Day 268: Bound, Yet Free!

The Daily Word: Tuesday, September 25th, 2018
Isaiah 45:11-48:11
Ephesians 4:1-16
Psalm 68:19-35
Proverbs 24:3-4
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called… – Eph 4:1

What does it mean to be a prisoner of the Lord? Paul was physically bound, yet spiritually free. He was a prisoner by the world’s standards; but He was free for all eternity because of the Cross of Jesus Christ! Paul simply didn’t care if he spent time in jail, because he knew he would spend eternity with Jesus.

Whatever you are going through: take a moment to reflect on the Cross. You might feel bound, here and now; but the pains of this world mean nothing compared to the pleasures of eternity to come!

Now, go out and walk worthy of your calling. Live today in light of the finished work of the Cross. Nothing can hold you back, because the blood of Jesus has made you free!

Prayer:

Father, thank You that the eternal victory Your Son Jesus purchased for me on the Cross makes the cares of this world absolutely obsolete. Help me to focus on Jesus: nothing and no one else. Even though I am bound in some areas of my life, today I declare that I am free, in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 267: The Creator

The Daily Word: Monday, September 24th, 2018
Isaiah 43:14-45:10
Ephesians 3:1-21
Psalm 68:1-18
Proverbs 24:1-2
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
“I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” – Is 43:15

Never stop worshipping God as Creator! He created you for His glory! He created you to love you: “…that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:7). You are, “…His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).

If God made you and formed you, surely He knows exactly what you need, every day of your life. He knows what will make you happy, and what will make you fulfilled. He knows the desires of your heart, and how to make them come to pass!

Trust God. He knows what you can handle. He knows when you need help. He knows what you need better than you do! He formed you, and He knows.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for creating me! You know exactly what I need, every day of my life. Help me to trust You like never before, in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 266: Those Who Listen

The Daily Word: Sunday, September 23rd, 2018
Isaiah 41:17-43:13
Ephesians 2:1-22
Psalm 67:1-7
Proverbs 23:29-35
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Bring out the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears. – Is 43:8

God had an important message for His people, and He needed someone to deliver it. So this is whom He asked for: “…the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears.”

Why would God ask for the blind and the deaf? Spiritual readiness and natural preparedness are two different things. God doesn’t have to use those who seem qualified to the observer. He uses those who are available. He uses those who aren’t too busy to open their eyes and see what He is showing them. He uses those who aren’t too proud to open their ears and listen to what He is telling them!

God uses those who listen. It doesn’t matter if you feel ready. It doesn’t matter if the rest of the world thinks you’re ready! If your eyes and ears are open to what God is doing, He will work through you!

Prayer:

Lord, I am available! You gave me eyes to see, and ears to hear. I will use them to watch what You are doing, and hear what You are saying, so I can go out and let the world know.

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 265: Paul Prayed

The Daily Word: Saturday, September 22nd, 2018
Isaiah 39:1-41:16
Ephesians 1:1-23
Psalm 66:1-20
Proverbs 23:25-28
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers… – Eph 1:15-16

Paul was grateful; so he prayed. He had heard of the Ephesians’ faith! So he prayed. He loved the early church; so he prayed.

Are you a leader? One of your primary responsibilities is to pray for the people you lead. Yes, Paul visited early church communities. He taught them, and wrote them letters to encourage and strengthen them. But the one thing he did most was pray.

Don’t forget to pray! The destiny of the people God has put in your path might depend on it.

Prayer:

Father, remind me to pray for the people You have put in my life. I’m so grateful You surrounded me with men and women of God who are supportive. I want to pray for them, in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 264: How Will You Respond?

The Daily Word: Friday, September 21st, 2018
Isaiah 37:1-38:22
Galatians 6:1-18
Psalm 65:1-13
Proverbs 23:24
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
“It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” – Is 37:4

When the enemy attacks, how will you respond? In Scripture, Israel’s physical enemies (i.e. other nations) often represent our present-day spiritual enemies (i.e. Satan and his demons). In Isaiah 37, Assyria – Israel’s enemy – is ready to attack Israel. The enemy was loud: he came right up to Jerusalem’s wall and started to threaten God’s people. God will not deliver you, he said (Is 36:15). Why do you trust Him?

The enemy attacks by feeding you lies. Satan wants you to think God is not real! He wants you to think God doesn’t love you, and won’t defend you! But don’t believe Satan’s lies!

Hezekiah took the enemy’s threats and brought them straight to God. He knew an attack against him was an attack against God Himself. Hezekiah didn’t worry about mounting a defense, or planning how to take out the enemy. He knew if he brought it to God, God would take care of it!

When the enemy threatens you, how will you respond? Bring it straight to God. God loves you, and He will defend you, in Jesus’ name!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for defending me. The louder the enemy gets, the faster I will run to You! Thank You for always being there for me, in Jesus’ name.

