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Lord, I Want to Do Good By Meeting the Urgent Needs of Others, but.. —Titus 3:12-14

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-21, Titus 1:1-3:15, 2 Timothy 1:1-18

Heavenly Father, I want to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others...

I am planning to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. As soon as one of them arrives, do your best to meet me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to stay there for the winter. Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need. Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive. —Titus 3:12-14

I definitely can relate to Paul. Productivity is always my focus. I measure everything by return on investment—how much time do I invest and what are the results? Knowing that the Apostle Paul has some of my quirks, gives me comfort.

Productivity can be a good thing but I wonder…

Lord, please forgive me if I’m being disrespectful, and friends who are reading this remember I’m talking to my daddy God and I can ask Him anything…

…I wonder, if Paul’s jail time was factored into Your plan so that he would slow down and focus on one of Your top priorities for him—writing a large part of the New Testament. Lord, I’m a “do-er” and it can really be hard to be still and a just be. The needs of people stir me up and keep me feeling like I’m missing the mark. It’s like whatever I’m doing I feel like I should be doing something else. I wonder if Paul ever felt this way.

Lord, I don’t believe my 2015 sabbatical is just a season of resting and waiting, I think it’s also a season of clarification, re-direction and peace. Holy Spirit, You led Paul to jail to get Your will accomplished. I know You’re doing the same for me.

Yes, this is oversimplifying, but it seems that if every believer allowed You to direct our day, our steps, and our thoughts, the urgent needs of others would be met and we would be Your kind of productive. LORD, I WANT THIS!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. —Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, during this Christmas season we are surrounded by needs. Speak loudly and show us who, where, when, how and IF we are to meet those needs and then give us the peace to carry out Your direction with no regrets or feelings of failure. Make Your calling for this day crystal clear.

Jesus, prince of peace, lead me today.

In the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-4:18

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, My Heart is Willing, But I’m Too Busy—2 Chronicles 29:31

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21

Heavenly Father, I’m taking a bit of liberty with this scripture today. It’s really about offerings but when I saw the words “all whose hearts were willing” my brain immediately thought, “Lord, there are so many desperate needs around me. People who just need a call, visit, their dishes washed, or a meal delivered. I want to help them. I’m willing, but I’m so busy. I just don’t have time.”

Then Hezekiah declared, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, bring your sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings to the Temple of the Lord.” So the people brought their sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings, too.  —2 Chronicles 29:31

Maybe, this verse is more accurate than I thought. When I give to others it is definitely an offering of worship and many times it’s a sacrifice. I think the sacrifice word is the problem. In 2014, in America, sacrifice is a dirty word. We want our lives to be easy, comfortable, and all about us.

Lord, the enemy of our soul uses our fast paced and self-centered culture to keep us so busy with me, my, and mine that we “don’t have time” to care about anyone else. As Christians we expect the “church” or some social organization to care for the needs of the hurting because that’s why we pay our tithes or taxes. We’d rather just throw money at it and feel like we’d done our part.

We have been deceived into thinking that benevolence or caring for others in their time of need is a spiritual gift, some have it and some don’t. I know everyone doesn’t enjoy cooking or visiting people in the hospital but when the day comes when I’m the one in need and no one has the time or the desire to reach out to me, I see things from a completely different perspective.

Lord, I know from personal experience that the quality of the meal or the eloquence of someone’s words is the last thing on my mind when I’m in need. The ONLY thing I’m thinking when someone shows up to check on me or bring a meal is, THEY STOPPED THE CRAZINESS OF THEIR WORLD TO CARE ABOUT ME!!!

Jesus, continue to convict me of this need in my circle of influence. Help me to realize a meal from the deli at Publix means just as much as slow-cooked meal from home. Remind me that a 5 minute visit can mean the world to someone. Show me what I need to stop in my life so I can be Your hands and feet to the hurting world.

Lord, use me as Your representative today.

