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Daily Disciples - Page 3 Empty Re: Daily Disciples

Post  Admin on Thu 01 May 2014, 10:09 am

April 30
Today's Reading: 1 Kings 8; Luke 21:1-19
Today's Thoughts: God Gives the Increase
So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:7-8
As Christians, we have different gifts that produce different fruit for God's work. We can accept this in Scripture but we question why some Christians are more successful in ministry than others, such as when one's church is so much larger than another's. We tend to look at the "successful person" and try to pattern ourselves to be like that person, instead of keeping our focus on the Lord. Paul's point emphasizes the fact that ultimately God is the reason for any of our success.
Paul is making a piercing statement that should penetrate each of us right into the depths of our heart. The focus of ministry needs to be about God—period. Without God, there is no increase, no success, and no value to our work. Without God, there would be no gifts, skills, or fruits. Without God, there would be no us. Because of God, one person is given certain talents while someone else is given the complement to those gifts, both designed by God to fulfill His purpose only (1 Corinthians 12:11). In these verses, Paul is planting while Apollos is watering, both chosen by God to perform His service. 
In Matthew 15:13 Jesus says, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted." Unless God is our Farmer, nothing that we plant will ever bear fruit. Most of the time, however, we forge ahead with the planting and then ask God to bless our work with good fruit. Jesus says that the Father will not allow those plants to remain; He will remove them completely. 
How much time do we waste in trying to complete our plans, meet our standards, control our progress, and make our deadlines? How do you personally plant and water specific areas of your life? Is God your Farmer? If you are feeling frustrated, fatigued, and frazzled, comparing yourself to others, then you are missing what God has for you. You must realize that He has given you the talents and skills to plant and water, but all for His purposes and to His glory. Without Him, there will be no growth and no success.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Tue 29 Apr 2014, 8:39 pm

April 29
Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 6; Luke 20:27-47
Today’s Passage: No Good Luck Charms
But Ruth said:  "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die,  And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me." Ruth 1:16-17
Reading 1 Samuel 4-6 this morning, I noticed how similar we are today to the people of Israel. They were in conflict so they decided to do something about it and they went to war against the Philistines. They lost 4,000 men in battle and lost that battle. Returning home depressed and defeated, the men of the Israel came up with a plan and mustered enough emotional support to make a statement to themselves as well as the Philistines. The Israelites decided to take the ark of the Covenant as a good luck charm into the next battle. They rallied together and shouted so loudly that the ground shook and the Philistines were made aware of the unity the ark of Covenant brought to its people.
The plan however was not based on seeking the Lord. Chapter 4 opens up with Samuel speaking the words of God and then the chapter develops into what the men of Israel felt was best to do. There was no seeking of the Lord. There was no asking of Samuel. Funny thing is…after losing the first battle, they did decide to bring the “representation” of the Lord into battle but did not include Him personally. It would be like me driving my parents car to their church as if their car would give me credibility and strength without asking them for advice on how to handle the situation.
The Israelites lost the second battle terribly and the ark of the Covenant was stolen by their enemies. No Good Luck charms to manipulate God to act or to give the people false strength. However, the ark did make a bad impression on the Philistines. As the Philistines returned the ark to the Israelites, then the people of God repented and turned back to the Lord.
Like us, the Israelites had to lose a lot personally and publicly to gain back the humility of seeking the Lord His way over their own. There is nothing wrong with the symbols of the Lord that we wear, put on our cars and carry in our purses to remind us to serve the Lord. However, we end up embarrassed, ashamed and defeated when we put our trust in those symbols instead in the Lord Himself.
What does it take to get us to seek Him first? Why is it so difficult to humble ourselves before the Lord before we make major decisions instead of after we have regrets? I am not naive and I do know that many times we quickly throw up a prayer to keep our bases covered. But that again is treating God like a lucky rabbits foot. To truly seek the Lord is like searching for a lost child. There is an all consuming longing to search for His will and to not settle until His peace floods our hearts. The peace becomes so loud that even if His answer contradicts our initial request, we submit to His will over our own.
More often than not, I have not embraced the will of the Lord as my first desire. Obedience is not a natural inclination. But God…loves us and knows the end from the beginning. But God…wants to be included. But God…will have the last word and should have the first in our lives. But God…is enough for any circumstance or crises we are facing today.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Mon 28 Apr 2014, 8:05 pm

April 28
Today's Reading: 1 Kings 3; Luke 20:1-26
Today's Thoughts: The Good Soil
"And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty." Matthew 13:23
Gardening is definitely not a hobby for those of us who want nice looking finger nails. After planting flowers for a few hours, my appearance seemed to reflect gardening as a contact sport. I had dirt everywhere. I spent most of my time digging and scrapping and hoeing and massaging the dirt. Placing the flowers in the ground was the easy part.
I was talking to my daughter while planting. I said to her, “Jesus talks about seeds falling on good soil or dirt. What do you think it takes to recognize good dirt over bad dirt?” She said, “Well, I think good dirt is darker than bad dirt. It would be darker because it should be wetter than bad dirt.” Her observation was very good. The areas that we planted with moister soil did have a darker color because the sprinklers covered that area better. We also found healthier plants in the darker dirt.
I also thought about this spiritually. As we acknowledge our sinfulness, we understand the darkness of our hearts. It is then through the moistening of the Holy Spirit to wet our hearts to receive Jesus as our Savior, that we are redeemed from our sin. That kind of soil is then ready for the Lord to plant His Words in our hearts to bring forth flowers or fruits of righteousness in His time.
The first step is the preparation of the soil. Praise God that He is willing to get His hands dirty for us! We might not like seeing how dark the dirt is but it is in understanding our sinful state that Jesus can do a beautiful work in the end. Remember, seed…time… and harvest!
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Sun 27 Apr 2014, 4:48 pm

