Category: thoughts by Phil Ware

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“Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”  Psalm 4:1

Thought

At first, this cry for help seems very demanding. However, closer inspection shows that this is really the cry of desperation. Have you been there? I surely have and I regularly hear from folks who are there now. But, read how this Psalm ends! What is the secret to surviving a long agony? I believe three things are important: 1) honesty in our prayer life with God, 2) confidence that God hears and cares even when our prayers sizzle with pain and frustration, and 3) genuine praise for God included in our prayers even when things seem bleak. It’s not a magical formula, but it is a Spirit-inspired one — check it out in
Psalm 4!

Prayer

O God, please hear my cry for relief, as well as the relief of those I love, from agony, burdens, and suffering. Please answer in amazing and miraculous ways so that we may not only be relieved, but so that you may be glorified as well. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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From: Phil’s daily devotionals on http://www.verseoftheday.com

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Thoughts by Men thoughts by Phil Ware

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Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.”  John 19:38-39

Thought

The power of the Cross is demonstrated in the lives of these two men, neither of whom showed himself fully to be a disciple of Jesus in his ministry. Now in his death, they make sure he is given a proper burial making themselves unclean for the Passover and proving themselves loyal to the Lord at the worst time for them to do so. The Cross touched them when nothing else could, just like it has touched us!

Prayer

Righteous Father, I know the cross was a brutal symbol of being cursed. Yet to me it is as precious as it is brutal and it is as beautiful as it was hideous. Through the Cross, you saved me from my sin and showed how much you loved me. Thank you! Please use my life in some small way to glorify you and your indescribable gift at Calvary. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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“Carry each others burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Thoughts on today’s verse

I feel so burdened myself, that sometimes I can’t even see others’ burdens. But Jesus reminds me that if I am to be like him, I will be a burden carrier. This is why he came, why he died, and why his resurrection is so important — to lift from us the burdens of sin, death, depravity and desperaion.

Prayer:

Compassionate Father, help me to see and respond to the burdens in other lives around me. I want to be a blessing to the broken and discouraged, so please help me find my place and my way of serving to your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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Thoughts by Men thoughts by Phil Ware

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“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.“ Psalm 25:4-5

Thought

Life can be so confusing. There are so many choices for us as we decide the values that will govern our lives. So how are we going to find the best way, God’s way, to live? We will ask God to show us! Our hope is in him. Our salvation is in him. So why not ask him to guide us and teach us his truth? Why not expect that he will make his will known for us? If our hearts are open to his truth and we are seeking his path, he will make his will known.

Prayer

O mighty God, the only true guide to life, please help me to know your will more completely. I want to live for you and to please you. I want others to know of my allegiance to you — not just because of the words I speak, but also through the character of my conduct. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

Thought

As a child, I loved to receive gifts. In such a simple time of life, a gift meant I was loved. I didn’t worry about the significance or hidden message in a gift. I wasn’t concerned about the “strings attached” to the gift. It was just a gift — a free expression of love I didn’t deserve, given to me by someone who truly cared for me. Isn’t it great to get to be God’s child and receive his gift and know we can receive it as a child?!

Prayer

Thank you, generous Father, for the gift of grace, the gift of faith, the gift of salvation, and most of all, the gift of Jesus. I know I can never repay these gifts, but I look forward to saying “Thank you!” through my lifestyle now and I look forward to continuing to say “Thank you!” through all eternity. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”   Philippians 2:3

Thought

Humility is recognizing who God has made us to be and using that recognition to serve and redeem others. Living in humility as Jesus did, we don’t just practice the golden rule, but we go one step better — we treat others better than we would treat ourselves. Are we instructed to do this because we’re unworthy or unfit? No! Jesus was worthy and glorious, but he chose to treat others better than himself when he sacrificially gave himself to redeem them. It’s a high standard. It’s a hard standard. It is not for wimps. But it is ultimately glorious. (Hint: Read down through verse 10 and remember that the same type of reward will be given to the faithful!)

Prayer

Almighty God, thank you for adopting me as your child and making me holy and precious to you. Please help me to see myself as you do, and then, as one of your precious children, empower me to serve others in ways that help them see your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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From: Phil’s daily devotionals on http://www.verseoftheday.com

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Thought

As Paul faced very difficult circumstances near the end of his life, many of those he had led to the Lord abandoned him. But he was confident that the Lord would not abandon him! He had committed his life to Jesus as Lord. That Lord would ensure that the investment Paul had made would not be wasted. His life, his future, and his eternal destiny were entrusted to the Lord. He was confident that they were also secure in the Lord. He believed with every fiber of his being that on a special day known only to God, Jesus will return and every knee will bow and Paul’s faith in the Lord will be joyously validated.

Prayer

Almighty God, I believe, but please strengthen my faith so that no matter what I may endure, my confidence in you will remain firm and my hope may remain vibrant. I entrust to you all that I am and all that I hope to be, believing fully that you will bring me through whatever lies ahead and bring me into your glorious presence with great joy. In Jesus’ glorious name I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18

Thought

While many of us are richly blessed spiritually and physically, many of God’s people face hardship and difficulty. You may be one of those in difficult circumstances. Please remember that God has not abandoned you. Jesus is the great reminder that God cares and involves himself with the broken, forgotten, and downtrodden. Please know as well, that tens of thousands are praying for you today in the prayer that follows.

