Friday, October 31, 2014

Encourage One Another

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
 just as in fact you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Throughout the Bible there are repeated themes and messages for us. Today "encouragement" is on my mind. The Christian life is not a life of ease. It requires sacrifice, exercise, commitment, diligence, and strength. Oh, yes, the joys of relationship with Christ, the peace we gain from walking with him, and the gracious gift of salvation far outweigh the trials, but none the less, it is still a difficult journey. Therefore, we need each other. We need to encourage one another in the Lord. Through intercessory prayer, a note of encouragement, a text, a call, a hug... however you encourage, do it faithfully!
God First Friends has an idea to help us in our encouraging of one another, but we need your help. We need your favorite scriptures. We need the ones that carry you on difficult days, the ones that make you smile with delight, and the ones that speak deeply to your heart! Please post your favorite scriptures and then keep checking in. We will show you how your favorite verses will be used to encourage others!

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called, "Today," 
so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13

*To post your favorite scripture click on the comment link at the bottom of today's blog. Then under "post a comment" type your scripture. You may use the arrow down key to choose 'anonymous' if you prefer. Then click publish. You will then be asked to enter a code that is displayed on the screen to verify that you are a real, live person! Can't wait to hear from you!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Let Go

"Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters - yes, even one's own self! - can't be my disciple.
Luke 14:26

As a foster parent I get asked all the time, "How will you ever give her back?", my answer usually always includes trusting God's plan and that it will not be easy.  But who ever said being a disciple of Christ was easy?  As I read this scripture I am reminded that anything or anyone I put in front of my loyalty to Christ is a hinderance to my discipleship.  I can't follow Christ if I am following someone else or putting someone else in front of Him.  I will end up following that person instead, or making decisions based on my feelings for him or her, instead of what is right through God's eyes and what is being asked of me in Christ.  I can't be an effective foster parent if I let my love and affection for these beautiful children get in the way of God's plan for me and them.  No one can follow two masters (Matthew 6:24).   

Is there someone in your life whom you tend to hold on to so tightly that they get in the way of your discipleship.  Do you place your spouse, child or parent in a higher position than Jesus?  Are you unwilling to let go of them, trusting them in the hands of God?  I will admit there are days I don't want to let go of my foster child and there are days I don't want to let go of my spouse or children and I will find myself always thinking thoughts that are not aligned with God's will.  I will put their feelings in front of God's commands and find myself disobeying Him, taking myself outside of His will and discipleship.  None of this is easy especially if you are a woman and mother.  We are uniquely made to care for our children and spouses.  We want to control every situation so as to protect them and fix their hurt and the things they do wrong.  But today I am reminded of the importance of letting go.  If I can't let go of my foster child then I am not a disciple of Christ.  Yes it hurts like crazy to think of the day she will leave but it would hurt even more knowing I was putting someone else or even my own self in front of the amazing Man who died on the cross so that I could live my life free from sin and eternal suffering.  Today I am hit in the face with this hard reality that I have to let go of everything I want and follow the One who gives me everything I need.  My dear friends I hope this does not deter you but draws you closer to God and to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It isn't easy.  Following Christ is a daily choice.  A daily death of our wants and desires, stripping ourselves of all things hindering our walk with Christ.  Being a disciple means letting go.               

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Free to be Wrong

"There is no condemnation forth those who belong to Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

God does not judge us for our sin, past, present, and future, when we are hidden in Christ. In Christ, our sins are covered. Upon repentance and true asking we are forgiven. No Guilt! No shame! No condemnation!

Condemnation: is the act of condemning someone to a punishment, to sentence
Conviction: is the process of finding someone guilty of a crime, the compelling of a person to admit the truth

Rather, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, God convicts Christians to admit their guilt. He presents the evidence to us, through the Bible, that we have broken the law, His righteous and holy law. Believers who are walking in step with the Spirit can readily admit wrong. Why? Because they know they have a holy reverence for God's justness to punish sin and they also have an understanding of God's grace that has already bore the punishment. It's OK to be wrong, because my wrong doesn't change God's love for me! Being wrong is OK because in admitting my guilt I'm set free, no sentence, just grace and love. 

Do you have a hard time admitting you're wrong? If so, pray that God will help you understand more deeply his grace and forgiveness. Friend, I want you to live free!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When God Challenges Our Lifestyle

At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to discuss plans for killing Jesus.
Mark 3:6

This sounds like a pretty harsh reaction, to a miracle just performed in front of their eyes, don't you think?  But the Pharisees didn't see a miracle, they saw a man threatening their way of life and they were not going to sit by and lose there authority to a poor man from Nazareth.  This got me thinking about my own life and the reactions I have when God challenges my lifestyle.  Do I listen with respect or am I like the Pharisees who had hardened hearts?  Am I willing to let God change me and take His advice in the areas that He wants me to change or do I plot against God and try to find excuses and reasons why my behavior is okay?  These Pharisees saw Jesus and His miracles first hand and still chose to not believe.  Do I see the work God is doing and brush it aside as if it is coincidence or just luck?  Do I see God's work in my life and am I willing to give Him the credit for the blessings I receive daily?  This simple sentence has been eating away at me for a couple of days now and I can't help to think of the ways I am similar to the Pharisees.  I am ashamed of the many times I have plotted against God, compromising my faith in order to justify my actions.  I never saw myself as this but looking back I can't be for God when I am acting against His will for me and I can't be on His side when I am taking sides with the devil.  Just like the pharisees I have held on to my pride and chosen to side with supporters of Herod.  

Friends, today let us not ignore God any longer.  Let us listen closely to His Words in our heart and the Words He gives us through the bible and the special people He places in our lives.  When our lifestyle is threatened let us not be threatened to defend ourselves and our pride but instead may we be willing to hear God and change through the help of the Holy Spirit.  Let us be soft clay lying on the Potters wheel teachable and changeable at a moments notice.  May we be open to change where change is asked of us and hand over our pride and self reliance.  Once again, I thank God for His patience with me and I can't wait to put this new perspective in my heart and carry it with me as a reminder.  I praise God for loving me and you!  

