Romans 14:8

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If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. - Romans 14:8

Dear Jesus,

Now that you are my Savior I live for you and only you.  You have made me, saved me and you will get me to heaven.  I live and die for you.  This makes every day more simple, more meaningful and more peaceful.  I dedicate this day to your honor.  Make it a good day for both of us. 

Pastor Don Patterson

Only one fan matters most and he will never stop rooting for you.

1 Samuel 19:4

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Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. - 1 Samuel 19:4

Dear Jesus,

I want to be like Jonathan and speak up for my friends when others are speaking poorly of them.  I want to learn to stick my neck out for them and help them gain a good reputation in the mind of others.  Help me Lord. Help me plant good words in estranged people's minds so they soften their hearts toward one another and learn to get along.  Give me the water to put out the flames of gossip that tear down and destroy.  Oh Lord, build up your people through me.

Pastor Don Patterson

A friend is someone who will defend your name even when he knows your weaknesses better than your critics. 

1 Samuel 18:1

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After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. - 1 Samuel 18:1

Dear Heavenly Father,

The friendship you created between David and Jonathon is an example for all of us.  They had every reason to let jealousy and disappointment separate them.  But instead they loved each other as dear friends. They looked out for each other, listened to one another and helped each other make it through life.  Make me be a friend like that so I don't foolishly let my disappointments and desires get in the way of being a friend who can be trusted.  Break down whatever selfishness is in the way of loving friendship.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

We must first learn to be a friend before we demand friendship from others. 

Proverbs 13:20

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Walk with the wise and become wise,
    for a companion of fools suffers harm. - Proverbs 13:20

Dear Jesus,

I have seen in my own life how my friends have influenced me for good or evil.  I remember being led by you to make new friends that would help me in my spiritual life.  Please help my children and grandchildren to get the truth of this word, so they will choose good friends that will guide them not distract them.  More than anything else, make them your friend by pulling their hearts close to you in devotion and prayer.  Open their eyes to see wonderful things in your word for their comfort and spiritual strength.  Lead them in the paths of righteousness in every relationship they experience. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

One good friend is worth more than a hundred shallow fans. 

James 3:17-18

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But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. - James 3:17-18

Dear Jesus,

Give me this wisdom from above.  I cannot produce it on my own.  Make me peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Help me see the supreme value of unity and togetherness.  Produce this wisdom between others and me. Make it fun and peaceful for us to live and work together.  I want to live in the peaceful fruit of righteousness and help others experience it too. 

Pastor Don Patterson

Godly wisdom always heals, always helps, always unites.   

James 3:13-16

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Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. - James 3:13-16

Dear Jesus,

I see your brother explaining to us the underlying reasons we have arguments and divisions among us.  We are tempted by our vain desire to be right in the eyes of all.  We have ambition for being in charge, top dog or simply to have an impact.  We want to be right whether we really are or not.  It's humbling to think we are dancing with demons while we are getting angry and firing off at someone we are supposed to love.  Oh Jesus, come give me a ride home from the dance. Expose my envy and give me the strength to sweep it out of my heart.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love wins the person before winning the argument. 

Matthew 20:24-28

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When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:24-28

Dear Jesus, 

You taught us that greatness is not in ruling and dominating.  It's in serving and helping. How counter-intuitive to my natural way of thinking to hear that! But I believe it's true.  You are the greatest in my heart because you serve me in the greatest way.  Make me a great servant who cares little about recognition.  Put a guard over my mouth so I don't remind my family and friends of what I have done for them.  Make me forget everything I have ever done for others so I simply focus on them and meeting their needs.  Make me a blessing.  Give me someone to serve today and the wisdom to be great in serving them. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Great people don't usually know they are great. 

Matthew 20:21-23

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“What is it you want?” he asked.

