Why Chasing after Riches Will Make You Tired

2 minue read.

Daily Reading: Joshua 11-12 GW; Psalms 149 GW; Proverbs 23 GW

More money means more problems.

Learn contentment instead of chasing after riches.  Money is a nasty god.  If you’re worshipping the almighty dollar, you’ll never find satisfaction.  Someone will always have a nicer car, bigger house, and larger paycheck.  The more money you have, the more you have to manage.  Not one dime will enter into the next life with you, but it will rob you of your life here on earth.

People on their death beds don’t wish they’d worked more hours or had more money.  Richard B. Mellon, multimillionaire, president of Alcoa’s last words reflect what is truly important: “Last tag.”  Mellon and his brother, Andrew, had an ongoing game of tag all their lives.  On his deathbed, he didn’t talk about money.  No, he tagged his brother “It” one last time. If you’re going to expend energy, use it wisely.

Stop the madness.

Choose today to stop chasing money.  As long as you have enough, you don’t need more.

“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8-9 NIV)

Money tempts you to disown God.  Too much wealth tricks you into believing you don’t need God.  Not enough cash causes you to steal, dishonoring God.  All you need is enough, not too much, not too little.  Becoming satisfied with enough will help you live life to the fullest.  Enjoying the bounty God gives you is far more satisfactory than chasing after riches.

Don’t exhaust yourself trying to get more.  Learn to enjoy what you already have.  Invest your time in people, not money.

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Lord, thank You for providing enough for us.  Living in America, we have plenty.  Forgive us for wasting our time and energy trying to create more wealth for ourselves.  Help us learn contentment.  Your provision is enough; we don’t need more than what You give.  Help us cherish what we already have, not yearning for what we don’t need.  Today, let us expend our energy on loving You, loving others.  In You, we can do all things.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Are you worshipping God or money?

What Will Make You Pray for the Sun and Moon to Stand Still?

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Joshua 9-10 GW; Proverbs 22 GW

Imminent battle causes bold prayers.

Joshua and the Israelites were fighting the Amorites.  All of the Amorite Kings united to fight the men of Gibeon.  The Gibeonites asked Joshua for protection.  Knowing victory only comes through the Lord, Joshua prayed a bold prayer.  God used the battle to show His mighty power:

“The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!” (Joshua 10:13-14 NIV)

When God is on your side, anything is possible.  Joshua was a faithful servant and leader.  He dedicated his life to serving the Lord:

“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NIV)

Deciding who you choose to serve impacts your victory.  Our biggest battles are against ourselves.  We have to choose daily if we’re going to serve our flesh or if God will come first.  Our struggles differ from those of the Old Testament, but they still require God to find victory.

Choose wisely.

God is the best ally of all.  Choose Him today.  Fight your battles with God at the lead.   Communing with your Creator is the path to victory.  Spend time reading His word today.   Pray and seek His advice on Your life.  Ask Him for a sign to know what you are to do.  God made the sun stand still for Joshua; He can work miracles in your life too.   God listens to us when we talk.  Turn to Him today.

Face your battles with God.  Watch has He unexpectedly brings victory.  Let His mighty power shine.

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Lord, we are grateful You are our ally.  Forgive us for seeking victory any other way.  Today, as we face our battles, strengthen us.  Just as you amazed Joshua and the Israelites, surprise us.  As we spend time reading Your word, refresh and renew our spirit.  In Your mercy, hear our prayers.  Guide and direct us today as only You can.  Work miracles where we need them.  Bring us hope in the storm.  In all things, the glory is Yours.  IJNIP.  Amen

Question for reflection

What battle do you need God’s help with today?

God, Weighing Your Heart, Will Make You Change Your Mind

2 minute read.


Daily Reading: Joshua 8 GW; Proverbs 21 GW; Psalms 33 GW

God’s relationship is a heart relationship.

In life, we have different types of relationships, including with ourselves.  Our relationship with God is internal.  Where people look at the outside, God looks at the inside.  What that means is His Holy Spirit lives within us, prompting us on our journey.  What we think is right isn’t always right.  Traveling with God means being alert to His notifications.

Applications on our cell phones, known as apps, all come with notifications.  If you use a water drinking app, it will tell you when you need to drink water.  My Fitbit app reminds me every hour to get up and move.  Financial apps notify you about financial things, food apps about food things, and sports apps about sports things.  If we think of our relationship with God in terms of an app, His promptings are the notifications He sends when we’re heading in the wrong direction.

Pay attention to God’s notifications.

If you’re like me, you silence the notifications on your phone.  They drive me insane.  All of my close friends know my phone is constantly on “Do not Disturb.”  I refuse to let the constant buzzing from a million different apps distract me.  Now, the first thing I do when downloading an app is turn off the notifications.  But I don’t turn off God’s.

