God Specializes in Impossible Dreams

When the pursuit of your dream deteriorates from difficult to impossible, congratulations! You’re in good company.

Even Paul went through dead ends: “At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we believe now that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9 PH)

If God can raise people physically, he can raise people who are dead emotionally. He can raise a dead marriage. He can resurrect a dead career. He can resurrect you from a health problem.

God told Abraham he’d be the father of a nation, but then Abraham had to wait until he was ninety-nine years old before he had his first child. The Bible shows Abraham’s situation going from difficult to impossible.

But Sarah got pregnant, and they laughed about it. When the baby was born, they named him Isaac, which means laughter.

God often lets problems become impossibilities.

What’s the best response to a dead end? “He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us; we have placed our hope in Him that He will deliver us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:10 HCSB)

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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God Pushes You to Deeper Faith

In order to build your faith, God will give you a dream; then he’ll urge you to make a decision; but then he’ll allow a delay, because in the delay he matures you and prepares you for what is to come.

The truth is you’ll have difficulties as you’re pursuing your God-given dream. This isn’t because he doesn’t care about you. It’s one of the ways he pushes you toward the deep end of faith.

As God delays, you’ll face two types of difficulties: Circumstances and Critics. This is a natural part of life. God designed it this way because he knows we grow stronger when facing adversity.

When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and toward the Promised Land, he had one problem after another. First, there was no water. Then there was no food. Then there were a bunch of complainers. Then there were poisonous snakes. Moses was doing what God wanted, yet he had problems.

God does this because he is building our faith and character. When we finally reach our limit and exhausted all options, it is then that God begins a mighty work through us: “I know, even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident – it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable, than gold .” (1 Peter 1:6-7 PH)

—From Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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When God Says Wait

Even as you make a decision to follow the dream God places in your heart, you can expect a delay. God will not fulfill your dream immediately because this is another step toward building your faith.

In Habakkuk 2, God says, “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.”

When delay comes to your dreams, you’ll most likely start asking the question, “When, Lord? When are you going to answer my prayer?”

And we hate to wait. We don’t like to wait in a doctor’s office, or in traffic jams, or at restaurants, or for Christmas presents, or for anything else. But what we hate worst of all is waiting on God.

We all have to go through these waiting periods. Even Jesus waited for thirty years in the carpenter’s shop before setting out on his public ministry.

Why do we wait? It teaches us to trust in God. We learn that his timing is perfect. One of the facts we have to learn is this: God’s delay never destroys his purpose.

A delay is not a denial. Children must learn the difference between “no” and “not yet,” and so must we. Many times we think God is saying, “No,” but he is saying, “Not yet.”

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Decision-Making Builds Faith

After God gives you a dream, you’ve always got a decision to make. Are you going to do something about the dream He has given you? Nothing is going to happen to that dream until you wake up and put it into action.

James 1 teaches us that faith is a verb. It’s active and not passive. It’s something you do. Decision-making is a faith-building activity. You use your muscles of faith.

A great illustration of God’s plan is a trapeze artist. They swing out holding onto a trapeze bar, and then they let go in order to grab hold of another trapeze bar that swings them to the other side. But, at one point, they’re not holding on to any bar. They’re suspended in air for a split second.

Have you ever been there in a career, where you’re leaving one job for another and nothing’s in between? You’re 180 feet above the ground with no net below and holding onto nothing.

But if you don’t let go and grab onto the vision God wants you to have, you swing back. But this time you swing back lower and lower until you’re finally stopped, hanging there in the air. And there’s only one way out: down!

God brings your dream to a point of decision so your faith will build as you swing toward Gods dream for you.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Restoring Relationships: Listen First

The third biblical step toward restoring a relationship is to sympathize with the other person’s feelings.

If you’re going to restore broken relations, you need to use your ears more than your mouth. Before attempting to solve any disagreement you must first listen to the other’s feelings. Paul advised, “Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.” (Philippians 2:4 TEV)

The phrase “look out for” is the Greek word skopos, from which we form our words telescope and microscope. It means pay close attention! Focus on their feelings, not the facts. Begin with sympathy, not solutions.

Don’t try to talk people out of how they feel at first. Just listen and let them unload emotionally without being defensive. Nod that you understand even when you don’t agree. Feelings are not always true or logical. In fact, resentment makes us act and think in foolish ways. David admitted, “When my thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt, I was as stupid as an animal.” (Psalm 73:21-22 TEV) We all act beastly when hurt.

