2018 – February


Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. – Phil 4:6

It’s easy to fall into the trap of worry. There’s lots of things in life that might stress you out and make you begin to worry. However, this verse challenges us to do things differently. It challenges you to pray about things instead of worrying. It also challenges you to tell God what you need instead of worrying about things. When you do this, it displaces worry in your life. A final thing to do is to thank God for all that God has done. When you begin to thank God, you take the focus off yourself and your problems and look to God and all the good things you have going on in your life. Today, challenge yourself to not worry. Instead go to God with the things that bother you and be thankful.


What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their own soul? – Luke 9:25

Many times we put a lot of importance on what we do. We want to date the right person, drive the right car, or wear the right clothes. Sometimes our whole life is consumed with getting all the ‘right things’. The problem with all this is, if your success and worth is defined by what you have or what you do, you will always be disappointed. You’ll never have another person who makes you feel complete. You’ll never make enough money to make you happy. You’ll never have enough of the right clothes to make you feel better. True happiness can’t be found in things or what you do. True happiness and success is found in knowing Jesus. So spend some time today getting to know Jesus. When you invest time getting to know Jesus, you’ll see that you’re happier and more fulfilled.


Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1

Have you ever been at a point in your life where you had to make some big decisions? These decisions might have lead to you moving, quitting your job, and deciding where you might spend the rest of your life. Not only was it hard for you, but your spouse and those around you. They can be especially hard when everything around you seems like it is going great. If you haven’t been in a situation where you had to make life changing decisions, you will be there some day. Remember today’s scripture as you contemplate and pray what God will want you to do. No matter where you go or what you do, as long as it is what God wants, it won’t be in vain. There is nothing worse then spending days, weeks, months, on a project and it not coming together. You spend your time, blood sweat, and tears on a project for nothing. When we build our house or live our life in vain, there is no fulfillment for all the work we put into it. Who wants to live a life like that? We don’t have to worry about this as Christians though. As long as we are allowing God to build our house, we are not laboring in vain. We are in a win win situation. Our houses, our cars, our style of living might not look like the American dream. Who wants to work for things that don’t bring about fulfillment as only God can? Are you letting the LORD build your house? Or are you building your life in vain?



“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Valentine’s Day, also known as the “day of love”, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays. It’s the day when we’re supposed to tell those near and dear to us how much we cherish them. Because everyone needs to feel loved. Love is powerful. So powerful in fact, Jesus summarized the entire Ten Commandments using only love: “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love others as yourself (Mark 12:30–31).” “[Jesus said,] I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other (John 13:34).” Now, when it comes to loving those closest to us, we should, of course, tell those people that we love them—and often. However, in reality, doing so requires very little faith on our part because chances are our love will be returned to us in equal measure. (Read Luke 6:32–33) Once we’ve experienced the true nature of God’s unending, unconditional love, the only reasonable response is to share that love with others who have not yet experienced it. But this is where Jesus asks us to lean on our faith. He gave another commandment that often seems illogical and at times, impossible. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27).” We are called to love the unlovable. Today, in addition to telling your special someone how much they mean to you, maybe we should also reach out to those who wouldn’t normally come to mind.


A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:35 (NIV)

We often find it hard to love others. It can be especially difficult to do this when people are mean to us or hurt us in some way. So whether we’ve been treated bad or good, the Bible tells us to love others. This love for others shouldn’t be based on what others do to you. So regardless of how others treat you, you should always respond to them in love. This kind of love can seem a bit crazy. We’re used to people getting revenge, payback, or teaching other people a lesson. So why would Jesus ask us to do something so radically different? It’s because Jesus knew there was a better way. He knew that loving others was the best way because it frees us from carrying around hurt, revenge and bitterness. So how do we begin to love others in this radical way? We have to begin to realize that the love for others doesn’t come from us. We can love others because Jesus loved us first. He loved us when we had nothing to offer Him. Because of this love, we can do the same and love others.


And He who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will He change His mind, for He is not human that He should change His mind. – 1 Samuel 15:29 (NLT)

The great thing about God is how faithful He is. He’s not a person that would change His mind. He doesn’t all of the sudden decide that He doesn’t like someone or something. He doesn’t change His mind based on trends or fashions. He’s steady, steadfast and unchanging. Unlike people who will let you down, bail on you, or change their mind, God will always be there for you. And His love for you will always be constant. This should cause you to be really excited. You can live a life of peace and comfort when you begin to realize how trustworthy God is. As you realize that He will always be there for you, that He’ll never let go or let you down, you can find comfort in even the worst situations. You can also know that God loves you in an amazing way and that will never change. God thinks you’re amazing. So take some time to think about the faithfulness of God and realize how awesome it is to serve such a great God.


