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Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him]. —Hebrews 4:14
Hebrews 4:14 and 10:23 both tell us to hold fast our confession of faith in Christ. When we hold fast to something, it indicates some- thing or someone might be trying to take it away from us.
Satan will try to steal our confession by putting wrong thoughts in our minds, hoping the thoughts will produce wrong words that will come out of our mouths and then create wrong actions— Satan fights anything that will produce good results in our lives. To confess means “to agree with, or say the same thing.” Begin saying the same things God says, and get into agreement with Him so His good plan for your life can come to pass. Hold on to your right confession even when circumstances don’t look good, because they will change!
Power Thought: I will hold fast to my confession of faith; I agree with God and His promises for my life.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.
Each day as you leave your home to go into a dark, tasteless world, you can be the light and flavor it needs. You can bring joy to your workplace by being determined to consistently have a godly attitude. You can be “salt” through simple things like being thankful rather than complaining like most people do, being patient, merciful, quick to forgive offenses, kind, and encouraging. Even simply smiling and being friendly is a way to bring flavor into a tasteless society.
Without love and all of its magnificent qualities, life is tasteless and not worth living. I want you to try an experiment. Just think : I am going to go out into the world today and spice things up. Then get your mind set before you ever walk out your door that you are going out as God’s ambassador and that your goal is to be a giver, to love people and add good flavor to their lives.
You can begin by smiling at the people you encounter throughout the day. A smile is a symbol of acceptance and approval, which is something most of the people in the world desperately need. Deposit yourself with God and trust Him to take care of you while you sow good seed everywhere you go by making decisions and taking actions that will be a blessing to others.
Loving Others Today: How can you add some spice and flavor to the world around you today?
Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! —Ecclesiastes 4:9–10
Some people are always trying to get us to conform to preset patterns, but there are those rare individuals who actually encourage individuality and nonconformity. We must spend time with people who accept and affirm us. One of the many things I have appreciated about my husband over the years is that he gives me space and even encourages me to be me. For example, I am a person who likes to spend time alone. When I need a few hours or even a few days to have my space, I can simply tell Dave that and he does not feel as though I am rejecting him. He understands that is just the way I am.
I recently counseled a woman who said her husband was driving her crazy because he would never give her even one hour alone. He wanted to be with her constantly. When she tried to explain that she needed space, he got offended and took her need as a personal rejection. To nurture healthy relationships, we must give people space and freedom.
Lord, help me to be able to communicate my personal needs to those I love without making them feel rejected. Give them understanding hearts that accept me for who I am and encourage me. Amen.
That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you. . . . For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. —2 Timothy 1:6–7
It doesn’t matter what kind of problem we have in our lives, we need self-control and discipline to gain and maintain the victory. I believe this is especially true with regard to our thought life and the battle for our mind. What begins in the mind eventually comes out of the mouth, and before we know it, we’re telling anyone who will listen how we feel. We have to discipline our mind, our mouth, our feelings, and our actions so that they are all in agreement with what the Word of God says.
Every quality of God that is in you and me, God Himself planted in us in the form of a seed the day we accepted Christ (see Colossians 2:10). Over time and through life’s experiences, the seeds of Christ’s character begin to grow and produce the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22–23).
I have found that it is virtually impossible to operate in any of the other eight fruit of the Spirit unless we are exercising self-control. How can you and I remain patient, for example, in the midst of an upsetting situation unless we exercise restraint? Or how can we walk in love and believe the best of someone after they have repeatedly hurt us unless we use the fruit of self-control?
As Christians, we have the fruit of the Spirit in us, but we must purposely choose to exercise them. Not choosing to exercise the fruit of the Spirit is what produces carnal Christians—¬those who are under the control of ordinary im¬pulses and walk after the desires of the flesh (see 1 Corinthians 3:3). Whatever we exercise the most becomes the strongest.
Our thoughts and words are two areas in which the Holy Spirit is constantly prompting us to exercise self-control. The Bible says that “. . . as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he,” and “out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks” (Proverbs 23:7; Luke 6:45b). The devil is ¬constantly trying to get us to accept wrong thoughts about everything from God’s love for us (or the lack of it) to what terrible thing is going to happen to us next. Why? Because he knows that once we start accepting and believing his lies, it is just a matter of time until we begin to speak them out of our mouths. And when we speak wrong things, we open the door for wrong things to come into our lives (see Proverbs 18:20–21).
