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Post  Admin on Tue 15 May 2018, 9:31 am

May 15

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 22; John 4:31-54

Today’sThoughts: Father and Son

Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.” John 10:25

A friend of ours called the other day. He travels extensively and works with incredibly gifted people. He has been blessed beyond measure with gifts and talents that help others get the message of the Gospel out through media.  His phone call, however, was not about any of those things. This time he shared with me the greatest blessing that surpassed everything that he does at work. While home from traveling, his little boy asked him many questions about God, Jesus and eternal life. Everything else competing for Randal's attention did not compare to the joy of this kind of conversation between him, as a father with his son.

While listening to him share this story, I couldn't help but think about another relationship of a Father and Son. When Jesus was on this earth, He would speak openly, affectionately and lovingly about His Father. When the Father spoke through the heavens about His Son, He spoke words that confirmed Jesus' authority on earth and the Father's ultimate support. They clearly had a relationship founded on love. As believers, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit who points us to Jesus, as Jesus draws us to the Father. Their relationship completely blesses each other.

But it doesn't stop there. The relationship of the Triune God also blesses us by allowing us to have a relationship with them. That is exactly what happened with our friend and his son. This little 6 year-old boy asked his dad to pray with him to come to know Jesus. Their relationship as father and son is based love as it led the way to a personal relationship with the Father and Son who first loved us.

We pray that in your relationships, you point others to the only relationship that really matters. Ask the Lord for wisdom in your words and in the timing. He will open the doors for you to speak about Him as clearly as He opened up the doors of heaven for you.

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 May 2018, 10:45 pm

May 8

Today's Reading: 2 Kings 4; Luke 24:36-53

Today's Thoughts: Old and New Testament

He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:44-45

Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the things that were written about Him before He came to earth. These writings are prophecies we find in the Old Testament. Many Christians tend to focus on the New Testament more than the Old Testament. They think that the Old Testament is not necessary or as applicable to our lives today. Of course, as Christians, we love to read the gospels and the teachings of Jesus as well as the prophecies of end time events. And the New Testament gives us clear instruction for today’s concerns and issues. But we will miss so much if we only stay in the New Testament. The New Testament gives us instruction while the Old Testament gives us illustrations for daily application.

The Old Testament lays the foundation for the New Testament. It is in the Old Testament that prophecies were recorded of Who and what was to come in the future. The Old Testament included the Law of Moses, the Prophets and Psalms--all of which contain specific stories, descriptions and events that point to Jesus. These were written so that the people would recognize Jesus when He appeared. The Old Testament also chronicles the history of God’s people as His plan of redemption for all mankind is laid out book by book. By studying the past, we can better appreciate God’s plans and purposes for us today as we gain a clearer vision of the work of God in their lives.

It has been well said that Jesus is concealed in the Old Testament but revealed in the New Testament. Everything written about Jesus in both Testaments will be fulfilled. That is why Jesus instructed His disciples in the Scriptures while He was with them during His earthly life and after His resurrection. They needed to understand the significance of the past. Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Testament but to fulfill it. We too need to embrace the whole Bible. He opens our minds to understand all Scriptures so that we will know Him better as we learn to apply His Word to our lives every day. The Old and New Testaments are one story by one Author--Jesus, the Living Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind and to give you a desire to read and apply the Bible to your life today. Try a reading plan that incorporates a little of both, the Old and New Testament every day. You will be amazed at what you learn. God’s Word is truly awesome.

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 07 May 2018, 10:25 am

     Daily Disciples - Page 7 Angelshock​            Daily Disciples - Page 7 AngelTOMB_n
Even though his words seemed quite chauvinistic, I knew I needed to hear from the Lord on what He wanted me to think about this sermon.

I prayed about this issue for several hours. The next morning, the Lord led me to Luke 24. As I read the first eleven verses, I clearly saw the role of the women as messengers bringing the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection to others. In this case, the women came to the tomb and received from the angels the message of the Lord. They returned to tell the men. The men chose to not believe them. What was the Lord trying to tell me? I kept praying and seeking His will on this. As I was sharing this story with my ministry partner, she told me that Anne Graham Lotz was given these same verses when she began to speak and teach the Bible in different forums. The Lord confirmed to her that He would give her His message to give to the people. I knew at that moment why the Lord had directed me to these verses, and that He was confirming to me the same message.

My point in this devotional is not to focus on the woman’s role in the church, but to focus on how the Lord will speak to our hearts concerning the topics on them. The Holy Spirit led me to answers in God’s Word and then confirmed them through my friend. Though the topic itself is one of controversy, the main point is that we are Spirit-led in applying His ways to our lives. Regardless of how we have been trained or taught, our final authority must always be the Lord, His Holy Spirit, and His Word.

