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When’s the Last Time You Cried Like a Baby? –1 Peter 2:1-3


Today’s Scripture Reading:  Hebrews 13:1-25, 1 Peter 1:1-2:3

When was the last time you had a really good cry?  Yes, guys, I’m talking to you too!

What caused you to “cry like a baby?”

  • A sad movie or book
  • A relationship gone sour
  • The loss of someone important to you
  • Hurt feelings
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of life

After reading today’s scripture I’ve got a feeling God sometimes wonders why we have a full-on crying session over earthly things and never shed a tear over the things He commands us to “cry out” about.

So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.  Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment,  now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. —1st Peter 2:1-2

When was the last time you got so frustrated with your own deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy and unkind speech that your cried like a baby for “pure spiritual milk” ?

The King James Version translates pure spiritual milk as the “sincere milk of the Word.”

I like to think that most Christ followers want to grow in the “full experience of salvation,” but statistics show that most Christians don’t read the Bible.

What would happen to our spiritual lives, our families, our churches, and our workplaces if we wanted the full experience of salvation so much that we cried out to God to be taught by Him through His Word?

Heavenly Father, help me to desire the things that you want me to desire.  Give me a heart that craves spiritual milk.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Peter 2:4-5:11

What Causes Quarrels and Fights?–James 4:1-3

Today’s Scripture Reading:  James 4:1-5:20, 1 Timothy 1:1-2:15

When was the last time you got in an argument or fight with someone?

When was the last time you got mad with someone and either quarreled or did the passive-aggressive thing and gave them the silent treatment?

Was it before you became a Christian, last year, last month, last week, yesterday, or five minutes ago?

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you?

  • Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?
  • You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it.
  •  You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.
  • Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 4:1-3

Wow!  

That’s tough to hear, especially when we throw in the fact that James was talking to Christians.  But if you’ve been a Christian more than 30 minutes you know that Jesus saved us because we can’t save ourselves.

The sooner we come to terms with the fact that there’s a war going on inside us, the sooner we’ll be able to recognize jealousy, envy and wrong motives as the “evil desires” James was talking about.

To have those pure motives mentioned in James 4:3, we must learn to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), determine who’s talking–The Holy Spirit, Satan, or your own fleshly desires, and then make a conscious decision to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than our evil desires.

Will we still have quarrels and fights?

Most likely, but if we are open to the teaching and correction of the Holy Spirit within us we will learn from our mistakes and those quarrels and fights will become the exception rather than the norm.

Heavenly Father, help us to have the pure motives You talked about in today’s scripture. Help us to recognize our evil desires and intentionally choose NOT to act on them.  Make us like You Lord.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Timothy 3:1-6:10

Here’s a Prayer That Will Change Your Day—Ephesians 3:16-21


Today’s Scripture Reading:   Ephesians 3:1-5:14

Need a special prayer for today?  The Apostle Paul helped us out.

Friends, print this prayer, change the personal pronouns and insert your name, say it out loud, put it on your mirror.  God wants to accomplish so much more in our lives than we could ask, think or even dream, but we have to trust Him…

[Heavenly Father] I pray that from [Your] glorious, unlimited resources [You] will empower [us] with inner strength through [Your] Spirit.  

Then Christ will make his home in [our] hearts as [we] trust in him. [I pray that our] roots will grow down into God’s love and keep [us] strong.  And [Lord] may [we] have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep [Your] love is.  

May[we] experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then [we] will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever!

Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-21 [inserts mine]

Have an Ephesians 3:20 day!

Blessings!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 5:15-6:24, Colossians 1:1-23

My Prized Possessions—Mark 13:31, Matthew 24:35, Luke 21:33

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 13:1-23, Matthew 24:1-25, Luke 21:5-24, Mark 13:24-31, Matthew 24:26-35, Luke 21:25-33

My oldest and most precious material possessions are my antique dining room table, china cabinet, buffet, and my piano.  All are over a hundred years old.  All were bought by my parents when I was a little girl.  When I look at these “things” my mind is filled with great memories of my childhood with my parents and brother.  And now my husband, children, and grandchildren and I are making new memories with these special treasures.

