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Lord, I Want to Forget Everything, Except…—1 Corinthians 2:1-5

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

Heavenly Father, as a speaker and teacher it’s easy to get caught up in the work of preparing “clever and persuasive speeches.” Thank you for this reminder from Paul:

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. —1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Jesus, Paul was extremely educated, plus he had one of the most dramatic and powerful conversions of the Bible. He knew that Your power was what changed him and it was the only thing that would reach the world. He made a conscious choice to focus and rely on You not his religious training.

Lord, whether we are public speakers or battle shyness everyday of our life, we all find ourselves in situations where we need the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the words to say.

“And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say,  for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” —Luke 12:10-15

Holy Spirit, I’m relying only on You to give me the words to say as I go about my day. I’m trusting in Your power.

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-7:40

Lord, I Need Your Courage—1 Thessalonians 2:2

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 17:16-18:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:11

Heavenly Father, I’m not a doomsday prophet but it’s easy to see the day is coming when a line in the sand will be drawn and I will have a choice, Your Son or serious negative consequences.

Lord, I want the courage of Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition. —1 Thessalonians 2:2

Jesus, the last couple of nights as I’ve drifted off to sleep, thoughts have crossed my mind about what it would happen if I had to choose You or death.

Jesus, You chose me over death. I want to have the courage to stand tall and strong for You, in spite of the great opposition.

Holy Spirit, You know the future, equip me with supernatural courage to boldly declare the good news of Jesus whatever the consequences.

In the mighty Name of Jesus. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18, Acts 18:4-23

Lord, Do We Still Have to Obey the Old Testament Laws? —Galatians 3:19

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

Heavenly Father, I love Your Old Testament! The stories of the patriarchs and prophets build my faith. But it can be challenging to understand how the law of the Old Testament and the free gift of salvation Jesus died to give us fit together into today’s world.

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. —Galatians 3:19

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Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. —Galatians 3:21-22

Lord, the Bible I’m using has some commentary on this question—do we still have to obey the Old Testament Laws?

When Paul says that non-Jews are no longer bound by these laws, he’s not saying that the Old Testament Laws are of no value to us today. One way to think about the Old Testament laws is to think about three categories:

Ceremonial law-Related to Israel’s worship. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial laws, the principles behind them—to worship and love a holy God—still apply.

Civil law-Dictated Israel’s daily living. Because modern society and culture are so radically different, some of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. But the principles behind the commands should guide our conduct.

Moral law-A direct command of God—for example the Ten Commandments. It required strict obedience. It reveals the nature and will of God, and it still applies to us today. We are to obey this moral law, not to obtain salvation, but to live in ways pleasing to God. —Chronological Life Application Study Bible

Holy Spirit, I know these are man’s thoughts. Give me Your wisdom and Yours alone to apply Your Word to my daily life.

Jesus, thank You for releasing me from the prison of sin. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your law. Teach me how to know You more through both.

In Your mighty and awesome name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:24-6;18, Acts 15:1-21

Lord, I Want This Kind of Storm in My Life—Acts 2:1-2

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

Heavenly Father, as a native of the Florida Gulf Coast, I am well acquainted with wind storms. Yes, they’re scary but I’ve always had a fascination with the wind as it changes the water from a quiet calm to a roaring, mighty force to be reckoned with, in a matter of minutes!

The Holy Spirit is like the roaring of a mighty windstorm. 

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. —Acts 2:1-2

I could write paragraphs on the parallels between windstorms and the Holy Spirit but the most important commonality for me is they are both powerful.

Jesus, I made up my mind long ago that if You were giving it, I wanted it. I’ve said many times we are only on this earth for two reasons: to know You and to cause others to know You. Holy Spirit, the only way we can do these to things is with Your supernatural power:

“But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going.  Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. —John 16:5-8

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But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  —Acts 1:8

Holy Spirit, EVERYDAY I see You at work. For example, this morning I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. Some would say, that’s a bad start to my day but I’ve walked with You long enough to know if I can’t sleep I need to get up, You’ve got something to say. After praying for some urgent needs I saw through social media, I “happened” upon this article about the Holy Spirit and then I read today’s scripture and went Wow, thank You Holy Spirit! You are preparing my mind to write today’s prayer.

Holy Spirit, blow into my life today. Shake me up, stir me, anoint me, teach me, speak to me, speak through me, and use my life to help others know You more. You are powerful and unpredictable, just like a windstorm and that makes being filled with Your Spirit the greatest adventure of my life!

I am blessed!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-5:42

Lord, I Just Saw a Suddenly! —John 20:19-21

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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

Jesus, You gave the disciples some shock and awe in today’s reading! I counted five SUDDEN appearances. I can’t imagine what that was like…

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!  Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” —John 20:19-21

But I know that You still do SUDDENLYS. I just witnessed one.

Jesus, the situation was desperate, the people involved were beginning to lose hope, and then suddenly You showed up and said “peace be with You” and instantly You performed spiritual open heart surgery and everything changed.

