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Thursday, April 18, 2019

In the Moment - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 18 April Thursday


The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life . . . . No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.

John 10:17–18

The ambulance door was about to close—with me on the inside. Outside, my son was on the phone to my wife. From my concussed fog, I called his name. As he recalls the moment, I slowly said, “Tell your mom I love her very much.”
Apparently I thought this might be goodbye, and I wanted those to be my parting words. In the moment, that’s what mattered most to me.
As Jesus endured His darkest moment, He didn’t merely tell us He loved us; He showed it in specific ways. He showed it to the mocking soldiers who had just nailed Him to a cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He gave hope to a criminal crucified with Him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). Nearing the end, He looked at His mother. “Here is your son,” He said to her, and to His close friend John He said, “Here is your mother” (John 19:26–27). Then, as His life slipped from Him, Jesus’s last act of love was to trust His Father: “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
Jesus purposefully chose the cross in order to show His obedience to His Father—and the depth of His love for us. To the very end, He showed us His relentless love.

Today's Reflection

What matters most to you? How do love and obedience fit together?

Looking Forward - Joyce Meyer Ministries daily devotion 17 April Wednesday



And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
— Revelation 21:5
So many people live miserable lives because they are conflicted and feel burdened about the mistakes of their past. If you have been unhappy or discouraged because of the things that have happened in your past, I encourage you to change your thinking and set your focus in a whole new direction. Determine to be what God wants you to be, to have what God wants you to have, and to receive what Jesus died to give you.  
Your new life in Christ means that you have been completely forgiven of all your sins. God has wiped your slate clean and taken up residence in your heart. You can let the past go and begin to get excited about your future.  
When you feel discouraged, say, “I am not going to live in bondage anymore. I cannot do anything about what I have done in the past, but I can do something about my future. I am going to enjoy my life and have what Jesus died for me to have. I am going to let go of the past and go on pursuing God from this day forth!”  
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift from God.  
Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for new beginnings and for making all things new. Please help me to let go of the past and embrace the good plan You have for my future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Flourishing Like a Flower - Our Daily devotion 17 April Wednesday


The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field.

Psalm 103:15

My youngest grandson is only two months old, yet every time I see him I notice little changes. Recently, as I cooed to him, he looked up at me and smiled! And suddenly I began crying. Perhaps it was joy mixed with remembering my own children’s first smiles, which I witnessed so long ago, and yet it feels like just yesterday. Some moments are like that—inexplicable.  
In Psalm 103, David penned a poetic song that praised God while also reflecting on how quickly the joyful moments of our lives pass by: “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone” (vv. 15–16).
But despite acknowledging the brevity of life, David describes the flower as flourishing, or thriving. Although each individual flower blossoms and blooms swiftly, its fragrance and color and beauty bring great joy in the moment. And even though an individual flower can be quickly forgotten—“its place remembers it no more” (v. 16)—by contrast we have the assurance that “from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him” (v. 17).
We, like flowers, can rejoice and flourish in the moment; but we can also celebrate the truth that the moments of our lives are never truly forgotten. God holds every detail of our lives, and His everlasting love is with His children forever! 

Today's Reflection

In what way can you flourish in this moment? How can you bring joy to another?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

God’s Vision for You - Joyce Meyer Ministries daily devotional 16 April Tuesday



“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the LORD, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
— Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