Monday, October 27, 2014

God Challenges My Ideas

"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."  Hebrews 4:12

Friend, I want to challenge you today to go deeper in your relationship with Christ. As with any relationship, you must invest time. When we begin building a relationship with someone, we ask all kinds of questions. We meet for coffee, share activities, and make sacrifices to get to know the other person's heart and open ours to them.

A spiritual relationship is no different. God's Word is the Bible. It is how he speaks to us. If we are not asking Him questions and digging deep into the Bible, how will he ever answer us? Scripture is alive and active. It literally talks to your heart when you are willing to open up just a little bit more each day. I long for my entire family to hear the Lord speak to them on a daily basis, to be so deep in the love of God that nothing shakes our foundation. And friend, I long for you to know a deeper relationship with Christ too. Today, I challenge you to dig deeper!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Scripture

So let's do it - full of belief, confident that we are presentable inside and out.  Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.  He always keeps His word.  Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some so but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:22-25

Dear God help me to continue on this journey with you even though I am tired.  Don't let me fall away from Your promises and always encourage me to stay focused on Your word.  Give me someone in my life to encourage and give me creative ways to lead him/her to You and inspire him/her to stay focused on a deep relationship with You.  Let my worship be with my brothers and sisters who love you as much as me and give us opportunities to share that love together.  Bring us all closer so that we can share Your love with the world as our time on earth is running out.
In Jesus' Name......amen and amen  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

True Wealth

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matt. 6:19-21

My husband and I have been trying to look at our belongings, our finances and our time. What needs to be realigned? I began looking for God's perspective and here's what he showed me.

    Store up: accumulate for future use
    For yourselves: selfish motive, to gratify and glorify one's self
    Treasures: quantity of precious metals, gems or other valuable objects,
         cash, wealth of any kind or in any form
    Where moth and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal: 
         What can be stolen? material possessions, money, earthly things
         What can't be destroyed?  Godly relationships, love given and received, time with Jesus in
                 prayer and study
    Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also: Am I more concerned about earthly material wealth, prestige, possessions or do I wake up excited to share Christ with family, friends, and others?

Matt. 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

When these two verses are combined, Jesus seems to be telling us that either our material possessions serve God or they serve us. If they are not being used for God's glory then it's time to reevaluate. We must be willing to let go of anything that is just being stored up for future use whether in the form of prestige, possession, or pride.

Lord, help us to use the things you've blessed us with to be a blessing to others. Help us to honestly reevaluate and realign our material wealth with your will. Amen

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Light For Our Path

By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
Psalm 119:105

As I was driving through the fog very early, the other morning, it brought to my attention the similarity between a dark, foggy path and our life in God's will.  As I drove a very familiar road I found myself feeling totally lost in such a thick fog that I couldn't see any farther than my light beams would allow.  It was as if I was walking with a very dim flashlight and all I could see was a few steps in front of me.  I was always so thankful when I could see the lights from a car up ahead that would soon light my path and help me catch my surroundings and figure out where I was.   God is so much like this light on a very dark and foggy morning.  From experience I know that my future is very unclear and very dark sometime.  I am shut off from what is going to happen and where I am going.  I feel as if I am lost on my path with just enough light to see the few steps in front of me.  And my friends, that is what faith is!  Faith is saying yes to God not knowing what the future holds and where exactly He will be taking us, until we are already there.  As unpredictable as my future is and all the unknowns I have to take into account every day there is no way I could ever shine a light on my future the way God does.  At just the right time He shows up to light up my path, to show me where I am and give me a little more insight to where I am headed.  

Dear God, thank You for lighting my path at just the right time.  Forgive me when I start to get impatient and I try to shine my own light on my future.  When I try and go ahead of You and figure out Your plan for me taking myself out of your will and or off Your chosen path.  I don't want to rely on myself but only on You, when the time is right, to give me a little more light.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Defeated or not?

"The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways... The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them." Deuteronomy 28:7, 25

God's love for the Israelites led him to lead them into battles on the way to the promised land. Through the battles they were able to see his power and might. They had opportunity after opportunity to draw closer to the Lord and deepen their faith. They simply had to trust and obey. 
but this was hard for them, as it is for us today.
God gives us the same choice he gave the Israelites. Choose him, obey his commands, remain in him and we will be victorious. However, we must fight our battles in full armor, surrendered to the leadership of the Lord!
However this scripture tells us that the opposite is also true; A heart that has wandered from God will find defeat at every turn. We must daily, momentarily surrender to his leadership, lest we be scattered before our enemies. 
I ask you today, do you have a reverent, holy fear of God? Do you understand that he is just and his command to love him with all your heart, soul, and mind has reward and consequence? 

Lord, draw us into you today. Give us humble hearts that enable us to surrender to your Lordship lest we are defeated before our enemies. In your name we pray. Amen

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Handing Over One More Thing

Place these words on your hearts.  Get them deep inside you.  Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder.
Deuteronomy 11:18

I am fighting with feelings of inadequacy today.  I even have thoughts of giving up because it feels as if there is no way I will ever get it all right.  I feel like I can't be totally committed to God and carry on my life at home.  I feel like it interferes with my closeness to God where in reality I should feel closer to God when I am with my blessings and experiencing the life He chose for me.  So what is my deal?  

Immediately I want to blame satan for these thoughts......he is trying to steer me off the good path and discourage me from working for the Lord, but then I realize the feelings I am having aren't that of anxiousness or even complete failure.  No, the feelings I feel carry peace with them, although uncomfortable, I don't feel condemned or stressed out about them.  I could put them aside and forget  them for a while without it eating away at me and consuming my thoughts.  But the nagging is still there when I have time to focus my eyes on God.  Could He possibly be speaking to me?  