The mother of James and John said to Jesus, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father." - Matthew 20:21-23

Dear Jesus, 

How patiently you redirected the conversation.  They asked the wrong question and so they would have received the wrong answer had you answered them.  So you asked them a better question, "Can you live a sacrificial life like me."  What a silly answer they gave.  The said they could and without you they couldn't.  So, at first they ran from you to avoid suffering.  But then later they lived and died as martyrs for grace.  It's just like us; we want the glory but not the guts.  We want the ease but not the pain of love.  We want to win but we don't want to struggle.  We want to be served but not to serve.  But you serve us still and save our souls and then lead us by the hand into the selfless life, that is; the full life that is selfless.  The only way to live selflessly is to be void of thoughts about reward.  You call us to let go of our carnal craving for praise and to lose ourselves in the joy of sacrificial love.  Oh Jesus, wrench my heart free from my love for self and make me a happy servant. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

People who worry about places in line have no place for joy in the grace of giving.

Matthew 20:20-21

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Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

“What is it you want?” he asked.

She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” - Matthew 20:20-21

Dear Jesus,

How easy it is for me to see the vanity in others ad over look my own.  It was audacious for James and John's mother to ask that her sons be elevated with you in eyes of the whole universe.  But I know deep down that by nature I am the center of my universe too.  I value an experience as good or bad by how it serves me and then my closest loved ones.  I ponder most often how I can get ahead and not how I can get behind and serve.  I want grace and forgiveness for me but too easily withhold it in my heart from others.  I'm embarrassed that I want what that mother wanted for her children.  Forgive me for wanting to be king of my life and king in front of others.  Give me your servant's heart that is lost in self forgetfulness.  Make me a servant today who leaves the selfish brat in the closet. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Hurt feelings and vain boasting are the heads and tails of the coin called self intoxication. 

Matthew 20:17-19

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Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!" - Matthew 20:17-19

Dear Jesus,

My friends and me are addicted to finding some meaning in life that serves our own desire to gain more, live more comfortably, get more attention and impress others with our great works.  But then there's you.  You were committed to dying for us so we would be preserved forever, saved from our own sins.  You "looked forward" to the great gift that would cost you everything.  The terrible way your life would end was the big thing for which you lived.  Because you knew you'd pass through it and then I would be free forever from the condemnation I keep earning through my waywardness.  You have freed me forever from my dead end.  Thank you for making my life last so I too will pass through death, just as you did. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Your life has meaning because it means everything to God. 

Psalm 147:3

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God heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. - Psalm 147:3

Dear Heavenly Father, 

I have been brokenhearted about several things in my life.  In time, with the strength of your word and people who knew how to love, you have healed my brokenness.  I know I will be broken again and you will heal me then too.  Your promises are my cell companions when I am confined to my hurts.  I cling to them and let them speak to me.  They are like a light gleaming through the small window at the top of the cell. Thank you for being the God who heals our hurts.  Make me a healer of hurts too.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God knows how to heal a broken heart. He healed his own first.  

Colossians 2:6-7

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So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. - Colossians 2:6-7

Dear Jesus,

That phrase, "overflowing with thankfulness" both confronts and encourages me. I hear my complaints and whining more than anyone else. But I know others are plagued by negativity too. It's a spiritual breakthrough when I catch myself before I grouse. Give me that breakthrough today! I want to be truly thankful deep in my heart so it overflows and is not forced. Only you and your grace can create that. Make me thankful Jesus in all circumstances.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Our hearts have eyes that sometimes need the lenses of grace in order to see the blessings in all circumstances.

Colossians 2:2

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My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, - Colossians 2:2

Dear Jesus,

I love it when Paul tells us his motives were that people be encouraged in heart, united in love and growth in understanding of you.  Too often I have more pedestrian goals for my family and church; like attendance, and conformity and progress on projects.  How shallow!  How worldly!  But to want them to grow in love, unity and spiritual understanding- that guides my leadership in a much deeper direction.  It makes me prepare to teach them in their hearts more faithfully.  Help me grow in these areas first.  Use your Word to take me to new spiritual heights, So, from there I can teach others. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Through his word, God restores us to his own likeness and reverses the fall. 