April 27
Today's Reading: 11 Kings 1; Luke 19:28-48
Today's Thoughts: Back to Egypt?  
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the Lord! Isaiah 31:1
A reference to going back to Egypt is made often in the Old Testament. The Israelites spent over 400 years in Egypt. Much of their time in Egypt consisted of hard labor and enslavement. They cried out to God and He answered their cries. The book of Exodus describes their departure from this life of bondage as Moses led the way. But, as soon as they encountered trials on their journey, the people were quick to want to go back to Egypt and return to their old way of life. Why would anyone want to go back to a life that was filled with bondage and suffering? Because they at least knew what to expect and sometimes, that is more comforting than having to face the uncertain future.
Isaiah 31 says, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt” and who are looking for help in places outside of the Lord. The same is true for us today. As Christians, we have God’s Holy Spirit who is our Helper and our Comforter. Trials and hard times are inevitable in our lives because we live in a fallen world that brings sorrows and pains. Though we will be tempted at times to give up and to go back to our familiar territories, we must press on towards the upward call of Christ Jesus. Do not put your trust in the strength of men or money or worldly power, but put your trust in the Lord. Turn your eyes to Jesus and He will lead the way.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Sat 26 Apr 2014, 8:31 pm

April 26
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 23; Luke 19:1-27
Today's Thoughts: Careful in Counsel
They continually say to those who despise Me, 'The Lord has said, "You shall have peace" '; And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, 'No evil shall come upon you.' "For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord, And has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it? Jeremiah 23:17-18
Jeremiah was a prophet called by the Lord to give His message to the people. Unfortunately, the message from God was not good news. The Lord told the people of their impending destruction and captivity. His words were severe and too hard for them to accept. In contrast to Jeremiah's prophecies, others proclaiming to be prophets told the people not to fear, that they would have peace. These false prophets used the Lord's name to declare their worthless predictions, and the people chose to believe the false prophets instead of Jeremiah. But these so-called prophets had no relationship or counsel with the Lord God Almighty. They would be held accountable before the Lord for their actions as they blatantly deceived the people.
This message applies to us today as well, especially when we speak on behalf of the Lord. We must be sure that our counsel or encouragement to others has been prayerfully taken before the Lord. We must stand in the counsel of the Lord and hear from Him before we offer counsel or advice to anyone else. This message is not only critical to those of us in ministry roles, but also true for any Christian who truly desires to help others. We must realize our responsibility before the Lord. When someone is hurting while going through difficult trials, our human response is to comfort and encourage them. But we also must be in prayer for them and ask the Lord to give us His wisdom in how to help. If we are not standing before the Lord, then our words may give false hopes or assurances that are not of the Lord. They could end up placing their hope on our words instead of God's Word.
Regardless of how little or often you counsel others, make sure you heed the words of these verses and take everything to the Lord first. Whether in ministry or other roles, our hearts as Christians will desire to help others, but we must always recognize our inadequacies. Only God knows what He is doing with people and we must walk with Him daily to know how He wants to use us to help them. If we are not careful, just as in Jeremiah's day, we can do far greater harm by offering hope and assurances that are not of the Lord. Take everything to Him in prayer and ask Him to give you Scriptures for any counsel you may give. Always stand on the Word of God. And when in doubt, pray for the self-control to listen instead of speaking.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Fri 25 Apr 2014, 8:42 pm

April 25
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 21; Luke 18:24-43
Today's Thoughts: Emotions
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:8-9
To bear fruit in horrific circumstances takes the ability to separate ourselves from those circumstances. We have to learn to pull ourselves out of the situation to see it from God's perspective, instead of our own. It takes discipline and self-control to live for the Lord despite the situations and events in our lives. Many times, I have had to say, "Ok, God is powerful and has the ability to change these circumstances if needed. God is wise and has the ability to give me the wisdom to deal with these circumstances if needed. God is loving and knows what I need better than I do." When I can apply these three attributes of God: powerful, wise and loving, to my circumstances, I am able to trust God in all situations and events and thus, able to bear fruit in spite of them.
The same thing is true for our emotions. The way we feel can hinder us from doing the will of God and bearing fruit. Our emotions can clearly impact our actions. Here are some examples:
·         If we do not feel like cleaning the house, we will not do it even if it needs to be done.
·         If we do not feel like being nice today, we will not be nice even though the consequences will linger beyond the day.
·         If we are led by our emotions, we will do or not do what we feel like doing. But in order to bear fruit and stay in the will of God, we need to be able to separate ourselves from our feelings and do what God has called us to do in spite of our selves.
To pull ourselves out from the circumstances, we can remind ourselves of the attributes of God. To pull ourselves out from our emotions, we need to be in the Word of God. We have to claim verses as promises to keep us focused on doing things that please Him, even if it does not please our emotions at the time. It is in praying for self-control to maintain a steadfast life that brings Him glory. Every day and every decision counts. Choices we make today matter forever. Keep sowing those seeds of righteousness and in time, you will reap a healthy harvest.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Thu 24 Apr 2014, 2:08 pm

April 24
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 19; Luke 18:1-23
Today's Thoughts: Seasonal Changes
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. - Psalm 1:2-3
My aunt came from the east coast to visit. Our days were filled with theme parks, shopping malls, and numerous activities. One evening, as we were planning for the next day, she said, "Can't we see what the weather does and then decide?" That question took me by surprise. Those of us living in Southern California tend to not factor in the weather until we actually see it raining. Why? Because there are few seasonal changes here. Even when the weather forecaster predicts rain, wind patterns change frequently and we often do not get the predicted rain or inclement weather.
Her statement, however, had greater implications. She was tired and ready to slow down and change the pace. On the east coast, weather is a natural boundary that helps adjust schedules and lifestyles. Although the sunny skies are an advantage for most daily events and plans, Southern Californians have to make a conscious effort to rest and slow down. God knows that we need cycles of rest as much as periods of productivity. He factors into our lives spiritual seasons of sunny skies, rainy days, snowed in days and even some hurricanes, tornados and thunderstorms. Why? Because in each of these events, God wants to show Himself faithful and build our faith to trust in Him.
Make a commitment to understand the ways of the Lord. If every day were perfect, there would be no dependency on the Lord or desire to be with God in heaven. Factor in time to spend with the Lord before your day starts. He will prepare you for the weather changes in your spiritual life for the day. The Lord's desire for you is to be stable and consistent, even when the seasons are not. By considering God in your day, you will find peace and joy regardless of what the weather brings.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Wed 23 Apr 2014, 3:29 pm