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: Proverbs 25:1-29:27

Lord, My Motivation for the Good Life has been Wrong—Ecclesiastes 2:24

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:12-6:12

Heavenly Father, the older I get the more I understand Ecclesiastes. I used to think this was one of the most depressing books of the Bible but now I see it as a book that has as much wisdom as Proverbs. Solomon had it all, did it all and owned it all. From the beginning he was driven to succeed, very goal oriented and never settled for less than his high expectations.

Here’s what he says about success during the later years of his life:

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. —Ecclesiastes 4:4

Lord, in our 20s, 30, and 40s most of us would never admit that our motivation for success is to be like our neighbors. Now that I’m in my late 50s I will confess that more than likely that was my motivation for most of my life. In today’s world it’s even worse. We are tempted, stimulated and manipulated by the media and advertising from the time we are born (how many 3 year olds know what McDonald’s looks like?), so we don’t just envy our neighbors we envy advertisements, air-brushed people on magazine covers, celebrities, movie characters, and our social media friends’ pretend lives.

Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible got caught up in the success myth so we’re in good company, right? Here, I go again Lord, using the mistakes of people in Your Word to make me feel better about myself. While it does give me comfort, the purpose of Your Word is for us to learn from the mistakes of others, not feel better about our poor attitudes, desires, and choices.

From everything Solomon experienced this is what’s on his mind in his golden years:

So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. —Ecclesiastes 2:24

Lord, help me to enjoy each day’s work, food, and drink. Help me and my friends who are striving for “the good life” to stop striving and just enjoy the simple pleasures You provide. Forgive us for envying the lives of our neighbors, both the real and pretend ones.

In Jesus name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-11:6

Lord, I Want the Confidence of David–1 Samuel 17:32

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 17:32-19:17; Psalm 59; 1 Samuel 19:18-24

Heavenly Father, David amazes me!  I’ve read this passage many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever noticed his extreme confidence.  The wonderful thing about David’s confidence was it was in You, not himself.

Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”

But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!  The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!” —1 Samuel 17:32-37

Lord, David made stepping out in Your service look so easy.

Your Word doesn’t show him

Praying…

Pleading…

Bawling and squalling… (very southern term)

Waiting…

to find Your will for this season.

He just did it!

He looked to his preparation and level of expertise, the current situation and the bigness of his God and just did what needed to be done.

Lord, is it really that simple?

Is serving You really this simple?

Talents, gifts, abilities

+ Preparation, training  from my day-to-day life

+ Current situation and need

+ Confidence in Your Power in my life

= Your Will for my life today

Holy Spirit, I know that serving You is a moment-by-moment experience, not a mathematical formula but it helps me to simplify it in this way. Lord, use me today. Like David, my confidence is in You!

David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord

was with him. –1 Samuel 18:14

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 20:1-21:15; Psalm 34

Lord, Show Me My Fight—1 Samuel 11:6

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 9:1-12:25

Heavenly Father, as I read Your account of Saul becoming king I noticed something very interesting.

In 1 Samuel 10, Samuel anointed Saul as King and then on Saul’s way home Your Spirit came powerfully upon him and he began to prophesy. Once Saul got home Samuel called all the people of Israel together and told them Saul would be their new king.

It seemed that Saul wasn’t really feeling qualified to be king. Just as Samuel was introducing Saul as God’s choice to lead Israel, Saul went missing. He was hiding among the baggage (1 Samuel 10:22).

About a month later Saul was in the field plowing with his oxen.That’s definitely not something a king would do. It sounds as if he was practicing some creative avoidance! It sounds as if he hadn’t accepting God’s calling for his life.

But, in a moment it all changed:

When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the people about their plight, everyone broke into tears. Saul had been plowing a field with his oxen, and when he returned to town, he asked, “What’s the matter? Why is everyone crying?” So they told him about the message from Jabesh.