What if, instead of allowing our minds to go over all of the things that have hurt us, we would remind ourselves to think about all the good things God has brought into our lives? When we allow Satan to fill our minds with worry, anxiety, and doubt, we wear out our ability to make good decisions. Worry is also thankless by nature. I’ve noticed that people who worry rarely see much good in life. They talk about tragedy, failures, sickness, and loss. They seem unable to focus on the good things that they still have in life.
Try this. Each day, focus on the things God has done for you in the past. This will make it easier for you to expect good things in the future. As I wrote those words, I thought of the memorials mentioned in the Old Testament. Often the people stacked up heaps of stones as reminders that God had delivered them or appeared to them. As they looked backward and remembered, they were able to look forward and believe.
The psalmist wrote, “O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You from the land of the Jordan [River] and the [summits of Mount] Hermon” (Psalm 42:6). He was reminding himself of past victories. When he was having problems, he recalled God’s great work in the lives of the people.
When doubts try to sneak in, you can do what the psalmist did: You can look back and remember that God has always been with His people. All of us have had times when we wondered if we’d make it. But we did. So will you.
My great God, forgive me for allowing the little things of life to distract me and to take my thoughts away from You. Through Jesus Christ, help me always to remember that You are with me in the good times and in the bad times. Amen.
I will make all My goodness pass before you. . . . Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand upon the rock, and while My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen. —Exodus 33:19,21-23
In times of trouble God hides you in Christ. Safe in the cleft of the Rock, there is provision for your needs. It may not be everything you want, but He gives you what you need to get through the situation.
Perhaps you are facing difficulty and have been waiting and waiting to see God’s glory. God desires to pour out His goodness upon you. He has covered you with His hand and is continually moving toward you with the answer. You may not see Him coming, but you will certainly know when He has been there!
Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. —James 1:16
If we desire to walk after the Spirit, all our actions must be governed by God’s principles. In the realm of the Spirit, there is a precise standard of right and wrong, and how we feel does not alter that standard.
If doing the right thing requires a “yes” from us, then it must be “yes” whether we feel excited or discouraged. If it is “no,” then it is “no.” A principled life is enormously different from an emotional life. When an emotional person feels thrilled or happy, he may undertake what he ordinarily would not do. But when he feels cold and emotionless or melancholy, he will not fulfill his duty, because his feelings refuse to cooperate.
All who desire to be truly spiritual must conduct themselves daily according to godly principles. A good sign to show you’re growing and maturing in Christ is when you consistently obey, even when you don’t feel like it.
Learn not to ask yourself how you feel about things, but instead ask yourself if doing or not doing something is right for you. You may know that you need to do something, but you don’t feel like doing it at all. You can wish you felt like it, but wishing does no good. You must live by principle and simply choose to do what you know is right. There may be a certain thing you want to do badly. It might be a purchase you want to make that you know is too expensive. Your feelings vote “yes,” but your heart says “no.” Tell your feelings they don’t get to vote. They are too immature to vote and will never vote for what is best for you in the long run.
We don’t allow people to vote in political elections until they are eighteen, because we assume they would be too immature to know what they are doing. Why not look at your emotions the same way?
They have always been a part of you, but they are very immature. They are without wisdom and cannot be trusted to do the right thing, so just don’t let them vote. We mature but our emotions don’t, and if they are left unchecked, our lives will be a series of unfinished and disappointing ventures.
Trust in Him Pray and ask God to help you trust Him more than you trust your emotions.
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. —Philippians 3:12 NLT
It is our job to press toward the mark of perfection, and yet the Bible teaches us we will not attain perfection until Jesus, the Perfect One, comes to take us to live with Him for eternity (see1 Corinthians 13:9–10). We can grow; we can change and do better and better. But if we obtained perfection in our behavior, we would no longer need Jesus—and that is never going to happen.
