Daily Devotional

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Faithfulness) – God Faithfully Works Toward Our Entire Transformation - Friday, May 24th

    Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Today's passage gives us the big picture of things. God is at work sanctifying us. This means that he is doing what it takes to transform and set in order every aspect of who we are. He is able to do this because he dwells within us through the Holy Spirit. In reality, the fruit of the Spirit manifested in our lives is what sanctification is all about. What does our passage mean when it says, "Faithful is He who calls you?" It means that in all the time prior to your coming to Christ and receiving the forgiveness of sins, God was faithfully at work drawing you to himself.

    The moment of your redemption is the culmination of his faithful pursuit of you. He faithfully pursued you not just to redeem you but to call you to a lifetime of sanctification (his transforming and setting in order every aspect of who you are). This faithful work of God is just the beginning. In our passage it says of our faithful God that "He also will bring it to pass." What is "it" that he will faithfully bring about -- your entire sanctification. The Apostle Paul wrote the words of today's passage in order to encourage his readers to keep going forward in the process of sanctification no matter how tough it got. Knowing that God is faithfully at work to bring this to pass can make all the difference. Knowing that we can count on God to stick with us and his work of transforming our lives, helps us to remain faithful to him and the plan of sanctification he has for our lives.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I pray today that in the same way that you are faithful and reliable toward me, I will be able to be faithful and reliable toward you. I want you to be able to count on me just like I am able to count on you. Thank you for pursuing me and redeeming me. Thank you for calling me to a changed life. I know you are committed to a lifetime of changing me, so today I commit myself to a lifetime of "letting" you change me. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Faithfulness) – God Is Forever Faithful and Reliable - Thursday, May 23rd

    Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    Today, we move on to faithfulness in our list of the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. Faithfulness is reliability. The context of today's passage is the problem in Old Testament times of God's people going after other gods. God was guarding his people from this when he gave them the first of the ten commandments. Exodus 20:3 says, "You shall have no other gods before me." It's hard for us to relate to idolatry today, but think of it this way: what is it that you rely on the most? How easily substitutes (idolatry) for God enter into our lives -- that which we allow to be god-like to us.

    Our passage says that God is the faithful God. He is absolutely reliable. However, our passage not only declares that God is absolutely faithful, but that "only" he is absolutely faithful and reliable. In addition, God will be absolutely faithful and reliable always and forever. As we finish out our week, we will see more completely how God's faithfulness to his people leads to his people having the fruit of faithfulness.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, forgive me for doubting your faithfulness and reliability. I recognize how often I want the answers to my prayers more than I want you and when things don't go my way or don't get taken care of on my timetable, I doubt you and your faithfulness. Restore me and renew a right spirit with in me. I bow before you, my faithful God, in worship and surrender. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Goodness) – God’s Goodness Overflows from Us to Others - Wednesday, May 22nd

    Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you, just as you have said! Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate! Amos 5:14-15A

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    We said yesterday that when we speak of God as "good," we are looking inward to his nature and being and that when we speak of God's "goodness," we are looking outward to the impact his "being" good has on the world around him. As human beings we are not by nature "good." However, we are beneficiaries of the fact that God is good and that he desires to bestow his goodness on human beings. In Scripture, this is what the new covenant (look it up) is all about. As redeemed human beings, God lives within our inner being through the Holy Spirit. Our lives become good because God who is good dwells within us. Our being good will forever remain dependent on his presence (the only one who is good) within us.

    Through this intimate connection with our "Good" God we experience his goodness (the excellent way he acts on behalf of those who are under his rule and care). The more we get to know our "Good" God and experience his goodness, the more our lives become characterized by that which is good and the more goodness overflows from us to others around us. This is how as recipients of God's goodness, we become agents of his goodness. God uses the flow of his goodness from us to others to draw those who need redemption to himself and to bless those who are already redeemed with excellent love and care. When our goal is to be ones who are fully committed and engaged in this process, we will truly be ones who seek and love good as today's passage talks about. This is what it means to really "live" and to have the Lord God of hosts with us in full measure.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I am amazed at the wonderful plan you have for mankind. I want to be fully committed to it and engaged in it. So, here I am seeking you who alone are good, so that you might have me for all that you desire of me. I choose to be both recipient and agent of "goodness" in response to the movement of your Spirit in my heart and life today. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Goodness) – God Is Absolutely and Perfectly Good - Tuesday, May 21st

    A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. Luke 18:18-19

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Today we look at the word "good" to help us in our understanding of goodness. When we say something is good for us, we mean it is beneficial. When we speak of good and evil, we are talking about righteousness and unrighteousness. When we say someone is good at something, we are talking about their high achievement in that area. In today's passage, a ruler addresses Jesus as "Good Teacher." The ruler's use of the word good includes the beneficial, righteousness, and high achievement meanings. Jesus goes further with the meaning of good when he says that only God is good. Jesus is talking about absolute perfection or excellence. This kind of good is only true of God and of course since Jesus is God, the ruler's greeting is accurate if we allow it to include Jesus' use of the word good as well.