Then the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he became very angry. —1 Samuel 11:4-6

Saul found his fight. The Spirit of God rose up in him, he found his purpose and almost instantly be began to lead the people of Israel. Through Saul’s leadership the Israelites won a great battle at Jabesh-gilead (1 Samuel 11:7-13)

Holy Spirit come powerfully upon me. Show me my fight. Show me my purpose for the day!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 9:35-39, 1 Samuel 13:1-5, 19-23, 6-8, 1 Samuel 14:1-52

Lord, Help Me to “See My Neighbor”–Deuteronomy 22:1, 4


Today’s Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19

Heavenly Father, from today’s reading it is apparent that caring for my neighbor is important to You…

If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner. 2 If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. 3 Do the same if you find your neighbor’s donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don’t ignore your responsibility.“If you see that your neighbor’s donkey or ox has collapsed on the road, do not look the other way. Go and help your neighbor get it back on its feet! —Deuteronomy 22:1-4

The problem is that too many times I choose NOT to see my neighbor’s need or I choose NOT to get involved enough to know there is a need.

There are so many hurting people that it can be overwhelming.  It’s easy to become callous and num to the hurting in this world.  Lord, show me “who is my neighbor” today and then show me again tomorrow.

Lord, in today’s independent, selfish culture help me to really “see my neighbor.”  Help me to make a conscious effort to add value to their lives.

Jesus, help me to realize this is a command not a suggestion…

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” —Matthew 22:36-40

Holy Spirit, give me Your eyes to “see my neighbor” today.

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IN Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 26:1-29:1

Lord, Help Me to Carry the Loads of Those Who are Hurting—Numbers 4:31-33

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Numbers 4:1-5:31

Heavenly Father, I wonder if the Merarites were disappointed when they were given their “special purpose”?

As we’ve learned in Exodus, the Levites were chosen by God to take care of the Tabernacle.  Today we saw the Lord hand out duties for the different divisions of the Levites. All the Merarites who were between the ages of 30 and 50 and eligible had one duty…one job…one ministry:

Their only duty at the Tabernacle will be to carry loads. They will carry the frames of the Tabernacle, the crossbars, the posts, and the bases; also the posts for the courtyard walls with their bases, pegs, and ropes; and all the accessories and everything else related to their use. Assign the various loads to each man by name.  So these are the duties of the Merarite clans at the Tabernacle. They are directly responsible to Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.” Numbers 4:31-33  (Emphasis mine)

Lord, what if Your special purpose for my life is to carry loads?

Not like the Merarites, who carried the pieces of the Tabernacle but carrying the loads of the hurting, lost, orphaned, or widowed of our families, churches, communities or world.

It took strong backs for the Merarites to hand-carry the Tabernacle each time God said, “It’s time to pack up and move.”

What does it take to carry the loads of the lost, hurting, orphaned, or widowed?

Lord, You asked me some tough questions as I read today’s scriptures:

  • Dianne, are you willing to carry the loads of the hurting?
  • Are you willing to suffer so that you can truly understand the pain of others?
  • Are you willing to walk a hard road so that your experiences will help someone who literally wouldn’t survive without you?
  • Is another person worth that much to you?

Father, these are very hard questions.  Lord, I’m glad You are carrying out Your plans and purposes for my life without asking my permission. I most likely would have said, “No” to the hard times in my life, if I were given a choice. I’m just not that self-sacrificing.

Jesus,  You know who needs a word of encouragement, a hot meal, some groceries, their house cleaned, a ride to the doctor, a real friend…the list could go on and on.

Heavenly Father, I want to carry the loads of those who are suffering.  Use the pain of my past to give others hope. Touch my heart.  Make me willing.  Give me eyes to see what You see!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:Numbers 6:1-27, Numbers 10:1-36

One Event I Can’t Plan–Matthew 24:36-39

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

Do you have your day planned?

How about your week, month, or year?

I’m definitely one of those planner types.  I unconsciously plan.  I want to be spontaneous.  I think spontaneous people are fun, but not having a plan feels like jumping out of a plane without a parachute to me…and that certainly doesn’t sound like fun.