I hope my children and grandchildren continue to enjoy these treasures for many years to come. But there are some material possessions I will be handing down to them that are more important than my antiques…

These most important, most precious, special treasures are displayed in our shadow box coffee table.  At first glance, some of them aren’t much to look at; old, tattered, and falling apart.

But when I look at them my eyes fill with tears, my heart beats faster and my hands immediately move to touch them.

These special “things” are the ONLY things I know that are guaranteed to never disappear.

Actually they’re not things at all; they are diaries, historical journals, living love letters, and prophetical guides to the future; supernaturally written by the God of the Universe.

In this shadowbox are seven Bibles that God has used to communicate His love, promises, comfort, peace, direction, discipline, and holiness to me over the past 35 years.

Theses Bibles and God’s Word have help me to make it through times I literally thought I could not survive.

Three times in today’s reading God tells us that heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will never disappear (Mark 13:31, Matthew 24:35, Luke 21:33). I think He wants us to know…

His Words

His Words

His Words will never disappear…

As today’s reading tells us there will come a time when everything including heaven and earth will pass away.  My antiques won’t be around anymore, but the Word of God that I’ve hidden in my heart through Bible study, meditation, and daily devotions will last forever.

What are your most important “things”?

Will they last forever?

Pick up your Bible.

Take some time to think about the fact that you’re holding the Words of God and those Words will last forever.

Do you want something special to hand down to your family?

Give them a love for the Word of God.  It will out-live you, your money and your things!

Heavenly Father, help us to spend our time focusing on what will last forever; Your Word. Holy Spirit, draw us to Your Bible like a magnet!  Open our eyes Lord, we want to see you in and through Your Word.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

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

The Christian Life Simplified–Mark 12:28-34

Today’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

I’m sure that “simple” is not the way most people would describe their life as a Christ Follower.  My life can certainly get complicated at times.

The Holy Spirit is in the process of teaching me something about making the Christian life simple; so come along and think this through with me.  In our journey we’ve spent almost nine full months in the Old Testament. Throughout that time I kept noticing this one phrase over and over:

So that they will know that I am the Lord their God.

Last week, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of the Old Testament was so that the earth and all its inhabitants would know that God, Jehovah, Yahweh– the God of the Bible, is the Lord our God.

This word “know” is translated from the Hebrew word yada’ and is used 947 times and means to know, learn to know or to know by experience.

Test this out; read any book or story in the Old Testament and ask yourself why did that happen; what was the purpose?  The answer is most likely going to be so that they would know (learn to know and experience) that the God of the Bible is the Lord their God.

So what was the message of the New Testament?

I’m so glad you asked!

Matthew 22:34-40

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

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.”

Wow!  God shouted the message I am your God throughout the Old Testament.  Then Jesus came and said we are not only to know that God is God, but we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.

This is step one of the Simple Life.

Jesus gave us the second step in that same scripture—Love your neighbor.

Jesus didn’t just tell us how to love, he showed us by dying on the cross for his “neighbor(s)”.  So the New Testament is all about loving your neighbor as yourself.

Life is so crazy these days; there’s so much we can do.  How do we know what we should do and what we shouldn’t do?

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a filter (a device that removes impurities) that we could run every situation, decision or conversation through to see if it lined up with the will of God for our lives?

I think the Greatest Commandment is that filter!

In the future when I have a question about how to handle a situation, person, or decision I’m going to filter it through the Greatest Commandment:

1. Will this situation, decision, or conversation show My God that I love him with all my heart, soul and mind?

2. Will this situation, decision, or conversation treat my neighbor in a way that I would want to be treated?

If the answer to either question is no, then I will have to S-T-O-P and rethink my strategy.

Have I over simplified our Christian walk?

What are your thoughts?

Heavenly Father, help me to refrain from complicating my life as a Christian.  Help me to remember that it’s all about knowing You and causing others to know You.  Lord, use me today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 13:1-23; Matthew 24:1-25; Luke 21:5-24; Mark 13:24-31; Matthew 24:26-35; Luke 21:23-33

And Jesus said, “Your Mistake Is_____________.”–Matthew 22:29


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

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life…

some were because of ignorance, some because hasty decisions, and some because of plain, old selfishness.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry He was constantly tested by the Jewish religious leaders.  In Matthew 22, the Sadducees made up a scenario trying to trap Jesus.  Not only did he answer their question, He pointed out their mistake:

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. —Matthew 22:29

  • You don’t  know the scriptures
  • You don’t know the power of God

Jesus was talking to religious people, church leaders, preachers and teachers. They certainly should have known God’s Word and His Power.