    When we speak of God as "good," we are looking inward to his nature and being. God is good! When we speak of God's "goodness," we are looking outward to the impact his "being" good has on the world around him. Because God is good, the world is blessed with his goodness. This is why we said yesterday that "goodness" is the excellent way God acts on behalf of those who are under his rule and care. So, we are the beneficiaries of God's goodness and according to a pattern we have been talking about in past devotionals we can be sure that God desires for us to be agents of goodness as well. We will talk about this more as we go forward in our week.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, help me to grasp more fully who you are and how you want to impact my life. I know you are good and I know your goodness makes all the difference in my life. I welcome the fruit of goodness you have in mind for my life. I bow before you in surrender and anticipation for what you have in store for me. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Goodness) – God Bestows His Goodness - Monday, May 20th

    How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord. Psalm 31:19-21A

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    We move on this week to goodness and faithfulness in our list of the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. We will focus on goodness first. Goodness is excellence. Today's Psalm speaks of God's goodness. The goodness of God refers to the excellent way he acts on behalf of those who are under his rule and care. Those who are under God's rule and care are described in our Psalm as ones who fear God and take refuge in him. For such ones God has a great amount of goodness that he stores up and dispenses on their behalf.

    Our Psalm talks about the excellent way God bestows his goodness as he helps his people with the evil (in contrast to good) they come up against in their lives. God helps by providing shelter for his people in the secret place of his presence. It is here that those who are his are hidden and kept above the impact of evil people, evil settings, and evil treatment. As we go forward in our week, we will see more completely how this work of God's goodness for his people leads to his people having the fruit of goodness.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Blessed be the Lord! You are so good to me, Lord. Thank you for your goodness and the excellent way you are at work connecting my life with good and disconnecting it from evil. Show me how to become one who really experiences the goodness of your presence in the midst of the tough stuff of life. Amen!

  • "You Are Always Valuable" - An Inspirational Poem for Sunday, May 19th

     You Are Always Valuable

    “A popular speaker started off a seminar by holding up a $20 bill. A crowd of 200 had gathered to hear him speak. He asked, ‘Who would like this $20 bill?’

    200 hands went up.

    He said, ‘I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.’ He crumpled the bill up.

    He then asked, ‘Who still wants it?’

    All 200 hands were still raised.

    ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘What if I do this?’ Then he dropped the bill on the ground and stomped on it with his shoes.

    He picked it up, and showed it to the crowd. The bill was all crumpled and dirty.

    ‘Now who still wants it?’

    All the hands still went up.

    ‘My friends, I have just showed you a very important lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, life crumples us and grinds us into the dirt. We make bad decisions or deal with poor circumstances. We feel worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. You are special – Don’t ever forget it!’

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Kindness) – A Heart Made Like God’s - Saturday, May 18th

    Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    God is kind to us, we are kind to others. However, God alone is kind and apart from him we are not. It is the quality of kindness that belongs to God that he manifests in us so that kindness can be extended by us to other people. We have pointed out an important understanding before and that is the fact that spiritual fruits are the fruits of the Holy Spirit and not the fruits of us. The fact that kindness is a quality of God and not of us helps us to see why this understanding is true and why this work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary.

