“But may those who love the Lord be like the sun when it rises in all its brightness.”
— Judges 5:31 (GW)

God Gives Us Choices     

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Verses From the Bible to Guide Us Through the Week

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MondayGenesis 2:16-17 (NIV) “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.’”

MEDITATION: The Lord provided paradise to Adam, the first man, and gave him a job to do: to tend the garden. He also gave Adam a choice: He could follow God’s commands and remain in the garden, or he could rebel against God and lose paradise. Adam, through Eve, rebelled against God’s law, setting up man’s estrangement from God. To reconcile man, God sent His Son to be our Savior.

PRAYER: O Lord, how grievous it must have been to see how quickly your proudest creation — man, made in your image — rebelled against your beneficial rule. Yet, without free choice, our obedience would be forced. To complete the gift of life, You let us reject You. Yet, in your love and mercy, You provided a way to reconcile the world to yourself, through your Son. Thank you, magnificent Lord. In His Name. Amen

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Tuesday — Matthew 7:13 (NASB) “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”

MEDITATION: There are two life choices: obey God and enter the narrow gate or disobey God and enter the wide gate. The narrow gate is more difficult, and fewer people will find it, because it requires us to give our lives to God and turn from our natural, worldly ways. But if we do follow God, we will reap the reward of eternal life.

PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, Your Son Jesus Christ taught us to seek the life of eternal reward by entering the narrow gate, yet it can be so difficult to follow You. Our worldly hearts are tugged toward the wide path. By staying in prayer to You (1 Thess. 5:17), we can overcome the world as Jesus has (John 16:33). In Jesus’ Name we lift our prayer. Amen

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WednesdayDeuteronomy 30:19 (ESV) “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.”

MEDITATION: Once again, the Lord sets up a choice for man: he can choose God and have the blessings of life and companionship with God or he can reject God and lose the blessings that God offers. God does not compel man to choose Him. God will call to man, but, in the end, He will let man choose his fate.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You have shown such mercy toward us, when we deserve only punishment. Our hearts are dark, our thoughts are evil, our actions are self-serving and harmful to others. You have been so clear in giving us choices, that obeying your commands leads to life and disobedience leads to death. Thank you for showing us mercy and patience as so often we make the wrong choice. In Him. Amen

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Thursday Romans 6:23 (NLT) “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 10:13 (HCSB) “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

MEDITATION: Once again, God gives us a choice. It is a choice between everything and nothing, life and death, obedience and rebellion. The choice and payoff are always the same: If we choose to obey God, we will be blessed and have life; if we choose to reject him, we will lose the blessing and life. What amazing love, to let us choose — even to reject him! But even more amazing is that the Creator of the universe promises to give life to all — everyone — who chooses to obey. 

PRAYER: O Merciful Father, thank you for providing a way out of the dilemma we’ve created for ourselves. You sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin (for my sin). He who was without sin took on my sin and the nails meant for me. When He died on the Cross, He said, “It is finished.” Jesus had overcome the sin of the world. Thank you! Loving Jesus. Amen

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FridayJoshua 24:15 (GW) “If you don’t want to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. … My family and I will still serve the Lord.”

MEDITATION: At some point, we all have to make a choice in relation to those around us — our families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Unfortunately, our closest family members can make an opposite choice from ours. If we choose life, they might choose to reject the free gift. The choice to obey God is an individual choice. It is not made on our behalf by anyone, not even a parent. It is ours, and it is part of our individual reaction to the reality that is Jesus Christ.IMG_0055

PRAYER: O Lord, our human history is filled with rebellion against your commandments. We are grateful that You allowed the Bible to report that sinful history so that we can see our need for a Savior, that only Jesus can save us from the death we deserve. Lord, forgive us when we fail to honor You and bring us back into your fold. In the Good Shepherd’s Name. Amen

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Saturday John 15:16 (MSG) “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.”

MEDITATION: One of the greatest traits of the God we worship is that our God is an active God, one who searches for us, as He demonstrated in the garden after Adam and Eve bit into the forbidden fruit. While He lets us choose whether we want to follow him, He doesn’t sit back and wonder if we’ll find him. He lets us know where He is and makes it very clear He will seek us out.

PRAYER: Dear Father God, thank You that You are a God who comes looking for us. You love us so much that You will forgive us for our sins and take us back to your heart. Send your Holy Spirit to live in our hearts that Your love may shine through the cracks in our lives so that it may illuminate a fallen world in desperate need of Jesus’ love. Amen

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Sunday  Revelations 22:17 (NCV) “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who hears this say, ‘Come!’ Let whoever is thirsty come; whoever wishes may have the water of life as a free gift.”

MEDITATION: God completes the circle of creation. In the beginning of man’s life on earth, God places Adam and Eve in the garden and tells them to multiply and help him govern the planet. He lets them choose their destiny. When He returns, He will gather his own and take them to the New Earth, which will be paradise forever. Those whom He gathers will be those who have chosen to follow him.

PRAYER: O Lord, our Father, there are so many ways You tell us in your Word of your love and your reaching out to us. Build the faith within us to place our trust in You and your promises. Without the assurance of Jesus’ love, our lives are barely more than a flicker of candlelight. With his love, we face a joyful eternity in your embrace. Thank you! In Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen

 

 

 

Finding Strength

 

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“And it shall come to pass, that everything that lives, which moves, wherever the rivers shall come, shall live.” Ezekiel 47:9 (NKJV)

Our Strength Comes From the Lord

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Verses From the Bible to Guide Us Through the Week

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This week, meditate each day on the beauty of the day’s verse. We’ve culled from a variety of Bible versions to give a glimpse into the richness of God’s word. The Western world is blessed to have available God’s word in many translations for daily instruction. You might find a version that you’d like to learn more about, or you might prefer to stay with the version of your personal Bible. God speaks to us in many ways. Our job is to listen … and obey.

MONDAY — Philippians 4:13 (NLT) “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

 TUESDAY — Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV) “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”

WEDNESDAY — John 15:5 (GW) “I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me.”

THURSDAY — Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV) “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

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FRIDAY — Nehemiah 8:10 (NCV) “Don’t be sad, because the joy of the LORD will make you strong.”

SATURDAY — 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NASB) “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

SUNDAY — Isaiah 40:30-31 (MSG) “For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.”

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, as we meditate each day on Your Word, which tells us that You, Lord, and You alone, are our source of strength, we pray that You will lift our hearts. Create within us a desire to soak up Your light and let it shine through our broken lives to illuminate a world hungry for Truth. In Jesus’ Name. Amen