God’s plan for the people of the nation of Israel was only for their good. Yet they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years on what was actually an 11-day journey. Why? Was it their enemies, their circumstances, the trials along the way, or something entirely different that prevented them from arriving at their destination in a timely manner?  
God called the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt to go to the land He had promised to give them as a perpetual inheritance—a land that flowed with milk and honey and every good thing they could imagine, a land in which there would be no shortage of anything they needed—a land of prosperity in every realm of their existence.  
But the Israelites had no positive vision for their lives—no dreams. They knew where they came from, but they did not know where they were going. Everything was based on what they had seen in the past or what they could presently see. They did not know how to see with “the eye of faith.”  
We really shouldn’t view the Israelites with astonishment because most of us do the same thing they did. We keep dealing with the same problems over and over again. The disappointing result is that it takes us years to experience victory over something that could have and should have been dealt with quickly.  
I come from a background of abuse. My childhood was filled with fear and torment, and my personality was a mess! I built up walls of protection to keep people from hurting me, not realizing that while I was locking others out, I was also locking myself in. I was filled with fear and believed that the only way I could face life was to be in control so no one could hurt me.  
As a young adult trying to live for Christ and follow the Christian lifestyle, I knew where I had come from, but I did not know where I was going. I felt that my future would always be marred by my past. I thought, How could anyone with a past like mine ever be all right? It’s impossible!  
But Jesus had a different plan. He said, The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me . . . to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity] (Luke 4:18 AMPC).  
Jesus came to open the prison doors and set the captives free—and that included me. However, I did not make any progress until I started to believe that I really could be set free. I had to get rid of my negative thinking and replace it with a positive vision for my life. I had to believe that neither my past nor my present could determine my future. Only then could Jesus free me from the bondage of my past—and free me, He did. What a marvelous miracle!  
You may have had a miserable past; you may even be in current circumstances that are very negative and depressing. You may be facing situations that are so bad it seems you have no real reason to hope. But I say to you boldly: Your future is not determined by your past or your present!  
Most of the generation the Lord called out of Egypt never entered into the Promised Land. Instead, they died in the wilderness. To me, this is one of the saddest things that can happen to a child of God—to have so much available and yet never be able to enjoy any of it.  
Start believing that God’s Word is true. Mark 9:23 assures you that with God all things are possible. Because you serve a God who created everything you see out of the unseen realm (see Hebrews 11:3), you can give Him your nothingness and watch Him go to work on your behalf. All you have to do is have faith in Him and believe His Word—He will do the rest!  
Prayer Starter: Dear Father, I thank You for loving me and having a vision—a good plan—for my life. I pray that You will help me overcome any negative thoughts of problems, past or present, that come against my mind, and make my life what You want it to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Unoffended - Joyce Meyer Ministries daily devotion 15 April Monday



One of our first responses when someone hurts or offends us can be to pray: “God, I choose to believe the best. My feelings are hurt, but You can heal me. I refuse to be angry; I refuse to be offended.” It’s important to be firm in your determination that you will not be offended because offense is a trap that pulls us away from God, His people, and His principles.  
The word offense comes from the Greek word skandalon. A skandalon was the part of an animal trap that held the bait; its purpose was to lure a victim. Offense is bait that will lure us into a trap of full-blown bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.  
When you are tempted to be offended, choose to forgive right away. Don’t give the bitterness you feel a chance to take root in your life. Choosing to live without offense is one of the wisest choices you can make. If you need to forgive someone, today is the best day to do it!  
Prayer Starter: Father, please show me any areas where I may be harboring bitterness or offense. Help me learn to be quick to forgive and hard to offend. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Celebrating Creativity - Our Daily Bread Ministries 16 April Tuesday


God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures.”

Genesis 1:20

A rarely seen jellyfish waltzed with the currents, four thousand feet deep in the ocean near Baja, California. Its body shone with fluorescent shades of blue, purple, and pink, bright against the backdrop of black water. Elegant tentacles waved gracefully with each pulsing of its bell-shaped hood. As I watched the amazing footage of the Halitrephes maasi jellyfish on the National Geographic video, I reflected on how God chose the specific design of this beautiful, gelatinous creature. He also fashioned the other 2,000 types of jellyfish that scientists have identified as of October 2017.
Though we acknowledge God as Creator, do we slow down long enough to truly consider the profound truth revealed in the first chapter of the Bible? Our amazing God brought forth light and life into the creatively diverse world He crafted with the power of His word. He designed “the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems” (Genesis 1:21). Scientists have discovered only a fraction of the wondrous creatures the Lord created in the beginning.
God also intentionally sculpted each person in the world, giving purpose to every day of our lives before we drew our first breaths (Psalm 139:13–16). As we celebrate the Lord’s creativity, we can also rejoice over the many ways He helps us imagine and create with Him and for His glory.

Today's Reflection

What creative gifts has God given to you? How might you use them for His glory?

In the Moment - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 18 April Thursday

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life . . . . No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. John 10:...