April 23
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 16; Luke 17:20-37
Today's Thoughts: Nothing Can Separate Us From His Love
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
How do you respond to sudden changes in circumstances that did not result to your advantage? Examples such as when your car suddenly breaks down, your vacation leave does not get approved, your kids get sick the day you had something planned or you lose your cell phone. I have found that there are two main reactions we can have:
God, I am so sorry. I will seek You now. What do You want from me?
God, what did I do wrong? I thought You loved me.
Both cover each end of the spectrum. If we don’t walk with the Lord daily, we blame the incident on ourselves and feel guilty. If we do walk with the Lord, we feel abandoned by Him and question His character.
Jesus told us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, meaning that a change in circumstances can happen to all of us. However, the problem comes when we choose to lose our perspective of who God is in the process. God wants us to love Him and enjoy His fellowship. He never stops loving us. We can face any change in circumstance better if we include the Lord in the problem, instead of blaming Him for the problem. Next time something suddenly changes pray, “Lord, help me to stick with You through this and please cause this to work together for good.” Nothing can separate us from His love so we shouldn’t separate ourselves from Him.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Tue 22 Apr 2014, 3:10 pm

April 22
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 14; Luke 17:1-19
Today's Thoughts: Asking in Confidence
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15
When we teach on prayer, we often use these verses as references. Regardless of the audience to whom we are speaking, almost everyone is familiar with these verses. In the gospels, Jesus tells us to "ask" for things. Matthew 7:7 says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” A few chapters later, Jesus says, "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." (Matthew 21:22) When you study the gospels, you will notice that Jesus makes it clear that asking and believing go hand in hand. In other words: when we pray, we need to pray (or ask) in faith. John gives us a clearer picture of that faith by using the word "confidence" in how we approach God in prayer.
At a recent seminar on how to use a prayer journal, we discussed this word "confidence." How many of us come to the Lord in confidence? It opened an enlightening discussion about what confidence before the Lord really looks like and how can we have it. One of the many areas discussed was how confused we get over praying "according to his will." Many people feel that if they are not praying God's will, then they cannot approach Him in confidence. They try to figure out what God wants them to pray before they come to Him in prayer. That approach is confusing and can lead to misguided, fruitless prayers.
Then what does it mean to pray "according to his will?" How can we ever truly know God's will? Let's not put the cart before the horse; start with the basics of prayer. Start with asking. Go to the Lord in honesty and humility and tell Him where your heart is. Tell Him that you are not sure what His will may be for you but that you want to know. Tell Him that you are not sure what to pray but these are the things on your heart. Ask the Lord to help you pray in confidence and to approach His throne of grace with boldness (Hebrews 4:16). The Lord already knows your wants, needs and desires. He just wants you to come and fellowship with Him. Open your heart to Him honestly; do not try to package things before coming to Him. Just ask, and allow His Spirit to do the rest.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Mon 21 Apr 2014, 4:16 pm

April 21
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 12; Luke 16
Today's Thoughts: Faithful with Little, Given Much
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?” Luke 16:10-12
There is an ice cream man who has come to sell ice cream in my neighborhood for at least 8 years. His van is beat up with bald tires, poor paint, bumps and bruises on the exterior, well-worn and torn up seats inside, and a very loud stereo blasting the ice cream theme song. The music sings to “Do your ears hang low? Do they travel to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow?” The song plays over and over, very loudly. And I can hear that song from blocks away. The ice cream man can barely speak English but has a great countenance and has smiled for 8 years, with the facial wrinkles to prove it.
My heart has broken for this man. I have told my children to go and buy ice cream to support him. It seems like a hard job for not too much in return, but his attitude is so good and he is so faithful to do his job well. Well, the other evening I went for a walk. I heard that familiar sound down the block. As I was walking by, to my surprise, the ice cream man got a brand new truck! It was the same man, same products, same advertisements on the side and the same song but a new truck. I was so happy for him.
God spoke to my heart while walking past the truck and explained something to me. When we receive the Holy Spirit in power, God uses the same person with the same personality and same body to be empowered in a whole new way. This man was faithful with little, so he has been given much (Luke 16:10). We too will receive more and more opportunities to be used by God in the power of the Holy Spirit if we are faithful with the smaller tasks He has given us. By being faithful in the little tasks, He can trust us with bigger ones. The choices we make in every day living matter to God. Are we smiling? Are we content? Are we faithful? Same person, same product, same advertisements but with a new power and passion that comes from a faithful heart. God is so good. But how we choose to live the every day job is up to us.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Sun 20 Apr 2014, 4:50 pm

April 19
Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 6; Luke 15:1-10
Today’s Thoughts: Standing Firm
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  1 Corinthians 16:13
A couple of months ago, I shared my faith with my neighbor. The conversation went well (from my point of view). The next thing I knew she hosted a luncheon and invited all the neighbors but me. After hearing about the event I felt sad and discouraged. I thought about what I had said to her and wondered if I had offended her. As I prayed, the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me that persecution comes in various forms. I am responsible to speak as the Lord leads me; but I cannot always expect the outcome to be as positive as I would like. The Lord softened my heart to pray for her and to ask for another chance to speak to her again, not in anger for being left out of the party, but in simple love for her.
It is not always easy to be strong in the Lord and to stand firm and not give up. Are you standing firm? We have to learn to praise God and share Him and talk about Him, especially when times are calm. Today we have the Holy Spirit and we have free speech. If we cannot stand firm for Him now when times are easy, how will we handle persecution leading to death when times become tough? God will protect you in His way with His results. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Do not allow your pain, pressures, problems or even persecution to separate you from pleasing Him.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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April 20
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 9; Luke 15:11-32
Today's Thoughts: Ask Your Father
"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' " “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Luke 15:28-31
I was thinking about the difference between the prodigal son versus his brother. One of the biggest differences between the two was in their ability to ask. The prodigal son asked for his share of the inheritance. His father graciously gave it to him. Not long after that, this younger son left his father’s house and “squandered the wealth in wild living” (as quoted in the NIV). The older
son kept faithfully working and obeying. When the younger son came home with a heart of repentance, the older son was angry because he felt as if he had been mistreated. But really, their father would have been just as fair. One asked and the other didn’t.
Without concentrating on the poor choices that the younger son made, I have been meditating on the relationship of two boys, living under the same roof, and their dad. What gave one the ability to ask? We see the same thing occur in Christianity today. Some of us have learned to ask our Father for more blessings and fruits, willing to take more risks. While others are obedient but angry that nothing extra or miraculous is done for them.
Which are you?  Many of us do not pray this way: “Lord, I know that I don’t deserve one thing for I am a sinner and Jesus has done everything for me already. But I ask for your blessings and for more of the Holy Spirit to do bigger and greater things. Not because of any works of righteousness do I ask, but because of Your mercy. Use me, empower me and fill me to be poured out as a blessing on others as You bless me. I want more Lord and You told me to ask.”
But when you learn to pray this way, miracles happen. 
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Fri 18 Apr 2014, 11:54 am

