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John 4:24

April 22

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

When we find ourselves overwhelmed by circumstances, surrounded by the enemy, and mired in the midst of the trial, the temptation is to doubt God’s good heart towards us. It is easy to slip into believing that He has abandoned us.

When we lift our eyes to Him, though, our perspective changes. When we worship Him in spirit and in truth, we begin to look through the eyes of faith. We begin to consider the greatness of our God, not the circumstances that threaten to pull us under.

When we consider how He came through for us in the past, faith begins to burgeon in our chests. When we look back and see the rubble that was our mountain, we are reminded that the same mountain-moving Defender can bring down what we face today. A shout begins to build inside of us. Walls are about to crumble in His mighty name.

Praise reminds us of what God has the power to do in the present. Worship, in spirit and truth, stirs up our faith for the future. We begin to believe for what is on the way.

Instead of fear, we thank God in confidence that He has a plan not to harm us, but to prosper us, to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). We thank Him that He gives His angels charge over us; He is our Refuge, our Habitation, our Fortress (Psalm 91).

Instead of doubting, we thank God that He will not withhold any good thing from us; He is our Sun and Shield, our Provider and Protector (Psalm 84:11). His goodness and mercy follow us every day of our lives (Psalm 23:6).

Through eyes of faith, we begin to see what we could not see before. The servant of Elisha cried out in fear as the Syrian army surrounded them. All he could see was their ultimate demise, certain death…until Elisha prayed that his eyes would be opened, that he could see “those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (II Kings 6:16). Suddenly, his eyes opened to see that they were surrounded on every side by horses and chariots of fire. The Armies of Heaven still charge to our rescue.

No matter what is happening around us, we have safe passage with Him. Through the eyes of faith, we see that we never stand alone, that we never fight in our own strength. Just open your eyes. See it and believe it!

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, I worship You in spirit and truth. Open my eyes of faith. Let my circumstances fall away in the light of Your face. Deepen my trust in Your ability to move every mountain in front of me. Remind me that I do not fight alone. My victory is sure through You. In the name of Jesus…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 24:1-33

New Testament 

Luke 21:1-28

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 89:38-52

Proverbs 13:20-23

 

 

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Luke 23:34

April 21

Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

It was during that Last Supper with His disciples that Jesus announced that one of them, who was dipping his bread in the same dish that Jesus used, would betray Him. All of the disciples denied that they would do any such thing. Even Judas said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi,” to which Jesus replied, “You have said it yourself” (Matthew 26:25, NASB).

Judas went on his way and Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray. He knew what was coming, and He knew who would betray Him. Yet, when Judas showed up with a loud, angry mob, Jesus said to His disciple, “Friend, do what you have come for” (Matthew 26:50, NASB). Even in the moment of being betrayed, Jesus calls His betrayer “friend!”

But that is not even the greatest act of forgiveness that Jesus did in His lifetime. In His final moments, having been beaten and torn and ridiculed and hung on a Cross to die, Jesus demonstrated the act of forgiveness that we, as Christian believers, are to follow. His exact words on the Cross were: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34, KJV).

Our Redeemer used His last breath to forgive a brutal Roman empire that had harassed Him and His family from the day of His birth. As blood flowed from His hands and feet, mercy flowed from His lips. They killed Him because they feared Him. They feared Him because He healed, He raised the dead, He used a boy’s sack lunch to feed a multitude, and He upset their sense of order.

They didn’t kill Him because they thought He was the Prince of Peace. They killed Him because He was considered an insurrectionist too dangerous to be allowed to live. Jesus was crucified because He fought a battle for your soul and mine. On that Cross He shed His Blood for the forgiveness of sin — my sin, your sin, the iniquity of the whole world’s sin — forgiven and forgotten, buried in the deepest sea, never to be remembered any more.

Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Help me Lord to follow your example of forgiveness, even when I have been deeply offended and hurt. I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus, amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 22:21-23

New Testament 

Luke 20:27-47

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 89:14-37

Proverbs 13:17-19

 

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Romans 4:7

April 20

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered.

Three days after the crucifixion, when the women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body with special oils, they found an angel instead of a body. The angel said to them, “But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you” (Mark 16:7, NKJV). Tell His disciples — and Peter. Why the emphasis on Peter? Because prior to the crucifixion, Peter denied Jesus three times.