Talk about a turn-around! Lord, I’m so thankful! Thank You for suddenlys.

 

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

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

 

 

Lord, How Did She Do It? —John 19:25-27

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:21-24, Matthew 27:32-34, Luke 23:26-31, John 19:17, Mark 15:25-32, Matthew 27:35-44, Luke 23:32-43, John 19:18-27, Mark 15:33-41, Matthew 27:45-56, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-37

Heavenly Father, as I read the account of Jesus’ crucifixion my thoughts went to Mary. How did she endure every mother’s worst nightmare—watching her child’s inhumane and torturous execution happen before her very eyes?

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”  And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. —John 19:25-27

Jesus, how did she stay there?

I’m sure it would have been easier for her to go home, cover her head and try to silence the mental images of what was happening. But Mary didn’t do the easy thing. As a mother who’s seen each of her children suffer through some hard times that look like a walk in the park compared to Your suffering, I can only see one way of getting through that day—the supernatural spirit of God.

Jesus, part of Your suffering on that day was to face crucifixion without Your Heavenly Father.

At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” —Matthew 27:46

Jesus, no one could take the place of Your Heavenly Father. Mary couldn’t save You. She couldn’t ease Your pain. All she could do was stay with You. I can just imagine when Your eyes met Mary’s eyes. Love, comfort, and strength must have gone straight to Your heart like a laser beam. I have to believe Mary was Your Heavenly Father’s representative at the cross. I believe He was loving You through Mary.

Lord, in today’s world there is so much suffering and sadness. My natural reaction is to run and hide but people need Your love, comfort, and strength.

I need the courage of Mary. I need the strength to stand with them in their suffering to show Your love. Lord, give me the privilege of being Your representative in their tough times.

Holy Spirit, give me supernatural, unexplainable love and compassion for those You place in my life today.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42, Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12, Mark 16:9-11, John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:8-15

Lord, Today There’s Gonna Be a Fight—John 19:11

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:2-5, Matthew 27:11-14, Luke 23:1-12, John 18:28-40, Mark 15:6-15, Matthew 27:15-26, Luke 23:13-25, John 19:1-16, Mark 15:16-20, Matthew 27:27-31, Luke 22:63-65

Jesus, as I read the details of Your arrest and trial I kept thinking, “this was senseless and crazy!” “How did things deteriorate so quickly?” “One minute everyone’s singing Your praises and the next minute they’re yelling ‘crucify You!'”

This explains it.

Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” —John 19:11

It was Your plan. It was Your time. It was Your will.

There was a fight going on.

Holy Spirit, some days I wish I could see into the unseen world Paul talks about:

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. —Ephesians 6:12

Lord, yes it can be scary to think about “mighty powers in this dark world,” but You said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above.”

Lord, You are in control. You win. Your followers win. I win!

But…

In this world there will be a fight…

I’m so thankful I’m on the winning team!

Lord, give me eyes to see the “real battles.” Teach me how to fight!

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

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:21-24, Matthew 27:32-34, Luke 23:26-31, John 19:17, Mark 15:25-32, Matthew 27:35-44, Luke 23:32-43. John 19:18-27, Mark 15:33-41, Matthew 27:45-56, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-37

Lord, Does My Denial Disqualify My Calling? —Matthew 26:69-75

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:53-65, Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:66-72, Matthew 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

Heavenly Father, I really feel bad for Peter:

Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly. —Matthew 26:69-75

Peter’s words “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you” (Matthew 26:34) waved the red flag to Satan, the enemy of Peter’s soul. Satan said “Game On” and crafted a plan to get Peter to do the very thing that he never wanted to do—deny his Lord.

The same evil that caused Judas to betray Jesus caused Peter to deny Him. Satan used fear to get his plan accomplished in Peter’s life. He was afraid for his life, afraid for Jesus, afraid for the future and afraid of failure.

Jesus, Matthew recorded Your conversation with Peter (Matthew 16:17-19) where You changed his name and said You will build Your church upon this rock (Peter). I’m sure Peter thought his denial disqualified him for Your calling but the next time You saw him You did his first training session on building Your church (my interpretation) and there was no mention of denial, roosters, or fireside chats, just a check to make sure he still loved You and a charge to get to work and feed Your sheep.

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. —John 21:15-17

 

Lord, we all go through times of fear and doubt. We all make mistakes. Many times we choose the same path as Peter. We make grand claims to love and serve You at all costs and then we adversity strikes, we deny You.  But that does not diminish Your plans for us. You’re not even surprised by it. You understand the spiritual battle that’s raging much better than we do.

Lord, help me to realize the only way I can fail is to quit. Help me to learn from my mistakes and grow beyond them.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:2-5, Matthew 27:11-14, Luke 23:1-2, John 18:28-40, Mark 15:6-15, Matthew 27:15-26, Luke 23:13-25, John 19:1-16, Mark 15:16-20, Matthew 27:27-31, Luke 22:63-65

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

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

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