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We are weak, but you are [so very] strong! —1 Corinthians 4:10
We need help—and a lot of it. Jeremiah 10:23 says, …the way of a man is not in himself; it is not in man [even in a strong man or in a man at his best] to direct his [own] steps. It really is impossible for man to properly run his own life. Admitting that fact is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of spiritual maturity. You are weak unless you find your strength in God, and the sooner you face that fact, the better.
Many people have position, wealth, and power, but they may not have what really matters—good relationships, right standing with God, peace, joy, contentment, satisfaction, good health, and the ability to enjoy life. Not everything that appears well is well! You may be trying hard to make things work out right and always failing. Your problem is not that you are a failure. Your problem is simply that you have not gone to the right source for help.
That which is desired in a man is loyalty and kindness [and his glory and delight are his giving]. —1Proverbs 19:22
Sometimes you may just need to clear away the clutter so you can clearly see what is worthwhile. Here is a simple suggestion: Don't keep more than you can take care of. If you have so much junk in your home that it takes you hours to dust it, get rid of something.
Find a big carton and write "Blessing Box" on the side of it. Start putting extra things into it until cleaning is more manageable. Find someone who doesn't have much and bless them. You will be amazed at how easy it is to start your day right when you are no longer distracted by things you don't need.
And whoever will not receive and accept and welcome you nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or town, shake the dust [of it] from your feet. —Matthew 10:14
I often share a teaching that I call "Shake It Off," which is based on the time Paul was on the island of Malta (see Acts 28). He was helping some people build a fire, when a poisonous serpent crawled out and attached itself to his hand. At first, when the people saw it they thought he must be wicked to have such an evil thing happen to him. They watched, waiting for him to fall over dead.
But the Bible says Paul simply "shook it off." We can learn so much from that. When somebody offends or rejects us, we need to see it as a bite from Satan, and just shake it off.
In another instance in the Bible, Jesus told the disciples that if they entered towns that didn't receive them, they should just go to the next town. He told them to shake the dust off of their feet and move on. He didn't want the disciples to dwell on the rejection they had experienced; He wanted them to stay focused on sharing their testimony of His works in their lives. Likewise, as we follow the Spirit, we can shake off offenses and hold on to our peace. When others see that we are able to remain calm even when "the serpent" bites us, they will want to know where that peace is coming from in our lives.
When we are in a state of being upset, we cannot hear from God clearly. The Bible promises us that God will lead us and walk us out of our troubles, but we cannot be led by the Spirit if we are offended and in turmoil. We can't get away from the storms of life, or the temptation to be irritated by someone; but we can respond to offenses by saying, "God, You are merciful, and You are good. And I am going to put my confidence in You until this storm passes over."
Trust in Him Has someone offended or rejected you and you need to "shake it off "? Trust God to give you the grace to act godly even in an ungodly situation, and to help you shake it off in order to be a witness to others.
They tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and place them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger to help bear them. —Matthew 23:4
You and I pressure ourselves and other people when we have unrealistic expectations. We often expect more out of people than they are able to give us. Continued pressure on people we are in relationship with will ultimately cause the collapse of that relationship. God does not want us or others to live under this kind of pressure.
I remember the years I furiously tried to change my husband, Dave, and each of our children in different ways. Those were frustrating years, because no matter what I tried, it didn't work! We cannot change people by pressuring them or by nagging them. Only prayer and God's love will work.
As humans, all of us require space, or freedom, to be who we are. We want to be accepted and loved as we are. We don't want people giving us the message, even subtly, that we must change in order to be "in." I am not saying that we must accept sin and wrong behavior in other people and merely put up with it. I am saying that the way to change is prayer, not pressure! For change to be lasting, it must come from the inside out. Only God can cause that type of heart change.
Lord, I have tried to change loved ones, and it's always failed. Show me how to pray for them and to release them into Your hands. Amen.
For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide [even] until death. —Psalm 48:14
It thrills me to know that God is our guide through every day of our lives. How wonderful to know that we have Someone to guide us and ensure that we get from one destination in life to the next.
