MondayYou were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.Ephesians 4:8New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… Before and after — that’s the story of grace. “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” If we could only fully grasp what we so easily sing then life would be filled with more grace and our churches with more confident servants of God. MY PRAYER… Lord God Almighty, by your grace I know today that I stand before you welcomed into your presence and received as a beloved child. Thank you for rescuing me from all the traps of the darkness and bringing me into your light. Guide my heart and my feet so they will walk your path and show forth your light. Through Jesus I pray. Amen. TuesdayDo nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.Philippians 2:3-4New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… Do you remember one of the earliest questions in the Bible? “Where is your brother Abel?” To which Cain responded: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Paul’s answer is a clear and undeniable yes! We must look to the interest of others and not just our own. MY PRAYER… Father, teach me to love your family as you do. I get so caught up and distracted with my own world and my own problems that I forget to notice those who are hurting. Help me to grow more aware and more attune to those needs so you may minister through me. Through Jesus I pray. Amen. WednesdayDo not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.Ephesians 4:29New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… The goal in Christian communication is not merely clarity, but encouragment based on what the needs of the other person are. MY PRAYER… Tender Shepherd, give me a heart that is pure so that my words may be pure. Give me a heart that is kind so that my words may be kind. Give me a heart that is full of joy and encouragement so that I may share these with those you bring to my path and with whom I share conversation. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. ThursdayRejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains.Joel 2:23New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… “The prayers go up and the blessings come down…” The words to this children’s song are only half right, because God sends his blessings many times even when we don’t pray. But with the special smell that comes with a drought-breaking rain, God loves the aroma of his children’s joy, especially when he is the source of its delight! MY PRAYER… Holy God and Tender Father, you are my great delight. When all others fail, you are still God. You are a rock and fortress, you are a tender shepherd, and you are a solid mountain that cannot be shaken. Your blessings and grace shower upon me and fill me with joy. I can’t wait for the day I get to see you face to face and delight in your presence. Until then, I will see you faith to face and rejoice in anticipation. Through Jesus I pray. Amen. FridayMay the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.2 Corinthians 13:14New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… I have a friend in Jesus who has taught me the power of blessings. I can’t think of a better one! Grace, love and fellowship rooted in the eternal, sacrificial, and gracious nature of our God, and we share it with God’s children all around the world. MY PRAYER… Father, I am thinking of several precious friends who need the richness of this blessing to fall upon them. Please bless them. In Jesus name. Amen. SaturdayAccept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.Romans 15:7New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… I hate racism and exclusivity. But my loathing does not even approach God’s revulsion at these things. On the other hand, we can anticipate the choir of heaven if we will accept one another in Jesus and not let race, language, culture, or suspicion keep us from loving each other as we have already been loved by the Savior. MY PRAYER… Holy and Righteous Father, I pray that we will let your Spirit and your grace help us tear down any wall that divides your people based on race, culture, or privilege. Teach us, teach me, to love all people the way you do. Through Jesus I pray. Amen. SundayWe also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.Romans 5:3-4New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… I remember the old Corrie ten Boom line, “Thank God for the fleas.” The fleas kept the German soldiers out of the barracks in the concentration camp where she was imprisoned. This allowed her to minister and visit with those who were being persecuted. There she could show and share Jesus. MY PRAYER… Mighty God, I confess that I get impatient and frustrated with difficulty, pain, and suffering. Please give me more compassion and a better listening ear, so that I may bless those who need love and grace. Through Jesus I ask it. Amen.