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Craig Bode
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Why should you obey God today? There is only one good reason and motivation: Because you want to obey Him! Forced obedience is no obedience. The law cannot effectively demand what the heart is unwilling to give. The only force that can motivate you to godly living is a clear and steady view of God's mercy in Jesus Christ. So Paul can tell us: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1—NIV) Love's plea is infinitely more compelling than the laws demand. This verse asks of us a lot: "a living sacrifices," but it does so on the basis of a lot: "God's mercy." You can effectively apply this verse to your life and day by asking yourself: "Christ died for me; will I live for Him?"

In His reply to to a loaded question from a "legal expert" Jesus makes it clear that life is all about love. Love God and your neighbor. But don't miss the third party in our Lord's line of love: yourself. Take the time and trouble today to love and forgive yourself. You are simply doing what God has already done ... and your friends, family and co-workers will be the beneficiaries. Jesus makes it clear that you can only "love others as much as you love yourself.'" (Matthew 22:39—CEV) Louisa Rogers once put it like this: "How we are with ourselves is exactly how we are with others. To the degree that we are gentle with ourselves, we are gentle with others. To the degree that we forgive ourselves, we forgive others. And to the degree that we love ourselves, we love others." Self-love is based on God's love for you and is essential to loving others today.

God will always equip you and empower you to do what He asks you to do and send you "power from on high." After rising from the dead, Jesus told His disciples: "I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49—NIV) What does a close encounter with the risen Christ do for you? Your heart is set on fire ... your life becomes one of passion and purpose ... clarity and intensity. This is the promised "power from on high." Your greatest strengths cannot accomplish what only His power can do. Your greatest weakness cannot foil or frustrate His power in your life. Let the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ live in you and work with you. What an amazing life He offers us! Live it today!

Decide today who you will be. Will you be God's man or woman or some cheap imitation? "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity." (Proverbs 11:3—NIV) Life gets confusing when you try to wear two faces or allow yourself to be double-minded. Maintain your integrity and it will guide you, seeing you safely and productively through life. Love and serve one Lord: Jesus Christ. Be one person: the man or woman God created you to be. Let there be no compromises or concessions with your identity. Give the people in your life the joy and blessing of knowing what they will receive from you today: the very best from God's man or woman.

Welcome this day for what it truly is: God's good gift to you. "This is the day that the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad today!" (Psalm 118:24—NCV) And while you are at it, you definitely want to work God into your morning routine. Let Him hear from you first thing and watch Him transform the rest of your day. He loves and looks forward to the sound of your voice and is anxious to hear from you. In this daily habit you'll discover so much to help you face your day ... and it goes well with your morning coffee! God's people have been using this simple system for millennia saying: "In the morning, LORD, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly." (Psalm 5:3—NIV)

Don't begrudge yourself the gifts of God! Accept them humbly with gratitude; you need them! "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17—NIV) John Newton puts it powerfully: "Everything is needful that He sends. Nothing is needful that He withholds." Let God do what He always does ... be good to you today. He can't help Himself. He cannot not be good. It's just who He is. If you feast upon and fill yourself with these divine resources, you will find that "the baited hook of temptation holds little attraction for you." So enjoy your good gifts from God today!

There's dependable and then there's God! Nothing in all of creation could have kept Jesus' body in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, where it was laid. The resurrection of Christ was as certain as His promise to His disciples as the angel reminded them: "He is not here; He has risen, just as He said." (Matthew 28:6—NIV) The only one completely worthy of your trust and capable of never letting you down is Jesus Christ. He never breaks a promise and is incapable of making mistakes. He has a unblemished track record and a perfect resume for the job of CEO of your life. Let God give you His never-broken Word today sealed with the gift of His flawless Son, Jesus Christ. "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ." (2 Corinthians 1:20—NIV)

Fear is a powerful force in your life. It incites and engages every part of your being, demanding almost all of your energy and resources until you make the choice to flee or to fight. Some times you must flee and at other times you must fight. Fear can be confusing and overwhelming until you hear in it the call of Christ "Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27—NIV) Jesus knows what has led you into fear and He wants to lead you out of it into a safe and secure future. Follow Him today and move forward into a future unfastened from fear and free to find the future God has fashioned for you.

Remember ... you report to God. The only One you need to worry about offending is Him. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved ..." (2 Timothy 2:15a—NIV) This is why daily time with God is critical. You need to hear His approval or where you have gone against Him. Forgiveness and healing in any relationship begins with Him and is offered freely in Christ. Give God the openness and opportunity to show you where you have pained Him. Then along with His forgiveness He will let you know if you have offended another and what you need to do about that.

It may not feel like it, but you have something to give to everyone you meet today. God's grace is unlimited, supplying you with everything you need and providing you with something of significance to share with those God places in your path today. "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8—NIV) While every other resource can be exhausted, the flow of God's blessings is unending. Will you let God's grace and blessing flow through you to others today? If so, there will be something for everyone in your life today. "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25—NIV)
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