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Have You Had Your Christmas Meltdown? James 2:13


Today’s Scripture Reading: James 1:1-3:18

Everywhere you go people are stressed.  Too much to do, not enough time, not enough money.  Unfortunately, it’s a great set up for a meltdown.

During this stressful time, what is the thing you need most from family, friends, and checkout people at the grocery store?






Guess what if we want to receive that gift, we have to give it.

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.  –James 2:13

You may be one of the fortunate ones who receives mercy from people you have not given it to, but that won’t be the case with God. He clearly tells us that we won’t be receiving mercy from Him unless we first give it to others.

Guess what?  This applies to our unthankful spouses, complaining-hard-to-please parents, jealous siblings, unappreciative children, lazy coworkers, and the tele-marketer that calls you at 9 p.m. on a Sunday night.

We all need mercy.

We all have people in our lives who make it challenging to give mercy.

If we want mercy from God, we all have to give mercy before we can receive it.

The question is: Are we going to be obedient to the God of the universe?

Heavenly Father, there have been so many times when I have wanted and expected mercy from others but haven’t given them any mercy. Holy Spirit, help me to understand that people have a lot more going on that what I see.  Help me to give them mercy.  Lord, fill me with compassion so that I can give it away.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen


© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: James 4:1-5:20

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.


I remembered the whole story.

Yes, they sent him to Rome.

Yes, he went as a prisoner.


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

“I’m a Human Being Just Like You”–Acts 10:26

Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 10:1-12:5

As I read today’s scripture, it made think about Joe Paterno. On this day a couple of years, as we watched another public icon fall, I wondered when he stopped believing he was a human being, just like you and me.

When did he become above the law?

I’m sure it was a very gradual thing.  It probably began when the fame began and in Paterno’s case that was a long time ago.  In Acts 10:24-26, Peter teaches us something about fame, which leads to power, which is fueled by pride.

They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered his home, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!” –Acts 10:24-26

Oh, that you and I can remember this one.  No matter how well things are going, how successful we become, how much of a celebrity the world tells us we are; we are just a human being like everyone else and we can fall in an instant no matter how much good we’ve done for society or the Kingdom of God.

Heavenly Father, help us to remember Peter’s example.  Help us not to take ourselves too seriously. Forgive us for our sins.  Make us more like You.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Act 12:6-14:20

5 Steps In Dealing With “Rumblings of Discontent”–Acts 6:1

Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-8:1a

When was the last time you experienced the rumblings of discontent?

Was it in your…

  • Workplace
  • Community
  • Neighborhood
  • Children’s school
  • Home

Or, was it in your local church?

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.  —Acts 6:1

I’m the kind of girl that hates griping, complaining, conflict; i.e. discontent.  Thankfully, today’s scripture reading gives me insight into proactively dealing with these enemies of success.

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” –Acts 6:2-4

God’s Word is so practical, so applicable to any situation.  In these three verses lies a simple outline for handling the rumblings of discontent.  As Christian leaders in our homes, communities, workplaces, and churches we should follow this model.

The Leadership of the group/team/organization/family should:

Step 1: Get everyone together and addresses the rumblings; as soon as possible

Step 2: Remind the team of the mission of the organization, in this instance it’s teaching the Word of God

Step 3: Address the rumblings and explain the ways in which they are distracting the team from its mission

Step 4: Put a plan in place to handle the complaints so that the mission can go forward

Step 5: Appoint wise and mature leaders from the team to carry out the plan

One of the most important sayings I’ve ever heard in the world of teams came from Mary Kay Ash, “People support what they help to create.”  This includes problem-solving.  This is just what the disciples did, they called everyone together, addressed the problem and pulled everyone into the plan to solve it.

The Bible is the greatest leadership book ever written!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word.  Help us to be the kind of leaders You planned for us to be.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 8:1b-9:43

To Self-Promote or Not…That is the Question—Luke 14:7-11

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

Have you ever been around someone

who constantly

tells you how wonderful

THEY are?

You know, the kind of person who can take any topic and turn it to their favorite subject—themselves.

I’ve been in sales all my life and taught sales training and coaching for over 20 years; I know there are times when we need to promote our product, service, business, or just ourselves, but there’s a right and a wrong way of doing it.

Today’s reading teaches us the right way…

When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice:  “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?  The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” —Luke 14:7-11

In Jesus’ day, as today, there were “status symbols” that helped people enhance and protect their high standing in society. If you were invited to the “right homes” and if you were seated in the “right places,” then people would know how important you really were. The emphasis was on reputation, not character. It was more important to sit in the right places than to live the right kind of life.

