1 Corinthians 13:8,13

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Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:8,13

Dear Jesus,

The spiritual gifts I have as well as all temporal blessings; house, car, memories and photos - they all fade away and become two dimensional historical words recorded on the pages of your book.  But the supernatural love you have given me will remain in three dimensions in heaven.  Love is one of the big three blessings that outlast this earthly life.  It's the lasting treasure that cannot be bought or sold, saved or lost.  It's the gift that makes life real and real satisfying too.  I am deeply thankful that I have received your love and understand it's extreme value.  Now help me to live in its blessing today and always.  

Amen

Don Patterson

When a Christian dies they let go of everything in this world except faith, hope and love.  Those they take with them to heaven. 

 

1 Corinthians 13:6-7

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Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. - 1 Corinthians 13:6-7

Dear Jesus,

You were never part of the rumor mill.  You helped spread love and truth and not dirt.  Help me seek good gossip and good reports about others in my world. Help me also protect the reputation of my friends, family and foes. Give me the patience to allow them an opportunity to win my trust.  Give me that love that tenaciously hangs in there in every relationship whether they be easy or hard.  Make me a blessing even to those who are upset with me.  That's how you lived when you saved me.  That's how I want to live as your saved one. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love willfully forgets the sins of others before they get to the lips for repeating. 

1 Corinthians 13:5

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It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  – 1 Corinthians 13:5

Dear Jesus,

You honored the smallest child, the poorest widow, and the most complicated ruler.  You were tested beyond limits by the bad character of friends and foes and you never gave way to sinful anger.  You focused on your disciples’ souls without keeping track of how many times they argued over who was the greatest.  You keep no records.  I want the life freed from keeping score that loves brings.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit of love so I honor all people the same and forget their sins as much as I hope they will forget mine. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love focuses on the blood bought soul and not the things they have done or do. 

1 Corinthians 13:4

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. - 1 Corinthians 13:4

Dear Jesus, 

You are God and when you walked the earth you were smarter, richer, more athletic and more powerful than anyone else.  You read minds, pulled silver coins from the mouth's of fish, and blew people to the ground with the force of your words.  In all this, you were the most humble too.  I honestly don't know how you did that.  I am thankful that your life covers mine.  I need that.  I can be proud of the smallest accomplishment and use it to measure others against my imaginary righteousness.  Lead me out of my pride to that place were you lived,where humility, mercy, patience, gentleness and love filled the room. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Humility is being clueless and careless about your own self worth because you care more about God and others.

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Dear Jesus,

I can get caught up in pursuit of many good things that leave my heart void of the one thing needful, love.  You remind me that even gifts from your Spirit, as pure and powerful as they are, do not give me the redemptive value that your unconditional love does.  They can even live in a stony proud heart.  Oh Savior, melt my heart and give me that love that shows me my worth through acceptance and leads me to do the same for everyone else.  Make me the lover of souls that you are.  Help me overcome my inward criticisms of others and to rise to help them experience the power of grace. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love opens one's life to live again beyond the picket fence erected through judgment. 

3 John 1:3-4

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 3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. - 3 John 1:3-4

Dear Jesus,

I love how your elder, John, encouraged his friend Gaius here. He told him about the good things other Christians were saying about him and he shared with Gaius how happy he had made John, by living an honest Christian life.  Help me to be so lovingly bold to tell people how they make me happy to see them living out a healthy Christian life.  Remind me when it's the right moment to speak up with praise and encouragement around everyone.  Vacuum out of my heart and mouth the criticism that so easily flows.  And make me an encouragement factory. 

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

Grace gossip spreads holy rumors that bring great blessing to countless hearts in countless ways. 

 

2 John 1:12

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 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. - 2 John 1:12

Dear Savior,

It's easy to hide behind my screens and write emails and texts.  But if that is all I do my world becomes a virtual reality and relationships suffer.  I see that John, your man in the New Testament, even knew the extreme value of a face to face meetings where we touch and feel the nuances of each other's feelings and thoughts.  Body language, tone and facial expressions help us fully experience the power of relationship.  Help me Jesus to discipline myself to stay in there with people and give them face to face time as much as my life will allow.  Give me the courage and wisdom to pick up the phone and call or get in the car and go see them for their benefit and mine. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson 

God creates joy in his people when they gather under grace to accomplish positive things. 