Peter, who liked to make grandiose statements that he couldn’t back up, said to Jesus in the Upper Room, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you” (Matthew 26:33, NLT). Peter then falls asleep while he’s supposed to be praying for Jesus, reacts impulsively cutting off Malchus’s ear, and then denies Jesus three times. Well done, Peter.

Let’s take a quick look at those denials. First, Peter lied to a servant girl who asked if he’d been with Jesus: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Then he lied to another servant girl who said he most definitely had been with Jesus: “I don’t even know the man!” Finally, he lied to a group of bystanders who recognized his accent as Galilean: “I DON’T KNOW HIM!” (see Luke 22:54–62).

Peter is oblivious to his betrayal until a crowing rooster reminds Him of the Master’s prophecy. The sound triggers a flood of remembrance and understanding. He had vowed to go to jail or even to death for Jesus. Peter wept bitterly in shame and regret: What would Jesus, his Messiah and friend, think of him now?

Thus, it is no accident that the angel encourages Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples and Peter to meet Jesus in Galilee. Galilee! It was on the shores of that vast lake that Jesus had first called Peter and his brother Andrew to follow him. And there, the risen Jesus would instruct Peter to cast his net on the other side (see John 21). When Peter realized it was Jesus, he jumped ship and headed straight for his risen Lord. In that poignant reunion Jesus forgave Peter by giving the fisherman the opportunity to declare his love for Him three times — one for each denial.

Forgiveness is a full pardon. It’s a fresh start. It’s another chance. It’s a new beginning. It’s a lifting of a heavy burden and the canceling of a debt.

Where does this power to forgive come from? It comes from God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the witness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The devil will try to trick you with his schemes, his devices, his sly ways. One of those strategies is to try to trap you in unforgiveness, which will completely destroy the quality of your life and steal the peace in your heart. Don’t give him an opening. Slam the door in the devil’s face. Forgive, and move on to new beginnings.

Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Lord, we praise you for our new beginnings when we confess our sins to you. Thank you for your mercy and grace made new each day. Amen and amen!

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 21:1-22:20

New Testament 

Luke 20:1-26

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 89:1-13

Proverbs 13:15-16

 

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Matthew 6:14–15

April 19

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgive me for being so blunt, but if you don’t practice forgiveness, it will destroy the quality of your life on earth and even put at risk your entry through the gates of heaven.

Write that on your bathroom mirror. Forgiveness is that important.

Forgiveness is serious business, but it isn’t complicated. You don’t need a seminary degree to understand that when you forgive, you will be forgiven; and when you don’t forgive, God will not forgive you.

The Lord’s Prayer endorses heaven’s policy on forgiveness: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12, KJV). We recite that prayer but seldom practice it. It’s not only important to know the words but understand its message and to obey it. Forgiveness is not optional. If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that. The Word and the will of God are made perfectly clear: we can freely ask God’s forgiveness once we have fully forgiven others.

Saint Paul wrote, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32, KJV). When I was a boy, my mother made my older brother Bill, and me quote that verse to each other every time we got in a ruckus, which was about three times a week.

I had that verse memorized before almost any other. It still rolls off my tongue with ease. But the fact that my brother and I said it so much was an indication that we knew the words, but we weren’t getting the message. Get the message!

Paul continued teaching the New Testament Church by saying,

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Colossians 3:12–13, NKJV)

This truth is clearly affirmed by God, Jesus, and Paul—forgiveness is not optional! If you won’t forgive another person, God will not forgive you. The words “forgive” and “forgiveness” appear sixty-six times in the New Testament, and one-third of those are tied to the forgiveness of others. Why so many? Because the power of forgiveness is that important.

Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Father, forgive me for my unforgiveness toward others. I forgive them and ask that You bless them. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 19:1-20:9

New Testament 

Luke 19:28-48

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 88:1-18

Proverbs 13:12-14

 

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2 Timothy 1:8-9

April 18

…share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…

Have you ever gone house hunting on a budget? Whenever you do anything on a budget, you know you are not looking for something perfect; you are looking for something “as is.” As is, it may look like a disaster, but a person who can see potential will call that chaotic mess “good bones.”

When God looks at you, He doesn’t see a hopeless cause; He sees potential. He loves you “as is,” but He loves you too much to leave you that way.