But there’s one event I can’t plan…

However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day.  In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.  People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. —Matthew 24:36-39

No one knows the day or hour…

How often do you think about Christ’s return?

Do you really believe He’s going to literally return to judge the world?

Do you live your life as though He could return today?

I think most of us are like the folks Jesus was talking about; our goal is to enjoy life…that’s our plan for our day, week, month, year, and life.  We live for the happy times; banquets, parties and weddings…not for eternity.

I do not believe Jesus has a problem with banquets, parties, and weddings; He attended those events when He was on the earth.

His concern is our day-to-day priorities—where does the Kingdom of God fit in our daily life?

Are we longing for His return?

Are we concerned for those in this world who do not know Jesus?

  • If we rarely take the time to spend with the Lord in our day-to-day life, we’re probably not longing for His return.
  • If we hardly ever mention Jesus to others we’re probably not too concerned about their spiritual state.

Yes, if we knew the day and hour, we could plan for it, we would be ready.  Jesus referred to Himself as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride.  Other than the birth of a child, I don’t think there is anything most women long for and plan for more than their wedding day.  That’s the kind of expectation Jesus wants us to have for His return.

Yes, not knowing the day or hour of Jesus’ return is tough, but if were His bride we would awaken each day and think, “Today could be the day I will see Him!”

Heavenly Father, help us to see Your return as our reason for being. Help our expectation of Your return to grow with each passing day.  Holy Spirit, cause our hearts to be tender and burdened for those who do not know You.  Jesus, help us to be Your witnesses!  Jesus, come today!

In Your Holy Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’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, Luke 22:3-6, Mark 14:12-16, Matthew 26:17-19, Luke 22:7-13, John 13:1-17, Luke 22:7-13, John 13:1-17, Mark 14:17-26, Matthew 26:20-30, Luke 22:14-30, John 13:18-30

Is Your Thinking Working Against You? –Matthew 6:31-34

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

Do you ever feel that your thinking is working against you?

In today’s reading Jesus told us there were three things we needed to stop worrying about.  Three things that make us look like unbelievers.  Three things that make us look like we don’t trust our Heavenly Father.

Jesus said, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  –Matthew 6:31-34

Maybe I’m the only person this speaks to but these three areas take up a lot of my thinking time. I’m either going to the store for food, cooking food, cleaning up from cooking food, wishing I hadn’t ate something, reading about the negative effects of today’s food on my body or griping because food costs so much.

Yes, that goes for drinking too.

One day I’m quitting coffee and just drinking tea, the next day I’m going organic all the way and then several times a year I vow to quit it all and just drink water, but what kind of water?  Tap, bottled, filtered, spring?

Oh, and let’s not forget clothes.

I have a couple of speaking opportunities in the next couple of weeks.  I can’t tell you how much I think, analyze and plan what I should wear.  I want to look professional, relatable, warm, friendly, and youthful but not trendy.  AND, I want to do all this with the clothes I already have in my closet. Geez!

The thing that really got me about today’s scripture were these words: These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  –Matthew 6:32

I’m thinking like an unbeliever.

I’m thinking like someone who doesn’t know Christ.

I can just imagine how my Heavenly Father must feel; the same way I would feel when I had all my children’s needs covered and they were still worrying.   It would make me feel like they don’t trust me.

The great thing about this scripture passage is God gave us replacement thoughts:

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  –Matthew 6:33

I’m pretty sure I still have to make a grocery list and make a trip to the store, have plenty of water to drink, and pick out an outfit for my next speaking engagement, but Jesus says, I  don’t have to obsess over any of it.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. –Matthew 6:34

Heavenly Father, forgive me for worrying about the day-to-day details more that I seek Your Kingdom. Lord, help me to make wise choices in what I eat, drink, and wear.  I thank You for Your provisions.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-17; Matthew 11:1-19; Luke 7:18-35; Matthew 11:20-30; Luke 7:36-50

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