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2 Corinthians 2:14

May 12

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

The greatness of God living inside of us causes us to be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). We must rediscover our identity as the Church Triumphant. We are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. The way to triumph is not by force, but with the power of God’s love through Jesus Christ.

The church cannot afford to remain silent in the face of evil. Romans 12:21 commands that we do not be overcome by evil, but that we go on the offensive to overcome evil with good. We triumph over deception and lies with the voice of truth.

When the church sees a need, we must move to meet that need. We triumph over poverty and lack with empowerment and kindness. We triumph over selfishness with sacrifice, over greed with giving. We triumph over sorrow with joy, over despair with hope. Where does that triumph originate? It does not come from a government plan or a social service. That kind of triumph flows from a God Who is greater and Who has placed that greatness in us!

He is greater than every enemy. He met His enemies at Calvary and conquered them there.

He is greater than every sickness. He bore our diseases on His back. By His stripes, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

He is greater than every need. Our God shall supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).

He is greater than every bondage and addiction. He is the Anointed One Who breaks the yoke of bondage and Who sets captives free. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36).

He is greater than every mountain that you face. He can take that mountain and cast it into the sea (Matthew 21:21).

He is greater than every sorrow. In His presence, we can find fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

This Greatness is not a secret to be kept. Let’s loose it into a waiting world. We are His light shining forth. We are like a city built on a hill — impossible to hide. God uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume. He causes us to triumph!

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, help me to loose Your greatness to those around me. Let me liberally share Your love. Let me fill up this world with the fragrance of You. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

1 Samuel 12:1-13:23

New Testament 

John 7:1-30

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 108:1-13

Proverbs 15:4

 

 

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Psalm 37:3-5

May 11

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

The Greatness of God that lies within each one of us, by virtue of our relationship with Jesus, requires a wholehearted commitment. This Greatness merits more than excuses, procrastination, and carelessness.

We must be committed to this Greatness. We must consistently pursue the purposes that God drops into our hearts. The difference between a wish and a reality is hard work. We will never accomplish the destiny that God designed for each one of us if we are unwilling to commit to the necessary work to achieve it.

God designed us for industry and achievement. When He blew life into the dust that was Adam…poof! Adam became a living being. Even as he was still rubbing the dirt from his eyes, God said, “Get to work!” He built a garden, and He instructed Adam, “Go tend it.” He created all of the animals, and He directed Adam, “Give them all a name.”

Adam could have responded many different ways, but he didn’t. God designed him. God created him. God put him to work.

In the same way, God designed us. He created us, and if we intend to realize the Greatness within us, we must be willing to get to work. What would you attempt if you knew that you could not fail? What would you try if you knew that whatever you set out to achieve, you were guaranteed success? Jesus Himself gave us this promise: “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). If we will believe, that belief will spur us to act. Whatever we pursue from His purpose and plan – that Greatness inside of us – will come to pass.

Commit to greatness. Don’t procrastinate any longer. The first step is the most difficult. Don’t sabotage those plans with indifference or idleness. Stop dreaming and start doing – no more excuses. For those who commit to the Greatness within, greatness lies ahead.

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, I commit to the Greatness that You have placed inside me. No excuses, no delays. I commit to fulfill the good works that You created for me to complete. Lead me in Your paths. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

1 Samuel 10:1-11:15

New Testament 

John 6:47-71

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 107:1-43

Proverbs 15:1-3

 

 

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Galatians 6:4-5

May 10

But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.

One of the three inalienable rights endowed on Americans by our Creator, according to the Declaration of Independence, is the pursuit of happiness. It sounds so simple. However, the Declaration did not grant us the “guarantee” of happiness…only the right to pursue happiness. If God has granted us life and liberty, each one of us has the responsibility to pursue happiness.

We are responsible for how we reach our individual happiness. Each one of us chooses a path and pursues it until we possess it. The work and effort required for the end goal is where we sometimes get derailed. It turns out that the pursuit of happiness may be one of the greatest struggles of the human condition. This pursuit of happiness is not a guarantee; it is an opportunity. Each one of us is responsible for what we do with that choice.