    Our passage also talks about forgiveness but we already explored the relationship between forgiveness and kindness earlier in the week. Our passage does mention something else that is very important. Kindness is vitally connected to having a tender heart. Earlier in the week we said that kindness is caring. We need a tender heart in order to care. If we truly care for other people we will be kind to them. If we are not kind to people it is because we do not care and if we do not care it means our hearts have become hardened toward other people and their needs.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts: 

    Lord, I know you are kind and that you extend kindness to me all the time. I know it is because you care for me and have a tender heart toward me. Forgive me for my lack of not being in tune with you and how you relate to me in these ways. Please help me to turn my heart more fully toward you today and in the days ahead. Help me to experience your kindness, care, and tender-heartedness more fully as I increasingly become one who knows you and experiences you consistently on a daily basis. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Kindness) – The Miracle of Fruitfulness - Friday, May 17th

    Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. Acts 9:36 (NASB)

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    We see in today's passage that the Apostle Peter had reached the town of Joppa as he traveled and ministered throughout the regions of Israel. In the previous verse we are told that a miracle took place when God healed a paralyzed man through the Apostle Peter in the town of Lydda. When we think of miracles this is exactly the kind of thing we think of. Consider the words spoken of Tabitha in today's passage, "this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did." Is this not a miracle as well? If it could truly be said of us that we were abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which we continually did, without question it would be a miracle. Would you not agree?

    We easily put ourselves in the category of not being like Tabitha and agree that it would be miraculous if we were to become like her. However, to have it happen that we became like Tabitha, would not be miraculous so much because it is so unlike us, but because it would be a work of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit does something, it is supernatural, and when something is supernatural, it is a miracle. The fruit of the Spirit is miraculous stuff. Our list of spiritual fruits are not merely qualities we pursue and try to implement into our lives. So, when it comes to the fruit of "kindness," the Holy Spirit is available, willing , and waiting to produce it in our lives. The miracle of becoming a "kind" person is not beyond our reach. It is as much a possibility and within our grasp as we are willing to trust the Holy Spirit for.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I confess that I am so oriented to living life naturally. I ask that you launch me more fully on this journey of walking in step with the Holy Spirit so that I might live fully and be filled to overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit. Please show me how I can be a miracle to others today, whereby kindness comes from me to them as the Holy Spirit works in me and through me. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Kindness) – Caring for Others as God Cares for Us - Thursday, May 16th

    He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NASB)

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    So far, in our considerations of the fruit of the Spirit, we have covered love, peace, joy, and patience. Today we turn our attention to kindness. Kindness is caring. Of course, we are talking about caring for others and not about caring for ourselves. Caring for ourselves is easy compared to caring for other people. Caring for and looking out for ourselves comes naturally, while caring for and watching out for others is, in a very real sense, unnatural. Have you noticed how some of the Scripture passages we have considered in our series focus on the need for humility when it comes to Spiritual fruit? Today's passage talks about walking humbly with God. Living life as it was meant to be or should we say, "living fully," flows out of our humble walk with God.

    Our passage also talks about our need "to love kindness." Kindness is a significant part of "living fully" for God. Like all spiritual fruit, "kindness" begins in our own relationship with God. Titus chapter 3 says, "When the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, He saved us." A little later in the chapter its says that those who have believed in God, must "be careful to engage in good deeds." Engaging in "good deeds" is another way of speaking of caring for others. Caring for others is what kindness is all about. Kindness to others on our part is made possible because we have the humility that leads to a genuine "walking with God" kind of life. Our walk with God begins with God's "redemptive" kindness and continues on a daily basis as we experience his "relational" kindness over and over again. Kindness towards other people is the overflow of God's kindness toward us.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I recognize the reality that if I am not kind to others it is because my awareness of your kindness toward me is lacking. My request today is that you would significantly change this in my life today. Flood my heart and life with an awareness of your presence and the amazing kindness and care you have for me. Transform me into someone who is truly a recipient of your kindness and someone who is truly an agent of kindness toward others. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Patience) – Forgiving Others as God Forgives Us - Wednesday, May 15th

    Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Would you not agree that when you think of Christianity and all it consists of, the one thing that stands out and sets it apart from all other belief systems, is its focus on "forgiveness?" Our Colossian passage is a parallel passage to our Ephesians passage from yesterday. However, our Colossian passage brings "forgiveness" into the mix with these very important words, "the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." God patiently waited for us to respond to him and his gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Our initial forgiveness (redemption) cleansed our hearts and made it possible for God to come live within us.