And He who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will He change His mind, for He is not human that He should change His mind. – 1 Samuel 15:29

The great thing about God is how faithful He is. He’s not a person that would change His mind. He doesn’t all of the sudden decide that He doesn’t like someone or something. He doesn’t change His mind based on trends or fashions. He’s steady, steadfast and unchanging. Unlike people who will let you down, bail on you, or change their mind, God will always be there for you. And His love for you will always be constant. This should cause you to be really excited. You can live a life of peace and comfort when you begin to realize how trustworthy God is. As you realize that He will always be there for you, that He’ll never let go or let you down, you can find comfort in even the worst situations. You can also know that God loves you in an amazing way and that will never change. God thinks you’re amazing. So take some time to think about the faithfulness of God and realize how awesome it is to serve such a great God.


We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God’s love live in God, and God lives in them. – 1 John 4:16

The first part of today’s Bible verse talks about both knowing and believing. It’s easy to know in your head that God loves you and never take it any deeper. You can know that God loves you, but not really have that fact change your life. It’s when you begin to believe God’s love for you, that God’s love can begin to change your life. When you believe that God loves you, it changes your outlook and perspective on life. You don’t have to run around feeling sad. Believing God’s love empowers you to take life’s challenges head on. You know that with God on your side you can face anything that comes your way. So today, remember that God loves you. And really spend sometime thinking about that fact until you begin to really believe it. When you believe it, that’s when the power of God is unlocked in your life.


One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet. Proverbs 27:7 ESV

Many of us who live in a first-world nation know well the feeling of a full stomach and a comfortable checking account balance. We know that when we go to sleep our vehicles will be ready to carry us to work in the morning, and that the cable bill is paid so we’ll keep up with our DVR queue or our favorite TV show. None of these things are inherently bad, but if we aren’t vigilant our hearts will make them so. Our security grows increasingly dependent upon our things when we allow our souls to be idle.While our bodies may be satisfied and our minds put at ease, our things cannot nourish our souls. When we live with enough (often more than enough) we must remember that God’s word is “sweeter than honey” (Psalm 119:103) and far more satisfying. But, “one who is full loathes honey”, because such an individual already has enough. Let us be hungry souls, that amidst our plenty we will still crave the sweetness of God’s truth even in seasons of bitter trial. Is your soul hungry? Or have you satisfied yourself with the world?


Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined.– Proverbs 13:20

Who you hang out with makes a difference in what you do and where you go in life. The people you spend the most time with will steer you goals, thinking, and actions. That’s why it’s so important to spend time with wise people. This isn’t to say that you aren’t to be friendly to everyone. You shouldn’t ignore someone or be mean to them just because they aren’t a good influence. No, you’re to love that person. However, you should limit your time with people who aren’t influencing you in good ways. Take a look at your friends today. What sort of influences are they in your life? Are they challenging you in your walk with God? Are they encouraging you to do smart things with your money? Do they call you out on a bad person to avoid dating? These types of people are the ones to spend your time with. The people that challenge you to be better. Today, choose to make wise decisions when it comes to your friends. Limit exposure to those who drag you father from God and good decisions. Spend more time with those who draw you closer to God and to making good decisions.


Recently, I read a story told by an older British man. When he was a little boy after WWI, he saw a picture of some people walking around a bombed out street in a city. Bricks and timber were strewn across the cobblestone. The houses and buildings were totally destroyed. However, there was something more to the picture. On the photo, there was a small arrow pointing to one of the men in the group. He looked just like the others, wearing the plain clothes of an average person. But the arrow revealed a secret. That plain-clothed man was King George VI, walking among the debris. He looked so much like the other figures that he was indistinguishable from them. This story perfectly sets off our verse today: but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:7 ESV Jesus became exactly like us. The King of all the universe threw aside his coronation clothes and took on the rags of humanity. This is the ultimate act of humility. Jesus, our great King, doesn’t shoo us away from himself or make us approach him from a distance… …instead, Jesus is the King who steps down from his throne to walk alongside his people and make them his siblings (Rom. 8:17). This kind of love and humility marks the heart of God. And therefore is the aim of every disciple. Where does Jesus’ example inspire you to lay down your life in loving humility today?


and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)

