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

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

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

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

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

1. Be joyful

2. Grow to maturity

3. Encourage each other

4. Live in harmony and peace

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

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

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

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!
 

 

 

 

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

Lord, I Don’t Want to Make This Mistake—Mark 12:24

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:28-32, Mark 12:1-12, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-19, Matthew 22:1-14, Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:18-27, Matthew 22:23-33, Luke 20:27-40

Jesus, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. A person can’t live 50 plus years without making their fare share. When I first saw this verse my mind immediately saw these as two mistakes but right before I hit the post button I noticed that it’s really one mistake with two components.

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. —Mark 12:24

“Word Studies in the New Testament” paraphrases this verse as The reason of your error is your ignorance of the scriptures and of the power of God.

Lord, many of the mistakes I’ve made are because of my ignorance of Your Word and Your power. I can’t understand Your Word without Your Power and I can’t understand Your Power without Your Word. Yes, I see it! It really is just one mistake!

Holy Spirit, even though I’ve served You many years and studied Your Word, there’s still only one way I can avoid these mistakes— It’s with Your supernatural power.  The Sadducees (Mark 12:18-27) were highly intelligent and known as the brilliant minds of the day. They must have been insulted by this verse.

Knowing Your Word and Your power has nothing to do with intelligence. I cannot “know” the scriptures and “know” Your power without Your guidance, intervention, and counsel.

Lord, give me discernment. Remind me of the many times I’ve seen Your supernatural power displayed in my life and the lives of the people around me.

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. —John 14:26

Holy Spirit, I just experienced Your power as I studied this verse. I am in complete awe!

Holy Spirit, thank You for being my teacher.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 12:28-34, Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:35-37, Matthew 22:41-46, Luke 20:41-44, Mark 12:38-40, Matthew 23:1-12, Luke 20:45-47, Matthew 23:13-39, Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4

Lord, What Should I Cut Off or Gouge Out? –Mark 9:42-50

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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

Heavenly Father, I’ve read these scriptures many times. I’ve always gotten so caught up in cutting off limbs and gouging out eyes that I’ve missed Your simple, yet profound message.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’

“For everyone will be tested with fire. Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” —Mark 9:43-50

Lord, I’d like to keep my arms, legs, and eyes but I think there are some things I need to cut off or gouge out but before I start chopping and poking, I had to stop and think, “What is sin… Really?”

I went searching through commentaries and Bible dictionaries and this was the definition that made the most sense to me:

“The failure or refusal of human beings to live the life intended for them by God their creator.” (Eerdmans’ Bible Dictionary)

When I think about coming up short in the life You intend for me, I would have to put distractions at the top of my list of reasons for sin.

There’s so much I can learn, do, hear, see, think, feel, and touch that I miss Your still-small-voice calling me in the direction You have for me. I settle for my plan b, c, or d instead of Your plan A.

Jesus, living a life on this earth that is fulfilling and pleasing to You is simple, if we know what to keep and what to cut off. Show me the areas in my life where distractions are causing me to sin. I want the best life, the one that You’ve had planned for me since the beginning of time.

I trust You!

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, 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

 

 

 

 

Lord, Please Use My Mistakes to Save Others–Jonah 1:16

Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 14:1-14; 2 Chronicles 25:1-24; 2 Kings 13:12-13; 2 Kings 14:15-16, 23-27; 2 Chronicles 25:25-28; 2 Kings 14:17-22; 2 Kings 15:1-5; 2 Chronicles 26:1-21; Jonah 1:1-4:11

Jonah purposely rebelled against the Lord by heading in the opposite direction of Nineveh, his next “ministry opportunity.”

This wasn’t an optional assignment.  God went after Jonah and some innocent bystanders, the crew of a ship headed to Joppa, got caught in the middle of Jonah’s mistake.  

At first it looked as though they were going down with Jonah…

But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.  —Jonah 1:4

The crew came to the conclusion that Jonah was the problem:

Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit.  “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”  —Jonah 1:7-8

Once Jonah told them he was a Hebrew and a worshiper of the Lord, the God of Heaven who made the sea and the land (Jonah 1:9) AND that he was running away from the Lord (Jonah 1:10), they knew they were going down unless they did something quick.  They asked Jonah what they should do…

“Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.” —Jonah 1:12

The sailors tried everything they could think of to save Jonah, the ship, and themselves.

Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it.  Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”   —Jonah 1:13-14

Everything they tried failed.  So…

Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once.  —Jonah1:15

The storm was about Jonah’s mistake, it wasn’t about the sailors.  But God used Jonah’s mistake to show Himself to the sailors, so that they could know Jonah’s God.