In 1 John 4:4, John told the Ephesians that God has placed greatness inside of every believer. By virtue of Jesus living in our hearts, we have His greatness to meet every eventuality. As Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” The battle for greatness is won and lost — not in a voting booth or on a ticket — but within each one of us.

What will we choose to do with the Greatness inside of us? How will we face down our giants? How will we handle lack? How will we reach out to those in need? What will be our attitude when opposition rises? Will we choose words that build up or tear down? How will we stand for the defenseless? Jesus paid the price for this greatness, but we are responsible to grasp its promise.

Lean into that greatness! Let’s apply ourselves — heart, mind, soul, and strength — into loving God and loving our neighbors (Luke 10:27). There, we will find the contentment, the fruitfulness, and the happiness of a life well lived.

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, thank You for the treasure of Your presence living inside of me. Help me to lay hold of that greatness. Help me to be responsible with this opportunity as I seek to do Your will every day. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

1 Samuel 8:1-9:27

New Testament 

John 6:22-46

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 106:32-48

Proverbs 14:34-35

 

 

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Proverbs 31:29-30

May 9

Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

On this special day when we honor mothers, Proverbs 31 offers us a wonderful reminder of all the traits that add up to a virtuous woman and wife. She is a treasure worth far more than precious jewels.

The virtuous wife respects her husband. Every day of her life, she finds ways to treat him well. He can trust her completely, and she enriches his life in every way. He is a well-respected leader in the city because of the support she affords him.

The virtuous wife works hard to provide for her family. She rises before the sun, and her lamp burns into the night. She brings food for her family. Her hands are busy, and her arms are strong. She is industrious and entrepreneurial. She sews and spins and creates beautiful products to sell for profit. She buys a field and plants a vineyard. She watches over all the aspects of her household.

We all know these women – up before dawn, dropping the children at school, heading off to jobs before returning home with the groceries to prepare a meal and help with homework, cheer from the sidelines, and organize tomorrow’s tasks before falling into bed late at night.

The virtuous woman cares for the poor and the less fortunate. She opens her heart and extends her hands to help. She does not sit idly by waiting for someone else to take action. She picks up the phone. She mails a card. She volunteers her time.

She lives with a quiet confidence in God, and she senses the value of the work that she completes. She speaks with wisdom and kindness, and she faces the future with a smile. Her strength is evident. Her actions speak for themselves.

Her husband sings her praises, and even her children admire and recognize that she is blessed. A woman who fears the Lord and places all of her hope in Him will reap the rewards of a life spent with Him and for Him.

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, thank You for the strong women that have graced my life. Thank You for their sacrifice and support, the conversations and kindness, the love and laughter, the toughness and tenderness. Convince them of their value and worth. Help me find ways to honor them for their rich deposits in my life. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

1 Samuel 5:1-7:17

New Testament 

John 6:1-21

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 106:13-31

Proverbs 14:32-33

 

 

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Ephesians 2:10

May 8

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

You are not an accident. You are here on purpose. No random whimsy of act has dropped you here haphazardly. Almighty God has chosen to insert you into this moment in history for a specific reason.

We often, and quite unintentionally, discredit the greatness of God inside of us when we say, “I guess I was just lucky.” Luck had nothing to do with it. That was God working all things to our good, because we are “called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Sometimes, we say, “I was just in the right place at the right time.” And you would be right…because God led you there. Let’s give credit where it is due!

In the Old Testament, we read of the beautiful, Jewish girl, Esther. She found herself in the king’s palace with the weight of the survival of all Jewish people sitting squarely on her young shoulders. Mordecai, her cousin, urged her not to shrink from this enormous task. He was certain that she had come to that place “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). With the prayers of her people and Greatness inside of her, she rose to meet the challenge.