    It is a big jump from "the Lord forgave you" to "you must forgive others." It is God living within us through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that makes this possible. It is God's patience that brought forgiveness to us and made our hearts the home of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit produces the fruits of the Spirit in our lives which revolutionizes our relationships with other people. It is the fruit of patience in our lives that allows us to become ones who forgive others as the Lord has forgiven us. It is as if God's "default" response to us is forgiveness and not judgment and this "default" response of forgiveness and not judgment, is what God "greatly desires" for us in our relationships with other people.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I know the true measure of my thankfulness for the forgiveness you have poured into my life is the level of forgiveness I pour into the lives of the people around me. I know I cannot do this on my own. So, I choose to rely on you (waiting patiently for the Lord) and the power of the Holy Spirit to bring this about. I know that patience and forgiveness go hand in hand and so here I am Lord, bowed before you, allowing you to make me more fully a recipient and agent of patience and forgiveness than ever before. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Patience) – Humbly Making Allowances for Others - Tuesday, May 14th

    Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:1-2

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Our Ephesians passage instructs us to be patient with each other and we will be if we live a life that corresponds to our calling from God. Patience really is a part of God's calling for our lives. Notice that humility is mentioned just before the instruction to be patient with each other. Sometimes we are just too proud to be patient with other people. Our passage equates patience with others as making allowance for each other’s faults. This is a pretty high calling, isn't itDoes it seem too high for you? Remember that we are talking about the fruit of the Spirit and not the fruit of you.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, grant me the humility I need to see how truly helpless I am to be patient. Deliver me from impatience and teach me to rely completely on the Spirit to produce the fruit of patience in my life. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Patience) – Waiting on the Lord - Monday, May 13th

    I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:1-3

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    We move on this week to patience and kindness in our list of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. We will focus on patience first. Patience is waiting. Patience has more to do with our relationship with God than we might think. It really defines who we are in relationship to God. God is the Creator and we are his creatures. As the Creator his is the "initiator" in his relationship with us. Our fundamental role as God's creatures is that of being "responders" to him. This arrangement necessitates that we wait patiently for the Lord as our Psalm talks about.

    If we become ones who get this right, it will revolutionize our lives and in turn impact our relationships with others in mighty ways. From our Psalm we see that waiting patiently for the Lord frees him up to work powerfully in our lives. Impatience is a huge problem for most of us. The Holy Spirit can produce the fruit of "patience" in our lives and when he does, the words from the Psalm, "many will see what he has done and be amazed" will be very fitting.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I am so used to being in charge and going about "initiating" all over the place. Help me to wait patiently for you. May the living I do be the living you initiate and empower me to do. May my patient response to you become the same patient response that the people in my life experience from me. Amen!

  • Three Tribute Poems for Mother's Day - Sunday, May 12th

    I Learned From You


    I learned about love from you,

    Watching your caring ways.

    I learned about joy from you

    In fun-filled yesterdays.


    From you I learned forgiving

    Of faults both big and small.


    I learned what I know about living

    From you, as you gave life your all.


    The example you set is still with me

    I'd never want any other.

    I'm thankful for all that you taught me,

    And I'm blessed to call you "Mother."

    What "Mother" Means


    "Mother" is such a simple word,

    But to me there’s meaning seldom heard.

    For everything I am today,

    My mother’s love showed me the way.


    I’ll love my mother all my days,

    For enriching my life in so many ways.

    She set me straight and then set me free,

    And that’s what the word "mother" means to me.


    Thanks for being a wonderful mother, Mom!



    Best and Wisest Mom

    Mom, I wish I had words to tell
    How much you mean to me.
    I am the person I am today,
    Because you let me be.

    Your unconditional love
    Made me happy, strong, secure.
    Your teaching and example
    Made me confident, mature.

    In all the world, there is no mother
    Better than my own.
    You're the best and wisest person, Mom
    I have ever known.

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Peace) – God’s Peaceful Impact - Saturday, May 11th

    Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. Luke 2:14

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    Those who want to exist for God and God alone will become ones who seek to live lives that glorify and please him. These are the ones Christ came to secure as his followers. Such people are the ones who most readily become both recipients of God's peace and agents of God's peace.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

     Lord, I realize that when it comes to peace it is only initially about me. Guard my heart and mind from the impact of tough stuff in my life so that the people around me are impacted by a "peaceful" me they see. May others find peace in you because they see your peace in me. Amen!