The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.  –Jonah 1:16

Friends, even our mistakes aren’t just about us.  God can use our biggest and greatest mistakes for His Glory and His Plan.  Give Your mistakes to God and watch Him use them to cause others to know Him and serve Him .

Heavenly Father, I have made some “Jonah-size” mistakes.  I give them to You.  Use them for Your Glory!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Amos 1:1-6:14

Lord, Help Me to be Willing–1 Chronicles 29:6

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 29:1-22; 1 Kings 1:1-53

Heavenly Father, sometimes I have an attitude problem.  Sometimes I’m just not willing to give of my time, talents, or treasure.  Sometimes I just want it to be about me.

As David said so well, everything we are and everything we have is because of You…

“O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!  But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!  We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.  —1 Chronicles 29:13-15

Lord, I join with David in praying, “…make Your people (me) always want to obey You.”  –1 Chronicles 29:18

Father, I bring everything You’ve given me to You.  Take it, use it for Your Glory.  Lord, help me to be willing.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 2:1-9; 2 Samuel 23:1-7; 1 Kings 2:10-12; 1 Chronicles 29:26-30; Psalms 4-6; Psalms 8-9, 11

Lord, Help Me Offer Peace to Others–Leviticus 7:11

Today’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 7:1-8:36

Heavenly Father, peace is very important to You.  You gave detailed instructions for peace offerings in Leviticus.  It seems that peace offerings weren’t mandatory.  They were an expression of thanksgiving, a fulfillment of a vow, or a voluntary offering. Peace offerings were a way to show love to You.

Lord, offering peace is difficult.  We wouldn’t mind giving You a grain offering like the Israelites, but literally offering peace to others in today’s world doesn’t come natural. Turmoil seems to be our default setting.

Jesus, You are the ultimate peace-offering (Isaiah 9:6).  You willingly gave Yourself to bring peace to our violent, sinful world.  Your time on the earth is a recorded example of living a life of peace.  Help us to realize that replacing peace with rage and anger is a way to worship You.  Help us to give the world a gift they cannot give…

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Holy Spirit, awaken us from our complacency!  Awaken us from our “all about me” attitudes. Help us to offer peace to everyone we come in contact with each day.  Our “peace offering” could be Your way of reaching the lost in our sphere of influence.  Help us to be sensitive to Your leading.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 9:1-11:47

Lord, I Don’t Want a “But” in My Blessing–Genesis 49:3-4


Today’s Scripture Reading:  Genesis 47:28-50:26

Heavenly Father, as I began reading Jacob’s blessing for each of his children, I couldn’t get past Reuben, his first-born.  I know that the first-born is usually the one who gets the largest and most powerful blessing.  How sad that Reuben’s first born status was taken away from him.

Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth.

You are first in rank and first in power. But you are as unruly as a flood,

and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife;

you defiled my marriage couch. —Genesis 49:3-4

Lord I don’t want to hear You say to me when I see You, “Dianne, I chose you, I had plans for your life, but you went your own way, did your own thing; you were as unruly as a flood.”

Jesus, I sometimes wonder if we really believe you are coming back.  Do we really believe there is a heaven and a hell?  Do we really believe that all Christians will come face-to-face with You and be judged and rewarded for what we’ve done for Your Kingdom on this earth? (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)

Holy Spirit, help us to allow You to direct our lives.  Help us not to be like Reuben, as unruly as a flood.  Help us to keep our eye on our ultimate blessing; to hear our Heavenly Father say, “Well done good and faithful servant!  (Matthew 25:23) Draw us closer to You today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen an Amen!


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Job 1:1-4:21

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

Do We Take “Always and Forever” For Granted? Psalm 136

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalm 136; Psalm 146-150

Years ago I regularly played the organ for weddings; a very stressful job!  One of the most popular wedding songs was “Always and Forever,” By Luther Vandross.  Not to be cynical, but forever in marriage is a relatively short time.  The world record holders are Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher at 84 years.  While 84 years is really impressive, it’s not what I would call “forever.”

I looked up the word, forever on Dictionary.net and it’s defined:  Through eternity; through endless ages; eternally. [1913 Webster] An interesting side note—it’s the same definition Webster gave in 1913.  I guess it’s a pretty solid definition.  In Hebrew, forever means for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world.