Sometimes when Dave and I travel, we hire a guide to show us the best and most important sites to see. One time, we decided we would explore a certain place by ourselves; that way, we reasoned, we could do what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. However, we quickly found that our independent trip was nearly wasted. We often spent large portions of each day getting lost and then trying to find our way again. We have learned from our mistakes and we now know the best use of our time is to follow a guide rather than wandering aimlessly to find places ourselves.
I believe this example from our travels relates to how most people are in life. We want to chart our own courses, be our own guides, and do what we want to do at our convenience. But we typically lose our way and end up wasting our time. God has promised in today's verse to guide us through our lives. He does this through the Holy Spirit, who will speak to us and tell us where to go and what to do if we will simply ask Him to lead us.
Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention. —Philippians 2:2
When Jesus sent the disciples out two by two to do miracles, signs, and wonders, in essence He said to them, "Go and find a house and say, 'Peace be unto you.' And if your peace settles on that house, you can stay there. If it doesn't, shake the dust off your feet and go on" (see Mark 6:7-11).
One day God showed me what Jesus was really saying to them: "I want you to go out with the anointing, but to do what you need to have peace in the house." You need to do whatever you can to maintain peace in your home because it dramatically affects the anointing and power of God that rests on your life. Keep the strife out of your life!
And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righ¬teousness will be quietness and confident trust forever. —Isaiah 32:17
And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righ¬teousness will be quietness and confident trust forever. Isaiah 32:17
If you are feeling compelled to do so much that you are physically worn out, you may be driven instead of led. Remember, you have to come apart from a busy routine before you come apart yourself. You have to get away from everything before you come apart physically, men¬tally, and emotionally. Give yourself time to get a good night's sleep.
It is tempting to do everything that everybody else is doing, be involved in everything, know every¬thing, hear everything, and be everywhere, but it isn't God's best for you. Be willing to separate your¬self from compulsive activity before you come apart at the seams! Spend time with God, and ask Him to give order to your day.
No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. —1 Corinthians 1:27
God gives us His power (grace) so we can do what is needed in spite of our weaknesses. In fact, God purposely chooses the weak and foolish things of the world to work through so we will give Him the glory for what is being done. God wants to amaze the world, and one of the ways He does so is by accomplishing great things through people who are weak and don't have the natural ability to complete the task at hand (see 1 Corinthians 1:25–29).
Relax; don't be afraid you won't be able to do what God has given you to do. Step out in faith, and God will meet you where you are and give you His grace (undeserved favor and power) to complete the task. Through Christ you can do all things!
Power Thought: God uses my weaknesses to show His strength.
May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing . . . that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. —Romans 15:13
You cannot have true love, joy, hope, or peace without believing in God and His promises. According to today's scripture, joy and peace are found in believing. So when you lose your peace, check your believing.
Let your timing be in God's hands (see Ps. 31:15). You'll lose your peace if you try to make things happen out of God's timing. Avoid rea¬soning, and stop trying to figure out what God is doing in your life and trust Him. Stop thinking so much and start simply believing.
Believe God loves you. Believe God has a great plan for your life. Believe God always has your best interest in mind, and that He is work¬ing all things together for your good (see Rom. 8:28). You might as well just get in the flow and go with God. Getting frustrated is not going to make God change His mind.
I have been through a lot of difficult things and have come to know through experience that God is faithful and worrying does no good. We don't have to understand everything that occurs in our lives, because God does understand them and He is in control. You can choose to believe in God and His promises, or to continue in worry and reason¬ing. But if you choose to believe, your joy and peace will be abundant.
Love God Today: "Lord, I believe that you know all things and you are in control, so help me be comfortable, 'not knowing.' "
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord,thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. — Jeremiah 29:11
The most important thing is not how we start but how we finish. Some people get started with a bang, but they never finish. Others are slow starters, but they finish strong.
God has a plan for each of us. It is our destiny. But it is a possibility, not a "positively." Even if someone prophesies over us wonderful things in the name of the Lord, what is being prophesied is the heart, the will, and the desire of God for us. It doesn't mean it is positively going to happen, because if we don't cooperate with God, it is not going to come to pass. We have a part to play in seeing that plan come true.
I challenge you to cooperate with God every single day of your life to develop your potential. Every day you should learn something new. Every day you should grow. Every day you should be a bit further along than you were the day before. We must each discover our God-given gifts and talents, what we are truly capable of, and then put ourselves to the task of developing those gifts, talents, and capabilities to their fullest extent.