In my moment of confusion and slight discouragement I realize that the reason I feel the way I do is that I haven't invited God into my living room.  Yes I have scripture on my walls and devotions sitting on my book shelf but I haven't directly asked God to bring my relationship with Him and my family life together.  I haven't handed over my parenting and that is why I feel so discouraged when I am trying to do it alone.  As I have been studying what my role is as a wife I can see how important it is to keep very close to God as I am trying to make a true change in my life.  I can't just decide one day to change and go on about my day.  I can't be different without a heart change, and only through God's power and with help from the Holy Spirit, is my heart capable of changing.  But I will never see that change if I don't hand over control and allow it to happen.  With my issues at home and my parenting skills being less than ideal I want things to change but until today I wasn't allowing God to use me and control my speech and my actions.  Before today I never handed over my parenting skills and my children.  It is an area I have always tried to control.    

For some of you the thought of thinking of God all day is a little extreme.  The idea of being in constant communication with Him seems over the top, but in reality it is the only way we can allow His power to work in us.  Anytime we take our eyes off of Jesus and go solo we will have outcomes that are less than ideal and issues will arise that catch us off guard or too weak to handle.  Any action or thought within us can change if we allow God access to our heart.  Something that is less than adequate in my life can improve with a willingness and a constant thought of God's will for me.  Deuteronomy 11:8 was given to us all and it was meant for us to really take hold of.  It isn't just some words put together that sound good and Godly.  We are literally to be putting Gods' word on our hearts and placing them deep inside of us.  We are to be constantly thinking of God's power and control over our lives.    

So instead of feeling inadequate today I will settle with broken knowing that my God has the power to fix me if I am willing to let Him.  Now that He has revealed to me what He wants me to work on I will begin to study His word, hand over all of my control and keep His words on my heart and place them deep within me. Literally asking myself, what would Jesus do?...........How would God handle this situation?  Friends, it is a daily walk we must be on with God!  It isn't just something we take lightly and something we fit in when time allows.  A daily surrender to God's word and His will!  I won't tell you this walk is easy either and I won't pretend like I have understood it all my life or that I've lived it all my life!  I have messed up more than I can count but the closer I am drawn to Him the more He reveals and the more I begin to look like someone different.  I can't wait to get started on the things He has called to my attention!  I can't wait to lay some more parts of me at the food of His cross!  Thank You God for your patience and loving mercy!             

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'm Sorry

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [ Following Paul’s Example ] All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

I woke up this morning and all I can do is offer "I'm sorry." I must say it to God, to my spouse, to my child and to myself. I am a Christian. I desire to live my life fully surrendered to Jesus for his renewal and his purposes. I want my life and my home to permeate the peace of Christ. Yet, I am 100% human. I'm learning and growing. I work at maturing, but it comes slowly. I make mistakes and flounder. Fail and fall. But I get up again and press on because in Christ I am enough. I am forgiven. I am loved.
As his grace fell fresh upon me this morning in my quiet time, I couldn't help but offer it to others. Even if I felt wronged it didn't matter. I was wrong and that's all I can control.

Lord, help me to press on when I fail. Help me to love like you do. Forgive me for using too many words and hurting others. Teach me. Give me a teachable heart, Lord. Amen

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wives Are A Treasure (Part 3)

In the same way wives must submit yourselves to your husbands, so that if any of them do not believe God's word, your conduct will win them over to believe.  It will not be necessary for you to say a word.
1 Peter 3:1

By now hopefully you have had enough time to look up the many words and verses describing how a wife should treat her husband.  I used to want to fix my man and I used to think that I would have to change him by running my mouth about what he should or shouldn't be doing.  This study was not to highlight the things that your husband is doing wrong because I am sure we can all agree that it takes two to make a marriage work.  And in this verse above Peter stated that just by changing our conduct we can win them over to believe.  I take this scripture very seriously, although my actions don't always show it.  So often I thought that my husband would only know God personally if I kept telling him what he needed to do, and how he should be doing it.  But this life changing statement from Peter made me realize that I am not in charge of anyone but myself and that if I want my husband to know Christ better then he would have to know Christ through me.  My actions don't always mirror Christ's but Peter reminded me that talk won't get me anywhere like changing my actions and allowing my husband to see Jesus in me.  So many scriptures refer to wives submitting to their husbands.  Submit means to accept or yield to someone's authority or will.  And yielding to someone means to give way to them.  So God is telling us to accept our husbands will and give way to his arguments and ideas.  We should be selflessly letting our husband lead our family because he was put in charge by God.  God wants us to show him our love and respect through our actions, giving our men courage and confidence to stand up and lead.  If we are constantly putting them down or telling them what to do then they won't have the confidence to do what is right when troubles call nor will they have the desire to spend time with God if we are always knocking their ways or telling them how good we are.  

Today spend time with God and get real with yourself about the things you could change in your marriage.  Don't think of the things you don't have control over, like your husbands annoying habits or what he could be doing differently.  Think only of the things that you could do today to look differently to him.  Believe that what Peter stated is true and offer it up to God.  Ask Him what you could be doing to make a good example for your husband.  Let Jesus show in you and quietly lead your husband to Christ through your actions.  And let us not forget to encourage each other!    

Dear God,
Thank You for Your Word!  I can learn so much about You when I closely read the bible and I am blown away by Your faithfulness to lead me.  I don't deserve Your patience with me.  Thank you for giving me guidance in my marriage and for drawing me closer to You through this study.  Help me to see the things I need to change and show me how to change them.  Give me strength to put down my selfish desires and to submit to my husband's will.  I want to live obediently and I desire to look more like Jesus Christ so that my husband will be drawn to You.  In Jesus' Name......Amen

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Scripture

Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22

Of course todays scripture has to do with our study on how to be the wife God calls us to be!  I was stopped in my tracks when I read this verse realizing that I should be submitting to my husband as I do to God.  