  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Peace) – God’s Peaceful Protection - Friday, May 10th

    (This week’s Devotionals are Monday through Saturday)

    Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (PHILLIPS)

    Today's thought from today's verses:

    God's peace is supernatural and it literally guards our hearts and minds from the impact of the stuff life throws at us. When we have God's peace, we do not need everything around us to be in a state of rest in order for us to be at rest. However, it is essential that we prayerfully seek God for the peace we need. God is always present and patiently waiting to bring his peace to our hearts and minds.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, forgive me for so often leaving you out of the picture. May the default mode of my life be to seek you in earnest prayer for the supernatural peace I need in times of trouble and difficulty. Thank you, Lord, for always being present to protect me and help me. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Peace) – God’s Peaceful Rest - Thursday, May 9th

    I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    Peace is rest. The world's peace focuses on removing or offsetting the painful, hurtful things that trouble us. God's peace focuses on bringing our hearts and minds to a place of rest while we are in the midst of difficult circumstances. What a great gift of peace has been bestowed on us through Christ.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, transform the way I approach my troubles. Help me not to be so quick to bail out or compensate. Teach me to rest in you and enter into the quiet peace of your presence. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Joy) – Turning Mourning and Sorrow into Joy - Wednesday, May 8th

    For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13B

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    As already noted, sometimes our joy gets chipped away at by the involvements and entanglements of life here on earth. But sometimes our joy is stripped away by the hurt and pain that comes with the trials and troubles of life. What great promises from God to his people in our Jeremiah passage. God says he will turn our mourning into joy. He says he will comfort us and give us joy for our sorrow. How loving and good God is.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I need your healing touch. Show me how to receive your comfort in full and allow you to replace my sorrow with your joy. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Joy) – Delighting in the God of Our Salvation - Tuesday, May 7th

    Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:12

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    Joy is delight. When we come to the spot in our lives when we truly enter into God's gift of eternal salvation there is an absolute delight that fills our entire being. This delight gets chipped away at by the involvements and entanglements of life here on earth. Delighting in our relationship with God which we have because of our salvation, is what joy is all about.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    May my relationship with you, Lord, become more real to me than ever before so that I will delight in you more than ever before. I know that this is what joy is all about. Lord, may my willingness translate into a powerful work of the your Spirit in my life. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Joy and Peace) – The Assurance of Fruit - Monday, May 6th

    I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    We move on this week to joy and peace in our list of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. Our Romans passage speaks of hope. Godly hope is not a "hope so" kind of thing but a "know so" kind of thing. Hope is a confident "knowing" that God will bring something about on our behalf. Do you have a confident "knowing" that God will bring about an abundance of fruit in your life? Trusting in God and overflowing with confident hope go together. The power of the Holy Spirit at work in us is a beautiful thing. When it comes to joy and peace there is a back and forth dynamic with hope. Hope fosters joy and peace. Joy and peace foster hope.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I ask that throughout this week you will speak to my heart in regard to joy and peace. Help me to keep in mind what I have already learned in general terms about the fruit of the Spirit. Help me to trust. Fill me with hope. Make me a person of joy and peace. Amen!

  • "Ignore the Haters" - An Inspirational Story for Sunday, May 5th

    Ignore the Haters

    A group of frogs were traveling through the forest when two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them.

    However, the two frogs ignored their comrades and proceeded to try to jump out of the pit. However, despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up as they’d never make it out.

    Eventually, one of the frogs took heed of what the others were saying and he gave up, jumping even deeper to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the group of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and to just die.

    He ignored them, and jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”

    The frog explained to them that he was deaf, and that he thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love) – Abiding in Christ releases the Holy Spirit in Us and through Us - Saturday May 4th

    (This week’s Devotionals are Monday through Saturday)

    I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser .... I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:1, 5

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Our John passage says it all. The Father is the "vinedresser" (gardener), Jesus is the "vine," the Holy Spirit is the "sap," and we are the "branches." As we abide in Christ the Holy Spirit flows through us and we become fruitful. What a beautiful arrangement God has put in place for us. We truly can have fruitful lives. The key to it all is found in the word "abide." Like a branch and a vine we are connected to Christ. Our connection with Christ is more than this though. Our connection is a living relationship with Christ that we must experience day in and day out. We have a love relationship with Christ that is meant to be experienced to the full. "Abiding" is all about experiencing our living relationship with Christ to the fullest. The more we abide in Christ, the more the Holy Spirit courses through our being. The more the Holy Spirit courses through our being, the more fruitful we become.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I get it. Help me to become fully aware of you, Lord Jesus. Help me to stay close to you in my actual experience today. Help me to experience your loving presence like never before. Teach me the discipline of concentrating on you in quiet moments and while on the go throughout the day. I embrace the adventure of abiding in you, experiencing your love, and becoming amazingly fruitful. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love) – God’s Love Overflows from Us to Others - Friday, May 3rd

    (This week’s Devotionals are Monday through Saturday)

    We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:19-20

    Today's thoughts from today's verse:

    Fruitful lives filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is our overall focus in this series. Of course, "fruitful lives" is the splendid work that the Holy Spirit brings about. The first fruit of the Spirit in the list is love. Someone has suggested that "love" is like a diamond and the other fruits are its facets. Our 1 John passage zeros in on love and gives us an important sequence. God loves us, we love him, and then we love others.