We can, however, have perfect hearts toward God by fully wanting His will and doing all we can to work with the Holy Spirit toward that goal. God sees your heart, and He counts you as perfect even while you are making the journey toward perfection.
Power Throught: I am pressing on toward the goal of perfection in Christ.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. . . . Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, “Fear not, I will help you. Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you,” says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” —Isaiah 41:10-14, NKJV
When we start reading today’s scripture, we might think, Wow. God must be talking to people who really have their act together. The good news is that He is talking to ordinary people just like you and me. He helps us because He is good, not because we are. Fear comes against all of us, and God wants us to know that we don’t have to let the feelings of fear defeat us. We can keep moving forward in the presence of fear because He is with us.
If someone has hurt you or treated you unjustly, remember that God promises to deal with them and make them as nothing at all…nonexistent!! When we read that God will strengthen us that means He will enable us to do whatever we need to do today and everyday. God is with you and that makes you equal to anything that comes against you. Because God is with you that makes you greater than any problem you have.
Fear is not God’s will for you. He wants you to be bold, courageous and confident and you can be if you remind yourself often that you are not alone. God is with you!!
Love Yourself Today: Remember that God is with you at all times and you can do whatever you need to do.
And when she [Lydia] was baptized along with her household, she earnestly entreated us, saying, If in your opinion I am one really convinced [that Jesus is the Messiah and the Author of salvation] and that I will be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay. And she induced us [to do it]. —Acts 16:15
Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955) was one of the most remarkable black women of her time. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, she opened a school for black girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. From 1935–1944 she was a special advisor on minority affairs to President Franklin Roosevelt. She was the first black woman to head a federal agency and worked to see that blacks were integrated into the military. She also served as a consultant on interracial affairs at the charter conference of the United Nations. Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women and was director of Negro Affairs for the National Youth Administration. The fifteenth of seventeen children born to slave parents, she came to have unrestricted access to the White House during Roosevelt’s life.
I admire those who are the first to do anything because the one who goes first endures more opposition than those who follow later. They are pioneers, and they open the way and pay the price for future generations.
Lord, Lydia opened her door to help Paul and those traveling with him, and I can open the way for others as well. Help me to be practical and take advantage of every opportunity to make a difference. Amen.
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God. —Romans 12:1
In order to obey the verse for today, we have to choose to give the Lord our “members and faculties.” In other words, we offer Him our bodies, minds, abilities, and emotions. We must be careful not to let the devil use our minds. The human mind is his favorite battleground and he will fire thoughts at us all day long, thoughts that will drown out the voice of God if we choose to listen to them. The thoughts the devil sends us are usually sly, subtle, and deceptive so we will find them easy to believe. He lies and accuses and tells us anything he can think of to steal our joy, rob our peace, and make us feel ashamed, guilty, and unworthy. He fills our minds with ungodly thoughts about other people. We cannot stop him from sending thoughts our way, but we can resist them in the power of Christ. Then we can deliberately turn our thoughts toward God and the things He speaks to us.
To be honest, there are days when I have to cast down a dozen thoughts just in the time it takes to put on my makeup! But, thank God, I know how to do it. You can do it, too. Think of it this way: two voices are competing for your attention. You can focus on one or the other. Choose to hear the voice of God and to think about the things He says, not the things the enemy says. When we fill our thoughts with right things, the wrong ones have no room to enter.
God’s word for you today:> Give your mind to God and focus on the thoughts He speaks to you.
He who rebukes a scorner heaps upon himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man gets for himself bruises. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser. —Proverbs 9:7–9
It has been statistically proven that 10 percent of people will never like you, so stop trying to have a perfect record with everyone and start celebrating who you are. A person who knows how to live independently does not allow the moods of other people to alter hers.
A story is told of a Quaker man who knew how to live independently as the valued person God had created Him to be. One night as he was walking down the street with a friend, he stopped at a newsstand to purchase an evening paper. The storekeeper was very sour, rude, and unfriendly. The Quaker man treated him with respect and was quite kind in his dealing with him. He paid for his paper, and he and his friend continued to walk down the street. The friend said to the Quaker, “How could you be so cordial to him with the terrible way he was treating you?” The Quaker man replied, “Oh, he is always that way. Why should I let him determine how I am going to act?”