God did not place you here to merely exist. He deliberately sent you here for such a time as this. He did not place you here to merely get by or survive. Embrace the Great inside you! Let that light shine so that others will see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

He knows you. He knows exactly what you need. He sees where you are and what you have walked through to get here. Whether you realized it or not, He was walking with you. He knows where you are headed, and He has gone on before you to prepare the way. Don’t let the world weigh you down. Don’t let the critics slow you down. Don’t let the burdens bring you down. Do let the greatness of God arise in you, and let His enemies scatter before you. Rise up, and shine!

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending me to this very place for such a time as this. I may not fully understand Your purpose for me, but I trust Your plan. I may not see where we are going, but I know that You will guide my steps. You lead, and I will follow. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

1 Samuel 2:22-4:22

New Testament 

John 5:24-47

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 106:1-12

Proverbs 14:30-31

 

 

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1 John 4:4

May 7

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

In today’s verse, John the Apostle writes to the believers at Ephesus to make a very important point. Greatness lies within them. They did not need to go in search of greatness, and neither do we. As believers of Jesus Christ, we have received His greatness by virtue of Him living in our hearts.

All around us, creation testifies of His magnificence. From the rising to the setting sun, from the tiniest atom to the far-flung galaxies, there is no one like Him — no one above Him or beside Him. He laid the foundations of the earth. He established the boundaries for the oceans and told their proud waves where to stop. He stores up snow in heaven’s treasuries (Job 38). That same God Who hung every star and called it by name knows your name (John 10:3). He keeps count of the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7).

Before you were born, God masterfully wrote on the blank pages of your life. He inserted beauty, pain, struggle, tears, joy, and, yes, greatness — some verses and chapters that you might have chosen to omit. Every day has been recorded in His book! (Psalm 139:16)

If you choose to surrender to His quill — His plot line with its twists and surprises, your divine destiny — He will redeem all the pages and weave together a story of adventure, passion, mystery, and the greatest of loves. He will make you His living love letter to the world (II Corinthians 3:1-3), pointing them to the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Before He even formed you in your mother’s womb, He knew what you would need for this life. He has equipped you with great gifts and talents to use to bring glory and honor to His name. Most importantly, He has brought all that He is and all that He has to live inside of you.

He empowers you to do the impossible! Not only are you His workmanship — His masterpiece — He will show you the way to complete the good works that God has planned for you, the unique purposes for which He created you (Ephesians 2:10). Look no further. You have Greatness inside!

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, I am in awe that the Creator of the universe has come to live inside of me. In the daily humdrum of life, help me to be aware that there is greatness inside of me. Whatever I face, let me face it in the power of that greatness. Whatever I do, let me do it with the excellence of that greatness. Whomever I meet, let that greatness be extended to them. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

1 Samuel 1:1-2:21

New Testament 

John 5:1-23

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 105:39-45

Proverbs 14:28-29

 

 

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Psalm 18:35

May 6

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.

Nineteenth century English dramatist, Henry Taylor, once said, “The world knows nothing of its greatest men.” Two hundred years later, this statement still rings with truth.

In our media-saturated culture, superficial notoriety is often substituted for true greatness. People have traded the valuable for the vain, dignity for disrespect, kindness for callousness, and restraint for rebellion. They think that money, power, and fame represent the marks of true greatness.

Many people are willing to do many things for their fifteen minutes of fame. Grasping for short-lived celebrity, they break boundaries and push limits. Fame may garner some notice, but it does not constitute greatness. Attention spans are short. Spotlights fade.

Some equate money with greatness. People invest their lives in the pursuit of wealth and gain. The principle of living simply within one’s means has been discarded for a more-is-better, pay-with-plastic mentality. Money may fill someone’s life with stuff, but it cannot buy greatness.

Some correspond power with greatness. Since the dawn of time, people have striven for power. Armies have marched, emperors have schemed, kings have killed, executives have plotted. People scrabble over others to climb to the top of the heap, to demand deference and force fear, but coercion does not constitute greatness.

To ever be considered great, we must submit to the Source of greatness Himself. Jesus had much to say about true greatness in the Kingdom economy. For those who wish to be genuinely great, learn to be the least (Mark 9:35). He pulled a small child onto his lap — the picture of unassuming innocence, no fortune, no fame, no power — as He said those words.