God’s promptings are internal notifications that what you’re doing isn’t right.  Peace isn’t present; instead, your heart feels unsettled.  Verbalizing the feeling is difficult; it’s knowing that what you’re about to do, you shouldn’t do.  Full transparency, I’ve pushed through the unsettled feelings before; I regret it when I do.  Now, I try to wait for God’s peace to transcend before I act, then I know I’m doing the right thing.

Don’t ignore God’s notifications.  When you feel a prompting to change your mind, change it.  God’s way is always the best.

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Lord, thank You for Your constant presence in our life.  Forgive us for turning off Your notifications.  Instead, let Your notifications always come through.  Don’t let us ignore them, but quickly respond when we receive one.  When we’re heading in the wrong direction, correct our course quickly.  Increase our sensitivity to Your promptings.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Have you missed a notification from God lately?

How Wine and Liquor’s Influence Will Make You Unwise

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Joshua 6-7 GW; Proverbs 20 GW

Alcohol inhibits thinking.

In short, alcohol blocks communication between brain cells (called neurons).  The result of neurons not communicating is impulsive behavior, slurred speech, poor memory, and slowed reflexes.  No one is immune to the effects of alcohol.  Bodyweight and height will affect how quickly alcohol works in your system.  Everyone is susceptible to its lure.

Jesus’s first miracle was turning water into wine (John 2:1-11 NIV).  As a lifelong Christ-follower, I’ve met people who believe we’re not allowed to drink at all and others who think differently.  Deciding how alcohol fits into your life is a personal decision. 

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful.  “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV)

Studies have shown drinking a glass of wine has health benefits.  But alcohol is a slippery slope; too much of a good thing is no longer good.  And drinking is hard to moderate because the more you drink, the less your brain cells talk to each other.  The results of over-indulgence are never pretty.

Don’t let alcohol enslave you.

If alcohol is causing you problems, don’t drink.  Find support groups through Alcoholics Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery to help you cope with the disease.  Besides affecting brain communication, our bodies become physically dependent on alcohol if we abuse it.  If you feel enslaved to drink, it’s time to get help.  

Depend on Jesus, not alcohol.

Faith in Jesus helps you overcome any addiction.  Give control of your life to Jesus.  Talk to Him about your relationship with alcohol.  Pray about what He wants you to do.  Seek His wisdom, find His answers.  Surround yourself with people who will help you accomplish your goals.  

Don’t let alcohol steal your joy.  Become wise by seeking Jesus.  Let Him lead you.

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Lord, thank You for Your wisdom and direction.  Forgive us for not depending on You more.  Today, let us have an honest conversation with You about the role of alcohol in our lives.  Help us live a life of moderation, enslaved only to You.  If anything is taking Your place in our lives, remove it from us.  Lead us today on the path You want us to take.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What type of relationship do you have with alcohol?

Seeking to Understand Will Make You Find Good Things

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Joshua 3-5 GW; Proverbs 19 GW

Gain understanding, gain insight.

In today’s world, people force their plans more than they listen.  Instead of taking time to understand what the other person is saying, they assume they already know.  We all think we know what other people are thinking, but we don’t.  God is the only one who knows people’s thoughts; we’re not God.

Stop assuming; seek understanding.

To understand someone else’s point of view, you have to listen to them.  Instead of talking, give others the floor.  Ask questions that will provide you with answers.  Not close-ended questions, those require one-word responses: yes, no, maybe.  Use open-ended questions to get a more in-depth response:

  • Why did you make that decision?
  • What was the purpose of that action?
  • How would you describe your experience in that situation?
  • Describe what you were feeling at that moment?
  • Tell me more about your history?

Open-ended questions begin with these words: why, what, how, describe, tell me.  They require the person to give thought to their answers.  And they need you to listen.

Jesus questioned.

Jesus was the Master of questioning.  He asked over 300 questions in the Gospels. Even though He already knew the answers, His questions help us grow.

Jesus’s questions help us transform.  We become more aware of the condition of our hearts when we answer His questions.  Jesus helps us understand our thought processes with the inquiries He makes.  

As we become more like Jesus, we’ll ask more questions.  Our inquiries will help reveal people’s hearts.  The more we understand, the better we can love. Good things come to those who ask the right questions.

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Lord, how much we love You.  Thank You for helping us understand our hearts better with the questions Jesus asks.  Forgive us for forcing our agenda on others.  Help us today to ask more questions and truly listen to the responses.  As we gain understanding about ourselves and others, help us love better.  Let us put aside our assumptions, remind us we don’t know what other people are thinking.  If we don’t seek to understand, we never will.  Help us gain clarity today instead of forcing our agenda.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Who do you need to seek to understand today?