April 17
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 1; Luke 14:1-24
Today's Thoughts: Wisdom Cries Out
Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge. Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke,  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.  "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord, They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies.  For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them;  But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil." Proverbs 1:20-33
I awoke one morning to a phone call from my mom, who lives in Tennessee. She called to tell me that she was okay, just in case I had seen the news and worried if she had survived. The night before, tornadoes had ripped through my family's small town and devastated a large portion of the area. I thanked God that she was okay, at least physically. Deeper though, I wondered how much more was headed our way – in terms of storms. Has anyone noticed that there seems to be a pattern of climate changes and weather related catastrophes? Are these "wake up" calls from God?
Today's verses speak about our attitude towards God's wisdom. Are we choosing to fear the Lord, or are we turning from Him? To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Today we need wisdom from above to live in this world as Christians. We must keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus so that nothing else matters. The tighter we cling to the world's goods, the harder it is to lose them. Storms will come in our lives; they will continue to challenge and test our hearts. Read the verses above and pray that your heart seeks the Lord first in all that you do. Ask Him to give you wisdom. Pray for "the fear of the Lord" to bring safety and protection in the midst of the storms. Do not stop praying.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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April 18
Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 3; Luke 14:25-35
Today's thoughts: Count the Cost
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it. Luke 14:28
How many of us sit down and count the cost as we undertake a project? I tend to forge ahead using whatever means necessary to get started, but I find that most of my efforts are front-loaded.
I started organizing my office recently and as I was going through various stacks and boxes, I realized there were some projects either in the early stages or only halfway finished. Even though these ideas were based on good intentions, somewhere along the way they lost momentum, or maybe I lost the momentum. Or maybe I never really sat down and counted the cost of what it would take to finish. In other words, I put more thought into starting the task instead of finishing it. My intentions were good but did I really consider all of the factors? Maybe not. And as a result I have yet to finish many things I had set out to do.
Jesus is warning us through this illustration to take some steps in the beginning that will ensure the right course to the completion. For us as Christians, we need to take these words seriously. Consistency and perseverance strengthen character and teach us how to be wise builders, whether in our homes, work, or church activities. The next verse says that for those who do not finish, they will be mocked and scoffed at by others. We need to realize that others are watching us and often, they are expecting our failures. The goal for us, regardless of the size and scope of the project, is to first, “sit down” and “count the cost.”
Do you have an idea for a new project? Have you considered the cost? Before jumping in head first, stop and sit down. Go to the Lord in sincere prayer asking for His guidance. Try to lay out the complete plans from start to finish and find confirmation for these plans in God’s word. If we truly seek His will and plans for us, He will show us what to do and how to finish them. So often, we are in much more of a hurry than God is. Be prepared to wait on Him. Finishing something we started is tremendously satisfying. Knowing that the Lord has led our steps through the entire task brings both earthly and spiritual fulfillment, because the journey means as much as the destination.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Wed 16 Apr 2014, 1:38 pm

April 16
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 30; Luke 13:23-35
Today's Thoughts: God’s Eternal Promise
I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. - Genesis 9:13-15
I was taught as a child that the rainbow symbolized God’s promise that He would never again destroy the earth with water. Every time it rained, I looked for the rainbow and I remembered God’s promise. Since moving to Southern California, I have seen fewer rainbows, mainly because it seldom rains here. But as the winter brings seasonal rains, I find myself once again searching the skies for that rainbow. What a joy to see that beautiful arc of colors when the sun breaks through the clouds!
As beautiful as the rainbow is, there is still nothing as beautiful as another symbol that Christians look toward. The symbol of a cross representing the cross of Christ. Just as the rainbow is a sign of God’s promise to not destroy the earth with water, the cross is a sign of God’s eternal promise of salvation. As Jesus, Son of God, died on a cross, the cross would forevermore represent God’s covenant of grace and love. The cross is a symbol reminding us that Jesus died for our sins. For those who believe in Jesus, the cross represents a covenant of everlasting life with God in heaven.
Rainbows and crosses are just two ways that God reminds us of His covenants, or promises, to us. What other ways does God remind you of His promises for your life? Be encouraged and hopeful because the Lord will never let you down, He will keep every promise. Sit down with His word and ask Him to show you His promises for you today. You might be surprised at the reminders that He will give you. And never let a rainbow or a cross go unnoticed…take a moment when you see them and give God praise for keeping His promises.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Tue 15 Apr 2014, 6:49 pm

April 15
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 27; Luke 13:1-22
Today's Thoughts: Do Not Fear
Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:7, 9
Fear is a natural emotion that can be good when used for protection but debilitating when allowed to control us. Fear can hinder our judgment and potentially prevent us from moving forward to receive all that God has for us. We too are fearful of many things, from losing control to the unpredictability of our future. God was very straightforward and serious when counseling Joshua about fear.
Courage means "to show oneself strong" or "to be alert." Other words associated with courage are "agile, quick and energetic." We tend to associate those words as personality types, not godly traits. If God commands us to be strong and courageous, then He desires for all His children to have such traits. He also gives us the same promises He gave to Joshua. Three times, the Lord told Joshua to be strong and of good courage. He then commanded Joshua to obey, while promising him that He would go with him wherever he goes. And Joshua did.
God tells us the same thing and He has given us the same promises. Hebrews 13:5 says "I will never leave you nor forsake you." The Lord has also given us His Holy Spirit that lives within us – meaning that wherever we go God goes too. And He tells us that all authority has been given to us through Jesus. What excuse do we have? Are we as apt to be "agile, quick and energetic" as we saw Joshua to be? We have no excuse to not receive all that God has promised us as His children. We have no excuse to not fully believe His Word and study His Word and live out His will. God told Joshua to be strong and courageous in taking the inheritance as well as in living according to God's ways. It takes courage to live for God and strength to uphold His commands. Both strength and courage are needed, to have both His inheritance and obedience.
What is stopping you? If it is fear, ask Him to give you courage. If it is apathy, ask Him to motivate you to be diligent. Tell the Lord that you want all He has purposed in His heart for you. Tell Him that you do not want anything to separate you from His will, including yourself. Tell Him to help your unbelief and empower you to push forward. And remember, do not be afraid for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Mon 14 Apr 2014, 6:28 pm