True greatness lies in the character that is forged through a relationship with the One Who emptied Himself, became as nothing, and humbled Himself to go to His death on the cross (Philippians 2:7-8). He came seeking no fame, fortune or power. He came only to do the will of His Father Who sent Him. And therein lies true greatness.

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, protect me from the deceptions of this world. It’s so easy to be convinced of my own importance — forgive me. Help me to always keep Jesus’ example in front of me. Give me power to do Your will humbly and obediently. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Ruth 2:1-4:22

New Testament 

John 4:43-54

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 105:16-38

Proverbs 14:26-27

 

 

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Psalm 8:3-4

May 5

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?

Greatness is more than a catch phrase, much more than a campaign slogan. If we pause long enough in any moment of any day, we will become aware of the greatness all around us.

Genesis 1 tells us that God created light on the first day. On the fourth day, He set lights in the heavens — a greater light to rule the day, and a lesser one to rule the night. He also set the stars in the sky — so numerous that they are impossible to count. Every morning, that greater light rises over the eastern horizon and sets in the west. It warms our planet to create an ecosystem finely balanced to sustain life. Greatness!

At night, those smaller points of light twinkle against a black velvet sky. For many years, humankind believed that our solar system was the only one that existed. We now know that many galaxies spin outside of ours, that innumerable stars shine beyond our sight. Telescopes have given us the ability to gaze deeper and deeper into space, and the deeper we search, the farther it stretches — beyond our vision and our mathematical calculations. God’s greatness on display!

Amazingly enough, Psalm 147:4 assures us that God knows the number of the stars. Not only does He know the number, He knows all of their names. 

The breathing process? The easy, unconscious inhalation and exhalation, the act of taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide, comes from Him. God breathed the breath of life into Adam and created a living being. Job declared that the breath of the Almighty gave him life (Job 33:4). Let everything that has breath praise the Lord for His greatness!

Consider the handiwork of God all around us. See it in the watercolor of an evening sky. Smell it in the raindrops. Hear it in the birdsong. And in the moment, breathe out a prayer of gratitude to the Creator for His greatness.

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, help me to slow down today. Open my eyes to see the work of Your hands everywhere around me. May I never lose the wonder. With the breath You gave, I say, “Thank You.” In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22

New Testament 

John 4:4-42

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 105:1-15

Proverbs 14:25

 

 

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Proverbs 4:20-22

May 4

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.

Healing comes through the Scripture and the Spirit. Not only does He forgive all of our sins, He promises to heal all of our diseases, too (Psalm 103:3).

The Word of God speaks healing to us. When we cry out to the Lord in our troubles, He sends His Word to heal us, to deliver us from distress and darkness, even the very shadow of death. He breaks our chains into pieces (Psalm 107:13,14,20).

Our verse for today says that His Words bring life and health to our flesh. As we read His Word, as we memorize and internalize it, as we apply it and walk it out, it translates into healing and wholeness for us. One of the most powerful things that you can do to improve your health is to read God’s Word.

Not only does God heal through His Word, He heals through His Holy Spirit. According to Romans 8:11, the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead. As believers, that same Spirit lives in us. The Word tells us that Spirit will quicken our mortal bodies. He will bring new strength and new vitality to us — now and eternally.

As we immerse ourselves in the words of the Father, our faith unfurls and blossoms. Mustard-seed faith can move mountains of medical impossibility! As the Spirit comes alongside to convict us of our sin and convince us of His righteousness, we recognize our need to confess. He trades our sin for salvation and mends our broken hearts. As we heed His counsel, we find the power to forgive. When we find the strength to let go, we are set free.

Our Good Shepherd anoints our heads with the oil of His Spirit, and we flourish even in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23). The Lord is our Healer.

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, as I read Your words, help them come alive to me. Help me to store them deep in my heart. Let them be life, truth, and light to me. Renew and restore me through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I believe that You are my Healer. In Jesus’ name…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Judges 19:1-20

New Testament 

John 3:23-4:3

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 104:25-35

Proverbs 14:22-24

 

 

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