Dear God, guide me as I continue searching what you command of me in my marriage.  Help me to make the needed changes so that I can draw closer to my husband.  As I submit to You help me to also submit my will to my husband by accepting him and giving way to his leading and ideas.  May my husband see this change in me and choose to draw closer to you.  Help him to see You in me and bring Glory to Your name.  In Jesus' Name  Amen  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wives Are A Treasure (Part 2)

So I sat at the kitchen table with my husband and told him all about my search for learning how to be a better wife and of course, with a smirk on his face, he did agree that I haven't been living up to the standards that God has for me.........not sure if what he really meant was I haven't lived up to his standards, but I didn't give him time to explain.  Normally I would get defensive, in this position, but today I would lose this battle.  I am sorry for not putting up a better fight but once you read all of the things we should be for our men I think you might agree with me.  Have I been horrible?.......beating him up and calling him names for years?  Do I disrespect him in public all the time and disregard his parenting skills.  Do I nag him like a drippy faucet?  Not usually, to any of these.  But what I have learned is God has commanded me to treat my husband a certain way and I have disregarded His commands.  Some of it I didn't even know because I never took the time to find out.  Some of it I knew and chose to ignore and some of it I do but not to the extent the bible tells me to.  And I asked myself what is one thing I want in my marriage and my answer was that I want to be honored and respected.  My dear friends, Proverbs 15:33 tells us this: Humility precedes honor.  I am ready to humble myself and put myself aside to do what God commands me to do in my marriage and experience the honor that comes from it.  Are you?

I don't want to rush you through this challenge, and for some of you I understand it is difficult finding time to sit and look all of those words up from yesterday, so today I want to give you more time to search your dictionaries.  If you already have, and you are ready to move on, I suggest you look up the words in your bible dictionary and or topical index to see what God says about these words and words like it.  Google the words or if you have a bible app on your phone search the words and check out all the scripture that uses them.  Write down all of the scripture that stands out to you and pertains to a wife, or the characteristics that should be found in a marriage.  I want to really encourage you to stay away from the scripture commanding husbands, because we aren't looking for what they can change.  This study is all about you.  I am going to leave you with this challenge until Monday when we meet again.  Please, you owe it to yourself, God, and your husband or future husband to take this challenge seriously.  If you get a chance share with your husband what you are studying.  If the opportunity presents itself even tell him you are sorry and show Him what God's word says you should be doing.

Here are the words to look up:
Reverences                        Venerates
Notices                               Esteems
Regards                              Defer to
Honors                               Praises
Prefers                                Loves
Admires                             Exceedingly

*Don't hesitate to use a thesaurus to find words that have the same meaning.  It will give you a better understanding of some words and possibly highlight those things you need to work on.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wives Are A Treasure (Part 1)

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the Lord.
Proverbs 18:22

While searching the bible for all the scripture relating to wives I found the one listed above in Proverbs 18:22.  As I read, it made perfect sense, but instead of puffing up and getting a big head by thinking I was a treasure to my husband, something else came to my mind.  I posed the personal question: Am I a treasure to my husband?  I didn't run out to ask him and maybe that's because I was afraid of what the answer would be.  Sadly I came to admit that I know in my heart of hearts that there is more to being a true Christian wife than I am displaying in my marriage.  Over the next few days, I want to lead you in a study of your own in finding how God says a wife should act and treat her husband.  If you are truly sincere and allow God to move you, challenge you, and teach you then you will come away from this study, a different wife.  Will it all happen overnight?  Most likely not, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, if you are willing, He will make a way. 

Today's challenge:

And let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband (that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates him, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him and loves and admires him exceedingly).
Ephesians 5:33  

I was blown away by all the verbs listed in this scripture and I knew that by looking them up one by one I would better understand how a wife should treat her husband.  As much as I want to tell you everything I learned I believe you will get out of it what you put in, and so I challenge you to search on your own to find out what God is asking of you personally.  Use a dictionary to look up all of the underlined words in this scripture.  Write them down and study them.  What are your thoughts?  Is there an area you need to work on?  

Dear God, give me time today and this weekend to study these words and better understand what you want from me as a wife.  Help me to recognize the areas that need work and give me creative ways to start treating my husband differently.  Keep these words at the front of my thoughts.  Help me to begin a change and let my husband see that change.  I offer up this challenge to gain wisdom from You and to bring Glory to You.  Let my husband see You in me and let my actions come from my reverence to You and my willingness to obey.  In Jesus' Name.....Amen

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My First Love

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Revelation 2:4

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with God? Perhaps it was as a young child at church camp or Sunday School. Maybe a crisis put you on your knees in humble surrender and you felt his gentle love and comfort. Perhaps you were an adult when you felt the love and grace He offers you through forgiveness. But whenever it was, however it was, the joy and freedom that came from knowing his love was beautiful, and it compelled you to act. Your response was natural, unprompted, and easy. 

Do you still rest in that love today? Do you still long for his depth of love? God doesn't need anything from us. He simply wants the love that he has for us to be reciprocated, not in acts, but in our heart. The way we responded to him when His love was new to us is the only thing he wants from us.... no acts, just love!

That exact same love that over time will ebb and flow if we do not keep in contact with the lover of our soul. Every day He has new and amazing things to teach us. He has love to lavish on us in his word and by simply being in his presence. It's when we wander from him to our fulfill our fleshly desires and the ways of the world around us, we also wander out of his love and forget the love he has for us. We must go to him daily seeking the joy of his presence, inviting him to take up residence in yet another area of our lives, allowing the lavish love he has to permeate our being. 

Have you forsaken your first love for lesser loves that that world offers?