Most people when they get up in the morning, they get ready. They might chow down a bowl of cereal, or eat a nice hot breakfast. Then, more than likely, they’ll get ready for the day. A big part of getting ready is putting on your clothes. We do this so that when we go outside, people see us clothed. We wouldn’t want others to see our pink fuzzy bunny slippers, or that bathrobe that’s two sizes too small. When we go out for the day, people see our clothes. That’s a lot like what today’s Bible verse is talking about. It’s saying that as you’re living your life each day, put on your new self. The self that was created to be like God. This means that our new self should be visible to others. Other people should be able to see a difference in our attitudes and actions. We should be letting that new self-dominate what we do and it should be visible to others. That new man was created righteous and holy. So let that new man dominate your actions and attitudes today.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV

Stress is a part of daily life. It’s even healthy in small doses, causing us to learn and grow, or find an inner strength we may not have known existed. Yet continuous stress over a long period of time may indicate that you’re trying to solve your problems on your own. When faced with difficulties in life, even seemingly small things, we shouldn’t look inward for all the answers. Developing a discipline of turning to God for his wisdom and guidance—in all things—helps us achieve our greater purpose. In scripture, the word “fear” is closely associated with “trust”. In Proverbs 1:7 it says, “The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom.” In this context, “knowledge” is understanding the world and ourselves in it. “Wisdom” is the acquired skill of applying that knowledge in order to live a godly life. Easier said than done, right? Yet when we truly and passionately seek God’s wisdom with open ears and an open heart, it will be given to us (Proverbs 2:1–6). What an encouraging thought! But here is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. When we pray to receive God’s wisdom, we actually need to trust what He tells us, even if it feels intimidating or we don’t fully understand. Trusting God goes well beyond the simple brains of our mere human intellect. If we try to apply our own understanding to a problem, we undermine His greater perspective. Trust requires a deep reliance on Him and His faithfulness to us. It sounds easy yet we’re all guilty of keeping God out of the areas of our lives where we need help. Why? It could be pride, ego, stubbornness, or lack of faith. But when we keep God out and try to do it all ourselves, we’re cut off from the greater purpose He has planned for each of us. What is one area of your life where you continue to struggle? Today, will you let God in by asking for His help?


Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. – Luke 5:13

This man asked a question in the previous verse (Luke 5:12). He said, “I know you can but are you willing”. When faced with a problem, we often know that God can heal, forgive or help us but we struggle with wondering if He is willing. Jesus was God in the flesh and He was showing mankind that He is willing to help, heal and forgive. We also can be tricked by the devil in believing that God would be willing to do it for others but not for us. We wonder if we’ve been too bad or haven’t done enough good things to receive. However, this is not the attitude of Jesus. He is the reason we can receive anything from God. We receive when we believe on Him and what He did not on what we have done or haven’t done. Today is your day to believe God and know that He is not only able to help, heal, forgive and restore you but that He is WILLING!


Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 ESV

The Psalmist makes it clear that this is not an “either or” statement. The words that come from your mouth are connected to what resides in your heart, or your heart’s meditation. If a person says nasty things to you, you wouldn’t be led to believe there are kind thoughts in that person’s heart concerning you, right? Jesus also knew this to be the case. He called the Pharisees white washed tombs because they looked good on the outside, like a nice grave marker, yet on their inside they were nasty and dirty, much like a rotting body (Matthew 23:27-28). He also brought this up again when talking about food defiling the body. He let the religious leaders know that it is the heart that defiles a body, or what is already inside, and not the food that comes in (Matthew 15:18-20). Too often when we are dealing with: gossip, mean thoughts towards others, course language, lust, you name it, we try to just stop ourselves from saying the words or thinking the thoughts. Instead, we should be getting to the root of the problem, our heart. It all boils down to the meditation of our heart, which should ever be on Christ. Memorize this verse this week and use it when the words you speak and the thoughts you think are not pleasing to God.


throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. – Ephesians 4:22 (NLT)

In today’s Bible verse, Paul’s not saying that you still have a sinful spirit. We know from scripture that our spirit has been made totally new through Christ. Rather what he’s talking about in today’s Bible verse when he says to throw off the old sinful nature is turning away from our habits and lusts. The way we act and our habits should reflect Jesus. We shouldn’t live our lives like we did before we knew Christ. We shouldn’t be living like the world lives. We should live lives that reflect Jesus to the world around us. A big part of doing that is throwing off bad habits and lusts. As Christians we should be letting our new spirit man lead our habits. We should be following what our spirit desires, not what seems good to our flesh. So challenge yourself today to focus on letting your spirit man lead your choices and habits. Choose to let the new man dominate the things you think, say and do.


