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God Cares For You

One of the lies many people fall for is that God is waiting for you to mess up so He can zap you and send you to Hell. Another one is that He isn’t involved in your life, that He’s far away not really paying attention to you. The truth is that God cares deeply about you and your life. He’s cheering you on each day and genuinely wants the best for your life. He cares about your struggles, your illness and whatever you’re going through. All throughout the Bible we read that He is involved in the lives of His people and intervened constantly. They were people like you and me. I want you to know today that He cares for you and about you. Reach out to Him with whatever you need.

Here are some Bible verses showing God cares for you.

1. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity.

Philippians 4:20 MSG

2. Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].

1 Peter 5:7 AMP

3. For the Lord is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.

Isaiah 33:22 NLT

4. Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Psalms 55:22 NLT

5. For the Lord takes care of all his forgiven ones while the strength of evil men will surely slip away.

Psalms 37:17 TPT

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Debt Forgiveness

“You scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back.” “You fly, I’ll buy.” “Quid pro quo.” “You buy this time, I’ll buy next time.” Ever used any of these expressions? Of course you have. We all do favors for favors. It’s an offer to help in exchange for help. You’ll give them what they want if they’ll give you what you want. Everybody wins. We all play the game, but what we forget is that Jesus changed the rules on it. He expects us to do for others who have no ability to pay us back.

You see, there’s no reward in doing something for others who can pay you back. It’s not really a blessing if you get a favor in return. Part of our Christian DNA should be to do for others who are unable to pay us back. It should be a part of who we are and be a regular thing we do. When Jesus was describing who got into Heaven, this is what He said in Matthew 25-35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me” (AMPC).

In all of these examples, it was about helping someone out who couldn’t return the favor. He mentioned several times in the Gospels that we were to give without expecting anything in return. When you think about it, Jesus did that for us. He set the example of giving at a high cost for those who couldn’t pay Him back. If you’ve accepted Him as your savior, then He paid your debt for sin in full. There’s no way to repay Him for that. The best thing we can do is to follow His example. Give to those who can’t repay you, and don’t hold it over their head.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Remain In Christ

I was helping my son study for his science test this week. They’re studying flowers, plants and tree systems right now. He had to know about photosynthesis, chlorophyll, and all the parts of the plant. As I’m quizzing him, I kept thinking, “Why does an 11 year old need to know this? Why do any of us need to know this?” However, I kept asking him the questions. What do roots do? They supply water and nutrients to the plant. What is the process by which plants receive pollen so they can produce fruit? Pollination. Somewhere in the questioning, I began to see us as the plants with our need for deep roots and being pollinated by other believers.

In John 15, Jesus was giving His final instructions to the disciples before He was arrested. He had just told them that He was going away to prepare a place for us. Then He promised to send the Holy Spirit. He followed that up by telling them that He is the vine, we are the branches and God is the gardener. In verse 4 He said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (NLT). The vine is the main channel those roots give the nutrients to and unless the branches are attached to it, they can’t receive their nutrients, produce fruit or live.

God expects you and I to remain attached to Christ. He expects fruit from our lives. We can’t allow ourselves to become detached from our source. Colossians 2:7 reminds us to let our roots grow deep in Christ. We need to get our nutrients from Him and our water from His Word. We need to be around other believers in Life Groups breaking down Scriptures so we understand them better and produce fruit in our lives. If you’re not producing fruit right now, take a look at your roots. Make sure you’re grounded in Him and feeding your soul the proper nutrients. In His final sermon before His death, Jesus wanted us to know that trouble will come, distractions will arise, but we must remain in Him no matter what.

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Redeemed From The Pit

Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of the lowest point in my life. I had been through six months of having the bottom fall out from under me. I went through the death of a friend, a divorce, a repossession, loss of friendships and a lot more. One thing after another seemed to crumble. Everything I held dear was being taken from my life as a result of decisions I had made. Then, on September 25, 2003, my business failed and I was out of a job. It felt like my life was over as I laid down on my living room floor that night. I cried out to God in surrender as the life I built was destroyed by this storm. However, I still had my foundation in Him. I told God I was ready to end my life because I couldn’t do it anymore.