Hebrews 11:32-40

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And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword;whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. - Hebrews 11:32-40

Dear Jesus,

Your list of Old Testament saints that endured terrible persecutions in this world is very humbling to me.  The endured the loss of everything, even their lives for the sake of their faith in you.  I on the other hand live in a country that protects my religious freedom, allows me to spread and defends my human rights.  Thank you for the blessings of my country and give me the faith and love to use this freedom to lead others to you instead of fritter away my time on only selfish pleasures.  Drive the luke-warmness out of my heart and kindle in me a fire that cannot be quenched. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Freedom brings with it the responsibility to shine.

Hebrews 11:31

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By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. - Hebrews 11:31

Dear Heavenly Father,

Now wait a minute God, I know that Rahab lied when she hid those Israeli spies and yet here and in James 2 you commend her. That challenges my pedestrian mind. When I look closely at the story in Joshua I see her faith. She feared you and held on to her 40 year old belief that you delivered Israel through the Red Sea. She chose your people because they were yours. She loved and trusted you no matter what. It was her choice to follow you that made her do anything she felt you wanted even if meant hiding the truth from her king and his men. Give me that faith that makes every decision about you and not me or anyone else.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Faith knows what's right and wrong without a rule-book to quote from.

Hebrews 11:30

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By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. - Hebrews 11:30

Dear Heavenly Father,

What wisdom was there in making Israel march around the city of Jericho for seven days? All that did was give their enemies a good look at their strengths and weaknesses. It removed all elements of surprise, too. Militarily the idea stunk, but spiritually, it was brilliant. It told both Israel and Jericho that this was your battle and not theirs. It gave people in Jericho and Israel time to repent and find forgiveness before they faced you. And finally, it created an encouraging story for all time. I'm encouraged by your mighty hand at Jericho and I'm thankful for its remembrance when I face fortified challenges in my fight of faith. Thank you for Jericho and the faith you have taught me through it.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

When God's requests seem unreasonable, expect unreasonably amazing results.

Hebrew 11:29

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By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.- Hebrew 11:29

Dear Heavenly Father,

What it must have been like for the children of Israel to take those first steps into the chasm you formed in the Red Sea.  Their hearts must have been beating out of their chests as they gawked at the walls of water on either side.  But you led them with your mighty word and you allowed them to watch their enemies fall behind them. Help me to remember your great act of deliverance in the Red Sea crossing when you call on me to step in between two "walls of water" for you.  Protect me from my enemies and give me the privilege to see either their conversion or their end.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson 

When God's on your team, the wins are embarrassingly obvious.  

Hebrews 11:27-28

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By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. - Hebrews 11:27-28

Dear Heavenly Father,

Lord, Moses' exodus from Egypt is one of the largest leaps of faith in history. But you made it easy by showing your great blessings through the plagues and by giving Moses the words he needed to confront Pharaoh and to lead your people. You have given me great blessings, too, and I have a whole book full of your words. Give me the faith of Moses to take leaps of faith because, even if it takes me through the wilderness, I know you will do your wonderful work through my leap. Make my life count, Lord.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

When God calls you to leap he always extends his arms to catch you.

Hebrews 11:24-26

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By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. - Hebrews 11:24-26

Dear Heavenly Father,

Faith makes us different. You gave Moses a wealthy upbringing and all the riches of Egypt, but you never intended him to exploit that for himself. You wanted him to use it as a leader to be prepared for big things. He understood your purposes and was willing to give up an easy life to accomplish great things with you. He led Israel out of captivity and he signed up for the last 40 years of his life to be hard labor. I want to be like Moses; living for you no matter the cost. I cannot do it on my own. Give me the will and the power to overcome the self indulgent messages of my culture and become a servant who burns brightly for you right to the end of his life.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God went all in for us, let's go all in for him too.

Hebrews 11:23

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By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. – Hebrews 11:23

Dear Heavenly Father,
How brave and loving were Moses' parents! They risked their lives to save him and through their heroism the whole world received great blessings such as: the first five books of the bible, the ten commandments, the accurate account of the beginning of the world, the beginning of Israel and the first promises of a Savior. I can see now that long after I am gone, the actions of I do today out of faith will have a greater impact than I can imagine today. Help me to remember this when the pressure is on for me to conform to the world out of fear and convenience and help my by your Holy Spirit to be like Moses' mom and dad.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God will do tons more than you can ever imagine with the small things you do today for him.