Mark 6:35-44

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It was late in the day, so his disciples came to Jesus. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the crowd of people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. - Mark 6:35-44

Dear Jesus,

It's not natural for me to ever expect a miracle or a very timely rescue from you.  Most often, I am overwhelmed by the reality of the limitations in my life.  I see what's needed to make things work and my first reaction is to worry and then to take the responsibility to fix it.  It's unbearable at times.  I see from this grand story from your life that you joyfully put me in difficult places so I need you to be my God and provider.  I want my first reaction to be prayer and expectation and then responsible action.  Help me to penetrate my own cyclical thoughts with faith filled prayers that leave room for you to show your love for me.  It's your glory to love and be known for it.  Help me to remember to pray with a believing heart and to respond to your rescue with thanksgiving. 

Pastor Don Patterson

God never said he would not give us more than WE can handle.  He said, he would not give us more than HE can handle.

2 John 1:5-6

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And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. - 2 John 1:5-6

Dear Jesus,

Your Apostle, John, pleaded with his church that each member would love one another in faithful obedience to you.  I want to listen to that plea with an open heart.  I want to love every other person in my flock, in my family, and in my life with a pure spiritual love that shows itself in forgiving helpfulness in every way.  But my own hardness of heart gets in the way.  I get calloused and flaky at times.  Dear Jesus, crush my hard heart and help me deal with my weakness so I truly, actively love those around me.  

Amen

Pastor Patterson

God's love is the most powerful force on the planet in relationships.  

2 John 1:4

I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.  - 2 John 1:4

Dear Heavenly Father,

I know you want us to live honestly, believing the truth about you and the truth about us. My biggest problem is my own sin and my biggest blessing is your grace.  That's the truth.  The truth is that you love me and that I am forgiven.  The truth is that you are with me and want to lead me with your strength to be honest, humble, loving and forgiving with everyone.  The truth is that you want me to approach every relationship as a servant and not as a master.  You want me to dump my expectations of others and dream about how I might make their life better.  The truth is you want me to be like your Son because your Son lives in me and wants others to know him.  Oh, God of truth, help me to walk and live in the truth.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

It does not matter if there is truth if that truth does not matter to me.  

Psalm 13:5-6

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But I will trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. – Psalm 13:5-6

Dear heavenly Father,

Although you let me go through many unexplained difficulties, when I look at your son on the cross I know that your love for me is unfailing.  I know that my salvation is secure and I know that you will be good to me again just as you have been in the past.  You are worthy of praise even when I don't understand why you let me struggle with challenges.  I will rest knowing that you hold my future even if I do not know what the future holds, because beyond it all is a wonderful place by your side in heaven. I will wait for your blessing with hope and faith.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Beyond the farthest hill is a beautiful sunrise and sitting room where we will see our lives from the heavenly perspective for the very first time. 

Psalm 13:3-4

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Look on me and answer, Lord my God.  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. – Psalm 13:3-4

Dear heavenly Father,

There are so many issues in life that are just too big for us.  We often seemed surprised when our lives get out of control.  But the truth is that they are never in our control.  You have to be our preserver and deliverer.  We will fall prey to harm if you do not keep your angels on duty.  We will fall prey to the devils temptations if you did not sustain us by your Holy Spirit.  We need you every hour.  So, please be my deliverer today and always.  My life is in your hands and I will trust in your deliverance. Build your hedge around me and guard me wherever I go.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

The God who invented the mama bear knows how to protect his children. 

Psalm 13:1-2

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How Long Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? – Psalm 13:1-2

Dear heavenly Father,

I can feel all alone when I'm suffering from health problems or some situation outside of my control.  I pray and pray and never hear a sound from you.  I know you love me along with everyone else but I still often feel it would be more loving for you to audibly comfort and guide me. It's comforting to meet David in this psalm and see he had the same frustration while suffering.  You promise to speak to my soul through your word.  Help me find your voice there and to trust your unfailing love no matter how long I must wait for answers or rescue.  I trust you as my Savior and I will wait patiently for your help and rescue.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson 

God is worthy of our love and trust even when we cannot make any sense out of our lives under his heaven. 

John 9:4-5

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“As long as it is day we must do the works of him that sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” – Jesus Christ – John 9:4-5

Dear heavenly Father,

Jesus, you always had a great grasp of the obvious.  Time is nonrenewable, so a person will want to live out their purpose in life 100% of the time and not, 98% or 75% or 25%.  How you must wonder at our aimlessness at times. We fritter away days, weeks, months, and years without discovering more truth, or sharing more truth with others, or blessing those who need it.  Now is our "daytime" on earth.  Help us to work while it is day so when we are resting and enjoying heaven with you, the blessings we were on earth will be the great memories we reminisce about.  Give me insight today on how to use my unique life to bless the most people possible. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson 

Be the blessing that only you can be for the people that have been planted next to you. 

