Be Yourself with God

God created you, and so he wants you to be the real you. By being authentic when you speak to God, you worship him as you Creator.

For years I copied the prayers of other people. I noticed they used certain words and even a special tone of voice. I imitated all the religious clich_s: “Lead, guide and direct us, O Lord.” “Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.” “Bless the gift and the giver.”

In New Testament times, prayers were wordy, meaningless rituals. There was no spontaneity, no genuineness. But Jesus says don’t get caught up in ritual prayer. You don’t have to use fancy language. You can’t impress God with fancy language, and you shouldn’t be trying to impress other people either.

I love to hear new Christians pray — no pious pomposity. They haven’t learned the clich_s yet. They just say, “Hi, God. It’s me.” That’s how you make contact with God. You just talk with your Heavenly Father about what’s on your mind. Just pray your heart. Reveal yourself.

–》》From Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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First Response

Sometimes I marvel at how long we can struggle in a situation before we think to talk to God about it and listen for His voice. We complain about our problems; we grumble; we murmur; we tell our friends; and we talk about how we wish God would do something about it. We struggle with situations in our minds and in our emotions, while we often fail to take advantage of the simplest solution there is: prayer. But worse than that, we then make perhaps the most ridiculous statement known to man: “Well, I guess all I can do is pray.” I am sure you have heard that before and maybe you have even said it. We all have. We are all guilty of treating prayer as a last-ditch effort and saying things like, “Well, nothing else is working, so maybe we should pray.” Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that we really do not believe in the power of prayer as we should. We carry burdens we do not need to bear – and life is much harder than it has to be – because we do not realize how powerful prayer is. If we did, we would talk to God and listen to what He says about everything, not as a last resort, but as a first response.

God’s word for you today: Let prayer be your first response, not your last resort.

–》》From the book Hearing from God Each Morning by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2010 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

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Get Your Priorities Straight

Most of you are doing too much right now. Your schedules are too busy. You have so many irons in the fire that the fire is about to be put out. You’re smothering it.

How do you know when you’re doing too much in your life? How do you know when you’re out of God’s will? How do you know if all the things you’re doing are what God expects you to do or you just put those expectations on yourself?

The answer is simple: You’re always tired. It is not God’s will for your life to always be tired. God never intended for you to go around with that heavy a load.

In Matthew 11:28-30 (TEV), Jesus said: “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying your heavy loads and I will give you…” … more loads? Is that what He says? “I’ll just dump more on you. We’ll add to your schedule.” No, He says, “I’ll give you rest.” The yoke I will give you is easy and the load I will put on you is light.’

What’s got you burdened? Most of us carry a yoke of burden that we’ve put on ourselves because of unresolved guilt and unrealistic expectations. We’re trying to prove that we matter.

You don’t have to prove you matter to God. You simply do.

–》》From Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Grow by Cooperating with God

As you grow to spiritual maturity, there are several ways to cooperate with God in the process —

Believe God is working in your life even when you don’t feel it. Spiritual growth is sometimes tedious work, one small step at a time. Expect gradual improvement.

There are seasons in your spiritual life, too. Sometimes you will have a short, intense burst of growth (springtime) followed by a period of stabilizing and testing (fall and winter).

Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned. This is not a diary of events, but a record of what you are learning. Write down the insights and life lessons God teaches you about him, about yourself, about life, relationships, and everything else.

The reason we must relearn lessons is that we forget them. Reviewing your spiritual journal regularly can spare you a lot of unnecessary pain and heartache.

We are often in a hurry when God isn’t. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you’re making in life. Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity.

–》》From Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Relax In God’s Grace

Do you know you don’t have to be perfect for God to love you? Psalm 119:96 says, “Nothing is perfect except God’s word.” (TLB) Put that on your refrigerator door. Grace is the only antidote for perfectionists.

God understands you completely. He’s fully aware of your humanity. He knows what makes you tick. He knows your faults, your fears, your foibles, your failures and frustrations and all those things. He knows you. He doesn’t expect you to be Superman. He’s like a father. “As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. He knows what we are made of. He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14 GNT)

I have three kids. All of them had to learn to walk. This was the process: They’d take a step, and they’d stumble. They’d get up, take two steps, and stumble. What was my reaction as a father to that? Did I say, “What are you doing stumbling? You’re a Warren and Warrens don’t stumble! We have dignity. Get up. You can do better than that”? Of course not! How silly! And yet you think that’s how God treats you. You think that every time you stumble, God says, “Get up! What are you doing, you dummy!”