Lord, I am thrilled that You have a plan for my life. That I have a destiny is amazing. I want to cooperate with You today and make that a reality. Amen.
You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. —John 15:14
In today's verse, Jesus tells us we are His friends if we obey Him. In the following verse, He says He no longer calls us His servants, but His friends. Clearly, He wants a personal relationship with us and He wants us to get personal with Him. He proves this by the fact that He lives in us. How much more personal can anyone get than to live inside another person?
If God had wanted a distant, businesslike, professional relationship with us, He would have lived far away. He might have visited occasionally, but He certainly would not have come to take up permanent residence in the same house with us. When Jesus died on the cross, He opened up a way for us to get personal with Almighty God. What an awesome thought!
Just think about it: God is our personal friend! If we know someone important, we love to have an opportunity to say, "Oh, yes, that person is a friend of mine. I go to his house all the time. We visit with one another often." We can say the same about God if we do our part to fellowship with Him, listen to His voice and obey what He says, and stay in His presence every day.
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. —Philippians 4:6 NLT
How many problems have you solved by worrying? How much time have you spent worrying about things that didn't end up happening? Has anything ever gotten better as a result of your worrying about it? Of course not!
The instant you begin to worry or feel anxious, give your concern to God in prayer. Release the weight of it and totally trust Him to either show you what to do or take care of it Himself.
Prayer is the blueprint for a successful life. During His time on Earth, Jesus prayed. He entrusted everything to God—even His reputation and life. We can do the same. Don't complicate your communication with God. Believe in Him and ask Him for what you need through simple, confident prayers.
Power Thought: Worry accomplishes nothing. I trust in the Lord.
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace —Romans 8:6 NKJV
Our thoughts are very powerful and they make a huge difference in the quality of our life. Because this is true, we should "think about what we are thinking about," and make sure we are helping ourselves and others, not bringing harm.
Today's scripture tells us that the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life. Negative, ugly thoughts minister death to us and also to others, whereas positive, loving thoughts minister life.
Here is an example of how much our thoughts affect the people around us. I was shopping with my younger daughter one day when she was a teenager. On that particular day, her hair was very messy and her face was broken out. She had on too much makeup, and it did not look good.
Every time I looked at her I thought, You really don't look very good today. After some time went by, I noticed she was looking depressed, and I asked her what was wrong.
"I feel really ugly today," she replied.
When she said that, God whispered in my heart, See what your thoughts have done to her?
I was immediately convicted that my thoughts were very displeas¬ing to the Lord, and they brought pain to my daughter when what she needed was acceptance and encouragement.
Often, we think things about people that we would never say to them, but even our thoughts can affect others. Remember that God knows all our thoughts, so let's think on things that will please Him.
Love Others Today: "Lord, help me to minister life to others and to myself with my thoughts."
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. —Romans 8:14
Being led by the Holy Spirit means allowing Him to be involved in every decision we make, both major and minor. He leads us by peace and by wisdom, as well as by the Word of God. He speaks in a still, small voice in our hearts, or what we often call "the inward witness." Those of us who desire to be led by the Holy Spirit must learn to follow the inward witness and respond quickly.
For example, if we are engaged in a conversation, and we begin to feel uncomfortable inside, it may be the Holy Spirit signaling us that we need to turn the conversation in another direction or be quiet. If we are about to purchase something, as we feel uncomfortable inside, we should wait and discern why we are uncomfortable. Perhaps we don't need the item, or we may find it on sale somewhere else, or it may be the wrong time to buy it. We don't always have to know why; we simply need to obey.
I remember being in a shoe store one time. I had chosen several pairs of shoes to try on when I suddenly felt very uncomfortable. This discomfort increased until I finally heard the Holy Spirit say, "Get out of this store." I told Dave we had to go, and out we went. I never knew why, and I do not need to know. Maybe God saved me from some harm that was coming my way, or perhaps the people in the store were involved in something unethical. Maybe it was just a test of obedience. As I have said, we don't always have to know why God leads us in certain ways. Our part is simply to obey His voice.
A furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled. But He [Himself] was ...asleep. —Mark 4:37-38
In Mark 4:35-41, we read how a storm arose when Jesus and His disciples were in a ship crossing the Sea of Galilee. The disciples got all upset, but Jesus calmly rebuked the storm, speaking peace to it, and it quieted down. Do you know why He was able to speak peace to the storm? Because He never let the storm get on the inside of Him. The disciples could not calm the storm because they were as disturbed as the waves were. Remember, you can't give away something you don't have. Jesus gave them peace because He had peace to give them. He had a peaceful heart within Him.
I tell you, I want to be the kind of person who has a soothing effect on people when I get around them. I want to be the kind of person who can spend a few minutes in a strife-filled room, and all of a sudden everyone starts to calm down.
When Jesus walked around on the earth, He had something going out of Him—the anointing or the virtue of God, which is the power of God. Something was constantly emanating from Him that brought healing and hope and salvation to people's lives.
It wasn't just something God put on Him; there was a foundation there of how He was living His life.Yes, He was anointed, but that anointing was not going to be released if He didn't live His life right. And that's exactly why He never let the devil upset Him. He didn't let the storms of life get on the inside of Him. He kept His heart peaceful, calm, and loving. And we are to be like Him.
We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. —Romans 8:28
After John 3:16, Romans 8:28 is probably the most quoted Bible verse among Christians. Paul's words bring comfort and peace to many of us in our difficulties and hardships. They give us hope that no matter what hurts and disappointments come in our lives, everything will eventually work out for our good.
The two verses preceding Romans 8:28 talk about prayer. They say that when we don't know how to pray as we ought to, the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and prays through us. It is through these Holy Spirit-filled prayers that all things work together for good, no matter what they are. Not all things that happen to us are good in and of themselves, but God is good and He can cause them to work toward our good if we trust Him.
Continuing to trust God is the key to victory in painful and seemingly unjust situations. Faith and prayer move the hand of God. If we continue believing, He promises to continue moving in our behalf to work everything out for good. God makes this promise to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We must love God with all of our hearts, and we must want His will. We must be willing to submit to His plan at all times.
The plan that God has for us eventually changes us into His image. We are destined to be molded into His image. That may sound spiritual, but in reality, it usually hurts. I often think of clay being pressed into a mold, and wonder how the clay would feel if it had feelings. Being changed into an entirely different shape would probably be painful. If we take a lump of clay and press it into a mold, there is always too much clay to fit, and some pieces must be discarded. I found that there was more of me than would fit into the mold of Jesus Christ, so many of my thoughts, words, and actions had to be discarded.
We must go through things that are difficult and learn how to respond to them the way Jesus would. We must not give way to the fearful thoughts and feelings that attack us. We must learn to remain steadfast, knowing that no matter how things appear now, God will work them out for our good, ¬and in the process, He will use them to make us better people.
God’s purpose in everything that happens is to make us more like Jesus Christ. Jesus was the totally obedient one. Although He was a Son, He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
We also learn through what we suffer. We learn from God's Word and life’s experiences. Because of our sinful nature, we tend to fight God at every point, but this only makes the process longer and more painful. Learn to surrender quickly, and save yourself a lot of agony. I've learned that God gets His way in the end, so why prolong the process?
Where the mind goes the man follows. Keep your mind going in the right direction, and your life will catch up with it. A person who has their faith firmly planted in God cannot be defeated. The Bible says that Joseph's brothers hated him, but God was with him. God gave him favor and promoted him, so we see that his faith in God lifted him above his circumstances.
Some terrible things happened to Joseph. His brothers sold him to slave traders and told his father a wild animal had killed him. He was betrayed by those whom he served and tried to help, but God was watching him all the time. God had a good plan for Joseph, and it came to pass. He ultimately said that although the things that happened to him were originally meant for harm, God intended it for good.
This same thing is true for all of us. Satan cannot defeat us if we keep believing that God is working for our good, and that we are being continually transformed into His image.
All wise and loving God, make me more like Jesus. I don't like to suffer, and I hate to fail, but through Jesus Christ, I ask You to teach me and enable me to understand that, because of You, everything truly works together for my good. Amen.
Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah). —Colossians 3:24
God has brought a great reward in my life in recompense for the abuse that I suf-fered in my earlier days. Now I have a wonderful life. God blesses me. He does things for me. He opens doors of opportunity for me. He makes me happy. He gives me joy.
When you really trust God, He will bring justice into your life. In Isaiah 61:7 the Lord says, "For your former shame I will give you a double reward" (par¬aphrased). If someone has mistreated you, rejected you, abused you, or abandoned you, hold on to that promise. You have many blessings ahead of you. Trust God with your future, and enjoy your day as you wait for God's justice.
May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. —Romans 15:13
In my search for content I have discovered four things we must eliminate from our lives in order to be content.
The number one problem that leads to feelings of discontent is greed. Have you ever known someone who just could not be content no matter how much they had? I was once like this myself. Of course, I didn't think of it at the time as being greedy; I just always wanted more than I had. We must learn to enjoy where we are in each area of life, while we are on the way to where we are going. This means we can find our satisfaction in Him while we are on our way to the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams.
I also believe fear causes many of us to be unhappy and discontent. We are afraid we will not get what we desire, and this causes us to be impatient. Over time, I have learned that I could do the things God wanted me to do, and I could trust in and wait on His perfect timing to bring to me those things that He knew were best for me.
Once we learn to trust God and step out even though we're afraid, God will provide the courage and boldness we need to overcome our fear. Lack of trust in God is another cause of discontent, but simply trusting in God brings us into a place of rest, joy, and peace.
Looking for contentment in all the wrong places is my fourth reason for discontent. Don't make the mistake of looking for contentment in things. If you do, the result will be that you will never find it. You will never be truly satisfied.
The answer to our frustration comes when we receive revelation that our satisfaction must be in Jesus and in His will and timing for our lives. When we are in a hurry to find contentment, it doesn't make God hurry. He has a plan, and only trusting Him will allow us to enjoy it.
Trust in Him Are you content? Trust God and find satisfaction in Him, and you will be content and have peace.
This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it. —Psalm 118:24
Enjoying the abundant life Jesus died to give you is based on a decision you make, not on your circumstances. Thankfully, you can decide to be happy right where you are and to enjoy the life you have right now on the way to where you are going. You can make a firm decision to enjoy your journey.
You can begin by saying out loud, “I am going to enjoy my life.” Until you get that thought established in your mind, every morning when you wake up, before you even get out of bed, I encourage you to declare out loud, “I am going to enjoy this day! I am seizing the day! I am taking authority over the devil—the joy thief—even before he tries to come against me. I have made up my mind that I am going to keep my joy today!” Having a right mindset always helps in every situation.
Prayer of Thanks I thank You today, Father, that I can choose to live in the abundant life Jesus died to give me. I don’t have to live a miserable, unhappy life. I can choose to celebrate Your goodness and enjoy the life You have given me.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask now the priests to decide this question of law: If one carries in the skirt of his garment flesh that is holy [because it has been offered in sacrifice to God], and with his skirt or the flaps of his garment he touches bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does what he touches become holy [dedicated to God's service exclusively]? And the priests answered, No! [Holiness is not infectious.] Then said Haggai, If one who is [ceremonially] unclean because he has come in contact with a dead body should touch any of these articles of food, shall it be [ceremonially] unclean? And the priests answered, It shall be unclean. [Unholiness is infectious.] —Haggai 2:11-13
Holiness has been defined as "separation to God," a separation that should result in "conduct befitting those so separated." In the New Testament, the same Greek word translated holiness is also translated sanctification, which the Greek dictionary says "cannot be transferred or imputed." That means that holiness is an individual possession, one that is built up little by little. It cannot be given to or taken from another person.
In other words, you and I cannot become holy by going through a prayer line or by having hands laid on us or by associating with someone else who is holy. As we see in this passage from the Old Testament prophet Haggai, unholiness is infectious; holiness is not. What that means is that you and I can associate with someone who is living a sinful life, and that individual's sinfulness can rub off on us. We can catch it like a disease.
But holiness is not like that. It can't be picked up by contact or exposure; it has to be chosen on purpose.
I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live. —Deuteronomy 30:19
When God begins to deal with us about wrong behavior, it's easy enough to say, "I can't help it," but it takes real courage and faith to say, "I’m ready to take responsibility and get my life straightened out."
