Hope: The Happy Anticipation of Good Things

I define hope as “the happy anticipation of good things.” When we anticipate the goodness of God in our lives, it opens the door to greater happiness. So are you aggressively hoping for something good to happen to you?

As long as we live, you and I are always going to be heading somewhere. God created us to be goal-oriented visionaries. Without a vision, we become bored and hopeless. And “hope deferred makes the heart sick,” according to Proverbs 13:12, “but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.”

God wants us to live by His hope so that we can enjoy life.

You’re not going to be happy if you don’t have hope. The more hope you have in God, the happier you become. Hope believes everything is going to turn out all right, hope is positive! To enjoy life you must maintain a good, hopeful attitude. God is positive, and He wants positive things to happen to each of us, so fill yourself with His hope today and live with the happy anticipation of good things.

Prayer Starter: God, I make the choice today to happily anticipate Your goodness in my life. And as my hope increases, I know that my joy will increase too. Lord, I put my hope in You!

—from Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional

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Press on and Enjoy Your Progress

It’s true that we all still have a long way to go. I used to get discouraged about how far I had to go, and it seemed like I was reminded of it every day, sometimes every hour. I carried a constant sense of failure, a feeling that I just wasn’t who I needed to be, I wasn’t doing enough and I needed to try harder. Yet, when I did try harder, I only failed again.

I’ve now adopted a new attitude: “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m OK, and I’m on my way!” I now know with all my heart that God isn’t angry with me just because I haven’t arrived yet. He’s pleased that I’m pressing on and staying on the path.

If you and I will just “keep on keeping on,” God will be pleased with our progress. He has promised to light the path before us. We may not know the way, and we may stumble from time to time, but God is faithful. He sees your progress, He’s proud of you, and He’s going to help you stay on the right path!

Prayer Starter: God, I won’t get discouraged about where I am. You’ve already brought me so far, and I know that You will continue to light my way.

—from Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional

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Receive God’s Grace

Grace is the power of God to live the way He’s called you to live. God, however, won’t give us the grace to be disobedient. If He’s telling us not to do something that we decide to do anyway, we’ll experience the painful loss of His anointing.

Grace equals ability. God gives us grace to match our call. When we do our own thing, we do it on our own. When we follow His leading, He always supplies the grace and the energy to do what He’s calling us to do.

The best part is that while we do have to choose to receive His grace, we don’t have to do anything to earn it. When you choose to follow God’s call, He’s ready and willing to help you. Jesus died to cover your sins so that you can walk righteously before God with access to the Holy Spirit who can help you navigate everyday life.

I urge you today to make sure you’re in a position to receive His grace and ability. If you’re trying to pursue your own path, tell God that you want to follow Him and ask Him for help. He will always be faithful to provide His grace to you

Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, I can’t live life successfully without Your grace in my life. I want to follow Your call, and I ask You to help me to daily live the way You want me to live.

—From Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional

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Faith, Not Feelings, Please God

God’s omnipresence and the manifestation of his presence are two different things. One is a fact; the other is often a feeling. God is always present, even when you are unaware of him, and his presence is too profound to be measured by mere emotion.
Yes, he wants you to sense his presence, but he’s more concerned that you trust him than that you feel him. Faith, not feelings, pleases God.

The situations that will stretch your faith most will be those times when life falls apart and God is nowhere to be found. This happened to Job. On a single day he lost everything: his family, his business, his health, and everything he owned. Most discouraging – for thirty-seven chapters, God said nothing!

How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent? How do you stay connected in a crisis without communication? How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when they’re full of tears? You do what Job did: “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.'” (Job 1:20-21 NIV)

Tell God exactly how you feel. Pour out your heart to God. Unload every emotion that you’re feeling. God can handle your doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Seeking Feeling is Not Worship

God has not promised “you will always feel my presence.” In fact, God admits that sometimes he hides his face from us. (Isaiah 45:15)

This is a normal part of the testing and maturing of your friendship with God. It is painful and disconcerting, but it is absolutely vital for the development of your faith.

Knowing this gave Job hope when he could not feel God’s presence in his life. He said, “I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find him. But he knows where I am going. And when he has tested me like gold in a fire, he will pronounce me innocent.” (Job 23:8-10 NLT)

When God seems distant, you may feel that he is angry with you or is disciplining you for some sin. In fact, sin does disconnect us from intimate fellowship with God. But often this feeling of abandonment or estrangement from God has nothing to do with sin. It is a test of faith – one we all must face: Will you continue to love, trust, obey, and worship God, even when you have no sense of his presence or visible evidence of his work in your life?

