food. Sadly, in today’s self-absorbed world, many Christians serve You for Your physical blessings rather than the eternal rewards. I think we are so caught up in the day-to-day life, we never have time to think about the eternal consequences of our daily choices.

This “chaos of busyness,” that’s keeps us from thinking is one of the greatest tools Satan is using to cause Christians to “fall away.” Our physical busyness isn’t the real problem. The thing that is leading to our destruction is our mental busyness. Our attention span is decreasing daily.  Our goal is to avoid silence. If we don’t have silence, we can’t hear You speak and that makes us easy pickings for the enemy of our soul.

In today’s world we’d rather “do” than “think.”

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; —2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 (KJV)

Lord, forgive us. Forgive me. Lord, I want to spend my energy seeking, serving, and spending time with You. Help me to lay aside anything that distracts me from You.

Jesus, help me to remember–

That the only work You want from me is to Believe in You.

Jesus, I bring my busyness, burdens, weariness to You.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” —Matthew 11:28-30

And I receive Your rest.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 7:24-30, Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:31-37, Matthew 15:29-31, Mark 8:1-10, Matthew 15:32-16:4, Mark 8:11-21, Matthew 16:5-12

Lord, Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Think—Luke 2:48

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-23, Luke 2:41-52, Mark 1:1b-8, Mathew 3:1-12, Luke 3:1-18, Mark 1:9-11, Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22

Heavenly Father, today I saw this verse in a new light.

His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” —Luke 2:48

The story of Mary and Joseph leaving Jesus at the temple was one I first heard as a small child but as I read it today it gave me comfort as a parent and an aging adult who spends a lot of time shaking my head over the inconsistencies and self-centeredness in today’s world.

Mary and Joseph were parenting the son of God. Jesus was sinless, yet his parents went through three days of hell when they realized he wasn’t with them when they started home to Nazareth (Luke 2:41-52). Their first thoughts were “why have you done this to us?”

Lord, I must admit that I’ve asked myself this question many times over the years as a parent. The answer Jesus would give and the answer my kids would give would most likely be the same one: “I wasn’t thinking about you at all.” In Jesus case, He was about His Heavenly Father’s will for His time on earth. In the case of my kids, they were thinking about their life, their agenda, and their ideals.

This is really hard for parents to understand because from the time we find out we’re pregnant everything we do is for our children. It is a rude awakening when we realize that the opposite is true with them—the moment a child is born they begin the fight for their independence from their parents.

Lord, I’m sure You understand this because You are a parent. You sacrificed Your son so that we can be with You in heaven and most days it’s all about us and we don’t think about You or Your Will at all.

For Mary, this was a turning point. Jesus was only twelve but she knew the tearing away had begun and it was going to be painful.

Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. —Luke 2:51

Heavenly Father, I want to follow Your example as a parent. The most important gift You gave Your children is the freedom of choice. Help me to encourage my children, grandchildren and future generations to experience Your gift of choice. I pray they choose You!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

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©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 1:12-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-15, John 1:19-2:25

Lord, It Must Break Your Heart to Watch Your Children Destroy Themselves—Jeremiah 44:7

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

Heavenly Father, throughout Your Word You have given us clues into Your heart. You are the first parent. Many times in the Bible we see Your  parent’s heart. Just like human parents, You experience great joy and extreme sadness because of  Your children’s choices.

In this verse we saw one of Your painful days as a parent.

And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. —Jeremiah 44:7

Father, reading this verse makes me sad for You and it makes me sad for parents who are watching their children self-destruct as I write this prayer.

It’s tough to watch those we love endure pain and suffering that is not of their choosing.

But

It’s worse to watch our children make conscious choices to self-destruct and take their families along with them.

Lord, there’s a great lesson in this verse. You allowed Your children to bear the consequences of their choices, even though You could have forced them to do what You knew was best for them.

Today’s parents think protecting our children and alleviating their suffering is what good parents do. Many parents spend their whole lives exhausting their time, money, and health trying to save children who do not want to be saved.

Jesus, You came to this earth to pay the price for our sins and give us eternal life.

But

You did not take away our ability to choose life or death, heaven or hell, or safety or self-destruction.

Father, teach parents to train their children as You train Your children:

Choices = Consequences

Lord, help us to learn from Your example.

Comfort us as only You can when our children choose the road to self-destruction.

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: Ezekiel 34:1-36:38

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