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 Tuesday, November 30, 2021 

Lord, during this holy Advent season, as Your children reflect over the past year, we see Your hand of mercy and grace in our lives. For many, You raised them from their sick bed and restored their health. Others saw Your provision when making ends meet was uncertain and presented a struggle. For some, Your grace was more than sustained them when life’s disappointments shattered their dreams and altered their aspirations. Your Spirit comforted the brokenhearted when they released their loved ones to cross the Jordan to go to You.

Lord, with a grateful heart, today, may I, and all who have found You to be real this year, proclaim as the psalmist did thousands of years ago: “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; I will speak of Your faithfulness through all generations. I will declare that Your love stands firm forever, that You have established Your faithfulness in Heaven itself” (Psalm 89:1,2).

Lord, in all situations, where uncertainty lurks and our faith is weak, we’re so thankful You never change. You perform Your Word. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Monday, November 29, 2021

Lord, as sure as the sun rose this morning, we will be tempted to stray from You in some way today. Ephesians 6:12 describes our struggles with temptation and who we are battling—the devil and his agents. “We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood people but against persons without bodies, the evil rulers of the unseen world … satanic beings … great evil princes of darkness … huge numbers of wicked spirits …” (TLB).  Lord, keep us alert since most temptations are subtle, with no blaring horns or flashing lights identifying them as temptation to sin. These temptations may seem like nothing to worry about, may even look harmless, but we’ve seen how “harmless” activities if left unchecked and entertained can lead to destructive addictions, emotional bondages, the crippling of soul and spirit. Today, Lord, help us recognize and reject all temptations. Lord Jesus, as You defeated the devil’s temptations by the power of the Holy Spirit, prepare our hearts to stay in-tune with Your Holy Spirit to defeat the plots of the enemy that draw us away from You (James 1:14).

Thank You Jesus that Your Holy Spirit fights to keep us close to You. Amen.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Lord, how grateful we are for Your blessings we take for granted. This year, with Your breath in my lungs, I’m eager to get a head start on thanking You before the “official” Thanksgiving Day. In reality, I’ve had “Industrial Strength” thankfulness since January when You spared my life from covid’s death grip.  Lord God, my family and I cannot thank You enough for Your “Angels of mercy” You raised to combat this pandemic. My heart bursts with love, respect and honor for the brave men and women, doctors, nurses, attendants, all health care workers who tirelessly cared for me and all other covid patients fighting to live, not knowing if which breath would be their last one here on Earth. To the joy of the workers, most lived. To their heartbreak, some took their next breath in eternity. Their courage, their professionalism, their dedication—all at great personal risk—is indisputable, and beyond their call of compassion.  How they managed to care for us 15-16 hours a day, seven days a week, without complaints, demonstrates Your divine hand rests on them. They served beyond human endurance.  

God bless every health care worker today. In my heart and in my family’s hearts, they are heroes and always will be heroes. This Thanksgiving, with Your breath in my clear and healthy lungs, Lord God, I’m thankful for Your Angels of mercy.

Friends, embrace your loved ones this holiday season. We have much to give God thanks.

Blessings,

Jimmy  

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Lord, recent tragic events have put a damper on this Thanksgiving season and caused many dear folks to fear and slip into negative attitudes. The non-stop bickering and divisiveness hampers our struggles just to keep our sanity. For Christ-followers, it’s a daily battle of faith to maintain a thankful spirit. However, this battle is nothing new. The devil has waged this war against believers since the Garden. The Philippian believers, although persecuted overcame the same challenge we face. “Rejoice in the Lord always,” the apostle Paul wrote, but his wise counsel warned them victory over a negative spirit required effort and discipline on their (our) part. “Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, with prayer [and] thanksgiving, tell God what you need.” (Oh, Lord, I need Your help on this part!) “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think, meditate, and dwell about such things” (Philippians 4:4-9) That strategy still works today.

Lord, help me to follow 2 Corinthians 10:5, to “demolish arguments . . . and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Amen.  

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Friday, November 19, 2021

Lord, You said to love one another, especially others in the faith. What You failed to mention is how difficult that would be at times to love those who also belong to You.  Many brothers and sisters in Christ are . . . well, let’s say, not like me. Ephesians 4:1–3 instructs us how to fulfill Your mandate. “Be completely humble and gentle,” which we tend to be when thing go our way, What follows is more challenging. “Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” How long, Lord, must we tolerate these “patient” and “bearing” issues that push our envelop of love to the edge. Their annoying habits, their judgmental attitude and gossip, their theology that is not “woke,” Oh, what really sets me off is their outspokenness on political candidates! Sometimes their actions and words get on my last nerve. Then the Holy Spirit knocks some sense into my head. “Relax, My child, you are not alone in this effort to love others. All My children are a work in progress (Philippians 1:6) But remember, many brothers and sisters are struggling with the same issues about you.”