Experts in management tell us that most people wear an invisible sign that reads, “Please make me feel important”; if we heed that sign, we can succeed in human relations. On the other hand, if we say or do things that make others feel insignificant, we will fail. Then people will respond by becoming angry and resentful, because everybody wants to be noticed and made to feel important.

This kind of attitude betrays a false view of success. “Try not to become a man of success,” said Albert Einstein, “but try to become a man of value.” While there may be some exceptions, it is usually true that valuable people are eventually recognized and appropriately honored. Success that comes only from self-promotion is temporary, and you may be embarrassed as you are asked to move down (Prov. 25:6–7).

When Jesus advised the guests to take the lowest places, He was not giving them a “gimmick” that guaranteed promotion. The false humility that takes the lowest place is just as hateful to God as the pride that takes the highest place. God is not impressed by our status in society or in the church. He is not influenced by what people say or think about us, because He sees the thoughts and motives of the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). God still humbles the proud and exalts the humble (James 4:6).

Humility is a fundamental grace in the Christian life, and yet it is elusive; if you know you have it, you have lost it! It has well been said that humility is not thinking meanly of ourselves; it is simply not thinking of ourselves at all. Jesus is the greatest example of humility, and we would do well to ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to imitate Him (Phil. 2:1–16). From Warren Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary

Heavenly Father, we trust You to put us the appropriate seat at the table!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37

5 Courage Boosters —John 7:13

Today’s Scripture Reading:  John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-8:20

What have you taken a stand for lately?

  • Your favorite sports team
  • A pet project at work
  • A family member or friend
  • Your favorite “Dancing with the Stars” contestant
  • Your party’s political candidate

Talking “smack” about your favorite sports team or political candidate is pretty easy compared to…

Taking a stand for Jesus Christ

I live in the Bible belt.  During most of my working life I have been involved with organizations that had Christian heritages.  No, they weren’t churches or non-profits, but they were made up of many Christian people and were founded on Christian values; compared to many of you, I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life.

So, you would think it would be easy in that atmosphere to speak about Jesus, right?

Yes and No.

It’s easy to speak about God.

But you can feel the tensions rising when the name of Christ is mentioned, even in places where most people consider themselves somewhat “Christian.” (By the Way: There is no such thing as some what Christian!)

The word “God” means different things to different people.  When we use that word, each person individually connects with it in their own way and everyone’s comfortable, but when we mention the name of Jesus Christ we draw a line in the sand and it forces people to get on one side or the other.

Don’t get me wrong when it comes to being a witness to those who don’t know Christ, it can be very helpful to open the doors with discussions about  “God,” but at some point we have to distinguish “which God” we’re talking about.

It was the same way in Jesus’ day:

But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him (Jesus) in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. –John 7:13 (explanation mine)

The “Jewish Leaders” here are clearly the Jerusalem authorities, who correspond in John’s day to the leaders repressing not only the Jewish Christians but also any other views within Judaism that they saw as competing with their own position. (The IVP Background Commentary:  New Testament)

In today’s politically correct society, many of us don’t have the courage to speak favorably about Jesus Christ to our family, much less our friends, co-workers, bosses, or political leaders.

Just like the Jews in Jesus’ day, we’re afraid…

Afraid of…

  • Being seen as “different”
  • Being left out of the “in” crowd
  • Being passed over for a promotion
  • Being punished in some way for our beliefs

What can we do to be more courageous in our stand for Christ?

Here are 5 Courage Boosters:

  1. Ask your Heavenly Father to give you courage to share Jesus with others
  2. Develop a genuine friendship and concern for the individual
  3. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to prepare the way for you to share Jesus with others
  4. Live a life of exceptional integrity in the community, workplace, and home, which will leave others asking, “what’s up with this person?  Why are they different?”
  5. When God opens a door for you to speak, do so with love and compassion, not a preachy, judgmental attitude

What would you add to this list?

Heavenly Father, forgive us for our lack of courage.  Jesus, You told us that if we deny you on this earth, You will deny us before Your Father in heaven (Matthew 10:33).  Remind of us the importance of Your Name.  Give us boldness to serve You and speak of You to others in our day-to-day life.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

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

Oops! Did I Really Say That? 2 Lessons from Herod — Mark 6:26

Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 9:7-9; Mark 6:14-29; Matthew 14:1-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15; Mark 6:45-52; Matthew 14:22-33; John 6:16-21; Marl 6:53-66; Matthew 14:34-36

How many times have I opened my mouth and either stated my opinion, offered to help, or made a commitment to someone, and  then when the heat of the moment fades I’m left saying, “Did I really say that?”



good news is…

no one  ever had their head cut off because of one of my “Oops, did I really say that?” moments.

