Lord, Can You Give Me These Kind of Directions?—Acts 8:26-29

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

Heavenly Father, my slightly dormant spirit of adventure is jumping up and down right now.

As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
He was humiliated and received no justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.

As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.

Jesus, that was wild! Talk about adventure, Phillip was out on the road minding his own business when Your angel says “go this way!” In a matter of minutes he introduced the Ethiopian eunuch to You, baptized him, and was snatched away by Your Spirit!

I just can’t imagine.

If I could speak with Phillip he would probably say, “what’s adventurous about it, I was just following Jesus’ instructions.”

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” —Acts 1:8

Jesus, help me to awake each morning expecting Your instructions and directions. Holy Spirit, empower me with a supernatural sensitivity to hear Your voice and power me up to be Your witness everywhere I go.

Let the adventure begin!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 10:1-12:5

Lord, I Don’t Want to Be This Kind of Stubborn—Acts 7:51

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

Heavenly Father, I don’t want to be this kind of stubborn:

 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! — Acts 7:51

Lord, it’s so easy to read the story of the stoning of Stephen and be filled with righteous indignation! How could those people have been that stupid? Why couldn’t they see what a mighty man of God Stephen was?

Jesus, I had to ask myself:

  • Have I ever been stubborn, close-minded, thinking I know the truth and everyone else is wrong?
  • Has there ever been a time with I looked godly on the outside but the thoughts in my heart were more like a heathen?
  • Have I ever ignored the truth proclaimed around me to the point of seeming deaf?
  • Have I ever resisted the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes

So, I could have been one of these people:

The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. –Acts 7:54-58

Holy Spirit, Stephen was a different kind of stubborn. He had a supernatural, stubborn love for the people who stoned him:

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. —Acts 7:60

Lord, give me a heart like Stephen. Help me to love like he did. When You see stubbornness and close-mindedness in me…

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. —Psalm 139:23-24

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 8:1b-9:43

Lord, Help Me to See Opportunities—Acts 3:12a

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-5:42

Jesus, I wonder if Peter and John had any idea what was going to happen on their way to the temple?

Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

I don’t think they were surprised. I think they probably prayed every morning and asked the Holy Spirit to anoint them to serve others as they went about their day.

But

They didn’t know there would be a lame man

and

They didn’t know there would be an opportunity to speak to a crowd about YOU.

Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. —Acts 3:12a

Yes, we’d all agree healing a man who had never walked in his life sounds like a divine appointment and getting to speak to a large crowd about Jesus sounds like a God opportunity.

But was THIS a God opportunity?

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. —Acts 4:1-3

Lord, maybe Peter and John immediately knew being thrown in jail was a divine appointment but if it were me, I would be thinking, “My God, My God why have You forsaken me! How can this be happening?”

There’s such a lesson in these verses. If we believe God has made an opportunity for us and we choose to step into that opportunity there may be opposition. The number one thing we get straight before we ever ask to be used is…

Will I be obedient to God when the going gets tough?

So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” —Acts 4:18-20

Holy Spirit, I want to immediately see the opportunities You place in my life and step out in faith believing that Your leading me. Lord, help me to be obedient and stand tall when opposition comes.

Lord, I want to serve others in Your name. Use me today.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

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

Lord, I Want This Kind of Storm in My Life—Acts 2:1-2

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-2:47

Heavenly Father, as a native of the Florida Gulf Coast, I am well acquainted with wind storms. Yes, they’re scary but I’ve always had a fascination with the wind as it changes the water from a quiet calm to a roaring, mighty force to be reckoned with, in a matter of minutes!

The Holy Spirit is like the roaring of a mighty windstorm. 

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. —Acts 2:1-2

I could write paragraphs on the parallels between windstorms and the Holy Spirit but the most important commonality for me is they are both powerful.

Jesus, I made up my mind long ago that if You were giving it, I wanted it. I’ve said many times we are only on this earth for two reasons: to know You and to cause others to know You. Holy Spirit, the only way we can do these to things is with Your supernatural power:

“But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going.  Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. —John 16:5-8

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But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  —Acts 1:8

Holy Spirit, EVERYDAY I see You at work. For example, this morning I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. Some would say, that’s a bad start to my day but I’ve walked with You long enough to know if I can’t sleep I need to get up, You’ve got something to say. After praying for some urgent needs I saw through social media, I “happened” upon this article about the Holy Spirit and then I read today’s scripture and went Wow, thank You Holy Spirit! You are preparing my mind to write today’s prayer.

