“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ―Winston S. Churchill

2 Corinthians 9:6-8- Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Psalm 112:5- Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Hebrews 13:16- And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Acts 20:35- In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Proverbs 11: 24-25- One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Personally, I have found that service work is as rewarding for me as it is for the people I am serving. After having read these passages related to giving and serving, I am not surprised at the refreshing feeling I get upon giving and serving. It can be hard to give and serve in a cheerful manner all of the time, but it truly is the thought that counts. God appreciates the giver who gives without reluctance, no matter what or how much they are able to give. Many people may assume “giving” consists solely of money or other material goods. That is certainly not the case. Throughout the New Testament Jesus gave through love, service, and wisdom. He believes that it is more blessed to give than to receive, no matter what is being offered. Ultimately, it is the person who refreshes others that will be refreshed. Today you can find refreshment in the act of giving.

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“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on your character, not your reputation. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Proverbs 4:25- Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

In Matthews 6:24 it says no one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. 

Colossians 2:6-8- Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Philippians 4:8- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2 Timothy 1:7- For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Even with the best of intentions, it is often easy to get distracted from our principles, values, and goals. Whether it’s issues we are concerned with regarding our past, daily hindrances, or subtle thoughts of our future, it is can be quite difficult to remain focused. It is important, however, for us to remain focused, to keep our gazes straight. Additionally, focusing on the right things is crucial, for “no one can have two masters”. According to scripture we have the power to choose what we focus on. Today you can make that choice. Today you can focus on faith rather than philosophy; thanksgiving rather than empty deceit; strengths rather than weaknesses; character rather than reputation; blessings rather than misfortune. Today you can focus on love rather than fear.

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“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.” -John Lennon

2 Timothy 2:15- Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Ephesians 4:25- Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Luke 6:31-  Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Proverbs 11:3- The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

Matthew 5:8-  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Being honest is not always the easiest thing to do, but as referenced above, it is always the right thing to do. Personally, I have found that being honest typically leads to better results as well. It can sometimes be uncomfortable and lead to unforeseen obstacles, but is always the right choice in terms of future relationships and consequences. Even in cases when we lie and get away with it, there always seems to be a lingering feeling of uneasiness regarding the dishonest act. Perhaps this is the feeling of shame which is referenced in 2 Timothy. We can avoid such feelings by doing our best to be honest and to do on to others as we would have them do onto us. After all, we are all members of one body and are encouraged to maintain integrity. Today you can maintain integrity. Today you can treat others as you would have them treat you. Today you can be honest!

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“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ― Isaac Asimov

Job 12:13- To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His.

Proverbs 2:6- For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 3:13-18- Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Proverbs 4: 5-9- Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.

It seems like today, more than ever, everyone has their own opinion about what is right and wrong. Not only that, but more often than not people are unwilling to compromise their opinions, or even consider the views of others. Given this phenomenon, the concept of gaining wisdom becomes extraordinarily salient. Still, people will inevitably vary in their views of what is “wise”. As a Christian who believes in the word of God, the concept of gaining the “right” kind of wisdom is quite easy. After all, Job reminds us that wisdom belongs to God. In Proverbs we are told that the Lord gives us wisdom and later on that such wisdom will protect us. So, why not strive to gain such a path to pleasantness and peace? Why not seek that which will give us grace and present us with a glorious crown? Today you can seek the word of God. Today you can acquire that which has been deemed better than any amount of gold or silver, wisdom.

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“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”- J.R.R. Tolkien

Hebrews 11:1- Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

In Psalm 46:10 God tells us to be still and know that He is God.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:5 to rest our faith in the power of God rather than the wisdom of men. He goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 5:7, that we walk by faith not by sight.

Ephesians 2:8-9- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

Luke 1:37- For nothing will be impossible with God. 

Staying encouraged about our future and our lives is often quite easy when things are going well. But, what about when things aren’t going well? What about when the road darkens? It is at these times that we must have faith. During these times God tells us to be still and know that He is God because He is taking care of what we are hoping for. I know it is often easier to trust in the wisdom of our friends or our families, but we can never forget to include God in our plans and trust in His power. For by grace we are ultimately saved through this faith. And, all things are possible with God. Today you can choose to trust in God’s power of your life. Today you can have faith in His plan for you.

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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ― Winston S. Churchill

Philippians 1:12-14 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

What an incredible message Paul has in his letter to the Philippians and to us! Even though his hard work, discipline, and faithfulness led him to chains, he was not discouraged. He used his situation as a tool to give others courage. Like Paul, we can choose to be courageous in times of distress. We can also choose to be courageous in times of success and even failure. We are in fact commanded to do so, and in the next breath reminded that the Lord OUR GOD will be with us where ever we go. Life will not always be easy, and no one ever said it would be, but we need to stand firm in our faith, we need to be strong, we need to be courageous. We have the capability to do so. Timothy reminds us that our spirits were not made for the timid, they were made for power, love, and self-discipline. Today You Can be courageous, because regardless of your fate, it is the courage to continue that counts!