For Herod had sent men to take John and put him into prison. He did this because of his wife, Herodias. She had been the wife of his brother Philip.  John the Baptist had said to Herod, “It is wrong for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias became angry with him. She wanted to have John the Baptist killed but she could not.  Herod was afraid of John. He knew he was a good man and right with God, and he kept John from being hurt or killed. He liked to listen to John preach. But when he did, he became troubled.

Then Herodias found a way to have John killed. Herod gave a big supper on his birthday. He asked the leaders of the country and army captains and the leaders of Galilee to come. The daughter of Herodias came in and danced before them. This made Herod and his friends happy. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” Then he made a promise to her, “Whatever you ask for, I will give it to you. I will give you even half of my nation.” She went to her mother and asked, “What should I ask for?” The mother answered, “I want the head of John the Baptist.” At once the girl went to Herod. She said, “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist on a plate now.”

Herod was very sorry. He had to do it because of his promise and because of those who ate with him. At once he sent one of his soldiers and told him to bring the head of John the Baptist. The soldier went to the prison and cut off John’s head.  He took John’s head in on a plate and gave it to the girl. The girl gave it to her mother. John’s followers heard this. They went and took his body and buried it.  –Mark 6:17-29

Herod was most likely showing off when he said, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.”

Human beings do this all the time.  “Look at me!  I’m important!”

And then when we come to our senses and realize what we said or promised we either have to follow through or say, “I was stupid and my ego made me say that.”

The sad thing is, just like Herod, too many times we do things that aren’t pleasing to God because we fear the opinions of others more than the opinion of the God of the Universe.

For me there are two lessons to learn from King Herod:

  1. I need to think before I speak
  2.  It would be better to look stupid to others than to go against my Heavenly Father

Lord, help me to think before I speak.  I want my words and actions to be pleasing to You.  Heavenly Father, forgive me for choosing others over You.  When I ignore Your will and Your Word, it must make You feel as though people are more important than You.  Lord, teach me Your ways.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!


© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

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

It’s Friday, Time to Rest—Matthew 11:28-30

Today’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

I don’t know about you but I’m a little tired this morning.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all got an email that said, “Take Friday off and get some rest?”

We sorta did:

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

Actually the kind of rest Jesus is offering in Matthew 11 is better than a day off.

Have you noticed when you can have a few days off that include plenty of rest time you sometimes still feel tired when it’s over?

That’s because most of the tiredness we’re feeling is from the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things (Mark 4:19), not our physical bodies being tired.

Jesus’ audience knew this same type of weariness and they definitely understood the concept of being yoked together.

A yoke was a wooden frame placed on the backs of oxen to make them pull in tandem.

What does it mean to take Jesus’ yoke upon us?

If I’m yoked with Jesus

  • He is right beside me at all times
  • He’s stronger than I am so my burdens are easy for Him
  • He’s higher than I am so he lifts the weight off my shoulders
  • He’s gives me step-by-step instructions to handle each particular burden in a way that is easy to bear

If Jesus promised his followers “rest,” why are Christians as tired and weary as unbelievers?

Just like all the promises in the Bible, we have a part to play.  For us to receive this rest

we have to put on the yoke

Basically, that means allowing Jesus to be the Lord of our lives.  We can believe Jesus came, died, and rose again for our sins and…

not submit to His Lordship.

How do we submit to Christ and allow Him to be our Lord?

–By seeking His will and His plans for each day of our lives.

I owned my own business for twelve years.  There were many benefits of that season, but being totally responsible definitely weighed heavy on me at times.  From owning my own business I moved to working for a corporation.  Yes, I no longer had the ability to go in any direction I chose but I didn’t have to have the responsibility of the success or failure of the corporation solely on my shoulders.  That’s the way I see signing up for Jesus to be the Lord of my life—I allow Him to lead, guide, and direct me and He takes responsibility for the success of my life.  Whew, that really takes the pressure off!

Carrie Underwood’s song “Jesus, Take the Wheel” pretty much sums it up:

YouTube Preview Image

Dear Jesus, I willingly take your yoke and put it on me.  Teach me, guide me, lead me; give me rest from the burdens of this world.  Give me my marching orders for the day.  Thank you in advance for a successful, “restful” day!  Jesus, take the wheel!

In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!


© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 8:1-3, Mark 3:20-230, Matthew 12:22-45, Mark 3:31-35, Matthew 12:46-50, Luke 8:19-21, Mark 4:1-9, Matthew 13:1-9, Luke 8:4-8, Mark 4:10-20

4 Things to Remember When You Have a Change in Plans– John 4:4

Today’s Scripture Reading:  John 3:1-4:45; Luke 3:19-20

I am the type of person who has to have a “have to” to get anything done.  Deadlines, goals, calendars, and checklists are what move me forward.