Lord, help me not to allow others to steal my joy and peace by the things they say and do. I want to be kind and cordial, but I won’t let my mood be controlled. Amen.
About midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God . . . Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone's shackles were unfastened. —Acts 16:25-26
Throughout the Bible, God instructs His people to be filled with joy and to rejoice. For example, Philippians 4:4 says: Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
Any time the Lord tells us twice to do something—the Philippians were told twice in this verse to rejoice—we need to pay careful attention to what He is saying. Many times people see or hear the word rejoice and think, That sounds nice, but how do I do that? They would like to rejoice but don't know how!
Paul and Silas, who had been beaten, thrown into prison, and had their feet put in stocks, rejoiced by simply singing praises to God. We don't often realize the "rejoicing" that can release so much power can be just as simple as smiling and laughing, having a good time, and enjoying ourselves. And doing that in itself often makes the problem go away!
If you have a personal relationship with the Lord—if you are saved— the Holy Spirit dwells within you (SEE John 14:16-17 AND 1 Corinthians 12:3). If joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and the Spirit is in you, joy is in you. You're not trying to get joy or manufacture it—it is already there, just as are the ability to love and the other fruit of the Spirit— because the Spirit is there.
It is very important to understand that we as believers are not to try to get joy—we have joy. Joy is in our spirit. What we need to do is learn how to release it.
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). —Galatians 5:22-23
When the Holy Spirit lives inside you, you have everything He has. His fruit is in you. The seed has been planted. God gives each one of us various gifts to use, but in order to use your gifts in the most powerful way as He desires, you must first allow the fruit to grow up and mature within you by cultivating it. Each time you choose to operate in the fruit of the Spirit it grows.
When you know what God has available for you and you release your faith to walk in it, His Spirit will give you the power you need to produce good fruit. If you are willing to develop the character qualities of God in your life, which is the fruit of the Spirit, you will live an exceptional type of life that is reserved only for His sons and daughters.
In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. —Colossians 2:3 NLT
We all have emotions, but we must learn to manage them. Emotions can be positive or negative. They can make us feel wonderful or awful. They are a central part of being human, and that is fine. Unfortunately, most people do what they feel like doing, say what they feel like saying, buy what they feel like buying, and eat what they feel like eating. And that is not fine, because feelings are not wisdom.
Feelings are fickle; they change frequently and without notification. Since feelings are unreliable, we must not direct our lives according to how we feel. You can be aware of your feelings and acknowledge their legitimacy without necessarily acting on them. God has given us wisdom, and we should walk in it, not our emotions.
Healthy emotions are very important. They help us recognize how we truly feel and what we value. Good emotional health is vital for a good life. But a good life also means being able to manage our emotions and not be managed by them. Negative emotions such as anger, unforgiveness, worry, anxiety, fear, resentment, and bitterness cause many physical illnesses by raising our stress levels.
It seems to me that most people in our society today are mad, and the ones who aren’t are sad. Thank God we no longer have to be like “most people.” God doesn’t want anyone to be a slave to their feelings. To manage your emotions and your life, you need to ask God for His wisdom instead of trusting your feelings.
The more stable our emotions are, the healthier we will be, and we all want to enjoy good health. I strongly encourage you to trust God to help you learn to manage your emotions so they don’t manage you.
Trust in Him: Trust God to lead you by wisdom, and don’t merely follow your emotions. God will always lead you to a good place.
Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. —Proverbs 18:21 The Message
Our thoughts affect our words, and our words affect our lives— words have power, and they directly affect our emotions. Words fuel good moods or bad moods; in fact, they fuel our attitudes and have a huge impact on our lives and our relationships.
In Proverbs 21:23 we are told to guard our mouths and tongues to keep ourselves from trouble. Proverbs also tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (18:21). The message cannot be any clearer: If you speak positive and good things, you minister life to yourself. You increase your joy. However, if you speak negative words, you minister death and misery to yourself—you increase your sadness and your mood plummets. You have the choice between life and death, being positive or negative—so choose wisely!
Power Thought: I choose to speak life-giving words.