Romans 15:2

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Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. - Romans 15:2

Dear Lord Jesus,

I will never know perfectly what it's like to live 100 % for others and their welfare. That's why this passage and its cousins in Scripture will always resonate with me. I naturally want to please myself and not people around me. By your Holy Spirit, cleanse out of my heart today the new selfish motives that have precipitated there. Give me a deep love for others and their welfare at every level so I do and say what is best for them. I want to spread the good news and be the good news for everyone I meet.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Make someone's day today and you will create a memory for them that keeps on giving long after today is forgotten.

Galatians 5:13

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You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. - Galatians 5:13

Dear Jesus,

I heard in the news last week about a man who had just been released from prison who went on a rampage and killed several people. I thought to myself, "How sad that he used his freedom to continue reeking havoc." Then I remembered how many times I had felt bold to sin because I knew you would forgive me. In my more quiet moments the guilt of such exploitative behavior haunts me. How could I do that to you? I'm begging you to build me up in your Spirit to use my freedom under grace to serve others freely from a loving heart. Take away the puny strength of the law and replace it with gospel appreciation. Make me a willing and faithful servant of all.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

There is nothing in all the universe more liberating than divine love.

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. - 1 Corinthians 1:10

Dear Jesus,

Unity is in the center of your will. You want to see people united in love, faith and holiness. The devil knows this and works hard to whisper doubt and distrust into each of our minds. He makes us foolishly scheme to fulfill our ambitions and to overcome our fears. He loves it when we isolate, hate and distrust. He wants us to be surly loners. He loves party spirits and negative press campaigns. Forgive me Lord Jesus for succumbing to all of these at one time or another. Wash away my guilt and restore me to being an honest, grace filled lover of souls. Make me a champion for unity and unconditional love even with people who have hurt me. use your word to bind us all together.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Any fool can separate from others. Wisdom and love unite people around God and his word.

‭‭James‬ ‭4:7

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Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” -‭‭James‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭

Dear Jesus,

My sinful nature does not want to submit to you because I love my autonomy. But that’s how I get myself in trouble. You created me to follow your leadership and trust your word. When I am tempted, help me to remember that you are there standing beside me with your Holy Spirit giving me the choice to choose the right and reject the wrong. Give me the wisdom and love for you to say “no” to sin and “yes” to righteousness. Help me to take the time to tame my tongue, harness my thoughts and guide my body. And when the temptation seems too strong for me, remind me that if I resist, the devil will relent and walk away for a time. Oh Jesus thank you for this passage that gives me the strength to carry-on.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God is always near to help when we are tempted.

Romans 11:33

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Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! - Romans 11:33

Dear Heavenly Father,

You have my life all planned out. I know you allow challenges and setbacks as well as send blessings and breakthroughs. You guide with clarity and protect me with grace. You are in every room, behind every conversation, underneath every situation. I cannot escape you nor can I understand all your ways. But I trust that my life is your hands and will end in your presence forever. It's going to be a thrill to let you be God today while I simply work diligently without fear to play my instrument well for you in your orchestra.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God is directing the plethora of lives that sing together to perform the symphony called your life.

John 13:35

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A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:35

Dear Jesus,

I can get so hung up in the history of a relationship that I forget your one simple command to love that other person. As sinners we will always let each other down, misunderstand and frustrate one another. We can get lost in remembering the negative tone or the hurtful remark too. And remembering makes it so hard to love. But when you ignore the history because of grace, that's when love is possible in all relationships. You have that love for me. Help me have it for the "others" in my life. And help them have this love for me. This forgiving and refreshing love, the kind that gives and forgives, is the physical evidence of our spiritual relationship with you. Give me that lave always for every person I meet.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love doesn't need the other person to do or be anything special in order to respond well.

John 13:33

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My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. - John 13:33

Dear Jesus,

I know how much I wish you were here with me in the flesh. I'd love to hear your voice, see your form, feel your touch on my shoulder. So, I can only imagine how your words struck a nervous cord in your disciples when you said you were going away and they couldn't come yet. The separation anxiety for them as men must have been hard to hide. But they and we had to learn to lead with your words possessing your Spirit to guide us. You had to first save us all and then let us loose with the message. As we stumble through life in our role as your leaders, give us clarity and boldness from your word and Holy Spirit to go where you want us to and to speak into the lives of others the word of life. Help us be the leaders you want while we await the Day we live with you in person forever.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God creates vacuums to suck us into being the leaders he designed us to be.