 There is joy and delight in new love. I ask that you search me and renew my love for you by taking out all the distractions that keep me from the fullness of your love.
I love you and want to continue to grow in intimacy with you. Lord, take me deeper in your love. Amen

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Don't Be Discouraged

Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live.  And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory!  We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God's approval, and His approval creates hope.  This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.
Romans 5:1-5

Do you ever feel inadequate as a christian, like you just aren't good enough?  Is there someone in your life who you are always comparing your faith to?  Do you ever feel discouraged in your faith when you find yourself "messing up", or caught in a place that God would not approve of?  My friends, today is the day you shall, once and for all, set yourselves free.  The first sentence of this passages explains that you are right with God.  Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and believe that He died on the cross to save you from your sin you are made right with God.  You have peace in God because of your sin being wiped away by the death of Jesus.  No more should you be ashamed or carry guilty feelings but instead you should rejoice in the peace and right standing you have in Christ!  There is nothing you can do to diminish God's love for you.  He cannot love you for what you do or don't do.  It is impossible for God to put conditions on His love for you.  So, my dearest, the first thing you must hold tightly to is that You are complete in Christ the day you choose to believe.

The second part of this passage explains that being complete in Christ doesn't mean that you will have it easy, nor will you be perfect, or should you stop growing in Him.  Through our troubles and "mess ups" we can learn and grow more like Him.  And through our growth we also grow closer to God and learn to trust Him more.  God offers us patience to make mistakes and still be counted worthy in His eyes because when we believe our acceptance is locked in.  

God First Friend, remember this the next time you feel inadequate or you are beating yourself up for your mistakes and sin.  Don't ever forget that you are locked in to God's great love.  There is nothing you can do to loose that love.  His plan for you is to give you the gift of His Spirit to enable you to grow and mature into His beautiful servant.  He is not concerned with comparing you to anyone, His eye is on you.  He knows your "mess ups" before they will happen therefore you can't disappoint Him.  So stop beating yourself up and remember that this great thing you have with God is a beautiful gift.  Only through God's amazing love and power can you be made complete in Christ and, at the same, time be encouraged to grow in Christ.  Keep learning and growing!

Dear God, do not let me become discouraged in this walk.  Remind me of your steadfast love when satan attempts to lie to me and tell me I'm not good enough.  I am your beautiful child whom you think of every day.  Your eye is on me because You adore me,  not because you are trying to catch me messing up.  Help me to forgive myself and to stop comparing my faith to others.  I will hold on to my right standing with You and will forgive myself when I take a wrong step or fall to temptation.  I believe I am good enough right now and that I am complete in Christ.  I trust that my difficulties and what I learn from my mistakes will grow me closer to you and so I will boast in my troubles.  Amen

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lessons in the Bright Lights (Part 2)

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:20

If you didn't read yesterday's blog you may want to do so quickly because today is a continuation.

Yesterday we talked about our natural bent to justify our sin. We also looked at the peace we could have if we only admitted our mistakes to the Lord right away rather than trying to hide and justify ourselves. The blessing in being honest with God is that we can truly say, "It is well with my soul." 

And now the rest of the story…
Well, as the police officer made his way back to our car, my friend had stopped trying to justify his sin and resigned himself to the fact that he was speeding and deserved a ticket. He was sure that the ticket would carry a heavy fine and possibly be considered reckless driving. He admitted his mistake and was ready to accept the consequences.

The officer approached and handed my friend a verbal warning, told him to slow down, and offered a friendly, "Enjoy the rest of your day." Keeping his excitement contained, my friend thanked the officer. At this point I'm covering my mouth so I don't laugh out loud. Why? Because the song on the radio had changed, and now I sat listening to "Oh, happy day. Jesus washed, yes, Jesus washed, he washed my sins away."

That's it! It is so easy. Jesus did the hard work on the cross, and we get to reap the benefits of his obedience. We sin, we admit it, we ask forgiveness, and we are set free. And Oh that is all the reason why we sing, "Oh happy day!" 

Dear Lord, we can't thank you enough for what you did on the cross. You bore the weight of our sin, and in its place, we have grace and forgiveness. Lord, grow us in our ability to be honest with you and ourselves. Teach our hearts to freely sing, "Oh happy day. Jesus washed, yes, Jesus washed, he washed my sins away!" 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Lessons in the Bright Lights (Part 1)

"But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:29

I love how God can speak to us through our life circumstances. I love that he is with us through everything if we are willing to listen.

Last week I was riding to Indy with a friend. He was pulled over for speeding. The officer approached our car, stated his name, and told my friend he was being pulled over for doing 73 in a 55. 
As the officer ran the driver's license and processed the necessary information in his patrol car, my friend had an ongoing conversation with himself that went something like this….
          "I couldn't have been going that fast."
          "There's no way he could have clocked me that far away."
          "He'll give me a ticket; I'm sure of it."
          "I had my cruise set at 62, and I might have been over that a little, but not 73."
My comment was, "So even if you weren't going 73 you were speeding, right?"

After a few minutes, my friend conceded that yes, he was speeding and he deserved a ticket. Case settled. He was wrong. But why did it take him so long to admit it? Because just like all of us, we don't want to be wrong. However, what made me laugh was I heard the  the radio and It is well with my soul was being played in the background.

It made me think that we cause ourselves a lot of undo stress trying to justify our wrongs. We could have instant peace if we only stopped, came face-to-face with God and admitted our mistakes and sins. He already knows. He witnessed us. We are caught redhanded, but we just can't let our pride go and admit that we again fell short. 

In today's scripture, Jesus is having a conversation with an expert in the law. The lawyer is asking what he must do to enter eternal life. The lawyer basically says to Jesus, "I know I must love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and love my neighbor as myself." The lawyer however, knows that loving his neighbor is a hard command to keep. Perhaps he is even being convicted of sins toward a brother in Christ. So, he asks for clarification on who exactly would be considered his neighbor. He asked not because he didn't' really understand, but rather because he knew what Jesus was expecting of him, and he didn't want to be held accountable! Just like my speeding friend; If he didn't admit that he knew the truth, he didn't have to deal with it.