    The Holy Spirit doesn't just hand us "fruit" so to speak. God lives in us through his Spirit. It is as we experience him and are filled with him that the Holy Spirit manifests "fruit" in our lives that will bless the lives of other people. It all begins with love. As our love relationship with God unfolds, we become filled with his love. We need our experience with God to be so complete that we become ones who are overflowing with love that spills into the lives of other people around us.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, help me to see more clearly than ever before that this is the true meaning of life. This is why I am here. Forgive me for settling for and giving myself to so many lesser purposes. Lord, I leave behind "living fully" on my terms and embrace your terms for a "living fully" kind of life. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love) – Becoming Empty of Self to Make room for God’s Spirit in Fullness - Thursday, May 2nd

    (This week’s Devotionals are Monday through Saturday)

    When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:6-8

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    This series is about the fruit "of" the Holy Spirit not the fruit "of" any of us. The words "utterly helpless" from our Romans passage speak to this. For salvation to take place we have to step aside and let God do the work of saving us because we are "utterly helpless" to do anything about it that is of any value. Similarly, we are "utterly helpless" to do anything that is of any value in regard to having a truly fruitful life. In order for the Holy Spirit to work we must step aside. How easily we get in the way of the Holy Spirit and the work he seeks to do in and through us. For the Holy Spirit to have the room needed for filling us up with himself, we must be empty of self.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, show me how I get in the way. Convince me that I am "utterly helpless." Show me how to come to the end of myself so the fullness of the Spirit truly takes place. I bow before you in worship and surrender. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love) – Genuine Fruit Comes from Genuine Faith - Wednesday, May 1st

    (This week’s Devotionals are Monday through Saturday)

    So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” James 2:17-18

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Fruitful lives filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is our overall focus in this series. Today we look at the second of two additional preliminary considerations that will be a big help in lining us up properly with the list of "fruits" God has in mind for our lives. Yesterday, we said that when we put our faith in Christ we are given the gift of being acceptable and right with God (salvation) and then through a personal and intimate connection with him, he produces good things (fruit) in and through our lives.

    Trying to be fruitful without faith in Christ (salvation) truly in place is a total waste. We might say that fruit without faith is fake fruit. From our James passage, we might say that faith without fruit is fake faith. Genuine fruit (good deeds) is the evidence of genuine faith. When genuine fruit is missing from our lives then our profession of genuine faith is in question. Having genuine faith and having genuine fruit is totally a God thing.

    So, in regard to our two additional preliminary considerations, how do we put it all together? A life of genuine faith resulting in genuine fruit is all about responding to God. It is not about our efforts to get squared away in the matter of having faith and fruit in our lives. Here is the all-important insight we need to come to: a full faith connection with God is powerful and transformational. One cannot be in relationship with God (faith) and not be radically changed (fruit).

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I believe you are ever before me seeking my response to you. So, here I am responding to your presence. I lift up my soul to you and ask you to show me how to be genuinely before you. I ask you to square my life away in the matter of having genuine faith and fruit. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love) – Fruit is Received not Achieved - Tuesday, April 30th

    (This week’s Devotionals are Monday through Saturday)

    God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Fruitful lives filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will be our focus over the next number of weeks. Today we are going to look at the first of two more preliminary considerations that will be a big help in lining us up properly with the list of "fruits" God has in mind for our lives. Our Ephesians passage deals with the age old problem of "putting the cart before the horse," so to speak. We are by nature ones who strive to achieve. We routinely approach life with the formula of "doing" what it takes to "get the return" we want. Christianity turns this formula on its head.

    The "achieving" formula, when applied to God, leads to "doing" good things to "get the return" of being acceptable and right with God. The "grace" formula turns this around. We put our faith in Christ and we are given the gift of being acceptable and right with God (salvation) and then through a personal and intimate connection with him, he produces good things (fruit) in and through our lives. So, we must never approach "fruit" as something we achieve in order to be acceptable and right with God (salvation).

