Lord, Help Me to Be Less Demanding and More Loving—Philemon 1:8-9

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Philemon 1:1-25, Philippians 1:1-2:11

Heavenly Father, these verses spoke to me:

That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do. But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you. Consider this as a request from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus. —Philemon 1:8-9

Lord, I expect a lot of myself. My high expectations sometimes lead to unreasonable demands on the people I love. It’s interesting that my expectations for the world are pretty low but for me and the branches of my family tree—we’re supposed to be perfect!

Jesus, I am learning to lower my expectations. I’m learning to give myself and my loved ones the grace that You died for. I definitely haven’t arrived, but I’m not where I used to be.

Thank You for Your grace.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:12-4:23

Lord, I’ve Done Some Agonizing in 2014—Colossians 2:1-4

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:24-4:18

Heavenly Father, I guess it’s true that “misery loves company,” because when I saw that Paul agonized, I suddenly felt righteous in my “agonizing” of the past year.

I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. -Colossians 2:1-4

Lord, I’m sure my agony isn’t in the same galaxy as Paul’s but his desires for the Colossians and Laodiceans and my desires for my loved ones are the same.

Jesus, You know about agony. I’m learning that the best prayer to pray during life’s agonizing times is the same prayer you prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “Father, not what I want but what You want.”

Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane. He said to them, “You sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him. He began to have much sorrow and a heavy heart. Then He said to them, “My soul is very sad. My soul is so full of sorrow I am ready to die. You stay here and watch with Me.”

He went on a little farther and got down with His face on the ground. He prayed, “My Father, if it can be done, take away what is before Me. Even so, not what I want but what You want.” —Matthew 26:36-39

Jesus, as I move into this new year, teach me how take my struggles, concerns, and agony to You in prayer and then trust You with the outcome.

In Your Name. Amen and amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Philemon 1:1-25, Philippians 1:1-2:11

Lord, I Want to Make the Most of Every Opportunity—Ephesians 5:15-20

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

Heavenly Father, will I live to see the day when I can’t speak Your Son’s name in public?

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. —Ephesians 5:15-20

Lord, I want to be wise. I don’t want to waste my time on earth. I want to make the most of every opportunity. Holy Spirit, fill me and use me to help someone know You more today.

Thank You for the opportunities You are sending my way! May I live for the glory of Your Name!

 

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:24-4:18

Lord, The Sun’s Down and I’m Still Angry. What Do I Do? —Ephesians 4:26

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

Heavenly Father, I’ve learned a lot about anger this year. There have been some nights when I went to bed angry and as You predicted through the Apostle Paul, anger gave Satan a foothold in my life.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you. ”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. –Ephesians 4:26-27

Lord, thankfully I’ve moved past the anger and have learned some great lessons but it would have been much simpler if I would have turned it completely over to You before the sun went down.

Because I allowed anger to marinate, I gave Satan access to my mind. I was miserable. I knew I needed to forgive, yet something was holding me back; or should I say someone.

Lord, I believe You, the God who made me, answered my prayer and showed my how to fight this anger virus I had allowed to corrupt my thinking.

I sensed You saying that aggressive action was required to take back the foothold I had given to Satan.

I’m a person who loves solitude and silence. I can stay in my home for eight hours with no television or music—just silence, and be totally happy. Holy Spirit, I believe You told me that silence wasn’t good for me in this season. These were the instructions you gave me:

No silence allowed! Other than my morning quiet time, I was to have either Christian podcasts, Christian music, or Christian books going in my head every waking moment.

This doesn’t mean that I can only listen to Christian music forever, it means desperate tines call for desperate measures. I had to take back the ground I have given to my enemy. It was war but You taught me how to fight differently.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. –1 Corinthians 10:3-5

Jesus, I definitely had strongholds of human reasoning, false arguments, and rebellious thoughts. Saturating my mind with Your Word was re-teaching me to hear, obey, and submit to You. The second part of this assignment was capturing every thought that fueled the anger and replacing with Your Word.

Lord, I immediately made this change. I’m amazed how quickly the heaviness lifted. In a matter of days I felt the anger and hurt disappear. I am completely free from the anger and very grateful!

The thing I will never forget about this difficult season is the way You stayed so close to me. I know You didn’t approve of my lingering anger but You were with me in an unusual way. I even felt You speak to my spirit, “I understand. I get angry too. You will get through this and I will not leave you.”

Lord, thank You for never abandoning me! Thank You for going ahead of me and leading me through this difficult season.

 

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” —Deuteronomy 31:6

I love You!

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

 

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

Lord, After All These Years, I’m Still in Awe—Ephesians 2:8-10

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 28:1-31, Ephesians 1:1-2:22

Heavenly Father, as I read Ephesians 2, it was like reading it for the first time. The whole chapter oozes with Your love but these verses grabbed my attention:

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. —Ephesians 2:8-10

Lord, You’re right, I can’t take credit for this gift. I don’t deserve it.