If God has given each of His children unlimited potential to do great things in this life, why isn’t everyone living joy-filled, successful, abundant lives? There are two main things I see hindering people’s potential: excuse making and instant gratification.

There are people who make good and there are people who make excuses.

Stop whining. Stop making excuses. Take charge of your life. Believe in the power of your potential. When you blame someone else for your inability to do something, you have empowered that person to control you. They are now in charge of your life. Take charge of your life or someone else will! No more excuses!

The second way people destroy their potential is by demanding instant gratification. They want microwave Christianity. They want love without commitment. They want benefits without responsibility. They want success without work. Well, the only place you’re going to find success before work is in the dictionary!

The goal is not to be an overnight success, or to be in the right place at the right time. The goal is hard work, never giving up, and learning to be patient with the process.

The greatest tragedy in life is not death. The greatest tragedy in life is to fail to fulfill your purpose and potential. The fact that you were born is proof that God has an assignment for you. God has something special planned for every believer. Don’t you dare go to your grave with unused God-given talent, with unfulfilled God-inspired dreams, and with missed God-ordained opportunities.

Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Today, reach for your potential through patience, persistence and hard work. Stay connected to the Source and study the Word to discover a potential that is endless, limitless, exponential, infinite, and upward! In Jesus’ name we ask and receive, amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 16:1-18:28

New Testament 

Luke 19:1-27

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 87:1-7

Proverbs 13:11

 

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Philippians 3:13-14

April 17

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

God never consults your past to determine your future. Your potential is not what you have done. That is your history, and there is no such thing as potential history. Your yesterdays are not nearly as important as your tomorrows.

Some destroy their potential by living in the glow of some shining moment in the past. If you are in sales, did you break all sales records last year? Forget it. You can starve to death remembering how great you used to be. Did your business have its finest year last year? Forget it. The economy could plummet this year, and you’ll be looking for a job in the next twelve months. Students, did you make the honor roll last year? Forget it. Go home and do your homework and do it with excellence. The challenge is still in front of you. You didn’t learn all there is to know. Athletes, did you make the all-star team last year? Forget it. That was last year. Turn off the TV, get off the couch, go exercise, lift weights, run and improve your athletic skills or next year you could be sitting on the bench.

Your potential is in the business you can do but haven’t done yet. Your potential is in the grades you can make but haven’t made yet. Your potential is in the souls you can win but haven’t won yet. If you’ve won a soul to Christ, win two. If you’ve won two, win four. If you’ve won four, win eight. If you’ve won eight, win sixteen and thirty-two and sixty-four. Let those multiples run because nothing is impossible with God.

Do you know how quickly America could turn around if we would just realize the power of multiplication? If every Christian won just one soul to Christ each year, in four years we would dominate this country with the glory of God. That’s a fact! But we’ve got to get Jesus out of the church buildings and into people’s homes. The unchurched are suffering. They need to hear the Gospel message of faith, hope and love.

Are you tormented about your past? Out of the pages of Scripture pours: joy unspeakable and full of glory, peace in the midst of the storm, and the love of God that heals and unifies. Hope that is unshakeable and unbreakable can be found in the pages of Scripture. With the Lord as your Savior, your sin is made whiter than snow. Your past is buried in the deepest sea, never to be remembered against you anymore.

Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May we as Christians live to our spiritual potential. May we cause a spiritual revival around us. May God’s name be exalted in every corner of the world. Amen and amen!

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 15:1-63

New Testament 

Luke 18:18-43

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 86:1-17

Proverbs 13:9-10

 

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Ecclesiastes 2:18

April 16

Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me.

There is a difference between making a great living and having a great life. Plenty of people make a great living but lead miserable lives, lives that lack peace, joy, and hope.

Friend, contrary to what you may have been told, it is possible to be a Christian and still be happy. Many people believe that being spiritual means walking around looking like you’ve been sucking a lemon all day. But that is not spirituality, that’s religious legalism and legalism is a curse.

But I have good news! Salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ sets you free to serve the Lord of the Bible and enjoy the life He died to give you–a life filled with powerful potential.

Back when Elvis Presley was at the peak of his career, his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, arranged for me to meet and talk with him in his hotel room in San Antonio, Texas. Elvis had everything that money could buy. He had luxury cars. He had jets. He had diamonds. He had fame. He had the applause of fans. He had a telephone that was covered with gold. Yet, I’ve never met a lonelier person. At the end of our conversation, Elvis said, “Pastor, will you pray for me?” I prayed with him. Elvis was a good person. He had a great living. But he had a hurting heart and a lonely, empty, joyless life.