In contrast, the Bible says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV) Listening says, “I value your opinion, I care about our relationship, and you matter to me.” The clich_ is true: People don’t care what we know until they know we care.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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God Builds Faith by Giving a Dream

When God wants to work in your life, he’ll always gives you a dream – about yourself, about what he wants you to do, about how he’s going to use your life to impact the world.

There are many examples in the Bible of this — God gave Noah the dream of building an ark. God gave Abraham the dream of being the father of a great nation. God gave Nehemiah the dream of building the wall around Jerusalem.

How do you know when a dream is from God or when it’s just something you’ve thought up yourself? The Bible tells us that God, “by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20 LB)

In other words, if a dream comes from God, it will be so big in your life that you can’t do it on your own. It also will never contradict His Word! If your dream is something that the Bible speaks against, it’s not from God.

He may be speaking to you now, but you just don’t recognize it for what it is. That dream you have – the idea, the concept – that thing you’ve been thinking about doing and would be of real benefit to other people, where do you think that idea came from?

God starts with a dream as he builds faith in you.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Restoring Relationships: Take Initiative

To restore a broken relationship, the Bible says you need to take the initiative.

It doesn’t matter whether you are the offender or the offended, God expects you to make the first move. Don’t wait for the other party. Go to them first.

Restoring broken fellowship is so important, Jesus commanded that it even take priority over group worship. He said, “If you enter your place of worship and are about to make an offering, but you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” (Matthew 5:23-24 Msg)

When fellowship is strained or broken, plan a peace conference immediately. Don’t procrastinate, make excuses, or promise, “I’ll get around to it someday.” Schedule a face-to-face meeting as soon as possible. Delay only deepens resentment and makes matters worse.

The success of a peace conference often depends on choosing the right time and place to meet. Don’t meet when of you are tired, rushed or could be interrupted. The best time is when you both are at your best.

–from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Restoring Relationships: Talk to God

The first biblical step toward restoring a relationship is to talk to God before talking to the person.

If you’ll pray about the conflict first, instead of gossiping to a friend, you’ll often discover that either God changes your heart or he changes the other person without your help.

All your relationships would go smoother if you would just pray more about them. As David did with his Psalms, use prayer to ventilate vertically. Tell God your frustrations. Cry out to him. He’s never surprised or upset by your anger, hurt, insecurity, or any other emotions. So tell him exactly how you feel.

Most conflict is rooted in unmet needs and many of these needs can only be met by God. When you expect anyone – a friend, spouse, another pastor, or family member – to meet a need that only God can fulfill, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and bitterness. No one can meet all of your needs except God.

The apostle James noted that many of our conflicts are caused by prayerlessness: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? You want something but don’t get it. You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (James 4:1-2 NIV)

Instead of looking to God, we look to others to make us happy and then get angry when they fail us. God says, “Why don’t you come to me first?”

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Take Action for Your Freedom

Since God didn’t create us to live in bondage of any kind, we can experience liberty – freedom to enjoy all that God has given us in Christ. He has given us life, and our goal should be to enjoy it.

But in my life, I know that I can’t just wish to be free. I have to take action. It is necessary for me to obey God’s Word and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. It means that I can’t just hear or read the Word to get results, but I also need to do what it says.

Are you enjoying freedom in your life? I pray that God will encourage you to seek after the freedom that is yours in Jesus.

Because He died on the cross to set us free from the power of sin, you and I can be free from every problem in life.

Freedom is yours, now step out and take it. Follow the Holy Spirit and be free to enjoy all that God has for you in Christ Jesus.

Prayer Starter: God, I find my freedom in You. I choose to take action for my freedom by following the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life.

—from Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional

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God Says You’re Lovable

God says you’re lovable. This is so important because you can’t fulfill God’s commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” until you believe this. If you don’t feel lovable, you can’t love anybody else.

Our verse today says a couple things about God’s love for us.

God loves you consistently — He doesn’t love you one day and not the next. He doesn’t love you on your good days and not on your bad days. God is 100% consistent in his love for you.

God loves you unconditionally — He says, “I will always love you and it is unconditional. You don’t earn it.” He doesn’t say, “I love you if you’re good, or if you do these things, or because you look this way or you do these things.”

You never have to wake up in the morning and say, “God, are you going to love me today? Did I read my Bible enough? Did I pray enough?” He loves you consistently no matter who you are or what you do.

What is the result when you really understand this? Daniel 10:19 says “God loves you, so don’t let anything worry you or frighten you.” When I don’t have to worry or be afraid of anything, then I am free to give love to everyone around me.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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