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Don’t Meditate on the Little Disappointments

Deep hurt doesn’t just come from huge disappointments, like when we fail to get the job or promotion we really wanted. Deep emotional hurt can come from a series of minor annoyances and frustrations. That’s why we must know how to handle the small, daily disappointments and keep them in perspective.

When you focus on something continually, it’s called meditation. The little frustrations that come up every day are annoying on their own, but when they pile up, it almost seems impossible to meditate on anything else.

But instead of concentrating on your problems and getting discouraged, focus on God and meditate on His promises for you. Life might get you down, but you don’t have to stay down. God is ready, willing and able to pick you up.

When disappointment weighs on you, you can either let it press you down, or you can use it as a stepping-stone to better things. Choose to face disappointment at its onset by meditating on God’s ways. He has better things for you, and He will help you defeat disappointment.

Prayer Starter: God, like Psalm 119:15 says, I will meditate on Your Word, not the little disappointments that try to press me down. Life can be discouraging, but Your Word is so encouraging, I know I can overcome the discouragement by looking to You!

—from Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional

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Launch Out in Faith

There comes a point in life where you have to stop talking about and praying about a barrier in your life. You must step out — in spite of your feelings, your fears, and your doubts.

Joshua and the Israelites had to take the plunge, literally. Once they crossed the Jordan River, they were going to begin a battle to take over the nations.

The Jordan River is not a very big river, except in flood season when it into a giant, rushing, torrential, very dangerous river. The Israelites just happened to be right there during flood season.

They said, “How are we going to get across?” God said, “I’m going to do a miracle! But I want you to step in first. This is a test.” So the spiritual leaders began to walk into the water, and God did a miracle. The waters receded and the people crossed over.

What do you do when you know something is God’s will but you’re scared to death to do it? You do it anyway! And once you start doing it the faith will come. God doesn’t do the miracle first. No. He wants you to step out, to launch out in faith.

Face your fears. “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV)

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Move Forward with God’s Promises

What does God promise us if we say, “I want you to use me.” He promises you three things that can all found in Joshua 1.

God promises strength — “No one will be able to stand against you.” (Joshua 1:5) In other words, what God asks you to do, he’ll give you the power to do.

God promises success — “You will be successful.” (Joshua 1:6) God wants you to succeed in serving Him. He doesn’t want you to be a failure.

God promises support — “I will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV) God’s word, done God’s way, will not lack God’s support.

God has many, many promises for you in the Bible but you’ve got to discover them. Joshua 1:8 says, “Always remember what is written in this book. Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that’s written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything.” (TLB)

Would you like to be wise in life? Would you like to be successful in life? God’s promise of success is not based on your ability. It’s based on your commitment to His Word.

from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Let Go of Doubt

There are two things that cause self-doubt in your life —

Comparing your abilities to others – When you compare your abilities to others, you will begin to doubt my abilities. Instead of looking to God, you start looking at everybody else. You think these other people have more talent, more abilities, more education, or more experience. The moment you start comparing yourself to them, you’re going to be filled with self-doubt.

The Bible says, “It is dumb stupid to compare yourself to other people.” (2 Corinthians 10:12) God doesn’t want you comparing yourself to anybody else. He created you to be unique. He wants you to be you.

Remembering your past failures — Remembering your past failures is like putting a movie in your mind of all your mistakes and playing it over and over. It tortures you to death and it causes you to doubt your abilities.

God does not want you focusing on your past. If you stay focused on your past mistakes, you can’t get on with your present. And God can’t use you in the future. God says forget the past.

Don’t let your past doubts, don’t let your past guilt, keep you from being used by God. God essentially says, “I don’t care what your past is. I want to use you!”

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Honesty Outweighs Perfection

We can care too much about what people think of us to the point where it totally immobilizes us and we are petrified about looking wrong. But do you know what? I think if we are more truthful, we will actually get more respect than we do by trying to hide everything, pretending we’re perfect.

I believe one of the main reasons people like to listen to me is that I tell all my junk. It helps them to relax, to relate to me, and offers them hope that if I can do some of the things I’ve done and make it, so can they.

We need to stop living in fear of making mistakes, because we will make mistakes, period. God is not asking us to not make any mistakes. He’s asking us to be honest and open about our flaws. When we get them out in the open, He can help us get rid of them and move on to bigger and better things.

Don’t hide your mistakes. Get them out in the open so that you can learn from them. When you trust God with openness and honesty, He can help you overcome anything.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I have weaknesses that I’m ashamed of, but holding on to them won’t do me any good. I choose to be open about my flaws so that You can help me overcome them.

from Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional

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