April 14
Today’s Verses: 1 Samuel 22; Luke 12:1-31
Today’s Thoughts: Every 15 Minutes Living Dead
For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16 
Every 15 Minutes is an intense two-day program designed to caution high school juniors and seniors against the dangers of drinking and driving. The program’s name was conceived from the statistic that every fifteen minutes someone in the United States dies in an alcohol related traffic accident. This program was initiated at the high school which my children attend. It did not only impact the high school students; however, I was really surprised by how it impacted me.           
A private meeting was called for 25 high school students and their parents. After arriving and hearing the introductory announcements, the parents were told that our child was chosen to become one of “the living dead.” Our requirements for participation were to send in baby and current pictures, fill out an obituary, write a goodbye letter to your child, and attend the funeral service. Seriously, I glared at my son trying to hold myself together and said, “I don’t think I can do this.” Throughout the entire program, I definitely prayed more about the emotional components than the actual physical participation. 
Looking back on the 24 hour period, I can tell you that the most challenging part for me was writing my son’s good bye letter.
I was restless for quite awhile before I could pick up the pen. When I prayed, God did give me the words to write and He revealed to me many amazing insights.  I realized that God is not the God of the dead, but the living (Matthew 22:32). When we are in Christ, we are always alive, even if physically dead.  Jesus links heaven to earth. I literally saw a mental picture of Jesus with His arms stretched out, one hand was touching heaven and the other was touching earth. He was the bridge that connected the living on earth to the living in heaven. Death had no relevance or significance because of Jesus.
The term “living dead” had a whole new meaning. There is hope for the believer as Jesus’ words from John 5:24-25 came back to mind, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” Jesus fills in the great chasm. He continued to say, “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” How can the dead “hear?” The answer is “with spiritual ears.” Life on earth is not just about the body but about the Spirit. The Spirit is what lives forever. 
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Sun 13 Apr 2014, 6:31 pm

April 12
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 19; Luke 11:29-54
Today's Thoughts: God’s Dwelling Place
And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8
Does it matter to you where you live? Are you satisfied with your house or do you hope for something more, something better? For many of us, our physical dwelling place tends to keep us longing for a something a little nicer. If we live in the same house for a long time, we probably have redecorated most of it more than once. As humans, we get bored and want a fresh look at the things around us, especially our homes. As physical structures, our homes deteriorate in the elements and require repairs and fix-ups over time. Regardless of the reasons, we all must deal with where we dwell. So what about where God dwells?
Where does God dwell? The verse above tells us that God had a place made just so He could dwell with His people. But this place was no ordinary dwelling; it was a holy place, a sanctuary where His people could enter into the presence of the Lord. This sanctuary was built to the finest detail using the best fabrics, stones and precious metals. As the Israelites transported this mobile dwelling place throughout their travels in the desert, they never needed to upgrade, redecorate, or fix-up…even after 40 years! The Presence of the Lord kept all things restored, refreshed and renewed.
But were the Israelites completely satisfied with the things given to them by God? How could these people have been anything but eternally grateful and in awe of the Lord’s miraculous power in their lives? But the Bible tells us that they were stiff-necked and continually complaining. What about us? Are we satisfied with what God has given us? Even more so, what about His promise we have that His Holy Spirit lives within us? John 1:14 says that the Word became flesh and tabernacled (dwelt) among us. Jesus came to earth to dwell with us. He left us His Holy Spirit who dwells in us today. Paul tells us in First Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies are the “temple” of the Holy Spirit, so we are now God’s dwelling place, for those who have accepted Jesus as Savior.
We should be very thankful that the Lord does not get bored with His temples, or His dwelling places today. What if He became dissatisfied to the point of looking for something better? He is God and He has every right to want more, to want the best. And thankfully for us, that something better is just what He has in store for us, not here but in heaven. Jesus promised that He would go to prepare a place for us (John 14:2). The key for us: get our eyes off our earthly houses and fix them upon Jesus, our eternal home with Him. 
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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April 13
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 25; Luke 12:32-59
Today's Thoughts: Vengeance
David said to Abigail, "Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.”  1 Samuel 25:32-34
Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you truly felt that you were being paid evil for good? You reached out to help someone or extend certain acts of kindness to your neighbor only to discover later that they would not do the same in return. Or, worse, that same person comes against you to cause you harm in some way. As humans, our response in the flesh tends to lean towards revenge. When they were in the fields together David and his men had protected Nabal's men who were tending their sheep. Even though David was in need of provisions, he never took anything from them. When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, he sent messengers to ask Nabal for some food and whatever else he could spare. Nabal's response was harsh. No way would he going to help David. David became angry and, as a man of war, David immediately sought retaliation. But God intervened through Abigail, Nabal's wife, before David could act.
Abigail intervened on behalf of her husband, without Nabal knowing it. The sovereign Lord led Abigail to David to prevent him from taking steps that would lead to bloodshed. The Lord impressed upon Abigail the fore-knowledge that David would one day be king, and as king he would not want to bear such a burden of guilt. You see, God knows all things. God allows all things that happen to us. We may not understand why suffering seems to be such a permanent and prominent part of our lives, but God does. It is hard to deal with people who hurt us, especially when we have been kind to them. But God is with us through every situation, just as He was with David. Abigail was sent by God to speak words of wisdom to David. David was wise enough to listen. David gave his vengeance to the Lord and the Lord dealt with Nabal (he died a few days later).
Remember today that our Lord is sovereign. God is in control of all things. He knows every circumstance of our lives. The decision for us is how we will choose to respond to our circumstances, especially when we must deal with being hurt or betrayed by someone. Know that God will work in your life through every situation. If someone is sent to help you, ask the Lord to give you wisdom and discernment to listen to them. Maybe God has an Abigail in your life. Or, maybe you could be an Abigail to someone who seeks revenge. Regardless of where circumstances place us, our only answer is to seek the Lord's guidance and allow Him to handle it on our behalf.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Fri 11 Apr 2014, 1:01 pm