Avoidance, which is not facing issues, is a major problem. Wrong things don't go away just because we refuse to acknowledge them. We often stuff things. We hide from them, and as long as we do, they have power over us. Issues buried alive never die.
For many years, I refused to deal with the sexual abuse in my childhood. My father had abused me, so I left home the week I turned eighteen years old. I thought I was getting away from the problem by leaving, but I didn't realize I had the problem in my soul. It was in my thoughts, attitudes, and words. It affected my actions and all of my relationships. I had buried my past and stuffed my stuff. We don't have to live in the past. In fact, we are encouraged by God's Word to forget it and let it go. However, that doesn't mean that we are free to ignore the results of it and pretend that we are not hurting when we are.
I was merely feeling sorry for myself and saying, "I can't help it. It's not my fault I was abused." And it wasn't my fault. But it was my responsibility to let God help me overcome all the bandages I was experiencing as a result of that abuse.
God began setting me free by dealing with me about all the wrong thoughts I had accepted and allowed. My mind had to change before my life could change. At first, I didn't even want to take responsibility for my thoughts. I thought, I can't help what I think. Things just come into my head! I eventually learned that I could choose my own thoughts, and I could think things on purpose. I learned that we don't have to accept every thought that falls into our minds. We can cast down wrong ones and replace them with right ones.
I learned that instead of feeling helpless over the thoughts that fill my mind, I can and must do something positive.
Much of our thinking is habitual. If we regularly think about God and good things, godly thoughts become natural. Thousands of thoughts flow through our minds every day. We may feel that we have no control, but we do. We don't have to use any effort to think wrong thoughts; we have to use much effort to think good thoughts. As we begin to make changes, we will have to fight a battle.
Our mind is the battlefield, and Satan's primary way of initiating his evil plan for us is through our thoughts. If we feel we have no power over our thoughts, Satan will entrap and defeat us. Instead, we can determine to think in godly ways. We constantly make choices. Where do those choices come from? They originate in our thought life. Our thoughts become our words and our actions.
God has given us the power to decide to choose right thinking over wrong. But once we make that choice, we must continue to choose right thoughts. It's not a once-and-for-all decision, but it does get easier. The more we fill our lives with reading the Bible, prayer, praise, and fellowship with other believers, the easier it is for us to continue choosing right thoughts.
It may sound as if I'm saying that trying to live the Christian life is nothing but one continuous struggle. That's partly true, but that's only a piece of the story. Too many people want to live victorious Christian lives, but they don't want to fight the battles. Victory however, means winning and overcoming obstacles. We must also remember that living a life of disobedience to God is harder than choosing to live in victory. Yes, there are struggles but they are worth it in the end.
To think in the right way takes practice, and it is not always easy, nor does it feel natural for us to focus only on the good. But if we know this is the pathway to life both now and in eternity, it's worth the effort and the struggle to think positive thoughts.
When we're bombarded with doubts and fears, that's when we need to take our stand. We don't ever want to say again, "I can't help it." We want to believe and say, "God is with me, and He strengthens me. God enables me to win." The apostle Paul said it this way, "But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]" (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).
We can choose. Not only can we choose, but we do choose. By not pushing the bad thoughts from our minds, we're allowing them to invade us and take us captive. It takes time to learn to choose good and push away evil. It won't be easy, but we're moving in the right direction every time we take responsibility and make right choices.
Powerful God, remind me that I can and do make choices every day. Please help me to monitor my thoughts, choosing only those that will help me overcome the devil and win the battle for my mind. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all ques¬tions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] . . . And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. —Colossians 3:15
You are waging spiritual warfare when you give radical praise to God in the midst of your need and lack. When you are thankful to God for all He has done and is doing, you are de¬feating the enemy. When you hold your peace in the midst of the storm, you are warring with spiritual weapons (see 2 Corinthians 10:4–5).
Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you... [Stop al¬lowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimi¬dated and cowardly and unsettled]" (John 14:27).
Jesus has given you peace! Put it on, and wear it everywhere you go.