Lord, even when it hurts, I love how You keep me in line. Yea and Amen Lord.

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Thursday, November 18, 2021,

Lord Jesus, I don’t know why You love me unconditionally when You know all about me. Once I realized what had been a mystery to me—the impact of Your sacrifice on the cross for my sins— I put my faith in You. Although my heart wants to continually return that same unconditional love, at times I feel unworthy since I too know all about me. And sometimes its not pretty. Lord, may Your Holy Spirit’s fire burn into my spirit the reason You love me as such: You see me as completely redeemed, Your beloved child, clothed in Your righteousness. The enemy of my soul wants to keep me focused on who I was before the cross, reminding me, after all, once a leopard, always a leopard, and a leopard cannot change its spots. On the contrary, Jesus, You say, “Keep your eyes on Me. I’ll pick you up when you fall, and yes, you’ll slip occasionally, but just stay focused on who you are becoming after the cross—a spot-free, saved by grace leopard—child of God.”  

Thankful to be a spot-free child God through You, Jesus. Amen.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Lord, may I never become an “old stuffy.” We’ve seen them. When You were here with us, these “look-at-me-I’m-oh-so-pious” religious elites, harassed You every chance they got. They slammed You as a fraud and hypocrite when You dared to dine with those evil “tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:9-13).  Oh, they knew all about their religion and boasted how well they kept the rules. Sadly, in their self-righteousness, knew nothing of mercy. Looking at Your dinner companions, they only saw a group nameless low-lifes of society. You saw them as people You cared for and loved, who needed Your love and redemption. But that is Your nature, Jesus. You are all about loving people, about relationships. You look beyond our life’s history, our failures and sins, and see our potential greatness as Your follower in Your kingdom. Teach us how to “love others as You love us,” (John 13:34), and help us understand what You mean by “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

May I show mercy as Your mercy has been shown to me, and may I learn to love others as You have loved me, Jesus. Amen.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Lord, how do I cope when life is happening fast and relentlessly? This culture pulls at me from every direction. Do this. Gotta do that. The deadline is fast approaching and I’m behind. Hurried daily activities push me from spending time in Your Word, which I need to strengthen my spirit for whatever lies ahead today. How did I allow those sharp words with my spouse before I left the house irritated my spirit?  After waiting in line to drop the kids at school, I’m dumbfounded how they forgot their lunches again. My plan to spend time with You on my commute is shattered by the traffic congestion that looks more like a NASCAR race, adding to my frustration. I’m pulling what little hair I have out because things I cannot control are controlling me. Help, Lord! How do I restore peace amid the stress? Once my mind is still, Your voice whispers, “Worship Me. Praise Me for your blessings. Let your mind dwell on My goodness, things that are right, pure, lovely, excellent, noteworthy . . . And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8,9).

Lord, in my imperfection, may Your peace guard my heart and soul, as I dwell on Your goodness to me and my family. Amen.

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Monday, November 15, 2021

Lord, did You hide a great emancipating truth in the little book of Philemon on purpose? Most people if they blink twice will miss this treatise nestled between Titus and Hebrews, toward the end of the New Testament. Seems like brother Philemon, a kind and loving believer, had a rebellious “slave,” i.e., indentured servant. Onesimus ran away before paying his debts and fled to Rome to find the Apostle Paul. Paul, who was in prison, was the good friend of Philemon, and maybe Onesimus could have Paul champion his rebellion. Instead, Paul led Onesimus to faith in Christ and sent him back to Philemon with the instructions that “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me” (Philemon 1:18). Onesimus was no longer a slave to Philemon, but now a dear brother in Christ, partnering with his former “master,” actively doing his part to expand the Kingdom of God.

Aren’t we like Onesimus? I certainly was. In our carnal nature, we are rebellious against God and His righteousness. Hanging over our head is a sin debt that must be paid. But on the cross, You said “whatever sin debt (insert your name here) had, charge it to me!” Thank You, Lord, that once we put our faith in You and the work of Your cross, our sin debts are paid in full and we have a new life with You.

Because of Your mercy and grace, Jesus, I now live “debt-free.” Amen

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Friday, November 12, 2021

Lord, Your comfort and assurance found in Psalm 34:17-19 tells me You hear my prayers. Regardless how I feel, whether my spirit is soaring or mired in depression, Your hear my prayers. You see my tears falling like rain. You understand my brokenness, trapped living in this fallen world. You hear my prayers, spoken from a broken heart, You understand my brokenness, trapped living in this broken world. Oh, Lord, may I keep my heart pure before You and keep me from letting any unresolved or unrepentant sins hinder my prayers. Show me how to pray faithfully for my family, especially for my prodigal children. Give me wisdom to follow Your Holy Spirit to draw closer to You, so You will equip me to influence others to seek You. And may my faith not waver, knowing You hear my prayers, and by Your grace, I will accept Your answer according to Your will.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for caring for me and hearing my prayers. Amen.

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