In our year-long journey through God’s Word we’ve talked many times about the importance of knowing God’s Word, but have we ever really said that NOT knowing God’s Word is a mistake?

Maybe

It could be

The biggest mistake of our life.

I’m afraid when we get to heaven and the Lord shows us the plans that were made for our lives before the world began, plans to bring Him and His Kingdom glory, we’re going to say, “But Lord, we just couldn’t do it, we didn’t know how…”

Then our Lord is going to say…

“The mistake you made was–

  • You didn’t know the scriptures
  • You didn’t know my power

So you lived a life below the life I had planned for you.”

Friends, we do not want to make this mistake.  We do not want to see the disappointment on our Heavenly Father’s face or hear the sadness in His voice when He says, “I gave you My Word and My Power and you didn’t appreciate it or have knowledge of it.”

As I read yesterday’s scripture reading this particular passage jumped off the page.

Jesus was telling the disciples:

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.  You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”  –Matthew 21:21-22

I prayed and said, “Lord, I know there is so much more of Your power available to me as Your child than I’ve ever seen or experienced.  Teach me Lord about Your Power.”

I believe today’s scripture reading is the first lesson the Holy Spirit is teaching me as I pursue His Power.

God’s Word and His Power go hand-in-hand.

Amazing!  He’s already answering my prayer!

Heavenly Father, I don’t want to get to heaven and find out I made a huge mistake, a mistake that caused me to live a “less-than” victorious  Christian life.  Holy Spirit, draw me to Your Word, help me know You more each time I pick up Your Bible.  Jesus, I ask you to fill me with Your Power to get Your Will accomplished in my life.

In Jesus’Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 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

Why God? –John 9:1-5

 

Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 12:35-13:21, John 9:1-41

Last night I sat and listened to a friend share her testimony. She’s a beautiful, smart, feisty, forty-year-old who’s battled Multiple Sclerosis since she was thirty-three. She lights up the room with her smile and never has an unkind word to say.

As I drove home, I found myself asking…

Why?

It’s a question I’ve asked before.

My sweet granddaughter, who’s six years old has Cystic Fibrosis. When we were first introduced to this genetic disorder I said, “Absolutely not!” “God, I know you will come to our rescue. This is from the evil one. I know you will protect us from this life-altering disease.”

When the diagnosis was confirmed, I cried out to God.

I asked why.

The older I get, the less I know. There’s so much about walking out my life being “in this world and not of it” (John 15:18-21) that I don’t understand.

But

God’s word helps me make sense of these “whys.”

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”  –John 9:1-5

I can tell you that I see the power of God in the life of my friend and my granddaughter. God is and will continue to do amazing things to bring attention and glory to His Kingdom as they thrive in the midst of overwhelming difficulties.

 

Friends, we are on this earth to do two things:

 

  • Know Jesus
  • Cause others to know Him

 

The party’s not here, it’s in heaven.

 

Lord, I want people to see You in and through my life. Whether I’m having a great day or walking through the fires of life, let my life point others to You.

 

In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24

How Do We Know What to Believe?—John 8:32


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

When you listen to a teacher, preacher, politician, or news anchor, how do you know what they’re saying is truth?

Wouldn’t it be great if all speakers of “truth” were like Pinocchio and their nose grew when they were speaking something that wasn’t truthful?

How do we really know what to believe?

Who really determines the “truth?”

In John 8:32, Jesus said: And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

What is your definition of truth?

In Focus on the Family’s Truth Project,  R.C. Sproul gave this great definition of truth:

Truth is that which corresponds to reality as perceived by God.  Because God’s perception of reality is never distorted; it’s the perfect perception of reality.

Let’s plug this definition of truth into John 8:32…

And you will know [reality as seen by God], and [God’s perception of reality] will set you free.

In today’s world truth is in the eye of the beholder.  It’s like the woman in the one of Truth Project video says, “one person can say a table’s blue and the other person can say its red; how they see it is their truth.”