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. —Philippians 4:6
I highly recommend speaking the Word of God when a "worry attack" comes upon you. Doing this is what it means to wield the two-edged sword against the enemy (see Hebrews 4:12 and Ephesians 6:17). A sword in its sheath won't do any good during an attack; God has given us the sword of His Word so we can use it! Learn scriptures like Philippians 4:6, and when the enemy attacks, counter his attack with the same weapon that Jesus used: the Word.
The Word coming from a believer's mouth, with faith to back it up, is the single most effective weapon that can be used to win the war against worry and anxiety.
Jesus replied, "This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]." —John 6:29
Many dedicated believers who love God have the same question for Him: "Father, what do You want me to do? If You will just show me what to do, I will gladly do it."
For many years, I was excessive when it came to being a "do-er." All anyone had to do was point me in the direction of something that needed to be done, and I did it—and I did my best to do it right. But what frustrated and confused me was when I did something "right" and it still did not work. I had not yet learned that unless the Lord builds the house (unless He initiates and empowers an effort) that "they labor in vain who build it" (Ps. 127:1).
Today's scripture is Jesus' answer to a group of people who wanted to know what they were supposed to do to please God. They asked Him, "What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God?" We can sum up Jesus' response in one word: believe.
So many people, including myself and maybe you, too, think we are supposed to be achievers. This is true; we certainly are supposed to achieve and accomplish things. But the way we achieve is to first believe. That frees us from worry and enables us to live victorious lives. We are called "believers," not "achievers," so let's make sure we always believe first and then do what God leads us to do.
To another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances true] spirits [and false ones]. —1 Corinthians 12:10
I believe the discerning of spirits is an extremely valuable gift, and encourage you to desire and develop it. I actually believe it is one of the most needful gifts for today and the times we are living in.
Some people say that the discerning of spirits gives people supernatural insight into the spiritual realm when God allows it. Many also believe that discerning of spirits is a gift given so we can know the true nature of a person or a situation. Our world today is full of deception and many people in it are not who they appear to be. The gift of discerning of spirits helps us see through deception and behind the masks people often wear so we can know what is really going on. The gift also helps us discern good things. It enables us to sense when something is a good thing or a person has a good heart.
Discernment helps us recognize when something is of God and when it isn't. Dave and I have seen this gift work many times when dealing with people who wanted to work in our ministry. Many times, people have seemed qualified, capable, dedicated, and "perfect" for the jobs for which they applied. I remember one specific occasion when we met with someone and everyone involved thought we should hire him, but I had a nagging feeling in my heart that we should not. We hired him anyway and he did nothing but cause trouble. I allowed my reasoning—thinking he would work out because his resume was exactly what we wanted—to overtake my discernment, and I wish I had not.
The Spirit of God lives in our hearts and speaks to our hearts, not our heads. His gifts are not intellectual or operative in our minds; they are spiritual and they operate in our spirits. We must follow what we sense in our spirits, not what we think in our minds should be right. This is why God gives us discernment.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). —1 Corinthians 3:11
We can know a lot of spiritual methods(or formulas) for getting things, but many such methods simply have no power flowing through them. Powerless methods are like empty containers— useless.
I had learned many spiritual methods, and I was busy trying them, until I realized that methods don’t work. It was like building on a cracked foundation; nothing stood the test of time. If our foundations leak, we get into trouble every time it storms.
Build your life on who you are in Christ. Take time to meditate on the foundational things about being a Christian. Build your life on the solid foundation that you are an heir of God’s grace and His unmerited favor.
They trusted in, leaned on, and confidently relied on You, and were not ashamed or confounded or disappointed. —Psalm 22:5
There is nothing unusual or wrong about initial feelings of disappointment, but it is what we do from that point forward that makes all the difference in the world. Absolutely nobody gets everything they want all the time, so we need to learn how to deal properly with disappointment.
Trusting God completely and believing that His plan is infinitely better for you than your own will prevent you from being disappointed with God. You might feel anger toward your situation, but don't ever be angry with God. When you get angry, you naturally want to lash out at someone, but it is unwise to make God your target. He is the only One Who can help you and truly comfort you; therefore, it is much better to run to Him in your time of pain than away from Him.
Power Thought: I trust God completely and am never disappointed with Him.
And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. —Ephesians 1:19 NKJV
In today's Scripture Paul prayed that we would know the exceeding greatness of God's power toward us. God is powerful, and anyone who believes in God surely believes that, but the question is: Do we believe His power is available to us and that it exists for us? Being able to live power-filled lives starts when we believe that power is available for us.
