Latest GOOD NEWS DAILY / may 28

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019
TODAY’S LITTLE LETTER FROM LARA

Dear friend,

If you think I spend hours and hours praying each and every time I write another GOOD NEWS DAILY, outlining what I will write, coming up with a theme and agenda, devising a plan, debating which direction to go, and what to forego, think again.

I spend time with the Lord day and night, I pray to Him constantly, I read the Bible daily oftentimes multiple times during the day, and I am continually seeking the Lord and listening for His voice, and I love to praise and worship Him, but when it comes to writing GOOD NEWS DAILY, I do not come to the computer with a plan. I simply come with my heart wide open to however the Lord leads me.

I trust Him to give me the messages and the words. And I trust Him to send the writing where He wants it to go, to open people’s hearts, and to use the words to love and encourage and convict and change and do whatever He desires in the hearts of those whom He desires be reached through Him by the writing with which He entrusts me.

So imagine my surprise when I feel just as convicted, taught, grown, changed, inspired, encouraged, conformed, refined, etc. by the writing the Lord gives me as anyone reading it! And imagine my surprise when I see by the end of writing an edition of GOOD NEWS DAILY how the Lord has brought to light a theme, or an overall message as He brings the contents together, etc.

I write, write, and write as I believe the Lord leads me, and am blessed in the process of the writing as I hope you are in the reading of the words I believe He gives me.

Today, I had no plan other than to simply write. And, by the end, I realize the strong theme of loving and serving Christ and others. Something to which we are ALL called. Something in which I have such a very long way to go. Something in which I so very much need the encouragement to press on.

What about you? Could you use some encouragement when it comes to loving and serving Jesus? May you be greatly encouraged as you read on!

With love in the Lord,

Lara

TODAY’S DAILY INSPIRATION

Senior Doggy’s Big Yummy Secret

“Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”” 2 Tim. 2:19

Ever so slowly, ever so quietly, ever so gently, the ministry’s special needs service doggy 14-year-old Abigail lifted her beautiful black lab-shepherd mix head and lowered it into paralyzed doggy Mr. Simeon’s bowl of bread and pinto beans (don’t ask, it’s a long story about his special diet!). That’s when I caught her! And that’s when I patiently (a miracle!), lovingly (another miracle!) pointed out to her that she had not gotten away with what she had tried so hard to get away with.

As I just turned my eyes away from my computer as I write this for mere moments, I saw Abigail lifting her head in a new direction, higher up, the direction where I had “safely” placed Mr. Simeon’s food bowl out of her reach once I had discovered her going after it the first time around. In case you’re wondering, Mr. Simeon eats too fast. So I have to give him small portions of his meal at a time. The perfect opportunity for Abigail to go “hunting” with the assumption she will not be found out. Oh, how wrong she is. Not that this stops her from a repeat performance. Of going after her yummy temptation.

Friend, isn’t that what we humans do with sin? We “slowly, ever so quietly, ever so gently” (okay, not always slowly, quietly, and gently!) go “hunting” for something we KNOW is wrong, we KNOW does not belong to us, we KNOW won’t please our Lord and master, we KNOW from the first, second, and third time we went after it was wrong, wrong, and wrong again, but there we are going after it again. And we fully convince ourselves, or try to anyway, “NOBODY” can see and of course we’re going to get away with it! Of course, we won’t get in trouble, we assure ourselves. Of course, we won’t have any consequences to our sin, right?

Wrong!

God sees our hearts. He knows our thoughts. He hears our words. And He watches our actions. He sees it all. And even if the consequences to our sins don’t come right away, they will come eventually.

Friend, something so very powerful I heard years ago from a preacher who finally repented of a particular sin was this. He realized he was HURTING GOD. He realized it wasn’t just about the consequences of his sin, as though that were not enough. It was about the fact he was HURTING GOD’S HEART.

Let us strive to love, please, and honor God by choosing to love, trust, and obey Him. Let us strive to refuse temptation and to love, please, and honor God’s heart. Day by day. Yes!

TODAY’S 365 BLESSINGS

365 BLESSINGS is a devotional book the Lord has led me to publish piece by piece even as I’m writing it rather than waiting until it’s in print to share it. Please join me & be blessed as I write my latest book…!

Blessing #49

““Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1

Lots of people believe in God, but believing in God is not sufficient. In fact, lots of people say they believe in God but actually believe in false gods. There is only one true God, God the Father, and God the Father comes in three forms. God the Father, God the Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit who lives and acts in and through believers in Christ as Lord. Do you see the unimaginably wonderful blessing in this verse? It’s not simply that Jesus Christ is telling us to believe in God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Himself. As though that’s not infinitely wonderful in and of itself.

It’s that Jesus is saying we shouldn’t let our hearts be troubled! But our hearts become so filled with troubles in this world, don’t they? How can our hearts not be troubled given the challenges we humans face? Jesus makes it clear! We are to believe in God the Father and Jesus the Son! And in believing in the Father and the Son, and in believing that Jesus the Son is the Father in different form, our hearts need not be troubled! For when we understand Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is God, we don’t need to be worried! We don’t need to be afraid! For Jesus who died on the cross to pay our sin penalty and was raised from the dead is forever Lord and has overcome this whole world! And we who believe in Him as Lord overcome this world ultimately with Him and through Him! Our love, hope, peace, and everlasting life are found in Christ and in knowing those of us who follow Him will be with Him forever no matter what we face on this earth! Oh, how very, very, very blessed we are, dear friend!