April 11
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 17; Luke 11:1-28
Today's Thoughts: Pray with Persistence
And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:5-10
God tells us over and over in the Bible to pray. There are many reasons and advantages to praying: we develop a relationship with God, we know that God hears us, we can hear back from God, we can receive peace and we may receive what we want. God loves us and wants for us to tell Him all of our desires. The parable of Luke 11 gives us a different slant on prayer. Jesus is telling us “how” to pray, not “why” to pray. The key point in these verses is to be persistent in prayer and diligent to keep praying.
When my oldest child was a newborn, he would sleep all day. I would look at him and think such nice thoughts. I would have thoughts of unconditional love and dedication to commit my life to raising him. But as soon as all the lights were out in the house, he would wake me up by crying and screaming. My thoughts were not as nice then. I was tired from labor and my body did not want to get up to address his cries in a dark, quiet house leaving my soft, warm bed. If he had not screamed, I might have slept right through his cries. But because of his persistence, I got up and tried my hardest to meet his needs the fastest and easiest way possible. It was not always because I had a sacrificial love that I got up to meet his need, but often because of my need to get back to sleep. That is Jesus’ point in Luke 11.
We all have those newborn cries and screams within us. The Lord tells us that He hears our prayers and will answer them according to His will and what is best for us. But sometimes we need to know the depths of our own desires, and we need to cry out to the Lord with an enduring persistence.  Keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking…the key is persistence. When we see God answer those prayers, our faith is increased to continue praying for other things as well. Through persistence, we are rewarded. 
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Thu 10 Apr 2014, 4:44 pm

April 9
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 13; Luke 10:1-24
Today's Thoughts: Submit & Resist
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
On numerous occasions, we have received comments from women who have issues with the word “submit,” specifically as to how wives are supposed to submit to their husbands. I remember someone in my small group who literally walked out during a discussion on the biblical teachings of wives submitting to their husbands. Since she made more money, did more work and handled practically all of the family responsibilities, how dare someone tell her to submit to anybody, especially her less-than-equal husband? Who is she really taking a stand against – her husband or the Lord? Our first act of submission is to the Lord.
Today’s verse does not address the issue of wives submitting to their husbands but it does address two other areas in which we all need to obey. The word “submit” actually means to come under an authority and to obey that authority. For all of us the first Authority is the Lord. When we submit to Him, we are giving Him full authority over our lives. The devil wants to harass us and attack us from all sides. By submitting to God, we are able to resist the devil. We do not realize that by refusing to submit, we are actually empowering more of the devil’s attacks against us. We hinder the power of the Lord to work through us fighting off the attacks.
If you have areas of your life in which you struggle against submission, take them to prayer and ask the Lord for wisdom to help you understand. Do not let the devil deceive you into thinking that submission equals weakness. He knows that it really equals a power that can cause defeat for him and victory for the Lord!
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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April 10
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 15; Luke 10:25-42
Today's Thoughts: Seek His Heart
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 15:7
I don’t blame Samuel for thinking that Jesse’s first son was God’s chosen man to replace Saul as King. Saul was described as “a choice and handsome man, from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.” Samuel anointed Saul as King but Saul’s heart turned from following God. God was grieved that he had made Saul the King of Israel. Now Samuel was to anoint someone after God’s own heart. Like Samuel, we judge by appearances. It would be natural to think that the outward appearance mattered because of Saul’s appearance. However, God exhorts Samuel to listen to Him, instead of his own instincts.
David was anointed that day. He was the youngest son, out tending the sheep. He too was described as “ruddy with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance,” but God was choosing David for his heart.
To do God’s work, we have to be sensitive to His leading. If we continue to do what we think is right by our own natural inclinations, we might not be representing God’s heart. We can’t read or judge someone’s heart. But if God has our heart, we can discern His ways. We need to pray for the Lord’s discernment. Today, be sensitive to pray before you make any decisions. Then, wait to hear if the Lord is ready to answer. He will make known His will if you are willing to seek His heart.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Tue 08 Apr 2014, 5:32 pm

April 7
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 7 Luke 9:18-36
Today's Thoughts: Everlasting Mercy
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. John 10:28-29
During my sophomore year of college, I took a class on religious literature. We studied a variety of poetry, sermons and even the Psalms. One piece of literature I remember most was written by Jonathan Edwards called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." The professor told us that Edwards did not preach this sermon from memory but held his hand-written notes inches away from his glasses, straining to see the words in a dimly lit church. The intensity of the message moved the listeners so much that they crawled up the center aisle with hearts of repentance and remorse, longing to be saved. Jonathan Edwards is still known and quoted for the message he delivered that day.
I have seen a lot of play on words with Edwards' title like, "Sinners in the hands of a loving God." But the remix is not nearly as powerful or life changing as the original. We are all sinners held in God's hands. This God we serve is known as a consuming fire, all powerful and holy. If not for His mercy, we would all be consumed. If we understood who we really are, we could not get out of bed in the morning. God's mercy allows us to handle our own thoughts. We try to justify ourselves as we compare the extent of our sins with others. But the Book of Romans says that only Jesus can justify us. It is Jesus' justification that covers our sins, forgives our sins and blesses us despite our ability and extent to commit sin. Many Christians are walking around thinking that they have crucified their flesh, and that they are living a Spirit-filled life. They feel good about themselves because they do not think they are committing any of the top sins (murder, adultery, stealing). But they have no power; they just have their own rationalizations. God knows better because God sees the heart. If we really understood our sinfulness, we would be flat on our faces every day begging for forgiveness, understanding that God has every right to be angry.
We serve an awesome God. Praise God that He desires for us to live in hope and not in condemnation. His mercy surrounds us and His love blankets us. God wants to give us life in abundance. He does not desire for any to be destroyed. God desires to hold us up, not to push us down. If you are having thoughts that bring you away from God, that is condemnation. If you are having thoughts that are leading you towards the Lord—to be forgiven and restored—that is conviction.
God wants to show you His loving kindness and mercy. Turn to Jesus to be saved from your sins. Being in His hands is the safest place of all.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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April 8
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 10; Luke 9:37-62
Today's Thoughts: Don’t Look Back
But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62
I have come across this verse four times in a week so I am getting the feeling that the Lord wants my attention. There are so many things that compete for our attention. The home, the kids, work, our health, keeping the car tuned up, relationships and of course, the things that entertain us. If we continue to just try to stay afloat without thinking or praying, we find ourselves surviving instead of thriving. It is so easy to not get rid of bad habits because we at least know what to expect and what to do. When God starts helping us to focus on something better and healthier, we are at a loss for awhile on how to live with the change. That’s why it is so much easier to look back.
The Israelites really struggled with this when leaving Egypt. They struggled with looking back so much that they never made it forward. All they could think about was the comparison between the luxuries in Egypt with the barrenness of the desert. Even though God completely provided miracles for them and freed them from the cruelty of slavery, they could not stop thinking of the comforts of their bad lifestyle over the freedom of their new lifestyle. And they never learned to work it out with the Lord. They just complained about it. As much as we hate to admit it, we struggle with the same things at times.
If we really think about it, life was not better before we became a Christian. The difference is that we didn’t have anyone to blame our issues on then, but now we can blame them on God. How silly but how true! Life is so much better knowing the Lord. We have the power of prayer, the indwelling Holy Spirit, the promises of hope for an everlasting life. We have fellowship with Him, and we should have a great attitude. But we need to learn how to put the Lord first in everything and have Him lead us, instead of figuring out our own needs and asking the Lord to meet them. By giving our lives to Jesus, we should never look back. There is nothing back there worth living for any way. If you are struggling with bringing the past into the future, ask the Lord to help you become more fit for the kingdom of God. Confess that sin and ask the Lord to help you open your heart to receive all He has for you. Then move forward in His Name!
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Sun 06 Apr 2014, 3:08 pm