‭‭John‬ ‭13:31-32, 36‬ ‭

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When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. -‭‭John‬ ‭13:31-32, 36‬ ‭

Dear Jesus,

Judas had just left to betray you to your death. How hurt you must have felt! And you talked about being glorified. We talk about being glorified by winning games, getting raises and accomplishing great things. But you are glorified by dying a miserable way for people. Your sacrifice is your glory. It’s our great blessing too. God is made known to us through your death. Thank you for glorifying yourself and your father in such a counter-intuitive way. I’m saved because you did it. That makes your “glory” my biggest treasure.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Jesus gloried in ruining his life to restore ours. He knew he’d we’d both walk away winners.

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15

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But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬

Dear Heavenly Father,

You led Joshua to challenge each of us to make a vocal, visible, public choice to follow you and your gracious leadership. We could never choose to follow you without your Holy Spirit. But because he has taught me about your love, I choose to follow you. I don’t want to serve the gods of this world. They leave me empty and disappointed. Take me where you want me to go this day and be my God and Savior. Give me faith, hope and love to share with everyone I meet.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Choosing God who first chose you is a no-brainer.

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Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” - Romans 12:15-16

Dear Heavenly Father,

I know you want to enlarge my heart enough so I can reach beyond my own struggles, hopes and dreams to feel with others what they are feeling. You want me to see the equal value of every soul. You want me to stamp out the loneliness our proud isolation creates. Oh Jesus, turn me inside out and enable me to hurt with and help those who need me to. And when I have reached my limit raise up other great lovers of souls to be there for those I see hurting but cannot help them myself.

Amen

Pastor Donald Patterson

When we share life with hurting people it’s four part music to God’s ears.

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:10

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Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. -‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬

Dear Jesus,

You watched Peter and his friends argue over who was the greatest more than once. How proud you must have been when the Holy Spirit inspired him to write this verse later in life. He teaches us that you have gifted us so we can be a blessing to the people in our lives not so we can exploit them for self importance. Help me use my gifts to bless my life “teammates” and not waste my gifts on myself. Give my Christian family and friends the power to look beyond themselves to use their gifts to bless many people. You made your life count for everyone. Give me the will and ability to make mine count for several someones too.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

You’ll never fit in if you don’t work at blessing others.

2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:19

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That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. - ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:19‬ ‭

Dear Heavenly Father,

Because of the many struggles we have in our lives I catch myself feeling like you need to do something for me in order for me to be reconciled to you. What a grand example of my human pride! You see everything about me and all people and you are offended by the slightest wayward thought and yet I have so many. There is so much that you need to be reconciled about. And you took care of all of it when you sent your son. You were in him reconciling the whole world to yourself so that in spite of my waywardness you still have love for me without violating justice. Thank you for reconciling yourself so that I have your grace and favor even though I struggle with sin for my whole life. This grace will carry me through the day today and give me a desire to please you.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God the father needed Jesus to reconcile him to us as much as we did.

Psalm 127:1-2

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Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. - Psalm 127:1-2

Dear Heavenly Father,

I love this simple profession of faith. Unless you bless and protect all my endeavors they are doomed to fail. I do fall into the temptation of believing it all depends on me. But actually it all depends on you. And you have shown yourself to be my provider and protector so many times. Help me to sleep in your arms and to lead a quiet life of sublime trust that you are there to take care of all my needs. Give me the work you want me to do and bless that work the way you wish. Just as you came and took care of my salvation, I know you will be there for me every day to take care of my preservation. As you keep me in mind that you are always near to help me, use my gentle confidence to encourage others to trust you to be their God and Savior too.

Amen

Good earthly parents are a reflection of our perfect heavenly Father.

Proverbs 6:9-10

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How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-10

Dear Jesus,

Protect me from thoughts that make me lazy. Give me a strong desire to be productive and helpful in every situation. I know every day is a gift from you. I want to get the most out of every day too. Help me to be industrious and to save for myself and those who depend on me. But give me a holy abandon from worry and strife over money and possessions. Help me to apply myself to life long learning and make me a blessing to all without any self righteousness. Not only do I ask you to keep poverty far from me, but help me alleviate the effects of poverty on others too. You met earthly needs for the full length of your ministry. Give me that same servant mindset. All this I ask because your love consumes me.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love compels us to meet the needs of bodies and souls all around us.