I felt the voice of God remind me that i had built my life with my desires instead of His. I vowed that if He helped me out of that hole, I would build my life His way. I marked my calendar with the words, “The Bottom”. Getting back to where I felt I was at ground level took over a decade. Now it’s almost a decade past that and I can look back and see how far God brought me. It wasn’t easy and the progress has felt slow and minimal. Yet, when I look back, I can see where I’ve been, and now look forward to where He is taking me. It’s not an easy thing to look back, but it’s necessary for all of us. When it feels like we’re on a treadmill going nowhere fast, God is actually working in our life and helping us along the way.

Psalm 103:2-5 says, “Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, And do not forget any of His benefits; Who forgives all your sins, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you [lavishly] with lovingkindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the [soaring] eagle” (AMP). God is in the process of redeeming your life from the pit. No matter how deep a hole you feel like you’re in, He can get you out. Remember all the things He has done, knowing He will continue to work out all things for your good. He will satisfy your life with good things once again. Trust in Him no matter how dark it seems. Your pit may be deep, but His grace is deeper still.

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Strength For Today

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I do know that the things we face can cause us to feel weak, helpless and fearful. Whatever it is, you don’t have to face it alone or in your own strength. God gives us supernatural grace and strength to go through the things we face. His grace is sufficient for whatever it is, and it’s in our weakness, or inabilities, that He is made strong in us (2 Corinthians 12:9). Change your perspective today knowing that it’s not by your might or power, but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). Pray that He will empower you to stand no matter what comes your way, as you trust in Him. Receive His strength. Remember that fear is not from Him, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind are (2 Timothy 1:7).

Here are some Bible verses on God giving you His strength.

1. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Psalm 29:11 ESV

2. Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.

Ephesians 6:10 TPT

3. God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], A very present and well-proved help in trouble.

Psalms 46:1 AMP

4. Do not be afraid—I am with you! I am your God—let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.

Isaiah 41:10 GNT

5. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Isaiah 40:29 NLT

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A Call To Repentance

I’m reading through the “Killing Kryptonite” devotional by John Bevere. In it he said, “Repentance means changing our mind so deeply that it changes our personality from the core of our being.” As I read that, I thought about today’s world. Our culture is just the opposite of that. As a society, we celebrate and encourage people to be who you are. The problem with that is that we are encouraging them to identify with their Adamic nature rather than the image of God that is in them. We encourage people to suppress the new creation God is trying to bring out in order to celebrate their sinful nature.

When God called us to repentance, He called us to leave behind our Adamic nature so we can identify with His fingerprint on our life. Repentance means to turn around and go the opposite direction. We are not just called to accept Jesus, but to repent as well. The old life is gone and God turns you into a new creation from the core of who you are. There is a transformation God wants to do in each one of us, but it’s up to us to turn away from the fingerprint of Adam on our life, which is a spiritual cancer that God wants to put into remission.

Acts 20:21 says, “I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus” (NLT). Repentance and confessing faith in Jesus go hand in hand. We change identities when these two things happen so that we become who God created us to be. We walk away from who we once were, and leave the path we were on in order to become a new creation and be Spirit led. Your transformation starts with salvation then begins when you turn around and walk towards the life God has for you.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
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Refusing To Assimilate

When we go to Israel with our church, part of the trip is to see the sights. The other part is to get to know the people. We visit with Israeli’s, Muslims living in Israel, Christian Arabs, Messianic Jews, Jews and immigrants. The immigrants are brought in and placed in high rise apartment buildings where for a couple of years they are taught the language, the customs and the culture. Once completed, they become citizens. The process works well except for people from Ethiopia. They struggle to assimilate into a first world country. It’s difficult for Ethiopians to go from a rural, agrarian lifestyle to the high paced world of what we are accustomed to live in. They actually have their own building, farm land and a different time table to help them adjust since they don’t readily accept the culture.

In Daniel 1, King Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and took the best looking, brightest young men of Israel back to Babylon. Daniel was among those captured. The king said, “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men. Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon” (NLT). He was trying to assimilate them into Babylonian culture. Most men were indoctrinated, but Daniel and his three friends refused to assimilate. They showed that it is possible to live and learn in a culture without accepting it and allowing it to change your beliefs.