Holy Spirit, blow into my life today. Shake me up, stir me, anoint me, teach me, speak to me, speak through me, and use my life to help others know You more. You are powerful and unpredictable, just like a windstorm and that makes being filled with Your Spirit the greatest adventure of my life!

I am blessed!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-5:42

Lord, I Just Saw a Suddenly! —John 20:19-21

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-43. Mark 16:12-13, John 20:19–23, Mark 16:14, John 20:24-21:25, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:44-49

Jesus, You gave the disciples some shock and awe in today’s reading! I counted five SUDDEN appearances. I can’t imagine what that was like…

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!  Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” —John 20:19-21

But I know that You still do SUDDENLYS. I just witnessed one.

Jesus, the situation was desperate, the people involved were beginning to lose hope, and then suddenly You showed up and said “peace be with You” and instantly You performed spiritual open heart surgery and everything changed.

Talk about a turn-around! Lord, I’m so thankful! Thank You for suddenlys.

 

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-2:47
 

 

 

Lord, I Want to Be a Risk-Taker—Mark 15:42-43

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42, Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12, Mark 16:9-11, John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:8-15

Heavenly Father, I know I change my biblical heroes with everyday’s reading but today I’m amazed by Joseph of Arimathea.

This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation,the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) —Mark 15:42-43

Lord, I know this is an important story because You inspired four different authors to record it. When I put the four accounts together Joseph definitely is someone we can learn a lot from.

Joseph risk his wealth, reputation and status to take on the role of a servant and honor his savior. Rich people don’t take bloody, beaten, dirty, and smelly people down from crosses–they have servants for that. Influential people don’t publicly honor someone who their peers and colleagues despise, it’s professional suicide.

Joseph took a risk and humbled himself to serve and care for his savior; talk about a public profession of faith!

Jesus, I can’t physically honor and care for You the way Joseph of Arimathea did but I can be that same kind of risk taker.

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ —Matthew 25:40

Holy Spirit, show me who to serve in Jesus Name as I go about my day.

 

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-43. Mark 16:12-13, John 20:19–23, Mark 16:14, John 20:24-21:25, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:44-49

Lord, How Did She Do It? —John 19:25-27

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:21-24, Matthew 27:32-34, Luke 23:26-31, John 19:17, Mark 15:25-32, Matthew 27:35-44, Luke 23:32-43, John 19:18-27, Mark 15:33-41, Matthew 27:45-56, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-37

Heavenly Father, as I read the account of Jesus’ crucifixion my thoughts went to Mary. How did she endure every mother’s worst nightmare—watching her child’s inhumane and torturous execution happen before her very eyes?

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”  And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. —John 19:25-27

Jesus, how did she stay there?

I’m sure it would have been easier for her to go home, cover her head and try to silence the mental images of what was happening. But Mary didn’t do the easy thing. As a mother who’s seen each of her children suffer through some hard times that look like a walk in the park compared to Your suffering, I can only see one way of getting through that day—the supernatural spirit of God.

Jesus, part of Your suffering on that day was to face crucifixion without Your Heavenly Father.

At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” —Matthew 27:46

Jesus, no one could take the place of Your Heavenly Father. Mary couldn’t save You. She couldn’t ease Your pain. All she could do was stay with You. I can just imagine when Your eyes met Mary’s eyes. Love, comfort, and strength must have gone straight to Your heart like a laser beam. I have to believe Mary was Your Heavenly Father’s representative at the cross. I believe He was loving You through Mary.

Lord, in today’s world there is so much suffering and sadness. My natural reaction is to run and hide but people need Your love, comfort, and strength.

I need the courage of Mary. I need the strength to stand with them in their suffering to show Your love. Lord, give me the privilege of being Your representative in their tough times.

Holy Spirit, give me supernatural, unexplainable love and compassion for those You place in my life today.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42, Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12, Mark 16:9-11, John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:8-15

Lord, Today There’s Gonna Be a Fight—John 19:11

 

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:2-5, Matthew 27:11-14, Luke 23:1-12, John 18:28-40, Mark 15:6-15, Matthew 27:15-26, Luke 23:13-25, John 19:1-16, Mark 15:16-20, Matthew 27:27-31, Luke 22:63-65

Jesus, as I read the details of Your arrest and trial I kept thinking, “this was senseless and crazy!” “How did things deteriorate so quickly?” “One minute everyone’s singing Your praises and the next minute they’re yelling ‘crucify You!'”

This explains it.

Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” —John 19:11

It was Your plan. It was Your time. It was Your will.

There was a fight going on.