In today’s reading we get to sit in on an amazing worship service, Come with me as I imagine how this once in a lifetime worship service could have happened:

The priests have prepared for this day for a year.  They had heard rumors that the Spirit of God was going to visit the temple in a mighty way during this particular feast.  Every Sunday and Wednesday they have practiced for a special praise service for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Every man, woman, boy, and girl is thrilled to be participating, thrilled at the possibility of being within a mile of the Spirit of God, thrilled to be able to thank their God for His works of creation, and providence.

The priests, who were anointed to write the inspired Word of God, searched the sacred writings for a year to find God’s most amazing accomplishments to add to the verses of the song.  It was important to them that their Heavenly Father knew they appreciated EVERYTHING He had done for them.

So the day was finally here.  Everyone gathered at the temple.  There were people everywhere—inside, outside, on the roof!

The priests blew the shofar to signal the beginning of the praise service.  They began with Psalm 136—as the priest announced each amazing accomplishment of the Lord, everyone, at the top of their lungs, would say—

His Faithful Love Endures Forever!

26 verses of God’s goodness and the people’s thankfulness!  26 times they declared God’s love endures “always and forever,” one time per verse, and it’s the real forever not the wedding song forever.

Then the people sang five additional songs that began and ended with the same phrase:

Psalm 146—Praise the Lord

Psalm 147—Praise the Lord

Psalm 148—Praise the Lord

Psalm 149—Praise the Lord

Then they came to the final song of the day, Psalm 150.  Twelve times they sang praise God or praise Him.  In unison EVERYONE shouted to the top of their lungs the final verse…

Let everything that breathes sing praise to the Lord!  Praise the Lord!

Amen and Amen!!

Because His faithful love endures forever!

We are so blessed today.  The Spirit of God lives within each of us who have accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, we don’t have to wait for a year, or a lifetime as in the days of some of the prophets, to be within city blocks of His presence.

Do we take his presence for granted?

Do we take His “Always and Forever” love for granted?

Most of us aren’t called to write songs, but I challenge you to plan some time to get alone with God and make your own psalm 136.  List each thing you’re thankful for and write below it, “His faithful love endures forever.”  Challenge yourself to come up with 26 verses of your song, just like psalm 136.

Let Everything that breathes sing praise to the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  His faithful love endures forever!

 

 

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 18:1 through Isaiah 23:18

I’m Determined NOT To Be a Barzillai–2 Samuel 19:34-35

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 19:31 through 20:26; Psalm 7; 2 Samuel 21: 1-22; 1 Chronicles 20: 4-8

Today’s reading gave me a glimpse into old age and it wasn’t pretty!  My Grandma is 97 years old and my Mom turns 79 today (Happy Birthday Mama!).  I definitely want to follow in their footsteps and have a long earthly life, God willing, but after today a long life doesn’t sound like a whole lotta fun!

At the beginning of today’s reading David is once again showing kindness to someone who helped him out in the past.  Barzillai of Gilead had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim.

David wanted Barzillai to cross the Jordan River and go with him to Jerusalem.  David’s plans were to take care of him for the rest of his life.  This is just one more example of the heart of David.

I don’t know if Barzillai was just a negative person or if his comments are in the Bible to prepare us for old age.  Let’s read it together and see what we think…

Here’s Barzillai’s response to David’s invitation:

“No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem.  I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything.  Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing.  I would only be a burden to my lord the king.”  –2 Samuel 19:34-35

Can I say—DEPRESSING?

The more I have thought about this, the more I think Barzillai was just a “glass-half-empty” kinda guy!  Think about it, Barzillai had the opportunity to be taken care of by the King of Israel.

Who knows God may have wanted Barzillai to be one of David’s advisors?

Who knows Barzillai could have been created by God for such a time as this to provide words of wisdom at just the right time. But Barzillai thought he was too old.  So guess what; if he thought he was too old…he was too old.

I don’t want to be like Barzillai.  Yes, I know I’m going to have aches and pains as I get older.  What am I talking about about—I already have aches and pains!  But I want to serve the Lord with Gladness all the days of my life.

Here’s a verse that would have helped Barzillai and it should be on our refrigerator as well.  I’m quoting the King James Version because that’s what I memorized:

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.   —Proverbs 6:2

Father, help us to watch what we say.  Our words become self-fulfilling prophesies for our lives. Lord, help us to be ready and willing to serve you until to promote us to heaven!

In Jesus Name.  Amen and Amen!

Determined NOT to be a Barzillai!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

This Week-end’s Scripture Reading:  2 Samuel 19:31 through 20:26; Psalm 7; Psalm 63; 2 Samuel 18:1 through 19:30

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