July 23 – A Root of Bitterness

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:14-15

Bitterness is an insidious sin. It operates beneath the surface of your soul, spreading a root system of sickness and death, both physically and spiritually. Often beginning with an offense or hurt from a close friend that goes unchecked and unforgiven, BITTERNESS creates a cloud of discouragement and sorrow.

Here are some suggestions on how to deal with bitterness. If you know without a doubt YOU are free from all traces of this emotion, you may know someone else you could help with this information.

1) List ways the person has offended you.

2) Consider and list your own faults.

3) List things for which God has forgiven you.

4) View the person as a tool in the hand of God for your own maturing.

5) Ask God to forgive you for this bitterness.

6) Go to the person and ask his forgiveness.

7) Actually forgive the person by releasing him from any further responsibility toward you, and release the invisible grip you have on him.

PRAY: “Father, help me to see my brother and sister through Your forgiving eyes. Amen.”


July 22 – From Wimp to Warrior

“And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Judges 6:15

Gideon was just an ordinary man when God called him to the great task of leading Israel to conquer the Midianites. Although God called him a “mighty warrior,” Gideon felt anything but that and resisted the call. God dealt with Gideon, however, and he then experienced a great military victory with just 300 men. Years later, Gideon is mentioned in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11. So how did Gideon go from wimp to warrior in one day?

1) Go in the strength you have. Gideon’s first response was “BUT God…” so the angel of the Lord said, “Go in the strength YOU have… and the LORD will be with you!” Obedience to God is progressive…you take the first step…He takes the next.

2) Release something you consider yours. Gideon brought an offering and received his sign: fire from a rock–a revelation! God will give you what you NEED when you give what you HAVE.

3) Tear down the altars of past idols (Baal). That is anything that has higher priority than God in your life; e.g., compulsive behavior, unforgiveness.
4) Build an altar–a place of sacrifice, a place to meet God in spirit and in truth, a place of worship.

PRAY “Father, help me to march forward as a mighty warrior to do Your will. Amen.”

July 21 – Committed or Devoted?

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” Daniel 1:8a

The cruel, vicious, barbaric King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem and carried away the king and some young Hebrew boys, among whom was Daniel. Daniel had been taught from an early age to FEAR the Lord and keep His commandments. It took more than guts or commitment to stay true to his faith in God. . . Daniel was DEVOTED.

“Commitment” means “to obligate or pledge oneself through an act of the will” or HEAD. “Devotion” means “to set apart exclusively” and implies a deeper emotion or decision from the HEART. It comes from the Hebrew word “cherem” meaning “complete separation, being cut off from common use and given wholly to God without the right of recall or change.”

How deep is YOUR loyalty to God? Will your devotion keep you true when tempted by the world or when tried by disappointments and sickness? Is yours a self-centered or a Christ-centered religion? Only a prayerful Daniel could survive the lions’ den.

Seek to know Christ as both PRIEST and KING. He is not only loving and kind, but also omniscient and omnipotent. He is not only merciful and full of compassion, but also disciplined and orderly. He loves you and wants to meet your needs today.

PRAY: “Father, my desire is to die to selfish thoughts and ambitions which can prevent total devotion to You.  Amen.”

July 20 – The Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy one is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

Having a “FEAR” of the Lord means to have reverence and respect for God. Many people today do not fear God simply because they do not believe that God even exists. They do not obey God’s law because they do not believe there are consequences for disobedience.

It is sad when people have enough fear of the IRS to pay taxes, but not enough to pay tithes—or enough fear of the highway patrol to obey the speed limit, but not enough to stay on the road of righteousness—or enough fear of their employer to get to work on time, but not enough fear of God to attend church regularly.

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” (Proverbs 6:13a) Have you been FEARING all the wrong things—things like failure, people, death, the future? “The FEAR of the Lord” adds length to life. (Proverbs 10:27) Humility and “the FEAR of the Lord” bring wealth and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4) It is God, your Creator, who breathes life into man and keeps the delicate balance of the world in place. People ought to FEAR Him!

Joshua’s final words were: “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth . . .” (Joshua 24: 14a) Walk in awesome reverence toward your God, and teach your children to do the same.

PRAY: “Oh Lord, help me to reject all earthly fear and place my fear and trust in You. I want to grow in Your wisdom and develop a closer daily walk with You. Amen.”

July 19 – How to Miss a Miracle

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”  Hebrews 3:12

Unbelief is sin. The deceitfulness of sin will harden your heart. (See Hebrews 3:13.) Then you will miss a miracle. It is as simple as that.

The disciples witnessed the miracle feeding of the multitude by Jesus, as recorded in Mark 6 but, later, when they were rowing their boat in a storm and He appeared walking upon the sea, they were “sore amazed in themselves beyond measure!” They had missed the point of the previous miracle. Verse 5 says they “wondered” at the sight, “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” (Verse 52) They missed the spiritual significance of what Jesus had done and became spectators.

God wants you to be a participator in His miracle blessings. Jesus said, in John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”  Do not be faithless. Do not operate in unbelief. Rather, as Oral Roberts would say, ‘EXPECT A MIRACLE!”

PRAY: “Dear God, forgive me for my unbelief. Put within me a joyful expectation that You have everything under control. I choose this day to put my full trust in You.  Amen.”

July 18 – Five Principles of Faith

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works then these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” John 14:12

1) BE MOTIVATED BY COMPASSION. Every time Jesus felt “compassion” for the people, miracles followed. Your action toward the needs of others engages the supernatural hand of God. (Mark 6:34)

2) LISTEN TO THE FATHER–NOT THE CROWD.  Man’s solution is reasonable; God’s solution is miraculous. The disciples wanted to send the people away; Jesus wanted to feed them. (Mark 6:36) Ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

3) MIRACLES OCCUR THROUGH YOUR INADEQUACY. GOD is a Creator and Multiplier. He loves to take things that are weak or small and make them great. Just give Him what you have. (Mark 6:37)

4) ACT ON GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS PRECEDING THE MIRACLE. God always gives you something natural to do first. Before feeding the multitudes, Jesus had the disciples seat and organize them, and that took some time. Be patient, but ACT. (Mark 6:39,40)

5) MIRACLES COME AT THE HANDS OF DISCIPLES. After Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes, He gave them into the hands of the disciples for distribution. Further, Jesus said, “…The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils….” (Matthew 10:7b-8a)

PRAY:  “Father, thank You for using me as Your partner in miracles. Amen.”

July 16 – A Messenger of Reconciliation

“…and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” II Corinthians 5:18

If ever there was a time when the “ministry of reconciliation” was needed, it is TODAY! This is a day where there is division between God and man, husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, churches and church members. To be “reconciled” to God means to come back into right relationship with Him and to receive His favor.

Once you yourself have been “reconciled” to God, you are called to be an “ambassador for Christ” (Verse 20) and to relay the Good News to your neighbors; it is the Good News of God’s love and desire to freely grant forgiveness and eternal life to everyone who calls upon Him in faith, believing. Today, you live in a “window of opportunity” where God’s grace is freely given to all who ask. This is GOOD NEWS!

In Luke 4:18, Jesus introduced His early ministry by reading a selected passage from Isaiah 61:1-2. It speaks of the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel to heal, save, and deliver. Jesus actually stopped reading in the middle of a verse…intentionally stopping short of the words that spoke of God’s coming vengeance and judgment. TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION… not judgment. That is important news for everyone to hear. You are God’s messenger of reconciliation to share this Good News with others. Be faithful!

PRAY: “God, thank You for Your love and forgiveness. Help me to boldly proclaim to others how they can be restored. Amen.”