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 263: How to Avoid Sin

The Daily Word: Thursday, September 20th, 2018
Isaiah 33:10-36:22
Galatians 5:13-26
Psalm 64:1-10
Proverbs 23:23
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. – Gal 5:16

The typical Christian prescription for sin is: avoid it! Fight it at all costs! But trying to “fight” sin won’t work. Trying to “stay away from” bad habits will get old quickly. Instead, simply change your focus.

Don’t focus on sinning less; focus on loving Jesus more. “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh!” You don’t embrace holiness by trying to push sin away; you embrace it by reaching out and grasping for God!

How do you avoid sin? Walk in the Spirit! How do you avoid darkness? Revel in the light! The key to Spirit-filled life is to walk with your gaze fixed on the Cross: at all times, no matter what!

Prayer:

Father, help me to change my focus. I don’t want to worry about sin anymore. Instead, I want to allow the Cross to consume all my energy and focus. Bless me with renewed focus, in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 262: The Word of God

The Daily Word: Wednesday, September 19th, 2018
Isaiah 30:12-33:9
Galatians 5:1-12
Psalm 63:1-11
Proverbs 23:22
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, burning with His anger, and His burden is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue like a devouring fire. – Isaiah 30:27

God’s word is powerful; but it can be painful. “His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue like a devouring fire!” God’s word is not always easy to receive and pleasant to digest; but we always need to hear what He has to say!

Sometimes, God will give you – through His word, and through His voice in times of prayer – a light, encouraging word. He will tell you you’re on the right track, and to keep moving forward! He will tell you you’re taking steps in the right direction, and making good decisions.

At other times, however, He will invite you to correct your course. His Holy Spirit will challenge you to live a holier life: not to earn God’s affection, but because you have been set free and you already have it! But whatever He says, we do well to receive.

Sometimes the word will hurt; but it is always exactly what you need to hear.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for the power in Your word. I submit to Your word, in Jesus’ name. I know Your word is exactly what I need to hear, and I want to follow You like never before!

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 261: Anchor In the Storm

The Daily Word: Tuesday, September 18th, 2018
Isaiah 28:14-30:11
Galatians 3:23-4:31
Psalm 62:1-12
Proverbs 23:19-21
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.” – Is 28:16

Whoever “believes “ will not act “hastily.” Faith grounds us. Faith keeps us from rushing into things. Faith keeps us from making silly mistakes and foolish decisions!

Without faith, we are like ships in a storm without an anchor. Life tosses us around, and we get separated from home. When the wind picks up and the waves get high, we lose sight of our purpose!

But faith grounds us. Faith is like an anchor that keeps us close to shore. No matter what happens in life, faith keeps us connected to God. No matter how bad the storms in life get, He is always there, waiting to guide us home!

Aren’t you happy you believe?

Prayer:

Father, thank You for faith! I know my faith keeps me grounded, and keeps me from making silly mistakes. I want to be grounded and connected to You, all of my life, in Jesus’ name!

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 260: He Responds!

The Daily Word: Monday, September 17th, 2018
Isaiah 25:1-28:13
Galatians 3:10-22
Psalm 61:1-8
Proverbs 23:17-18
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Ps 61:1-2

God not only hears you cry; He also attends to your prayer. To hear is to listen; but to attend is to be present and respond. God is not a distant Creator who set the world in motion, only to withdraw and take His hand off your life. He is a present Father who listens, hears, and responds when you pray!

As much as you care about your destiny and calling, God cares even more. Aren’t you glad your Father in Heaven hears and responds to your prayers?

Prayer:

Father, thank You for hearing my prayer! Thank You for responding to my cry! Help me to remember that every day is an opportunity to be heard by You: my Father in Heaven. Help me to never take it for granted, in Jesus’ name.

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

Day 259: Damage Control

The Daily Word: Sunday, September 16th, 2018
Isaiah 22:1-24:23
Galatians 2:17-3:9
Psalm 60:1-12
Proverbs 23:15-16
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
You also saw the damage to the city of David, that it was great; and you gathered together the waters of the lower pool. You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses you broke down to fortify the wall. You also made a reservoir between the two wall for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to its Maker, nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago. – Is 22:9-11

Judah was under attack! They scrambled to mount a defense, and did everything they could to prevent an invasion. They surveyed the damage, and broke down houses to fortify the wall. They did everything they could to hold off the enemy!

But they forgot to look to their Maker. All God wanted was for His people to return to Him. But instead, they turned to Him last! They tried to figure out how to “fix it” by themselves, instead of asking God for help!

Don’t go to God last; go to Him first! It is far better to ask God to defend you, than to try and defend yourself. Trust in Him, and He will protect you.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for supernatural protection. I trust You to defend me, in Jesus’ name! Help me to go to You first, instead of waiting and going to You last!

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© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.

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