Holy Spirit, some days I wish I could see into the unseen world Paul talks about:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. —Ephesians 6:12

Lord, yes it can be scary to think about “mighty powers in this dark world,” but You said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above.”

Lord, You are in control. You win. Your followers win. I win!

But…

In this world there will be a fight…

I’m so thankful I’m on the winning team!

Lord, give me eyes to see the “real battles.” Teach me how to fight!

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. —Ephesians 6:18

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:21-24, Matthew 27:32-34, Luke 23:26-31, John 19:17, Mark 15:25-32, Matthew 27:35-44, Luke 23:32-43. John 19:18-27, Mark 15:33-41, Matthew 27:45-56, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-37

Lord, Does My Denial Disqualify My Calling? —Matthew 26:69-75

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:53-65, Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:66-72, Matthew 26:69-75, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:25-27, Mark 15:1, Matthew 27:1-2, Luke 22:66-71, Matthew 27:3-10

Heavenly Father, I really feel bad for Peter:

Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly. —Matthew 26:69-75

Peter’s words “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you” (Matthew 26:34) waved the red flag to Satan, the enemy of Peter’s soul. Satan said “Game On” and crafted a plan to get Peter to do the very thing that he never wanted to do—deny his Lord.

The same evil that caused Judas to betray Jesus caused Peter to deny Him. Satan used fear to get his plan accomplished in Peter’s life. He was afraid for his life, afraid for Jesus, afraid for the future and afraid of failure.

Jesus, Matthew recorded Your conversation with Peter (Matthew 16:17-19) where You changed his name and said You will build Your church upon this rock (Peter). I’m sure Peter thought his denial disqualified him for Your calling but the next time You saw him You did his first training session on building Your church (my interpretation) and there was no mention of denial, roosters, or fireside chats, just a check to make sure he still loved You and a charge to get to work and feed Your sheep.

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. —John 21:15-17

 

Lord, we all go through times of fear and doubt. We all make mistakes. Many times we choose the same path as Peter. We make grand claims to love and serve You at all costs and then we adversity strikes, we deny You.  But that does not diminish Your plans for us. You’re not even surprised by it. You understand the spiritual battle that’s raging much better than we do.

Lord, help me to realize the only way I can fail is to quit. Help me to learn from my mistakes and grow beyond them.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 15:2-5, Matthew 27:11-14, Luke 23:1-2, John 18:28-40, Mark 15:6-15, Matthew 27:15-26, Luke 23:13-25, John 19:1-16, Mark 15:16-20, Matthew 27:27-31, Luke 22:63-65

Lord, Can We Talk Parent-to-Parent? —Matthew 26:39-56

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 18:1-2, Mark 14:32-42, Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46, Mark 14:43-52, Matthew 26:47-56, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:3-24

Heavenly Father, can we talk parent-to-parent?

How did You control Your urge to snatch Your son out of the Garden of Gethesemane as he repeatedly pleaded for His suffering to be taken away? How did You do it? I know Your heart was breaking.

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” —Matthew 26:39-46

Lord, the hardest trials I’ve ever experienced have been watching my children suffer. It’s heartbreaking to helplessly sit on the sidelines watching their lives head down a road “I” would never want them to travel.  But there’s something harder than that—watching Your only Son suffer for sin He didn’t commit when You have the ability to rescue Him in an instant!

Father, in my humanness I don’t know how You did it but as I read today’s scriptures I saw two reasons why You, Your Son, and Your Holy Spirit were willing to go through this pain and suffering:

1. It was Your will. That’s settled it for Your Son. He didn’t want to go to the cross and die but Your will and Your plan were more important and His human suffering.

The second reason came later in this chapter:

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled. —Matthew 26:52-56

2. You do not lie. Repeatedly, in Your scriptures Your Son’s birth, death, and resurrection were predicted. You could have sent angels, You could have rescued Jesus with one word, but it is not possible for You to lie, so You kept Your Word and sent Your Son to rescue ME from sin and eternal death so that Your scriptures were fulfilled!

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. —Hebrews 6:18

Lord…

When I am fretting, crying, pleading for You to rescue my children from their suffering, help me to remember You know, You care, and You understand.

When I’m searching for reasons and answers, remind me that Your will and Your plans are bigger and better than mine and Your scriptures are being fulfilled in the lives of my children.

Lord, let Your Will be done in the lives of my children, grandchildren, and future generations. May we serve You all the days of our lives!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:53-65, Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:66-72, Mathew 26:69-75, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:25-27, Mark 15:1, Matthew 27:1-2, Luke 22:66-71, Matthew 27:3-10

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