Why Following Wrong Advice Will Make You Have Regrets

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Psalms 1 GW; Joshua 12 GW; Proverbs 18 GW

Bad advice equals regret.

Just because someone gives you advice doesn’t mean you should take it.  When I was growing up, my Mom had a saying for everything.  When I wanted to follow bad advice, she’d say the same thing.  “I suppose if they told you to jump off a bridge, you’d do that too.”  Her meaning was clear; just because they’re doing it doesn’t mean you should.

One thing we have to keep in mind, we’re all wicked.   Each one of us is a sinner in need of Jesus.  People are biased.  In other words, “prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.”  Parents favor their children.  Spouses show bias to their partners.  Bosses have favorite employees.  Friends lean towards their friends.   Part of the human condition has natural preferences for people, places, and things.  We just do.

But God doesn’t.

God loves all of us equally.  When we seek His advice, bias doesn’t exist.   God’s counsel is blessed.

Seek divine counsel.

God’s advice is the best.  In the pages of scripture, you will find all you need to navigate any situation.  Healthy relationships are crucial to living life to the fullest.  The Bible is the best place to look for self-help.  When you read the ten commandments, you realize they are about relationships.  The first five tell you how to love God; the last five tell you how to love people.  Our greatest command is to love God and others.  Following God’s advice will lead to a blessed life for you.

Seek God’s advice.  Ask for discernment—filter human advice through the lens of scripture.  Let God have the final say.

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Lord, thank you for giving us the scriptures, our manual for life.  Forgive us for seeking worldly advice instead of your advice.  Help us today become more discerning.  Remind us people’s motives aren’t pure, but Yours is.  When temptation to follow lousy advice rises, help us overcome.  In all things, let us follow You.  Help us today to make good decisions by following wise advice.  Let blessings reign upon us as we take steps to become more like Christ.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What bad advice have you taken lately?

Finding Joy in the Ordinary Will Make You Light-Hearted

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 33-34 GW; Proverbs 17 GW

Defeat depression with joy.

Our constantly connected world impacts our thinking.  Numbers scrolling across the screen reporting the number of deaths in the latest incident are hard to escape.  Unemployment, mental illness, disease, relationships,  political issues, the list goes on about what sucks the life from you.  Fighting the constant barrage of bad news is exhausting for everyone.  Depression is hard to battle.

But hope exists.

You can have a joyful heart.  Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, tells us how:

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 15:16-18 NIV)

Notice, Paul doesn’t say “for” all circumstances; he says “in,” big difference.  We all have crappy situations in our lives.  Not “for,” “in.” Thank God for people and things “in” those times that help you get through them.  When my nephew died, I didn’t thank God for the event; but I did thank Him for the people who helped get through it.  When you look for God “in” whatever circumstance you’re dealing with today, You will find Him.  Joy comes through gratitude.

Thank God for the ordinary.

True joy comes from appreciating what you already have.  Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, thank God for what you do have.  One way I “pray continually” is by thanking God for the ordinary.  I recognize, living in America means I live in a First World country.  We have running water, food, homes, something many people around the world don’t have.  Therefore, I thank God when I brush my teeth, eat a meal or lay my head on my pillow.  Ordinary things to me, but for many people, not so common.

Try gratitude today.  Thank God for what you already have.  Let God make your heart joyful.

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Thank You, God, for today.  Forgive us for taking You for granted and for letting the world affect the condition of our hearts.  We’re grateful for the air we breathe.  Each intake fills us with new life.  As we exhale, let whatever is causing us angst leave us.  Remind us today to thank You for the ordinary. Help us pray continuously by thanking You.  As we look to You, fill our hearts with joy.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What ordinary thing can you thank God for today?

How God’s Plans Will Make You Change Direction in Life

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 32 GW; Proverbs 16 GW

When God navigates, u-turns happen.

Driving down the road, you hit a pothole and get a flat tire.  Wherever you were going, you aren’t going to make it on time.  Frustration and anger boil up inside of you.  Why God?  Why now?  

Whether it’s an actual flat tire or some other type of unexpected wrench thrown into your day, nothing ever goes as planned.  Ask any bride about their wedding day.  If they’re honest, they’ll tell you all the things that went wrong; things always do.

Only God knows the answer to why things happen.  As cruise director, God knows where He’s taking you.  He also knows what He’ll need to do to get you where you’re going.

Each of us has a purpose beyond having faith in Jesus.  Our lives interconnect with those around us.  Our mission is to love God, love others.  Whoever God surrounds you with today is who He wants you to love.  Sometimes, to get us where He wants us, He uses flat tires.