Romans 12:2 says, “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes” (TPT). We live in a culture that is trying to get us to change our beliefs, our way of thinking and our way of living. It is trying to get the Word of God to conform to its standards rather than the

other way around. We cannot allow ourselves to be shaped into its mold which is why we must be transformed from the inside out. We can go through all the indoctrination of our culture and still live a life that is holy and acceptable to Christ. In order to have the resolution that Daniel had, we must be empowered by the Holy Spirit and have a steady diet of God’s Word going into our mind. It’s not easy to do, but is necessary as believers to live according to God’s laws and customs rather than the world’s.

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Being At His Feet

In Luke 10 we meet Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Jesus was their friend and in their home teaching. Verse 39 says, “She (Martha) had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching” (AMP). Mary seated herself at the Lord’s feet to learn. In those days, only disciples would sit at their rabbi’s feet to learn. Today, as His disciples, we still need to be sitting at His feet to learn from Him. We need to take time away from the distractions of serving and being busy about His work to be poured into. The more you pour out, the more you need to sit at His feet to learn.

In John 11, we run into these siblings again. Only this time, Lazarus has been dead four days. Martha ran outside the village to Jesus to confess, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give to You.” She went and got Mary. Verse 32 says, “When Mary came [to the place] where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” They had the same confession, but different positions. Mary submitted to God’s will by falling at Jesus’ feet. We can speak in faith, and even believe in faith, but we must also submit at the feet of Jesus to His will.

Finally, we meet the family again in John 12. Jesus had returned to their house a week before He was to be crucified. Martha was serving and Lazarus was reclining with Jesus. Then in verse 3 it says, “Then Mary took a pound of very expensive perfume of pure nard, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” When we worship at the feet of Jesus, it releases a fragrance that fills Heaven. We must take time to honor Jesus with our expressions of worship at His feet. There’s a time to serve, a time to recline, a time to learn and a time to worship. In each instance, Mary was opposed by others for her act at His feet. It didn’t stop her. We can’t let others keep us from the feet of Jesus. It is a critical place all believers must take time to be at. It won’t just happen though. We must be intentional about being at His feet.

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Listen With Intention

Almost every one of us are born with the gift of hearing. While we are able to perceive sound, not all of us listen. Hearing is passive while listening is active. I’ve spent many years training people on how to listen. It requires removing or blocking distractions. It also demands that you give your attention to the one speaking. Listening is not an easy task. It’s one of the greatest ways you can show someone that you value them. When people don’t listen, it causes a breakdown in the relationship. When they listen intentionally with the intent to understand, it causes the relationship to grow. All of us could get better at listening.

In John 10, Jesus was talking about the Shepherd and the sheep referring to Himself and to us. In verse 14 He said, “I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]” (AMP). It’s important to note that Jesus points out that His sheep have a relationship with Him. Because of that relationship, He listens to us and we listen to Him. He went into say in verse 27, “The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.” We must be alert daily to hear His voice and to listen in to what He is saying so that we may follow where He leads us.

God is always speaking to us, but we are not always listening or hearing. We have such busy lives that are full of distractions, it’s hard to hear or listen in. This isn’t just a phenomenon of our modern world. Throughout history people have failed to be intentional with their quiet time. That’s why Jesus told us to go into our prayer closet to pray. Your prayer closet is simply a place where you can get alone, free of distractions to hear God’s voice. You must be able to hear Him before you can listen to Him. If it’s been a while since you have heard Him, find a quiet place today, free from distractions and interruptions so you can listen with intention. It won’t be easy because you will also have to learn to quiet your mind. When you are intentional about listening to your shepherd, you will have a deeper, more personal relationship with Him.

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A Life Of Blessings

Early on God established blessings for His people. It was a means of positive reinforcement. He taught us how to live, and if we lived that way, a series of blessings would be ours. All throughout the Bible, the blessings have been described. Some blessings show we have His favor. Other blessings come with prosperity and success. We each have access to receive them into our life if only we will live according to the ways He set for us. I just as He set the option for blessings in front of the Israelites, He sets it before us today. These blessings don’t mean we won’t experience difficulties. They give us His favor even in those times. You can have a life of blessings that He offers, but like any other promise in the Bible, they come as a result of our obedience first.

Here are some Bible verses on God offering blessings.

1. For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away.

Matthew 25:29 AMP

2. Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

John 20:29 MSG

3. Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s suffering, we will also share his glory.

Romans 8:17 GNT

4. Lord, keep pouring out your unfailing love on those who are near you. Release more of your blessings to those who are loyal to you.

Psalms 36:10 TPT

5. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 28:2 NLT

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