God's power is greater than any other power in the universe, and it is limitless. This power, which is "toward us," has already been given. In Luke, Jesus said, "Behold I have given you power..." We do not need to strive for power or hope to have power someday; we have power now! The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us (see Rom. 8:11) and we can be quickened (filled with life) by that power.
This is not a onetime filling that slowly drains out of us as the days go by, but we can be filled day-by-day and even moment by moment. We can constantly and continually experience God's presence and power in our lives. When we belong to Him, there is never a time when His power is not accessible to us.
Just think: If your local power company called and said you were chosen to receive free power for the rest of your life, you would prob¬ably get so excited! This is the way life is when we are connected by faith to God's power. You have to pay for the power that comes into your home, but your power for life has been paid for by Jesus Christ.
Love God Today: Think about this: You are never, ever in a powerless position, because God makes His power available to you at all times.
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. —Galatians 2:21 NKJV
I discovered years ago that every time I became frustrated it was because I was trying to do something myself, in my own strength, instead of putting my faith in God and receiving His grace (help). Receiving a revelation of God's grace was a major breakthrough for me. I was always "trying" to do something and leaving God out of the loop. I tried to change myself and my husband and children, tried to get healed, tried to prosper, tried to make my ministry grow, and tried to change every circumstance in my life that I did not like. I was frustrated because none of my trying was producing any good results.
God will not permit us to succeed without Him. If He did, we would take the credit that is due Him. If we could change people, we would be changing them to suit our purposes, which would steal their freedom to make their own choices. I finally learned to pray for what I thought needed to be changed and let God do it His way in His timing. When I began trusting His grace, I entered His rest. Grace is always flowing to us in every situation, but it must be received by faith.
Lord, give me the understanding of Your grace that frees me from doing things in my own strength. Help me to do my part and rest in the fact that You will do the rest. Amen.
And the Lord said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent [of bronze] and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live. —Numbers 21:8
In Numbers 21, we see that when the Israelites were out in the wilderness, they were dying in large numbers because of a plague of snakes that had come upon them as a result of their sin. Moses went and fell down before God and worshiped Him. He turned his attention immediately to God, not to himself or anyone else, to solve the problem.
I have discovered that throughout the Bible when people had a problem, they worshiped. At least the ones who were victorious did. They didn't worry—they worshiped. I would ask you today: Do you worry or worship? Moses sought God about how to handle the snakes. He didn't make his own plan and ask God to bless it; he didn't try to reason out an answer, nor did he worry—he worshiped. His action brought a response from God.
We know that the pole with the bronze serpent on it represented the cross and Jesus taking our sin upon Himself on it. The message is still the same today: "Look and live." Look at Jesus, at what He has done, not at yourself and what you have done or can do.
The answer to your problem, whatever it may be, is to not worry but worship. Begin to worship God because He is good, and His goodness will be released in your life.
Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearances); but judge fairly and righteously. —John 7:24
Today’s verse is a very clear, specific word from God to us. He tells us not to judge people superficially or by appearances.
For years I was the kind of person who made snap judgments. God seriously dealt with me about it several times, and I finally realized the danger of judging hastily and superficially.
Before we judge people, we must take time to get to know who they really are. Otherwise, (1) we can approve of someone because they appear to be something, when in fact they are not; or (2) we can disapprove of someone because of some outward appearance or action, when that individual is actually a wonderful person inside.
We all have our little quirks, our odd little actions, behaviors, and ways that are not easily understood by others. God Himself does not judge by appearances and we need to follow His example.
David would never have been chosen to be king if people had judged superficially. Even his own family disregarded him. But God saw David’s heart, the heart of a shepherd. God saw a worshipper, someone who had a heart for Him, someone who was pliable and moldable in His hand. These are qualities God values, but they aren’t always obvious at a glance.
I encourage you to seek God and let the Holy Spirit speak to you about people. He knows their hearts, and He will tell you whether to beware or pursue a relationship with them. Trust Him, not your own judgment, to lead you as you get to know people and develop relationships.
God's word for you today: Have the same attitude toward others that you would like them to have toward you.