April 6
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 4:1-6; Luke 9:1-17
Today's Thoughts:  Are You Hiding by the Baggage?
Therefore they inquired further of the Lord, "Has the man come here yet?" So the Lord said, "Behold, he is hiding himself by the baggage." 1 Samuel 10:22
One day, Saul went out to search for his lost donkeys. The next day, Saul was anointed to be the first king of Israel. Saul found something for which he wasn’t searching. Even though he was anointed by Samuel, Saul hid himself by the baggage when it came time to reveal his anointing as Israel’s first King. The Scriptures tell us that he was empowered by the Holy Spirit and changed internally. But on the outside, not much changed. He went back home and plowed the fields until one more day. At that point, Saul was ready to accept his calling and outwardly became what God had already changed in him inwardly.
The same thing happens to us. Many times God calls us to do something that we weren’t searching for either. We know that the prayers that we are praying seem impossible. We know that something is changing on the inside of our hearts, but to break free and become that person on the outside is beyond our doing. We then struggle between the God-given prayers on our hearts and the person we are in the flesh. How can the two become one?
And when? The answer is time or should I say, “in His time.” Regardless of what the Lord has put on your heart, you can’t receive all He has for you until you have the character to keep you there. In the passing of time, the Lord is molding you through different circumstances, conflicts and experiences as training for the real deal. Take every encounter you go through seriously. Praise Him through the difficulties and maintain self control when He pushes you to your limit. He will exalt you in due time. As the Scriptures say in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.”
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Sat 05 Apr 2014, 9:22 pm

April 5
Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 1; Luke 8:26-56
Today's Thoughts: A Plan for You
So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 1 Samuel 3:19
Before Samuel was born, his mother Hannah prayed for a miracle from God to open her closed womb. She promised the Lord that she would dedicate her baby to Him, and she kept her promise. After Hannah weaned Samuel, she took him to live with Eli the priest, in the house of God. As a child, Samuel began to hear the Lord's voice. He spoke God's words as instructed. As Samuel grew up, he did as the Lord commanded him and was well-known among the people as the Lord's prophet. It is easy to see that God had a clear plan for the life of Samuel, even before he was conceived. And Samuel is seen by some even today as one similar to Moses in his heart and character before God and the people of God. What a blessed life in the Lord!
I used to read this story and be a little envious of Samuel's relationship with God. Samuel was divinely chosen for a specific purpose at a specific time. And he heard the Lord's voice so clearly that he thought it was Eli calling for him (1 Samuel 3:3-10). Then the Lord reminded me that I have even more than Samuel had – I have the Holy Spirit living in me. I have the Word of God written in its entirety. I have the risen Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. What else could I possibly need or want? The issue is not about what I have or do not have in the Lord; the issue is whether or not I live my life like I believe it.
God's Word tells us that He has a plan for our lives. God's Word tells us that He knew us before we were formed in our mothers' wombs. God's Word tells us everything we need to know about who our Lord is, just so we can trust and believe in Him. Before you were born, God saw the entirety of your life, from beginning to end. He is never surprised or caught off guard by your behavior or sins. His desire for each of us is that we grow in Him, that we love Him with all that we are, and that we give Him all that we have. Then, His words will be spoken through us and our lives will unfold His divine purpose, all for His glory. Ask the Lord today to help you find strength and confidence in knowing He has a plan and purpose to bless your life from beginning to end.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Fri 04 Apr 2014, 4:07 pm

April 3
Today's Reading: Judges 19; Luke 7:31-50
Today's Thoughts: Hope
Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 21:34
The word "hope" is mentioned repeatedly throughout the Psalms to bring encouragement in the Lord. Most of us speak of "hope" interchangeably with other words such as dreams, wishes, desires and goals. We pray and hope, dream and hope, and you can probably think of other words that you use in connection with "hope." The Bible most commonly uses the word "trust" in association with its definition. To hope in the Lord means that we are putting our trust in Him. In searching how often "hope" is used, I found that it comes up most frequently in the book of Job and the Psalms. One book describes pain and suffering; the other, praise and worship. But hope is the common thread in both.
When we are down, we are desperate for something or someone to place our hopes in or upon. We need to know that tomorrow will be better. We need to believe that lives are changing toward the good. If we are sick, we hope to be healed. If we are in financial crises, we hope for restoration and prosperity. If we are in any kind of trouble, we hope that everything works out positively. We hope for a tomorrow that is better than today. Without hope, where would we be? How could we keep going? Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." We must trust in the only One who brings real hope – Jesus Christ. Though we cannot physically see Him, we must place our faith in His love for us. Jesus is our only hope, for only He has the power to change our tomorrows.
Do you need hope for today? Pick up God's Word and ask Him to show you His hope for your situation. Regardless of where you are, He already knows everything about it. No trouble or trial is too great for our Lord. We have but one requirement: to place all of our hope in Him. There is no hope in the world, only fleeting moments. But God gives us hope in the eternal life that awaits us. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our light affliction is but for a moment compared to the eternal glory that awaits those of us in Christ Jesus. Put your hope and trust today in Jesus. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit to comfort you with His hope of glory.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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April 4
Today’s Readings: Ruth 1; Luke 8:1-25
Today’s Thoughts: Happy Easter
“…which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel…” Ephesians 3:5-6
We have just taught Ephesians chapter 3 on the mystery of Christ in our local Bible study. Paul explains that the message of Christ was hidden from ages to ages. But the apostle Paul also explains that the holy apostles and prophets dropped hints that the Gentiles (anyone not Jewish) would receive salvation through the coming of Christ. Probably because its Easter time, I couldn’t help to think of how the Easter egg hunt is a great illustration of the hidden message of Jesus.
During the toddler years, the parents would “hide” the egg right on the top of the lawn. The challenge was for the toddler to actually see colored egg, walk up to it and balance themselves enough to pick it up. The next challenge was to get the toddler to claim the Easter egg as their own as they hopefully placed it in their basket. As the child grows, so does the challenge of hiding the Easter eggs. I have found myself giving my children hints by telling them if they are “hot” or “cold” in their searching.
The Lord tells us also to search for Him with all our hearts. As I have done that, I too have noticed that the Lord is giving me clues in my searching. As we seek the Lord, we discover more about His will for our lives. After a while, I can tell in my search if I am hot or cold as the Spirit leads and guides my heart.
The coming of Jesus was like the Easter egg placed on the grass for the toddler. God didn’t expect much from us. Jesus was sent to this earth to be noticed, embraced and hopefully to make Him our own by placing Him in our hearts. Today, Easter is a celebration of life. Today, we understand that Jesus died for all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, to come to a personal relationship with God. Today, we have freedom and hope with nothing hidden but a whole lot of hints pointing us to closer fellowship with God as the Spirit of God fills our baskets with love, joy and peace. Happy Easter!
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Wed 02 Apr 2014, 10:24 pm