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 May 2018, 10:44 am

May 4

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 16; Luke 22:47-71

Today's Thoughts: Following Him

And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word. 1 Kings 18:21 

Do you ever find yourself faltering between two opinions? Have you ever felt torn between decisions and not sure of what to do? Maybe we get torn sometimes because we are focusing more on the what, than on the Who. Whether we want to admit it, everything comes down to a choice. We must choose between who, what and how almost everyday of our lives. The Bible makes it clear that we are to choose whom we will follow. There really is no middle road.

The problem lies in the fact that we do not like to think of ourselves as choosing to follow a false god, like Baal. But when we turn from following the Lord, we are turning to follow something else. We get caught up in life’s activities and look for God only when we need Him. Did we just choose those activities over the Lord? Probably so. How do we make sure that we choose God first in everything?

We must make the Lord our priority everyday. We must start our day with Him, praying about our schedules, asking for His guidance, reading His word for instruction, and worshiping Him with grateful hearts. We must learn to practice these things every day.

If we put these actions into practice, then we will find ourselves following God, without faltering. God knows our hearts and He wants us to want Him more than anything else. He wants us to stop choosing the what in our lives and start choosing the Who, Jesus Christ. Start your day with the Lord and ask Him to guide you. Beware of choosing to serve the false gods of this world. The Lord will help you if you just ask 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 Thu 03 May 2018, 2:23 pm

May 3

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 14; Luke 22:30-46
 
Today's Thoughts: Get in the Ark

And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.  But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark--you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.  And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.  Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. Genesis 6:17-20 

The parallel of the story of Noah's ark and our lives today is closer than we may realize. The people in Noah's day were living for their own pleasures and chose not to follow God. The Bible says they were selfish and eating, drinking and giving to marriage. As Noah worked on the ark, he witnessed to the people and told them of what was coming. They did not believe him. I can only imagine the mockery and ridicule that Noah endured as he worked on the ark. Why would a guy build a boat when it had never rained on the earth? Because God said so and Noah believed God.

Over a hundred years later (about 120), the ark was finished and God called Noah's family and the animals into the ark and shut the door. They were saved from the destruction that was coming. They were safe in God's arms. Today, we live in a world that resembles the days of Noah. Man is selfish, wicked and living life without much thought to what the Bible says is coming. We are told that one day Jesus Christ will return and the world as we know it will be burned up, utterly destroyed. The only hope we have is in the One who is coming to save us...Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Ark. For all who enter into His ark will be saved. All we have to do is believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins and to invite Him into our hearts to save us.

There are many "Noah's" today preaching the gospel and telling people to repent because one day Jesus is coming back. How many will be saved when destruction finally comes? Only the Lord knows when that day will be, but let's pray for a sense of urgency for those who have not yet entered into the Ark -a relationship with Christ. Pray to be a witness...pray that you those closest to you are safe in God's arms.

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 May 2018, 12:00 pm

May 2

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 12; Luke 22:1-30

Today's Thoughts: Looking Deeper

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." - >1 Samuel 16:7  

We attended the Awards night that was held at the school my kids attend. This is a ceremony to reward the students who have had an outstanding effort or have been most improved in performance throughout the year. Awards are given in all the subjects. The ceremony ends with character awards like the Nehemiah Award for the student leaders.

To our surprise, one of the students who my family prays for on a regular basis to become a Christian received the “most Christ-like” award. I couldn’t figure out how that happened. We know that this student struggles with any belief in Jesus Christ and yet, this student was awarded the most Christ-like award. It was a reminder to me that there is a clear difference between personality traits and Holy Spirit fruits. Somehow, as believers, we become confused with the definitions. We judge by outward appearance and personality. When leaving the ceremony, I wondered if Jesus would have been voted to receive His own award.

All I know is that I want to receive Jesus’ reward in heaven. I want to hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I pray that I bring Him glory and represent Him. I know that I might not receive any awards for it here on earth.  But I want to be Christ-like on earth because the Holy Spirit has empowered me to live in a manner that pleases Him alone. I want to be God’s girl...His teacher’s pet...Jesus’ dearly beloved.  God promises to reward those who diligently seek Him. I can do that. And you can too. Ask the Lord with me to pray to be His best and to be willing to be Christ-like because you want to be like Christ. He doesn’t look at outward appearances; we can’t fool Him, He judges the 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 Mon 30 Apr 2018, 9:05 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 Sun 29 Apr 2018, 12:59 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 Sat 28 Apr 2018, 12:43 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 Wed 25 Apr 2018, 10:11 am

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 Tue 24 Apr 2018, 3:23 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 Mon 23 Apr 2018, 7:58 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 Sun 22 Apr 2018, 11:43 am

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 16 Apr 2018, 8:48 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 Sat 14 Apr 2018, 8:03 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 Fri 13 Apr 2018, 4:09 pm

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 Thu 12 Apr 2018, 10:13 am

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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Post  Admin on Wed 11 Apr 2018, 5:36 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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