John 21:10-13

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Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.- John 21:10-13

Dear Jesus,

Their eyes must have been popping out of their heads and their mouths were gaping open. They had fished all night and caught nothing and then you showed up. That's when the net was filled. It reminded them of when you first called them. But since then there had been the cross and their desertion. Here you show them that you still loved them, would still take care of them and that you still wanted them to do your holy work. I sense you still have the same three lessons for me. You still love me although I have failed you. You will still take care of me in your time and way. You still want me to feed your lambs. I have never met anyone like you nor will I ever again. But that's okay. I have you as my God and Savior. Thank you for continually coming back to get me. I know I am safe in your grace.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Jesus loves to stand on our shore and fill our hearts to overflowing.

John 4:19-29

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The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he. Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” - John 4:19-29

Dear Jesus,

You took that woman from being an embarrassed failure to being an excited herald of your love. She used to slink around in guilt and shame but you made her run out in the open to share your love. I know some of what she felt. I can live past my guilt and shame because you came to save me too. You know exactly what I have done and you still came to save me. I want others to know the freedom and restoration of forgiveness. Help me tell them that their Messiah is here. Thank you for releasing me from my sinful past.

Pastor Don Patterson

To know Christ is to know freedom from shame.

John 4:19-24

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“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” - John 4:19-24

Dear Jesus,

Sometimes I'm like that woman. I want to focus on outward forms instead of inner worship. I know you want me to really worship you out of a heart made grateful for the love and grace you brought to us. You want me to joyfully live, pray and work out of a deep held faith that you made me, saved me and walk beside me all of my life. You want me to go to church because I want to, to speak about you because I'm proud of you, to love even the unlovable because I truly love them. I cannot be that inside-out person unless you fill my insides with your Spirit. So, Jesus, crowd your Spirit into my heart so I live out of his spiritual fullness. Make me the person you always wanted me to be. Thank you for redeeming my life and creating something new out of what you first met by the wayside.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Jesus comes in from the outside to change us from the inside out.

John 4:15-18

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The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” - John 4:15-18

Dear Jesus,

Sometimes I picture myself sitting there by that well with you and no one is around. I wonder what question you would ask me to show me that you can see right through my soul with your holy eyes. The truth is, I have plenty of sins for you to choose from. I know that full well. But since you own me through your sacrifice, you have every right to ask me about them. I know you prod and pry in order to cleanse and purify. I know you come to rescue not condemn. So, take me just as I am. I trust your love enough to answer you. Yes, I'm the one in need of grace. Please be merciful to me and grant me grace to cover all my sins and then give me the humility and wisdom to share that same grace with those who have hurt me. Use your confronting love to cut away the chains of selfishness and sin from my life.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Jesus is the perfect soul doctor, first diagnosing, then explaining, then applying his remedy.

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭32:2‬ ‭

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Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. -‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭32:2‬ ‭

Dear Jesus,

I love how You tell me that you will make me a shelter in the storm for other people. I am yours lord. Lead me to the people that you want me to show for it. And make me a stream of freshwater for their soul. I will not be such a blessing if you don’t do this through me. I need your words I need your wisdom manager strength. Are you my savior and their Savior at the same time. Make this day useful and a blessing.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God loves to help others through his own people.

Isaiah 30:15

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This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. - Isaiah 30:15

Dear Heavenly Father,

How much energy I can spend worrying and scheming on how to control my life and get what I want! But you give me clarity here in this verse about the path to a secure future. It's through repentance of what I am by nature and resting in your grace that erases all the guilt. It's about silencing my self defense and trusting that you have already fixed the problems. It's in letting go and letting forgiveness repair every relationship and all the fallout from my life. It's in letting myself be a child again while you do all the parenting. I want that life where I give the controls to you but I learn to be honest, humble and trusting. Give me this attitude by your Holy Spirit and make me a quiet but strong Christian.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Sometimes it's just best to sit quietly by, admit that you are powerless to fix the big problems and leave room for God to do what he does best.