Instead of dreading the flat tires in life, you’ll recognize it’s God directing your steps.

Look for God winks.

My friend’s momma has a saying for the times when God redirects our steps.  She calls them “God winks.”  Moments in life when you know God has done something.  Usually, the event is something good.  The thing about life with God is identifying the good from the bad.  Many people consider a flat tire bad.  However, if that minor delay saved you from a significant car accident, it becomes good.  Or, if the roadside stop causes you to meet a new friend or help someone else in need, it’s not so awful.

We make our plans, but God guides our steps.  Look for God winks.  Allow God to make u-turns in your life.

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Lord, how glad we are You’re in control.  Thank You for giving each of us purpose.  Forgive us for fighting against the direction You want to take us.  Today Lord, we want you to guide us.  If a u-turn is necessary, that’s fine.  We want what You want for us, God.  Direct our steps, lead us on our journey, help us become more like Christ today.  All glory is Yours.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

Have you experienced a God wink lately?

God Recording Your Days Will Make You Wonder How

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 31 GW; Proverbs 15 GW; Psalms 139 GW

God already knows the days of your life.

How is that possible?  Our human minds can’t comprehend this thought.  God’s sovereignty in our lives is more than we can grasp.  Yet, not only does God know what we will do, He’s already recorded it in your memoir.  God knows the day you were born, AND the day you will die.  He also knows everything in between.

When you fell and scraped your knee as a child, God knew.  Your first heartbreak, God knows both sides of the story.  What jobs you will have, if and who you will marry, where you will live, all things known by God before you were ever born.  How can He possibly know?

No one on earth can answer that question.  Our humanness disqualifies us from understanding God’s ways.  Faith means believing in what you can’t see and what you don’t understand.  God makes the sunrise and set.  The birds chirp because of the breath He gives them.  God is the Creator of all; He knows all.  From beginning to end, God knows the whole story.

God knows your choice.

Whether you choose to follow Jesus or not, God already knows the answer.  He gives us room to make our own choices.  God’s heart grieves when we turn from Him, but only with free will can we truly love.  Forcing someone to have deep affection for you isn’t deep affection; it’s tyranny.  God isn’t a tyrant.  He is a loving Father who wants the best for His children.

We don’t have to understand all of God’s ways to have faith in Him.  We just have to trust in His plan for our lives.  Let Him write your story.  Follow His lead.  When you do, you’ll find your purpose.

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Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for writing our story.  Thank You for knowing us before we were born.  Forgive us the times we falsely think we’re in control.  Thank You for reminding us of Your sovereignty.  Help us meditate on this verse today.  Speak to our soul as we think about the books You’ve written for each of us.  Since You know each day before we live it, guide us on the path You would have us take.  In all things, the glory is Yours.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

How does God knowing your days before they happen make you wonder?

How a Short Temper Will Make You Stupid

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Deuteronomy 29-30 GW; Proverbs 14 GW

Short tempers breed stupidity.

Flying off the handle over a situation has consequences.  Anger is a violent emotion, often compared to an erupting volcano.  The surge of emotions comes quickly from deep within the soul.   Words become molten lava, pouring from our mouths with no forethought.  In an instant, damage occurs that can take years to repair, if ever.

Take it from someone who knows; short tempers cause nothing but trouble.

At 52 years old, I’ve worked relentlessly on my anger issues.  They stem from my father’s death at 16.  Anger is how you dealt with things in my childhood home; a go-to emotion we all knew well.  Over the years, I’ve gotten myself in more trouble with my temper than any other way.

But then God.

God’s spirit within me calms the storm.  Through Him, I find patience.  If I’m facing a situation that I know will infuriate me, I pray.  Asking God for extra grace is a common prayer I utter.  Seeking God helps me lose my attitude and gain His.  Great understanding comes when we place our trust in Jesus.

More of God, less of you.

One way to avoid stupidity is to ask God for more of Him, less of you.  Acknowledge that without Him, your emotions can get the best of you.  But with God, He will give you what you need to temper your responses.  Instead of flying off of the handle, you can become a person of great understanding.

Seek God first in all things.  When faced with a situation that angers you, ask God to take control of your mouth AND your emotions.  Trust Him in the moment.  Watch as God uses the opportunity for His glory.

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Lord God, how grateful we are for you.  You are long-suffering for us.  Each day, you wait patiently for us to turn to You.  Some days we do, some days we don’t.  Forgive us for the times we turn from you, relying on our strength instead of Yours.  Today, let us seek You.  Whatever situation we’re facing, fill us with Your spirit.  Give us Your grace, Your mercy, Your strength—more of You, less of us.  With You, we can become people of great understanding and patience.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

When has a short fuse made you stupid?