Lord, you want us to trust you with our mistakes. There is nothing we can do today to make you love us more or less, so help us to be honest with you so that we can remain in your peace. Lord, even when life is hard or when we fail, let us be able to honestly say, "It is well with my soul." Amen

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Test Of Time

You, O Lord, know me; 
You have seen me,
and You have tested my heart toward You.
Jeremiah 12:3

Do you have one of those friendships that has stood the test of time?  You know the one I'm talking about, that friend that you see every couple of years because there are 3 hours between you and you both have busy lives.  Or the friend who lives 3 states away making it difficult to spend any length of time together.  I have a friend who lives just miles away, and has been for a long time, but our lives are busy, and they look very different from each other.  Although we have this test of separate lives and time between visits it is that kind of friendship that picks up where it left of all those years ago.  A best friend who knows you even when she doesn't know a lot about your currant affairs.  That special person who you can sit and talk with for hours, catching up, with the understanding of why it's been 4 years since you last spoke.  There are no hard feelings from the past 12 months, in which you hadn't even gotten one phone call.  It is just understood that you are there for each other, and if something tragic or very exciting happened she would be one of the first to know about it.  You know that even if there is time and miles between you that when needed she is there for you.

Our friendship with God is no different.  We have history with Him.  For some it dates all the way back to our childhood and earliest memories, for others it hasn't been that long.   But God is one of those friends who is always there when you need Him, even better,  He knows everything about you and more.  Similar to those petty arguments with your best friend from high school, or the time she stole your boyfriend, God tests our hearts, as well.  When we don't get the answer that we are looking for, when He takes too long satisfying our needs, or those times it feels like He is just not listening and we question whether He is really there at all.........these are tests to of our faithfulness to Him.  Similar to the time your friend offered up that rude comment or missed that lunch date and your friendship stayed strong..........God wants to see us steadfast in our commitment to Him.  He wants that same grace we offer to our friends.  

Dear friend, does your relationship with God stand the test of time?  When life is unfair, or your prayers seem to go unanswered, do you stay true to God?  God tests our faithfulness to see if we are steadfast in our loyalty to Him.  Our response to these tests reveals whether or not He can trust us with even bigger matters concerning His Kingdom.  If you are staying true to God keep it up!  And if you are currently in a time of testing allow it to strengthen you and grow closer to God gaining wisdom for the bigger picture, that which He plans to trust you with next.  Be that best friend, who stands the test of time!   

Friday, October 10, 2014

Growing In The Lord (Part 3)

Yesterday we ended on godliness from the 2 Peter 1:6.  It brings new meaning to Colossians 3:17 which reads: Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through Him to God the Father.  This is godliness and a person possessing this characteristic will be full of love.  Open your bibles and read again 2 Peter 1:5-8  Here we will pick up on verse 7 of that chapter.

(v. 7) Godliness leads to love for other Christians,

When we are living our lives for God we are joined to His family and the whole family of believers.  Through our godliness we join the body of Christ, and just like love for family is a strong bond, no different is our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  When our perspective shifts to that of God and our thoughts are centered on Him we can love like God.  If we allow God to be ruler of our hearts He will use His amazing love through us and we will see people differently, as He sees them.  We will develop His eyes and fall in love with our family and our actions will follow those of Christ and the strong love he offered to His brothers and sisters.  

(v. 7 cont.) and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone.

The body of Christ serves the people of the entire world, not just believers.  Growing in the body of Christ, and in our love for our family, will grow into genuine love for everyone because Christ loved everyone despite their actions and their beliefs.  Words describing genuine include authentic, true and real.  Perfect love comes from a genuine God from whom we have the power to love unconditionally, everyone we meet, if we allow Him to love through us. 

We can go all the way back to day one of our three part series on growing in God, and see that all of our actions are connected.  By handing over our thoughts and desires we can allow God to love through us.  By standing for what we believe, regardless of what suffering or ridicule it brings, makes us strong in the Lord, trusting on Him to lead our lives.  This same trust will lead to God loving through us and will change our perspective to align with His.  Growing in the Lord starts with the will to grow and when left up to the power of God, and our ability to truly seek His will and life for us, we become mature Christians.......we become Christ-like.

(v. 8)  The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear God, I want to know you!  I want to be like Christ and grow in my knowledge of You so that our relationship can flourish and produce amazing things!  Thanks for Your Word that I can learn how to grow and walk closer with You.  Be with all Christians, everywhere, so that they can grow in their love for the world and we can start loving and acting through the power of Your love flowing through us.  Help me to never forget the importance of applying these words to my life and letting them make me into a new person.  In Jesus' Name.........Amen    

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Growing In The Lord (Part 2)

Hello!  Today we will dive in right where we left off yesterday.  If you need a little refresher take a look at 2 Peter 1:5-8.  I am going to continue breaking down these verses to try and gain a little more insight into their meaning so that we can start to really claim the characteristics mentioned.  It is time to really start living the way God says we can.  Instead of just skimming over scripture thinking it would be nice to be able to live a certain way we need to understand that we have the power through the Holy Spirit to live our lives like Christ.

(v. 6) Knowing God leads to self-control.

Self-control is the ability to control one's emotions, behavior and desires in the face of external demands in order to function in society.  It is essential in behavior to achieve goals and avoid impulses and/or emotions that could prove to be negative.  How do we posses this self-control?  We must be conscious of it and do things in a way as to keep it in check often.  Putting worry and fear aside and trusting God will give us the confidence to control our actions but we must also avoid making negative choices.  To avoid those choices we must offer up our control to the will of God.  Instead of acting on impulse we must slow down and ask God what He wants from us.  We need to take our wisdom, which is given to us by the Holy Spirit, and make choices based on God's word and His commands.  We must be intentional in what we do and put aside our feelings and urges in order to stop ourselves from making poor decisions.  Most importantly rely on God to give you your self-control.  Let Him lead you by asking Him and searching His word.  Living with a new mind set that you want to please Him through your actions and self-control will help you to slow down and be conscious of your actions.  