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I confess that I have struggled with feelings of needing to "achieve" in regard to being connected with you, instead of just "receiving." I have put my faith in Christ for salvation but sometimes I slip back into the "achieving" mode. Deliver me from feeling like I must maintain my relationship with you by my "doing" the right things (fruit) in order to deserve being connecting with you. I believe it is all by grace and today I choose to "receive" it all from you and you alone. Amen!

  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love) – Being Prepared for Holy Spirit Change - Monday, April 29th

    (This week’s Devotionals are Monday through Saturday)

    But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    God created us to be fruitful in ways that are multifaceted. But, we all go astray, go our own way, and have lives that yield sin instead of fruit. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ and receive the forgiveness of sins, we become a temple of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that produces fruit in our lives. With God having made his home in our hearts through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are able to live lives that are fruitful and productive. There are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in our Galatians passage and we will look at all of them in the weeks ahead. This week we explore some preliminary considerations and the fruit "love" and how the Holy Spirit produces it in our lives.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, prepare my heart for the work you want to do through this series. Help me to understand the work of the Holy Spirit and the drastic difference he can make in my life. Speak to my heart and transform me into your image more fully and completely than ever before. Amen!

  • "What Counts" - An Inspirational Poem for Sunday, April 28th

    What Counts
    By Edgar A. Guest

    It isn't the money you're making, it isn't the clothes you wear,
    And it isn't the skill of your good right hand which makes folks really care.
    It's the smile on your face and the light of your eye and the burdens that you bear.

    Most any old man can tell you, most any old man at all,
    Who has lived through all sorts of weather, winter and summer and fall,
    That riches and fame are shadows that dance on the garden wall.

    It's how do you live and neighbor, how do you work and play,
    It's how do you say "good morning" to the people along the way,
    And it's how do you face your troubles whenever your skies are gray.

    It's you, from the dawn to nighttime; you when the day is fair,
    You when the storm is raging - how do you face despair?
    It is you that the world discovers, whatever the clothes you wear.

    You to the end of the journey, kindly and brave and true,
    The best and the worst of you gleaming in all that you say and do,
    And the thing that counts isn't money, or glory, or power, but YOU!

  • "It Isn't Costly" - An Inspirational Poem for Saturday, April 27th

    It Isn't Costly
    By Edgar Guest

    Does the grouch get richer quicker than the friendly sort of man?
    Can the grumbler labor better than the cheerful fellow can?
    Is the mean and churlish neighbor any cleverer than the one
    Who shouts a glad "good morning," and then smiling passes on?

    Just stop and think about it. Have you ever known or seen
    A mean man who succeeded, just because he was so mean?
    When you find a grouch with honors and with money in his pouch,
    You can bet he didn't win them just because he was a grouch.

    Oh, you'll not be any poorer if you smile along your way,
    And your lot will not be harder for the kindly things you say.
    Don't imagine you are wasting time for others that you spend:
    You can rise to wealth and glory and still pause to be a friend.

  • The Impact of the Resurrection – Christ Produces an Outcome of Righteousness - Friday, April 26th

    These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

    So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19

    And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet he has now reconciled you in his fleshly body through death, in order to present you before him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. Colossians 1:21-22

    He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your uprightness as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:6-7A

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    An old man lived in the village. He was one of the most unfortunate people in the world. The whole village was tired of him, he was always gloomy, constantly complained and was always in a bad mood. The longer he lived, the more vile he became and the more poisonous were his words. People avoided him because his misfortune became contagious. It was very difficult and quite unnatural to be happy when near him. He created the feeling of unhappiness in others.

    But one day, when he reached eighty years of age, an incredible thing happened. Instantly everyone heard the rumor, “The Old Man is happy today, he isn’t complaining about anything, he smiles, and even his face is freshened up.” The whole village gathered together. The old man was asked, “What happened to you?”
    “Nothing special,” he answered. “Eighty years I've been chasing happiness, and it was useless. Then I decided to live without happiness and just enjoy life. That's why I'm happy.

    It would seem that having a set of expectations for our lives and trying hard to realize them would be a good thing. Unfortunately, more often than not, this approach to life becomes counterproductive. We “expect” so intensely and try so hard, but end up exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Before we come to the point where we realize the claim God has on our lives, most of us go about living life for our own benefit. Our expectations and efforts are focused on realizing the ambitions and goals we have set for ourselves. Some experience success, some experience failure, and many are somewhere in between. There are few, regardless of the level of their success, that don’t become exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. When we come to the place where we realize God’s claim on our lives and we adopt a set of ambitions and goals more in keeping with our understanding of God’s intentions for His people, it is the same. There are few, regardless of the level of success, that don’t become exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed.