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“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”- Bob Marley

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Isaiah 41:10- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Philippians 4:13 -I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

1 Chronicles 16:11- Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

2 Corinthians 12:10- That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The first verse in this post speaks of the strength of scripture. I wanted to touch on that because I often forget how strong God’s word really is. It is so strong that if we lean on it and Him, we are guaranteed to have our paths made straight. Walking this path may not always be easy, and no one ever promised it would be, but if we look to Him during hard times He will uphold us with His righteous hand. He will give us the capability to do all things. Yes, it is often easy to forget to look to him in hard times. The easiest solution is often to try and fix things ourselves. But, when we are weak He gives us strength. In times of weakness, insult, hardship, persecution, and difficulty He can and will be our rock. We need only seek His strength and it will be found. Today you can find strength in the Lord!

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“God is the ultimate musician. His music transforms your life. The notes of redemption rearrange your heart and restore your life. His songs of forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, truth, hope, sovereignty, and love give you back your humanity and restore your identity”- Paul David Tripp

Psalm 111:9- He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!

Ephesians 1:7- In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

Colossians 1: 20-22- And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.

John 3:16- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

According to the KJV dictionary, redemption is the purchase of God’s favor by the death and sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law by the atonement of Christ. To me, redemption is a reminder of God’s unconditional and undying love. Because of that, I am free from the bandages of sin and am able to spend my days absent of a painful soul. God didn’t have to send Jesus to die on the cross, and Jesus did not have to experience that pain and humiliation. But, that is what they did. Through forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, truth, hope, sovereignty, and love we have been redeemed. Because God so loved the world, we have been redeemed. Today you can live in spiritual peace and freedom, because if you believe in Him, you are redeemed!

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“Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.” – St. Augustine.”

James 5:17-18 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Acts 16:25-26 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Matthew 8:2-3 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.

Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.

Prayer is freeing. Prayer is healing. Prayer is a sign of faith. PRAYER IS POWERFUL. In times of struggle and times of happiness, it is extraordinarily freeing, healing, and powerful to reach out to God in prayer. Prayer can heal, save, and set free. Whatever you decide to pray for, make sure to do it faithfully and often! Today you can find peace, freedom, healing, and power in prayer!

In closing, I would like to leave you with My Prayer, a prayer I wrote:

Father, help me to get through this day, for this, I pray!  Help me to do what’s right and not live only by sight.  Father, show me the path you would have me walk and help me to remember you are my foundation- more solid than a rock!  Please forgive me when I do wrong and help me to stay strong.  Help me to show respect and never neglect.  Help me to forgive those who wrong me and show them the Christian way to be!  Help me to show them why we are here and that you are the only GOD to fear.  Father, help me to always make the right decision and to wisdom always listen.  Give me the guidance I seek and help me from becoming weak!  Help me to remember you’re the reason I’m alive, and for goodness, I should strive.  Now, Father, I would like to thank you for all that you do!  Thank you for this day and allowing me to live this way, thank you for my wonderful family, without them I don’t know where I would be.  Thank you for giving me opportunity even though I sometimes live stupidly.  I want to thank you, especially for sending Jesus to the cross, I know because of that my sins are lost!  Now Father, please be with me until we talk again…  Amen.

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“It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust”. – Samuel Johnson.

  • Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts. 
  • Psalms 125:1- Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
  • Isaiah 50:10 encourages those who walk in the dark to trust in the name of the Lord and rely on God.
  • Romans 15:13-  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What an empowering thought.  To live life thinking everyone is out to get you is more stressful than it is to trust people and maybe get cheated once and a while.  It is extremely draining to live a cynical life.  To always think people are out to get you.  Yes, we should use our best judgment and consider the negative things that could arise from an encounter or a relationship, but it is also equally as important to consider the positive things that could arise. 

Even more importantly, we should do our best to trust the Lord with all of our hearts.  It is hard to trust in His plan for us at times, but there is solace to be found in others who have put their trust in the Lord.  Consider Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  They faced being burnt alive and overcame their fears by putting their trust in the Lord.  They not only survived, but flourished.  Consider Daniel as well.  He was thrown into a lion’s den and came out without a scratch because of the trust he placed  in the Lord.  Those who trust in the Lord are said to be blessed, kept safe, and made to prosper.  Let us, like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego become full with peace hope, and joy, let us become as unshakeable as mount Zion, let us put our trust in the Lord.  Today you can do just that!

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