(v. 6 cont.) Self control leads to patient endurance,

Patient endurance is the ability to withstand hardship.  It is the willingness to wait, to endure, to continue or last despite fatigue, stress or other adverse conditions.  Patience alone is accepting delays and tolerating problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.  God forgive me for the many times I become anxious while waiting on You!  It sounds like a huge task to hand over our patience to God, and through our own strength, it can't be done!  Notice that the meaning of patient endurance isn't an ability but a willingness.  We can't do it alone and God can't successfully work through us if we are always getting in His way.  So through our self-control, handing over our will and allowing God to work through us, we can start to see patient endurance.  When we can hand over our desires and or align them with God's then we are more willing to sit and wait while He is fixing our situation or working on that person we love so much.  We begin to let go of our anxiousness and our annoyances and we can stand to endure through the waiting.  It is all made possible through God!

(v. 6 cont.)  patient endurance leads to godliness.        

The last thing we will discuss today is godliness.  Possessing godliness means that one has conformed to the laws and wishes of God.  It is more than godly character, but the foundation on which godly character is built.  Godliness is the exercise or discipline that focuses upon God.  When you make decisions or choose a behavior do you first think of God or focus on what He would approve of?  Do you act in way that will please God?  These are the questions we should be conscious of and asking ourselves daily, and sometimes momentarily, when we are in the middle of making decisions and carrying out daily tasks and conversation.  Our actions should be centered on God.  Doing so means that, again, we have to hand over our personal desires.  It takes moral excellence to put God first in your thoughts and actions.  Not everyone will be tolerant of your decisions when based on God.  It takes knowing God personally to understand what He desires from you so you are able to base your actions on Him.  Self-control is needed when you lay down your will for God's.  It takes all of these characteristics to gain a personal attitude about Who God is and to live your life in response to His great love and mercy.  This personal attitude will result in actions that are pleasing to Him.  Fear of God, love of God and a desire for God, when truly applied to your life, will bring about godliness.  Doing everything with God first on your mind and living to bring glory to His name makes one a godly person. 

Dear God there is so much here to take hold of in my heart.  Please help me meditate on this one scripture throughout my day and show me the power I possess to live a life of Christ-like character.  You are my all and my everything I praise you this day for the things you have taught me and I ask you to give me the wisdom to make it a part of my life.  In Jesus' Name.......Amen       

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Growing In The Lord (Part 1)

I read 2 Peter 1:5-8 the other day and I decided to break it down and meditate on it so that I could really understand what it meant and I could better apply it and claim it in my own life.  It consists of a promise to all believers and the characters that we all have the ability to possess if we allow the word of God to change our lives.  Over the next couple of days I am going to share what I learned.  I am going to break down each sentence explaining key words that give the sentence meaning and bring understanding to what Peter was talking about.  My notes are all over the place so bear with me as I try to present this in a way that you can follow.  Please read all of 2 Peter 1:5-8

(V. 5) So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a  life of moral excellence.

First of all we need to go back and see what these promises are.  In verse 3 we will see that Peter is telling the people that, as they know Jesus better, His power will give them everything they need for living a godly life.  In verse 4 Peter states that God has promised that we can live a life that escapes decadence caused by evil desires and that we can share in His divine nature.  As believers we can live a life that overcomes our evil desires, we don't have to be ruled by them or fall to their temptation!   Then in the following scripture, that we will be discussing, Peter has listed the character traits that Jesus Christ possessed which made up His divine nature.  This is the same divine nature that we too can possess in our own lives!  Peter is telling the believers to make sure to take advantage of this promise.  He wants all believers, everywhere, to apply these promises, to cash in on this by taking on the characteristics of Christ.  

Moral excellence is when someone is willing to declare his faith even when it is unpopular or may bring on suffering.  The greek word, "arete" is described as living by and declaring one's convictions, even if unpopular.  Words mentioned in place of this greek word are: integrity, virtue and moral excellence.  For us to possess this moral excellence we have to be willing to stand by our convictions and speak up for what we believe and for the God Whom we believe in.  We need to follow His commands even when it is unpopular and withstand the ridicule and persecutions that might follow our belief.   

But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king.  He asked the chief official for permission to eat other things instead. 
Daniel 1:8

Although Daniel was in a culture that did not honor God, he still obeyed God's commands.  His witness to God outweighed any fear of punishment for turning down the royal food offered by the king.  Daniel was a man of moral excellence.  He wasn't afraid to continue following God's commands even when he could be persecuted or killed for even mentioning God's name.  You and I can posses that same moral excellence if we choose to believe that we have the power to do so.  If we would believe in God's promise to protect us and keep us under His wings we could confidently stay true to God and our convictions without fear of what punishment might result.  We can posses the characteristics of Christ and live a life that mirrors Him!  It is possible and expected that we at least try.  God will give us the power to succeed!

(V5 cont.) A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better.

To know someone is personal knowledge.  We can know facts about a person and never know him or her.  Knowing someone takes action.  There must be communication and it is something we each must do for ourselves.  For example, as a  student athletic trainer, at Purdue University,  I held many conversations with Drew Brees.  I can say that I know him.  I can tell my boys all about our conversations and the things I learned about him but they will never really know him unless they have their own conversations with him.  They can even know every stat he ever produced and all about his football career and his children's names.  They can seem to know more about him than I do, but the fact is they are just facts.  They know about him but they do not know Him personally.  

If we don't personally dig into God's word and get to know Who He is by reading, praying and praising then we won't ever know Him.  It's not enough to read our blogs or listen to someone else tell you about God, although that can add to your knowledge, you can't really get to know Him personally if you don't have your own conversations with him.  Knowing God opens the door to having the power to possess all of these beautiful characteristics mentioned in 2 Peter 1:3-5.  