April 2
Today's Reading: Judges 16: Luke 7:1-30
Today's Thoughts: Discipline of Love
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him.” Hebrews 12:5
I can see the anger that comes upon my children when my husband and I need to discipline them. They just hate it. At that moment, they can immediately justify, rationalize, and minimize whatever they are guilty of doing. As a parent, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. For I know that disciplining them may bring extra consequences to me too. If they need to stay home all weekend, then I need to stay home too. Punishment takes its toll on whoever is involved. However, God tells us that disciplining our children shows them that we love them.
God takes our discipline very seriously too. He does not want us to regard it lightly. By not yielding to His discipline, it delays blessings. God has a heart to bless us, not to hurt us. We need to be disciplined to handle the blessings. Our character needs to be developed in such a way that we can receive more from the Lord without it destroying our integrity or witness. So by regarding His discipline lightly, we will not learn as quickly or as willingly and then we will not be able to receive what God wants to give to us. That hurts God’s heart. God gave His Son, Jesus, and He wants to keep giving. He cannot separate from His giving nature. But He also loves us so much as to not allow us to hurt ourselves with His gracious gifts.
If you are being stretched, bent, and even burnt right now, ask the Lord to help you learn His lesson in it. If we learn the first time, we don’t have to return to this place of discipline. And remember that “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11)
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Tue 01 Apr 2014, 5:36 pm

April 1
Today's Reading: Judges 13; Luke 6:27-49
Today's Thoughts: The Right Desire
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" Genesis 3:1-9
Was Eve’s desire to be “like God” wrong? No. Many Christians today want to be more like God. We pray prayers like, "Let me follow You. Let me be conformed into Your image. Make me more like You. Please increase and let me decrease." Those are biblical prayers from hearts that truly seek the Lord. So why was the punishment so severe for Eve's desire? Eve was wrong in thinking that being disobedient would achieve her desire. Eve was deceived that she could become "wise" like God by doing it her way, instead of remaining in line with His ways. Eve exchanged the peace of God for a piece of fruit and severed her relationship with the Lord. As a result, that day she died spiritually, which led to an ultimate physical death. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden as another consequence.
We should not be too critical of Eve because we struggle with the same temptations. When we make choices that are against God, we share the same feelings of fear, guilt and shame. And as we run away and attempt to hide "from the presence of the Lord,” He kindly and graciously calls to us and seeks us out. But God wants us to seek Him.  He wants us to come to Him with a repentant heart and honest words. Despite where you may be with the Lord, He loves you. He doesn't want you to be afraid or to try to fix the problems you have caused yourself. He will cover you with the blood of Christ, and by His kindness He will lead you to repentance. Come to God, confess and be restored. He has so much more for you but stay in a close relationship with Him. If you choose to do it your own way, you are the one who will lose.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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Post  Admin on Mon 31 Mar 2014, 11:01 pm

March 31
Today's Reading: Judges 11; Luke 6:1-26
Today's Thoughts: Learning to Wait
And he said to the elders, "Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them." Exodus 24:14
Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, into the wilderness and now to the foot of Mount Sinai. As everyone settled in at the base of this mountain, God called Moses to come up to the top. As Moses prepared to leave, he gave specific instructions to the elders. “Wait here…” Wait. Hang out. Stay put. Do not go anywhere. Sounds like a simple message. But as is often the case, the people became restless and impatient. How long were they supposed to wait? Maybe they thought Moses would head up the mountain and then come right back down, kind of a short trip. Their measure of time did not meet God’s measure of time. How often does that happen to us?  Very frequently in my experience!
We live in a world that is fast-paced, with instant messaging and real-time technology. We wait for very few things. We get impatient and anxious over the smallest time delays. Waiting in line to do anything seems futile and a waste of time. We pray for self-control just so we are not completely rude or offensive to those around us, especially those who may be holding up our schedule. But just as in the days of Moses, there are consequences to the behavior that comes from such impatience. The children of Israel decided to build a golden calf, throw a wild party around it, and make complete fools of themselves before God. We may not build a golden calf while waiting in traffic but many of us (if honest) must admit that we can get pretty foolish in how we handle our frustrations. Horns beeping, people yelling, gestures and faces display hostility…what has happened to us? The short answer: we have no concept of what it means to wait.
As Christians, we serve a God who is never in a rush. The Lord is patient and steadfast. If we treat our prayers like a slot machine or a 9-1-1 call, we will most likely be disappointed. The Lord will wait. So often, He is waiting on us to come to Him, or to come back to Him. He does not respond according to the world’s pace. He wants us to follow Him, not the world. Waiting on the Lord brings strength to our character. As His child, we should be diffusing the hostility with love. There is no better time to be a witness for Jesus than when we are being pressured to act like everybody else. Stop today and think about this message. If you find yourself in a line at a store, in traffic or anywhere that you are told to “wait,” pray for God’s strength to give you patience. Pray for the person standing before you in line or the Cashier before you get to her. Pray that it be an opportunity to glorify Him and be His witness. 
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.
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