I have always wanted to be one of those people, who spontaneously move through life and have a ball doing it, but it’s not the way God made me, so I’ll just live vicariously through those “fun” people and stick with my planning.

However, there are times when I’ve made my plans and “life” changes them.  The more I read and understand God’s Word, the more I realize that when those changes come, many times it’s a divine appointment…

In John 4:4, Jesus had to go through Samaria on the way.

This was the shortest route from Judea to Galilee but not the usual way. The other route was through Perea, east of the Jordan River.  In Jesus’ day the Jews, because of their hatred for the Samaritans, normally took the eastern route in order to avoid Samaria.  But because He was on a divinely appointed schedule, it was necessary that Jesus go through Samaria. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary & The Bible Exposition Commentary)


Because going through Samaria would cause him to meet a woman there and lead her into saving faith, the kind of true faith that would affect an entire village.

A divinely appointed schedule…

It’s no surprise to us that Jesus had a divinely appointed schedule; after all, He was God.

What if I told you that you and I have a divinely appointed schedule as well?

When I’m having a day that seems like a complete disaster I try to remember…

1. What the Bible says about my schedule–

  • Proverbs 3:5-6- 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.
  • Psalm 37:23- The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
  • Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
  • Proverbs 16:9- We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
  • Isaiah 30:21- Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
  • Romans 8:28- And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

2. To look for the Divine Appointment

Did the change happen to

  • Protect me or my loved ones
  • Share Jesus with someone
  • Teach me a spiritual truth
  • To set up an opportunity
  • To make a way for me to bless someone
  • To lighten the load of my day
  • To test my trust in God’s promises

3. To work with God not against Him in my divine appointments

  • Relax
  • Pray
  • Trust

4. That changes in other people’s schedule may be divine appointments for them

  • Giving them grace may be my part in their divine appointment
  • I can’t believe these promises for myself and not believe them in the lives of others

So, as you begin your day…

make your plans


determine your schedule

…but rest in the knowledge that the God of the universe will order your steps and get His will and purpose accomplished in your life.


We trust you Lord!


In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 4:12-17; Luke 3:23a; John 4:46-54; Luke 4:16-30; Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37; Mark 1:29-34; Matthew 8:14-17; Luke 4:38-41; Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44; Matthew 4:23-25

Why Do You Want to Be a Leader?—Nehemiah 5:15

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Nehemiah 12:27 – 13:6; Nehemiah 5:14-19; Nehemiah 13:7-21; Malachi 1:1 – 2:9

D.L. Moody said, “A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine.” In our day of public scandals in almost every area of life, especially the political, how refreshing it is to meet a man like Nehemiah who put serving the people ahead of getting gain for himself.  (Wiersbe, Be Determined)

Nehemiah led the way most great leadership books suggest, but few leaders actually lead—by example.

  • His motive was pure–to honor and please God
  • He had compassion for those under his leadership
  • He was willing to sacrifice personal gain for the spiritual good of others
    • Did not use official expense account for household expenses
    • Was careful not to exploit people in any way
  • He participated in the building of the wall, didn’t just tell others what to do
  • He shared what he had with others

John Maxwell says a leader leads by example whether he intends to or not.

Are you leading by example…

  • In the home
  • In the church
  • In the workplace

Do you desire to be promoted to a place of “official” leadership in the workplace or your church?

Why do you want to be a leader?

  • To be in the spotlight
  • To be in charge
  • To tell people what to do
  • To make more money
  • To be in the “inner circle”

The reasons we want to be a leader will determine the way we lead.  Before accepting any position of leadership we should spend some time determining the “real” reason we want to lead.

Nehemiah wasn’t looking to be a leader; he just saw a need (the wall of Jerusalem needed rebuilding) and was moved with compassion to meet the need. (Nehemiah 1-2)

As you read this there are two responses you can have:

  • _________________ needs to hear this.  He/she is leading for the wrong reason.
  • I need to hear this.

Leaders must first grow in an area before we can help others grow.  That’s what makes leading by example so tough; there are many hard places we have to walk, so we can lead others through them.

Today’s our last day in the book of Nehemiah, let’s takes some time to reflect on our method of leading…

How does our leadership style compare with Nehemiah’s example?

What can we do today to become a leader that points others to Christ?


Heavenly Father, help us  make a conscious choice to live a life that leads others straight to You.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!



© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Malachi 2:10 through Malachi 4:6; Joel 1:1 through Joel 3:21

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