Prayer

O God, please be with those whose lives are difficult and filled with pain and sadness. Please minister in personal and mighty ways to every believer with a crushed spirit. Dear Father, please rekindle the hope of every discouraged Christian. Empower them as they hold on to their faith. Pour out your Spirit with power, strengthening each weary and burdened heart. Help each one of your children hold onto his or her faith, finding a renewed sense of hope in your presence. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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From inside the fish Jonah prayed …

“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.”Jonah 2:1-2

Thought

Jonah was disobedient, rebellious, and selfish. He had run from the Lord. He had shunned the Lord’s command. He had endangered the lives of those on the ship where he had tried to hide. Yet even in the middle of his rebellion, God heard his cry and delivered him. If you are in rebellion, if you are seeking to hide some secret and all-consuming sin, please know the Lord wants to ransom and redeem you! Things won’t be easy, but coming back to the Lord means ultimate redemption and deliverance.

Prayer

Holy and righteous Father, please forgive me for the times that I am in rebellion to your will. Help me to recognize those times and give me the strength to avoid those temptations. In your grace, dear Father, please not only help me to live as you want me to live but also lead me to someone else who needs to know of your grace and redemption. Please use me to help them escape from their bondage to sin and shame. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

By Phil Ware
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“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”  James 1:12

Thought

This beatitude comes from Jesus’ brother. He had experienced it and not just taught it! James knew it was worth “hanging in” and “hanging on” when his faith was under attack. He affirmed that God loves us and that he has made incredible promises about what lies ahead for us. He knew that eventually our period of testing would be transformed into a time of great blessing. James wants us to know that God longs to bless us with life! After all, that’s why he sent Jesus. (cf. John 10:10)

Prayer

Dear LORD and Father, thank you for all those times that you strengthened me when I was under attack and sustained me when I was weary and ready to quit. Write “perseverance” deep within my soul and give me a spirit of tenacity so that I might serve you no matter what the outward circumstances of my life may be. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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“Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

Thought

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If we are to sincerely flatter God by being like him, imitation may be the most costly form of flattery as well. You see, love for God is never something that occurs just in our minds or our hearts. Love is something we do for another — it is action. John said in 1 John 4 that we must love in both our deeds and our words. Love means to give ourselves up — what we want, our rights, our desires — to honor God and serve others. This is a kind of love that can change the world, or a marriage, or a family.

 Prayer:

Abba Father, I will never fully understand how you could love me so much that you would allow your son to die for me as my sacrifice. Please help me love others sacrificially. I know the power to do this is not within me, so please pour your love into my heart so that I may share that love with others. Through Jesus, my brother and my sacrifice, I pray. Amen.

by Phil Ware
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“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13

Thought

How serious are we about sin? The Bible reminds us how seriously God views it. The power of sin to entice us, entrap us, and ultimately engulf us in its power can be offset by loving Christian friends who encourage each other daily.

Prayer

Father, I know sin’s power is deceptive. Help me see those who need my encouragement today, so that together, we can help each other escape sin’s traps. In the name of Jesus, who withstood all of Satan’s tests, I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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From: Phil’s daily devotionals on http://www.verseoftheday.com

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“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. “  Psalm 145:3-4

Thought

What we know about God is confined to our small brains, our limited experiences, our willingness to read about the great deeds of God in Scripture, and our hearing of his incredible work through the lives of older Christians. There is nothing quite like listening to older, grace-filled brothers and sisters in Christ who know our Lord and his power through worship, obedience, and experience.

Prayer

God Almighty, by your grace I call you Abba Father. Your majesty is beyond my ability to comprehend and your power is beyond my ability to grasp. What I do know, dear Father, and what I do understand, Almighty God, brings me to my knees in humble adoration and reverent appreciation. Thank you for your love, your mercy, and your grace that makes your majesty approachable and my mortality redeemable. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge..”. Psalm 91:4

Thought

Life is filled with many uncertainties. You never know when something unexpected is going to happen. You have no idea when the next disaster will strike. In a world filled with hate and terrorism, none of us has a clue when the next horrible atrocity will take place. So what do we do when we can’t be sure of our circumstances? We take shelter under the wing of the One who is above all circumstances! We take assurance in our Father who has promised to bring us to himself no matter what may happen today … in our world … and to our bodies. Our lives are hidden with our Father because we’ve been joined to Christ. He is our Refuge! His wings are our shelter!

Prayer

Father, what words can I offer that are sufficient to thank and praise you for your deliverance that is greater than death? You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are the God who was and is and is to come. You are my Abba Father, who has adopted me and made me your own. I place my trust, my hope, and future in you and I will not be afraid. I find my refuge under your wings! All praise to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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From: Phil’s daily devotionals on http://www.verseoftheday.com

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“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”  1 John 1:7

Thought

As we draw near to the Lord and live for him, two amazing blessings come our way. First, we find that our sins are forgiven and we’re cleansed of those sins thanks to the loving sacrifice of Jesus. Second, we find that we are not alone in this wonderful cleansing. True fellowship among believers is built when folks seeking the Lord find each other in his presence. This fellowship isn’t forced or contrived, just heavenly.

Prayer

Almighty and holy God, I want to honor Jesus’ sacrificial death by living a life that is pure, honorable, and holy. Thank you for providing my cleansing through Jesus’ blood and leading me to others who live for you. Please intensify my hunger to know you, your Son, and other believers more. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

By Phil Ware
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Thoughts by Men thoughts by Phil Ware