Father, Your loving kindness is like the most beautiful gift wrapping I’ve ever imagined.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. —Ephesians 1:7-8

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank You for the gift of eternal life!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

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

Lord, It’s Useless to Fight Against Your Will—Acts 26:13-18

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 27:1-44

**This prayer is for December 4th’s scripture reading

Heavenly Father, as Paul re-told the story of his conversation to King Agrippa and his wife, I thought, “who wouldn’t serve You with a conversion like this one!”

About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’

“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.

“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’ —Acts 26:13-18

Lord, I didn’t have a dramatic conversion like Paul. I became a Christian when I was ten years old. I didn’t see a light and hear a voice but there’s one thing that Paul and I have in common…

It’s useless for us to fight against Your will.

Lord, like many Christians I’ve spent much of my life searching, looking, and even fretting over Your will for my life. Sometimes we’re “working” so hard trying to find Your will that we actually are fighting against Your will. I definitely don’t have it all figured out but I know this–

I will arrive at Your will for my life with a less wounds and bloody knees if I just release MY will and rest in the fact that You will get Your will accomplished in my life.

I am learning that my greatest prayer is…

Lord, Your will be done–

on earth

on this day

and

in my life

–as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-13)

Lord, please anoint my desires so that they line up with Your will.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 28:1-31, Ephesians 1:1-2:22

Lord, I Believe It Will Be Just As You Said—Acts 27:23-26

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 24:1-26:32 

**This devotion is for December 5th’s scripture reading

Heavenly Father, forty-plus years of being a Christian has taught me many things but this truth is one that I’m continually learning through life’s challenges:

Believing in God and believing God are two different things.

 Paul believed in You AND He believed You would do what You said You would do.

For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” —Acts 27:23-26

Lord, You said it and that settles it…

But sometimes it doesn’t.

What I mean is, sometimes it doesn’t settle it for me. I allow fear, and doubt to cloud my thinking. Thoughts like “Lord, You meant that for Paul but You didn’t really mean it for me. You really aren’t going to come through and rescue me from my storm.”

Holy Spirit, coach me when I get in these places. I want a supernatural gift of faith to believe when I’m tempted to doubt.

Lord, it will be, just as You said…

I trust You. In Jesus Name. Amen an Amen

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 28:1-31, Ephesians 1:1-2:22

Lord, This Blows my Mind! —Acts 23:11-35

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 21:37-23:35

Heavenly Father, I can’t stop thinking about Paul’s nephew. He “just happened” to be in the right place, at the right time to hear of a plan to kill his uncle.

But Paul’s nephew—his sister’s son—heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. Paul called for one of the Roman officers and said, “Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him.”

So the officer did, explaining, “Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” —Acts 23:16-18

The commander took his hand, led him aside, and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?” 

Paul’s nephew told him, “Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. But don’t do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to ambush him. They have vowed not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now, just waiting for your consent.”

“Don’t let anyone know you told me this,” the commander warned the young man. —Acts 23:19-22

Holy Spirit, thanks to You and Paul’s nephew the plot to kill Paul was stopped (Acts 23:23-35) but there’s more to this miraculous coincidence. Holy Spirit, this is amazing! The night before Paul’s nephew heard of the plot to kill Paul, You appeared to Paul to encouraged him and give him his next assignment:

That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.” —Acts 23:11

So basically You took what Satan meant for evil (Genesis 50:20)and the very next day got Paul a free, escorted trip to Rome (Acts 23:23-25)

Holy Spirit, can I say, this just blows my mind!

Lord, get Your will accomplished in my life today. I trust You!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 24:1-26:32

Lord, I Don’t Know What Awaits, But…—Acts 20:22-24

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 20:13-21:36

Heavenly Father, as this year comes to a close, a season of ministry is ending. While I certainly don’t compare my ministry with Paul’s, I do know what it’s like to hear the Holy Spirit say go, start, leave, or stop.

And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. –Acts 20:22-24

Lord, it took obedience for Paul to leave Jerusalem and it took obedience for him to return. Five years ago I heard a quiet, kind, an loving thought bounce around my heart, “I want you to lead and online Bible study through the One-year Chronological Bible and I want you to write a devotion for each day’s reading and post it on a blog.”

Holy Spirit, I knew it was You because I would have never had that thought and Satan certainly would never tell me to do that! Up until this point I had only been posting on my blog once a month. Lord, in my natural mind I didn’t think what You were asking me to do was possible but with You all things are possible.

Lord, as this journey comes to a close, it’s taking as much obedience to stop as it did to start. I have learned so much. Leading this Bible study has taught me that You will open my eyes to the truth and relevancy of Your Word, when I spend time with You. Some days You gave me the words in an hour, some days it took three or four hours. Because of my commitment, I waited and You know that I’m the kind of person who needs a commitment. It amazes me that You work with the way You made me!

Lord, because of what I’ve learned and because of the intimacy I’ve had with You, I really don’t want to stop, but I will—because You said so. I will, knowing that the learning and the intimacy will continue, just in different ways.

Jesus, I don’t know what awaits me in this next season but I know my life is worth nothing unless I spend my time telling others about You.

Lord, I trust You. Use me for Your glory!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 21:37-23:35

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

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