2 Peter 3:8-9

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But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a  thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise to return, as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  – 2 Peter 3:8-9

 

Dear Jesus,

You have graciously brought us safely to a new year.  Every great saint, all the way back to the Apostle Peter, has felt that you would usher in the end of the world and judgement day in their lifetime.  But here we are 2000 plus years later.  It’s easy to grow complacent and it makes skeptics believe their skepticism more.  However, from Peter, we are taught what you are doing.  You are being patient so more people will come to repentance.  On my own, I would be quick to judge; but you love every soul, even the worst, much more than I do.  It’s amazing to me that you do not grow weary of our evil.  It makes me more patient to see how patient you are with every human being.   I’m glad that you are slow in judging.  Otherwise, I would not be saved.  You have shown great patience with me.  Help me to stop counting time so that I can wait like you with a heart liberated by grace and live in view of eternity instead of time, especially when I see evil all around me. 

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

Sit and think about this for whole day; God does not want anyone to perish.

Isaiah 40:30-31

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Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;                                                                                             
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. - Isaiah 40:30-31

Dear Lord,

I am tired of living as if it all depends on me.  You made me and you sustain me.  You also are able to give me strength to face all my challenges with a brave heart.  Renew my strength today so by your help I will be able to meet my responsibilities with confidence and peace.  I want to be there for my family and friends and I want to do good things in your name.  Come and be the wind beneath my wings.  

Pastor Don Patterson

When God lifts you up, you will fly above your weaknesses and troubles. 

Isaiah 40:29

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God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. - Isaiah 40:29

Dear Lord,

I was born with a desire to be strong and invincible on my own power. I believe it is part of the root sin that Adam and Eve passed down to all of us. We want independent god likeness. But you know we are but dust. You see how weak and dependent we are and you promise to be our strength if we come to you asking in prayer. So, I'm coming to you now asking in prayer that you share your strength with me so I can deal with my problems, love people that need me and fight temptations. I need you in order to really live my life as I was designed by you to live.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

There is only one God and he loves to share his strength with us little people.

Luke 2:1-5

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In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. - Luke 2:1-5

Dear Heavenly Father,

Would you really turn the whole Roman world upside down just to get your Son born in the town of David according to prophecy?  Would you really make a man and woman endure suspicion the rest of their lives because you wanted them to have your baby?  Would you really inconvenience us to accomplish your own will?  How dare you act like God!  I find it hard to believe that you would kick us off our thrones to accomplish your altruistic purposes, that is; until I realize this demonstrates how much you love everyone, my friends and my enemies.  Oh, God!  Do what you wish with our lives, so as many as possible can escape the awful justice awaiting their sins.  Work your grace and save our souls at the expense of our childish and temporary dreams.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God loves us too much to let us have everything we want at the expense of what we need the most. 

Matthew 1:24-25

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When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. - Matthew 1:24-25

Dear Heavenly Father,

How easily Joseph did the hard thing and took Mary as his wife but forestalled the wedding night consummation for months!  How easily he obeyed when my generation has a hard time with abstinence for any reason!  How easily faith obeys when the child of God loves his Creator and understands his purpose.  Help my generation and me to love you enough and understand your purposes well enough to easily glorify you with a life of purity in an impure world. And thank you for making sure I would know that your Son was holy for my sake by leading Joseph to abstain from his rightful privilege.

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

Faith lives for an audience of One even when it means that it's own life is shrunk below expectations. 

Matthew 1:20-23

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But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”). -Matthew 1:20-23

Dear Holy Spirit,

You would not leave Joseph too long to figure out on his own what you had done.  He would never have thought it.  So, you intervened and sent Gabriel to tell him you were the father of his boy and that he didn't have to page through baby books with Mary to find a name.  What relief he must have felt when he realized Mary had not been unfaithful.  But how fast the relief turned to awe and then serious resolve when he realized he was the earthly protector of the baby Savior. Help me to treat the gospel about your Son with the same awe and respect.  Help me to protect it as much as I revere it.  Help me to share it as much as I protect it. Give me the same faith filled resolve to help sad and lonely sinners to realize your Son is Emmanuel, God with them!  Give me faith in his presence now whenever I feel lonely and confused.  Conceive in me the insights of Christ centered faith that empower me to live above my fears and complaints.  Make his birthday truly merry day for me and my loved ones.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson 

The Holy Spirit conceives in our hearts a sublime trust in the one he conceived in Mary's womb.