What kind of life do you have? Are you living with divine purpose? Does your life have meaning? Or are you lonely? Are you angry? Are you frustrated? Are you chasing illusions that never materialize? Is your home in crisis? Is your marriage a war zone? If so, then you are not living up to your powerful potential. God has made it possible for you to have peace that surpasses all understanding. He has made it possible for you to have joy unspeakable and full of glory. He has made it possible for you to experience unconditional love.

I want to tell you, from the depth of my heart, there is a Father in heaven who loves you more than you can possibly imagine. Even if your mother and your father forsake you, Jesus promises that He will never leave you. He will be with you in the darkest valley. Nothing can separate you from His love.

Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Choose today to accept the love of your Heavenly Father and find the peace, joy, and hope of His Salvation. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 13:1-14:15

New Testament 

Luke 18:1-17

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 85:1-13

Proverbs 13:7-8

 

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Hebrews 11:1

April 15

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

“I wish.” We all have wishes for ourselves and other people for the future. These wishes are our perception of what we think would be best for us or believe would satisfy us.

When I was a boy living in the country in southeast Texas, my family called the Sears and Roebuck Catalog “The Wish Book.” As a six-year-old, I poured through the pages of that catalog at least three times a week wishing for a Daisy Air Rifle. That Christmas, my father gave me what I wished for. He gave me that BB gun. My older brother, Bill, tried to take it away from me on Christmas Day. He was twice my size, so I shot him. Don’t worry. I did the Christian thing and merely shot him in the leg.

I can assure you, when my father caught up with me, I was not singing “Joy to the World” but rather remembering that famous sermon of Jonathan Edwards’, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and fully understand that millions of Americans are looking in a “wish book” for our future and selecting the poison of socialism. Socialism is a fraud! In history, it has never worked. In the past century, it has killed over one-hundred million people under the leadership of socialists like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

The Daily Caller reports that one-in-three millennials in America see socialism as favorable, and seventy percent are prepared to vote for a socialist. Why? When we don’t educate our younger generation about the historical truth, we shouldn’t be surprised at their willingness to embrace the endless promises of socialism, which will be the absolute destruction of the United States of America.

But hope is not wishful thinking. Saint Paul writes, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Hear these two words: “substance” and “evidence.” Our hope is based on the “substance” of what God has done in the past and the “evidence” found in the Bible.

God’s provisions are in His promises, and they are all found in His Word. If God has done it in the past, He will do it today. Therefore, our hope is based on God’s performance knowing that He is faithful to His Word which accomplishes all He has assigned it to accomplish.

Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Read God’s Word. Meditate on it daily. Teach it to your children so that you all my have hope only found through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 11:1-12:24

New Testament 

Luke 17:11-37

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 84:1-12

Proverbs 13:5-6

 

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Acts 1:8

April 14

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

It’s dark out there.

If you had any doubt that our world is broken and fallen, a glance around should relieve you of all uncertainty.

Thus, it’s no surprise that many of God’s people are overwhelmed, pessimistic, and despondent. Some have lost hope and given in to despair. But that is not the appropriate mindset for a child of God. Believers have been given the power to turn things around — for ourselves, for our families, for our communities, and for our country.

I’m talking about heavenly power. Divine power. Supernatural power that changes circumstances and destinies. Power that turns the fate of nations.

Two-thousand years ago, Jesus lived on Earth. He raised the dead, He healed the blind, the lame, and the deaf; He touched the rotting flesh of lepers and healed them. Jesus calmed the violent winds and waves and walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee.

He ordered demons to come out with a word. He did not interview them or scream at them all night. He spoke a Word and they obeyed. He fed multitudes with a boy’s sack lunch and there was enough left over to start a Jewish delicatessen. He turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Jesus spoke with such authority that the politically correct crowd was stunned with silence.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of Power. There is power in His Word. There is power in His blood. There is power in His name. There is power in His presence and in His presence is fullness of joy.

Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. It is God’s will for believers to walk in power. You have the power to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. Harness His Power as you walk victorious. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Joshua 9:3-10:43

New Testament 

Luke 16:19-17:10

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 83:1-18

Proverbs 13:4

 

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