TODAY’S THE CROSS DEVOTIONAL

“Let all that you do be done with love.” 1 Cor. 16:14

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18

One of the hardest things for me to do when I’m exhausted is to love. When I sleep really poorly night after night, and am under a lot of stress during the day when I’m enormously tired, I tend to be cranky, irritable, moody, and, quite frankly, yucky. Impatient. Unkind. Sometimes even mean. Everything but loving. Not because I don’t want to love. I desperately want to love! The more I love the Lord, the more I follow Him, the more I want to be like Him, the more I want to please and honor Him, the more I want to love. And, when I fall short in this, I am sorely disappointed.

The Lord makes clear in His Word that in all things, we are to love. We are to love Him, and we are to love others. Love, then, is an act of obedience. It wasn’t so very long ago that I wouldn’t have cared much if I had fallen short in loving, or in anything for that matter. For I used to love to justify my sin, and when it came to falling short in loving God, in loving others, even in loving my dogs, I would have come up with any number of excuses for my failure to love. But times have changed, and here is why.

The more I follow Jesus, the more I love Him. The more I love Him, the more I love others. The more I love the Lord, the more I want to please Him. The more I want to please Him, the more I want to love in obedience to Him.

When we have an intimate personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and are truly devoted to growing in our relationship with Him, and in growing more like Him, we desire to grow in love. And ultimately it is not we ourselves who change ourselves. It is God who changes us as we look to Him and choose day by day to trust and obey Him.

Know how it all begins? With love. His love for us. Then ours for Him. Then ours through His for others. All for Christ’s sake. In His love. For His forever glory. AMEN!

TODAY’S SERVING JESUS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”” John 13:34-35

When a sister in Christ told me she and her husband were trying to get into the apartment of an elderly man the Lord had led them to take to church on Sundays because he had nobody to get him there, and whom they had basically taken under their wings because he didn’t seem to have anyone in his life on an ongoing basis to keep close watch over him and care for him, my heart went out to the couple.

They hadn’t heard from him in several days and were deeply concerned for his well-being. I prayed and asked several others to pray, and then I waited to hear the outcome. Turns out the man had become ill and had been taken to the hospital several days earlier. The outcome of his health issue which had caused the hospital stay was in the Lord’s hands. They would need to pray and wait to hear about the man for whom they cared. The man whom they had grown to love.

Surely they must have had better and more important things to do on a holiday evening. And on the night before another work day for my friend. In a season in which my friend had someone in her immediate family undergoing a major health crisis. At a time when their lives were busy with many commitments and obligations.

But no matter how busy their lives, they found the time to love someone whom the Lord had placed in their hearts and lives. Someone who otherwise might not have known and received much love if any at all. They didn’t serve the Lord and the elderly man in any kind of a fancy way. They simply loved and served him. And lay down their lives, and plans, and agendas, and personal desires, to do so.

Friend, we are ALL called to love. We are called to serve. To love and serve Christ, and to love and serve others as ourselves. No matter our plans, agendas, and desires.

But are we willing to lay down our lives to do so? Even when it’s not a close family member? Not a loved one we’ve known for years? Maybe even a stranger?

May we love those the Lord calls us to love. May we serve them with the love of Christ. May we lay down our lives for others. May we lay aside our personal plans and agendas to make ourselves available with humble and glad hearts to love the Lord – and to love one another for His name’s sake.

This message is for all of us. Yes, it surely is!

LATEST MINISTRY UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST

“Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”” Mt. 9:37-38

Almost everywhere I turn, it seems, there is need. Need, need, and more need. We all need the Lord Jesus Christ, no doubt. We all need to turn from our sins, believe He died on the cross to pay our sin punishment and was raised from the dead, and commit our lives to God and His ways in exchange for God’s forgiveness and a forever relationship with Him. And then there are all the needs we have on a daily basis. Little needs, big needs, enormous needs.

More and more, I am seeing needs of the enormous variety. People going through great suffering. Sometimes seemingly insurmountable suffering. And, while the Lord Jesus Christ is undoubtedly the one who is and has the answer to each and every need, there is also the reality that much of the time, the Lord meets people’s needs through other people. Through His children. Through His followers.

I don’t know what you are seeing, but what I am seeing oftentimes is increasing need in our world – and not always the degree of commitment needed to meet that need on the part of Christ’s followers to step up to the plate and lay down our lives and go out and meet that need. Whether it be from the most important service of all in sharing the Gospel message and helping people to follow Jesus day by day or whether it be the extremely important service needed of helping to distribute God’s physical provision as well as emotional support via love, encouragement, a listening ear, etc. that is also needed.

My update to you today is to tell you as someone who does streets ministry and whose heart, ears, and eyes are open to the cries of people worldwide whom the Lord causes me to hear that I believe we need a very big increase in Christ’s followers getting out of the church pews, away from the television, out of houses, out of the movie theaters, out of the restaurants, out, out, out of our comfort zones, and to make ourselves available to share the Gospel, to help people find and follow Jesus, and to distribute God’s provision – including our time, hearts, and compassion – to a world in dire need of Christ.

Please pray that Christ’s followers – all of us included – would wake up, get out of ourselves, lay down our lives, and go out and love and serve in Christ’s name! For the glory not of ourselves and of one another, but for the forever glory of Christ!

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