But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar. – 2 Chronicles 26:16 (NLT)

When you face success in life, no matter how big or small, it can be easy to fall into the temptation of becoming prideful. Maybe you got the best grade on your math test in the whole class, or got the trumpet solo for jazz band that you were trying for. If left unchecked, you can begin to think that you’re better than everyone else. When you’re successful, you have to decide to keep a humble attitude. Uzziah was successful as a leader and began to think of himself more highly than he should have. He believed that he was above the rules and as a result, sinned against God. His pride was his downfall. When you face success, there’s nothing wrong with being happy and proud of your accomplishments. However, don’t let that pride grow to the point where it becomes your downfall. Choose instead to always thank God for your success and stay teachable and humble. If you keep those things in mind, you’ll always be able to handle success in positive ways.


But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:30-31 ESV

Torrential rain is pounding the windshield of your dad’s sedan. The sound of rain overwhelmed only by the deep rolls of thunder. The darkness outside is periodically interrupted by quick, blinding flashes of lightning that streak across the night sky. You’ve only made it to the young age of three and a half. From your car seat, you know the end is drawing nigh. Terrified as the storm causes destruction across your city, all hope seems lost. Suddenly, there’s a light. Not the electric blue light caused by the lightning. No, this light is different, warm; and it’s growing increasingly bright with each passing second. It’s the garage! Although still a bit frightened, you know you’ve made it to the safety of your home. I guess you’ll live to see age four after all. Recently, a preacher I know gave an anecdote much like this one on a Sunday morning. His toddler, though safe in the car, was terrified by a July thunderstorm. Looking out of the windows at powerful storms can certainly be intimidating, even as adults. So often, the cause of fear is due to our focus! Like our young friend in the story, we tend to focus on the danger and not the shelter. We see the things that frighten us and they pull our focus away from that which protects us. Peter did the same thing. Seeing Jesus, Peter steps out of the boat and walks across the water towards Jesus. Peter allows his focus to shift from Jesus to the storm; from refuge to wreckage. And how often do we do the same exact thing? We know we can take refuge in Jesus, as the Psalmist writes: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And yet all too often, we are like that toddler. We become so focused on the storm, that we forget the shelter that keeps us safe! All too often, we are like Peter. Walking towards Jesus, we allow outside circumstances to take our eyes off of our refuge. There’s so much, good and bad, that demands our focus every day. Today, remember that our charge is to keep our eyes on Jesus, no matter what comes our way. He is our shelter. Today, will you keep your focus on Jesus, despite your circumstance?



How precious to me are your thoughts, a God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. – Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV)

It’s one thing to know there is a God out there. However, it really is amazing to think that God is thinking about you! In fact, David writes that God thinks about us so much that it’s more than the grains of sand in the world. That’s a ton of thoughts! God thinks about you. He’s interested in you and your life. He wants to reach out to Him and to get to know Him like He knows you. Begin a journey of knowing God. You can start by simply asking Him to show Himself to you. You can learn a lot about God simply by reading your Bible and connecting with other mature believers at your church. Be encouraged today, God is thinking about you!


The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10

Today’s Bible verse is really encouraging. It shows us that God wants you to have a rich and satisfying life. That type of life only happens when we fully engage with God. God doesn’t want us living sad and depressed, just barely getting by. No, God has a quality of life for you to experience. He has a rich satisfying life for you to enjoy. This life is a life that is full of purpose and meaning. That life happens when you engage with God. So make the decision today to engage with God. Choose to really get to know Him and find out all the things that He’s promised to you. Choose to walk through life hand in hand with Jesus. Let Him into your life and find out how awesome life with God can really be!


Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. – Proverbs 3:7

One of the biggest things we struggle with in a technologically advanced culture is the need for God. It can be easy to think, why do I need to pray and seek God’s direction? I can just google it. It’s easy with so many answers right at our fingertips to avoid seeking God’s advice and do things at our own discretion. It can be easy to fall into the trap of being independent from God. Because we have so many answers and options readily available, we begin to not seek Him as much. However, despite all the technology and all the answers we can find, we need to realize that we always need God. We need His help in every situation that we face. We need His guidance for our day to day life. So choose today to get God involved in your life. Choose to get Him involved in your decisions, no matter how small. You’ll never be disappointed when you get God involved in what you’re doing.

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