Dear God, I desire a life of moral excellence.  Give me confidence today that gives me the power to trust in you completely and stay true to my convictions even when persecution or ridicule might follow.  I believe in your promises!  I know that your power is enough to help me live a life like Christ and that I am able to overcome evil desires to serve You and stay true to You.  I commit to knowing You, Lord.  Work on my heart and help me to keep my word.  In Jesus' Name......Amen       


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Use Your Time Wisely

Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

 The above scripture is warning to us. Our time on earth is limited. Our days and moments are numbered therefore we need to live wisely. The longer we walk with Jesus the more we are aware of our impact on others. Every moment has the possibility to make change in those around us. Whether we are directly impacting another through face-to-face conversation, communicating through service or being watched from afar, our actions have the opportunity to reflect Christ within us. Making the most of every opportunity is a focused, intentional life.
Today evaluate the way you spend your time. Do you make the most of every opportunity? Do you choose real relationship over interaction on a screen? Will you choose time in the Word of God over time parked before the television? Will you allow yourself to rest in the presence of God rather than push for the accomplishment of one more task? Today you will be given the opportunity to use your time wisely. The choice is ours to live wisely or just let the moments slip by.

Dear Lord,
Today I want to commit my time to you. I have moments that are unplanned, help me to use them to honor you. I have moments that are committed to someone else's agenda; Help me use these moments to bring honor to your name. In my moments of rest, allow me the peace to rest in your presence and to tune out the call of the world around me. Help me to make the most of every opportunity. Amen

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Scripture

Under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4

Whatever is on your heart or mind today let it go. Rest in the shelter of the One who loves you and is already working on your behalf. Love you, Friends!

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Pay close attention to what you hear.  The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given - and you will receive even more.
Mark 4:24

When you read the bible do you just read and move on or do you stop and take time to listen?  God uses the bible to speak to us and to show us important things for our life.  When we read His Word it is our chance to listen to Him speak directly to us.  Don't just skim through long chapters or skip over the things you already know.  God has a beautiful way of putting just the right words in front of you at just the right time.  From now on think of your bible reading as your conversation with God and take time to listen to what He is telling you.  This scripture above also relates to our prayer time.  Instead of always being the one talking make sure you are pausing and breathing in the quiet, listening to God's still small voice.  He wants to guide you and show you which path to take but he requires that we listen.  As you begin to understand more, and your perspective begins to change, God will be faithful to give you more wisdom and more direction.  But dear friend, don't just listen and let His commands fall at your feet.  Listening to God often requires action.  Part of gaining new wisdom is following His commands and doing what He asks of you.  You may not understand what God is saying or requesting but as you enter into His call you soon learn a whole lot more than you ever thought possible.  Are you ready to gain wisdom and start working for the Lord?  Then open your bible and begin a new journey with God as your tour guide.   

Friday, October 3, 2014

My Hope is in You!

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old. Psalms 24:4-6

Where is your hope today? What are you hoping for? A new job, a child, a spouse, a vacation?
Or are you excited that one day soon you will stand face to face with your savior? So often, life's circumstances overpower our vision. We begin hoping in the restoration Christ can do and forget that all of this life we are living is about Him. 
If everything were stripped away from you today, would you be able to stand knowing that having Christ alone is more than enough? 
Friends, we must fix our eyes on Christ. Keep surrendering your heart. Learn instant obedience. Allow the Spirit to bear fruit in your life. Yes, in doing so, we will receive blessings in this life time, but our hope is in the eternity set before us: Our hope is in an eternity in the presence of God almighty!  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Free From Anger and Controversey

In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
1 Timothy 2:8

God wants all of us.  He doesn't want our prayers when our minds are someplace else.  I don't know how many times I have gone to him in prayer with so many things on my mind, things that I was not happy about or people I was just downright angry with.  While words of prayer were pouring from my lips my mind wasn't even willing to listen to what He wanted to tell me.  I didn't give him a chance to speak and at the time I wasn't even willing to divert my thoughts, or make amends with the person I as in controversy with.  And while I do believe God wants us to express these feelings to Him and there is nothing wrong with crying out to Him in anger or frustration, when it comes time to worship Him, and talk to Him seeking guidance and answers, we have to put our anger aside and trust Him to lead us out of that place.  He wants us free from this anger and controversy so that we can worship Him freely praising Him with our hands held high.  We can't go to Him in worship and leave anything behind.  If we trust Him with one area of our life then we must trust Him will all of our life including that little area that harbors anger and controversy.  That too must be given up and left at His feet.  We must be able to let it go, freeing ourselves to worship and receive answers.  Clearing our minds of negative and making room for change and resolution.  

I do not have this mastered.  It isn't easy leaving behind those things that sometimes hurt me deeply, but when I don't I am not in a posture to receive all of God's blessings.  What is bothering you today?  Is there someone or something that has got you so worked up you are unable to hear God's whispering voice?  Does your worship get lost in your wondering mind, thinking of this person or that circumstance that really made you mad?  Friends, offer that anger up to God today and free yourself.  If at all possible make amends with that person who hurt you or made you angry.  Forgive them and free yourself.  Say your sorry and be forgiven.  Make the first move and move that person to wonder what is different in you.  Then head to your knees with hands lift high and worship your Holy Father.  

Dear God, take this thing that is on my mind.  I do not want to harbor anger or live with controversy stirring my thoughts. Instead I want to live in complete dependence on You and trust You with the things that hurt me or make me mad.  I come to you with an open mind.  I forgive those who hurt me and I let go of those things that hold me back from receiving your full blessings.  I love because You love.  Your love is complete and amazing.  Your love is enough and it flows through me and enables me to love those who hurt me.  Father I praise You for all that you are in my life I will praise you all day free from anger and controversy. In Jesus' name  Amen  

Related scripture: Ephesians 4:26, Matthew 5:23-24