There is nothing that you will ever do that will make God love you more than he does right now. There is nothing that you will ever do that will make God love you less than he does right now. His love is unconditional. It’s not based on what you do or don’t do.

–》》From Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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God Wants to Forgive You

You don’t need to carry a load of guilt around. Instead, accept God’s forgiveness. Romans 3:23-24 tells us: “All of us have sinned and all fall short of God’s ideal. Yet now God declares us “not guilty’ if we trust in Jesus Christ who, in his kindness, freely takes away our sins.” (LB)

That’s the good news! That’s the gospel. God wants to forgive you. Imagine a giant blackboard with all of your sins written across it, and God comes along with a giant eraser and erases it all. Learn to accept God’s forgiveness.

If you are a Christian, you already know about God’s forgiveness intellectually. But to feel it is something different. That takes forgiving yourself. In Proverbs 4:25, The Bible says, “Look straight ahead with honest confidence and don’t hang your head in shame.” (GNT)

Have you ever committed a sin and asked God to forgive you, but you still feel lousy? What do you do in that situation? Do you go back and ask Him to forgive you again? No. You only have to confess a sin one time and it’s forgiven — and forgotten.

You’ve already dealt with it; it’s time to move on. Somebody asked Eleanor Roosevelt one time, “How did you accomplish so much with your life?” She said, “I never waste time with regrets.” Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself.

–》》From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional

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Pray and Give Thanks

Giving thanks is so important to being able to hear God’s voice because, like praise and worship, it is something God responds to. It’s something God loves, something that warms His heart. Anytime we give God pleasure like that, our intimacy with Him increases – and that makes for a better relationship with Him.

If we are not thankful for what we have, why should He give us something else to murmur about? On the other hand, when God sees that we genuinely appreciate and are thankful for the big and little things, He is inclined to bless us even more. According to Philippians 4:6, everything we ask God for should be preceded and accompanied by thanksgiving. No matter what we pray for, thanksgiving should always go with it. A good habit to develop is starting all of our prayers with thanksgiving. An example of this would be: “Thank You for all You have done in my life. You are awesome and I really love and appreciate You.”

I encourage you to examine your life, to pay attention to your thoughts and your words, and see how much thanksgiving you express. If you want a challenge, just try to get through an entire day without uttering one word of complaint. Develop an attitude of thanksgiving in every situation. In fact, just become outrageously thankful – and watch as your intimacy with God increases and as He pours out greater blessings than ever before.

God’s word for you today: Speak words of thanksgiving, not words of complaint.

–》》From the book Hearing from God Each Morning by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2010 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

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Perspective Protects Us

Perspective protects us from error. If there was ever a time that Christians need to be grounded in the truth, it is today. We live in a society that rejects absolute truth and accepts every opinion as equally valid.

Pluralism has created a very confused culture. The problem is not that our culture believes nothing but that it believes everything.

God intends for us to have his wisdom and perspective. The result of this will be believers who are ROCK solid: “Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.” (Ephesians 4:14 LB)

–》》From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional

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Perspective Helps Us Endure

Perspective causes us to love God more. The better we understand the nature and ways of God, the more we love him. Paul prayed “that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love.” (Ephesians 3:17-18 TEV)

Perspective helps us resist temptation. When we look at a situation from God’s viewpoint, we realize the long-term consequences of sin are greater than any short-term pleasure sin might provide. Without perspective we follow our own natural inclinations: “You may think you are on the right road and still end up dead.” (Proverbs 14:12 CEV)

Perspective helps us handle trials. When we have God’s perspective on life we realize that “… in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” (Romans 8:28) and that “the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:3)

Perspective was one of the reasons Jesus was able to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2). He looked past the pain to the joy that was set before him.

–》》From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional

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See From God’s Point-of-View

Perspective is understanding something because you see it from a larger frame of reference. It is the ability to perceive how things are interrelated and then judge their comparative importance.

And, for believers, it means seeing life from God’s point-of-view. In the Bible, the words “understanding,” “wisdom,” and “discernment” all have to do with perspective. The opposite of perspective is “hardness of heart,” “blinded” and “dullness.”

Perspective answers the “Why?” questions of life. Psalm 103:7 says, “He (God) made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.” The people of Israel got to see what God did, but Moses got to understand why God did it.

This is the difference between knowledge and perspective. Knowledge is learning what God has said and done. Perspective is understanding why God said it or did it. Having perspective is evidence of spiritual maturity.

–》》From Rick Warren’s Daily devotional

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