    Even though the story above is not particularly a spiritual one, there is something that happens to the old man that is quite instructive for us. Somehow life goes better when we are not going at it so intensely and trying so hard to make it happen. All too often our struggle with life has much to do with the intensity of our expectations (spiritual or otherwise) and our trying so hard to see them come about. Make no mistake, God has great and wonderful intentions for the lives of His people, but those intentions are only truly realized through the personal impact of the living, resurrected Jesus. We must be very careful not to nullify the true meaning of the resurrection of Christ by bypassing our actual relationship with Him in favor of trying to fulfill on our own the intentions we think God has for us. Christ’s impact in our lives involves the inner experience of knowing Him, resting in Him, waiting on Him, and being filled with His peaceful and powerful presence. When we allow the living, resurrected Jesus to impact us in these ways, we can be sure that everything about us will be his doing and that genuine righteousness for us will prevail in the end.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I believe a truly righteous outcome for my life is my destiny because of your resurrection and the difference you are making in my life as my living, resurrected Savior. I choose to let you be my substitute for life just as you were my substitute on the cross. I know that genuine righteousness will prevail in the end because more and more my life is your doing as I increasingly surrender to you and the wonderful impact of your loving presence in my life. Amen!

  • The Impact of the Resurrection – Christ Inaugurates a New Way of Living - Thursday, April 25th

    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep …. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sinsThen those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitiedBut now Christ has been raised from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, 16-20

    Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

    I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Why is that which we call sin so big of a problem for God that it requires the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ in the first place? It is all rooted in what God is like. He is Holy and righteous and these qualities of His nature demand that sin be atoned for. He is willing to atone for sin on our behalf through the sacrifice of His Son because He loves us so much and He knows we can’t reverse the problem of sin ourselves. He made us to be in a love relationship with Himself, but we have rebelled and are cut of from Him because of sin. What a marvelous thing it is that we matter to God, and that He was willing to send His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was both crucified and raised on our behalf.

    Once we grasp and embrace the provision of Jesus through his crucifixion and resurrection, we must be careful we do not miss the person of Jesus in the story of His suffering. His suffering took place so that He could be to us a living Savior, fully and completely available to us. When we embrace Him truly, He takes up residence in our hearts through the gift of His Spirit. Our living Savior forever becomes to us the source of “newness of life” as He dwells within us, accomplishing in us and through us that which otherwise would never come about no matter how hard we might try to live up the standards Christ alone lived by and fulfilled. Truly and surely, we learn to let it be that the life we live is His doing.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, what an amazing way of living life you have provided for me. Even though it is still my life in the sense that I responsible for it, it is no longer I who live it, but rather it is you living it through me. Help me to let you do this as freely and fully as possible. Thanks for being alive and well in my soul and making it possible for me to walk in newness of life. Amen!

  • The Impact of the Resurrection – Christ Transforms Our Inner Person - Wednesday, April 24th

    For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:6-10

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 1 Corinthians 5:17

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Many have come to believe in the resurrection down through the centuries, but most do so having overcome doubts and uncertainties. For the ones who struggle to believe that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive for evermore and can’t seem to overcome their doubts and believe without seeing, there is a simple way to become sure forever. Prayerfully say, “Lord Jesus, if you are there, reveal Yourself to me as my risen Savior and Lord! He will show Himself to you and you will see Him, not like the disciples of old when they saw Him with their physical eyes, but with the eyes of your heart and then you will be able to believe.  

    For those who truly believe in Christ, his death and resurrection provide eternal life. Eternal life is not just about being forgiven and ending up in Heaven someday. Eternal life includes the time in between the moment one believes and the moment one arrives in Heaven. A major focus of God’s gift of eternal life is the quality of the lives we live in this in between time. In this love relationship, we have with God through Christ, the life of Christ in us by means of the Holy Spirit, transforms us from the inside out.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, thank you for all you are doing in my heart and soul. Experiencing the touch of your presence and love within my inner being is transforming who I am and what I am actually like. You are so amazing and I am so wonderfully blessed. I worship you, love you, and praise you. Amen!

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