This way of thinking has taken its toll on the biblical world view of many in today’s culture.

If the truth sets us free

AND

there are many versions of the truth,

which truth

sets us free?

To be free we must choose to believe that our Heavenly Father and Him alone has given us His truth in His Word, then and only then can be have this freedom Jesus was offering.

How do we get this freedom?

  • Accept by faith that God’s perception of reality is absolute truth
  • Begin a lifelong journey to understand God’s truth through the spiritual disciplines of
    • Bible Study
    • Prayer
    • Meditation

Jesus said in John 8:31, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.”

Heavenly Father, teach us Your Truth.  Holy Spirit, speak to our spirit and let us know when something is Your Truth, give us spiritual wisdom and discernment.  Help us to resist the lie of many truths and live our life with confidence that you gave us Your absolute truth in Your Word!  Jesus, thank you for your Word.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen.

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

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


3 Reasons We Exchange God’s Words for Human Traditions? –Mark 7:6-8

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

I’ve always gone to church.

One of my earliest memories is being in church with my mom and brother. I’m in my 50s and I’ve only been a member of 5 different churches and 2 different denominations in all those years. I said that to say I’m not a fad chaser when it comes to choosing a church. But, I’m sure there have been times when Jesus has included me in this message…

Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” –-Mark 7:6-8

I can remember a time in my life when I literally thought that if I didn’t go to church 3 times a week I was going to miss Jesus when He returned. Now I know that was absolutely crazy; there’s nothing mentioned in God’s Word about how many times we go to church a week. But, the Bible does say this… And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.  –Hebrews 10:25

Why do we exchange God’s Word for the traditions of man? Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • We don’t read God’s Word, so we don’t know the difference between Truth and traditions.
  • Human beings would rather have a list of dos and don’ts than to develop the discipline of meeting God daily through His Word and prayer.
  • It’s easier to follow a tangible person or doctrine than an intangible god.

What are your thoughts?

Lord, I want to follow You, not the traditions of man!

© 2013 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

4 Ways to Make the Bible Easier to Understand—Matthew 13:18-23

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Matthew 13:10-23, Luke 8:9-18, Mark 4:21-29, Matthew 13:24-30, Mark 4:30-34, Matthew 13:31-52, Mark 4:35-41, Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25

Are you struggling to grow in your knowledge of God?

Are you having difficulty developing a relationship with Him?

When I read the parable of the sower in today’s reading I saw something I have not seen before.  Classically we think of this parable as an explanation of how the message of Christ is received in the hearts of unbelievers, but as I read it today I thought about something else.

Could this parable apply to people who have accepted Christ as their Savior and are attempting to read His Word, develop spiritual disciplines, and grow in their relationship with their Savior?

Think about the times you spend reading the word; do any of the following scenarios describe those times? (Matthew 13:18-23)

  • You read a passage but don’t understand it (Matthew 13:19)
  • You read it, understand it, but have difficulty applying it to your life (Matthew 13:20-21)
  • You read it, understand it, but it is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth (Matthew 13:22)
  • You read it, understand it and share the good news of Christ with others (Matthew 13:23)

I can relate to each of these scenarios.  Sometimes when I attempt to read my Bible it seems like words on a page and other times those same words come alive and I get so excited and can’t wait to share them with others.

Why does this happen?

Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. (Matthew 13:18-19 NIV Emphasis mine)

What do we do about it?

  1. We pray before we begin reading and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us, speak to us and remind us of the things we’ve learned**
  2. We become sensitive to the thoughts going on in our minds and recognize when “the evil one” is trying to distract us from hearing, understanding, and sharing God’s Word***
  3. We  literally take our thoughts captive and force them to align with the Word of God***
  4. We read God’s Word expecting Him to teach us

**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

***For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. –2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Heavenly Father, our desire is to know You more.  We know we have an enemy who doesn’t want that to happen.  Teach us how to take our thoughts captive and force them to align with Your Word.  Teach us Your ways, illuminate Your Word, and stir us up so we will share it with others.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 5:1-20, Matthew 8:28-34, Luke 8:26-39, Mark 5:21-43, Matthew 9:18-26, Luke 8:40-56

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