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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

October 2015

On Asking…

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Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.”  Matthew 7:7-8 (The Message)

We are told to ask, seek, and knock.  But what to ask for, what to seek, what to set our heart upon…?

I am thankful for the prayer of my esteemed teacher, author, and guide whom the Lord called home last year, Norman Shawchuck.  “O God, thank you for your patience.  Help me to be whole–of one word and deed. I cannot be this on my own will or strength, so I pray for your will to be done and your strength to be given.  Help me to attend to my daily disciplines; to have a clear witness of word, character and action; to always look for your coming and to live as though you had already arrived.”

From A Guide To Prayer For All Who Walk With God, The Upper Room

I encourage you to ask, seek, and knock today.

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Firm Steps

Psalm 37

Do you trust God to order your future?  If you’re like me you get a little whigged out about the immediate and far future.  Am I willing to say: “My treasure is Christ… and no matter what happens, I trust God to do what is best…”?

Give me faith

What helps people stay grounded when life falls apart all around them? What keeps people getting up in the morning and what is that thing that inspires them to hope for a better day?

The last couple weeks, had me wonder that, especially when some people close to me are in desperate need of hope and for God to smile on them. So I would ask you to join your prayers with mine for them, and more specific for hope and peace in their trials. I am sure that all of us experience that at some time in our lives. And in those times to is important for us to remember who God is, and for us to have the strength to cling to that faith like never before.

So, today please proclaim with the psalmist  “The Lord is my strength and my shield;my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him. (Ps.28:7)”; proclaim this words for you but also for someone who might need a reminder of God’s love.

Be blessed,

Bo M.

Blessed…

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What does it mean to be blessed?  I hear the phrase, “I am blessed”, quite often…let’s look in on what Jesus had to say about “blessed”…

Today’s Text:  Then Jesus began to teach…”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

Devotional Thought:  Today’s passage, and those I will focus on in coming days, comes from the beginning of what we know as the Sermon on the Mount.  Blessedness…of those who live in Christ.  “Blessed” describes a joy that has its secret within itself. “Poor in spirit” are those who consciously depend on God rather than themselves…they are “poor” inwardly.  Not possessions but having the mindset that says, “Lord Jesus, on my own I can’t do it”.  We then can step through the door to where Christ can accomplish his work in us.

 

 

The Cry for Mercy…

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Psalm 30 (NIV)       Psalm 30 (MSG)

To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:…Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

God is merciful.

Isn’t it good to know that we can cry out to God for mercy, for help, whenever we need to and wherever we are?

Remember what Jesus said about mercy, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)

Give thanks for God’s mercy this day.

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Rejoice! Rejoice!! Rejoice!!!

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What kind of day does today hold for you?  A good one?  Dreading it?  Something else?  No matter…the following will be sure to lift you up and strengthen you:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”  (Philippians 4:4-9)

Devotional Thought:  Sometimes the trials and pressures of life make it almost impossible to be happy. But Paul did not tell his readers to be happy. He encouraged them to rejoice in the Lord.  What kind of day will you have?  Paul says it depends…depends in whom you place your trust.  So, “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Prayer for Today:  “I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lordwho made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all evil;  he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep  your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.” (Psalm 121)

The Attraction of Humility

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Matthew 5:5 (NLT)

Matthew 5:5 (MSG)

Happy, blessed, are those who have a sense of humility Jesus tells us.

Here’s a prayer that captures the importance of humility for a follower of Jesus.  Each day this week I will be praying this prayer from the devotional book I use. I share the prayer with you that you may benefit as well.

“How majestic are your ways, great God of life!  Although we know much, we still understand so little.  Yet in Jesus Christ you have offered us ‘all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3).  May we therefore clothe ourselves in his humility that we might receive the gifts you have placed in the treasure trove of his heart.”

It’s from “A Guide to Prayer For All Who Walk With God” by Rueben P. Job, Norman Shawchuck, and John S. Mogabgab, page 350.

Prayer is about your attitude

Luke 18:9-14

Have you ever talked to somebody that said to you: You know I pray all the time, but it seems that God does not listen to my prayers?

So does God answers prayers or not? Are my prayers braking though the heavens? Not only do these questions cause frustration but sometimes they lead to losing our faith that God is at work. And as always when the questions get asked we tend to blame God for not doing His part.

Today I want to challenge you to turn things around, to look at your own heart and attitude as you come before God in prayer. The tax collector is a great example of someone who understands that prayer is about being humble, prayer is about being right before God.

Be blessed,

Bo M.

Relationships 101-Final…

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What does it look like if someone is different than you?  Does different mean that someone doesn’t do the same things as you?  Does different mean that someone doesn’t talk the same way you do?  Just what does different look like?  And…is it possible for you to accept those who are different than you?

I look today to 2 passages:  (1)  Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” (Romans 15:7)   (2) There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Devotional Thought:  Can you accept those that are different than you?  The vast majority of people today, just like the centuries before us, are different in their own ways than each of us.  We need to learn to accept the differences of others…the faults of others…accept that others don’t always like the same things that you do.  Yet through all of this…even when ill-feelings rise to the top…we can trust that God has accepted our faults…our differences.  Seems to me that it doesn’t matter how different someone is from me.  What is important is whether they love the one who chose the cross?  And, if they love Jesus…and if you and I love Jesus…can you and I in turn love each and everyone of those who differ from us?

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