Understand Your Vulnerability

When you’re tempted, keep your vulnerability in mind and work out ways to protect yourself. God warns us to never to get cocky and overconfident about our ability to handle temptation; that’s the recipe for disaster.

In fact, the prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)

That means we’re good at fooling ourselves. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation: “Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Avoid them.” (Proverbs 14:16 TEV)

Remember it’s easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it. The Bible says, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” (1 Corinthians 10:12 MSG)

One final note from Scripture: “And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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God Smiles When We Obey

God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly. That means doing whatever God asks without reservation or hesitation. You don’t procrastinate and say, “I’ll pray about it.” You do it without delay. Every parent knows that delayed obedience is really disobedience.

God doesn’t owe you an explanation or reason for everything he asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. Instant obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions. In fact, you will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding.

Often we try to offer God partial obedience. We want to pick and choose the commands we obey. “I’ll attend church but I won’t tithe.’ “I’ll read my Bible but won’t forgive the person who hurt me.’

Wholehearted obedience is done joyfully, with enthusiasm. The Bible says, “Obey him gladly.” (Psalm 100:2 LB)

This is the attitude of David: “Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I’ll wholeheartedly obey.” (Psalm 119:33 LB)

James, speaking to Christians, said, “We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.” (James 2:24 CEV)

God’s Word is clear that you can’t earn your salvation. It comes only by grace, not your effort. But as a child of God you can bring pleasure to your heavenly Father through obedience. Any act of obedience is also an act of worship.

Why is obedience so pleasing to God? Because it proves you really love him. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” (John 14:15 TEV)

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Don’t Wait to Obey God

There is a refreshing immediacy to Joseph’s relationship with God. When God said it, Joseph did it.

If you believe God loves you, and you want to live a life of obedience in response to his love, then this is how you should respond: When God says it, then do it.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great men and women of faith from around the world. They’re all different from each other, but they all have one thing in common. When they sense God saying to do something, they don’t hesitate. They step out and do it.

First John 5:3 says, “This is love for God, to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” (NIV) I was talking recently with Tom Holladay, my brother-in-law, about why, when God asks you to do something, it sometimes feels like a burden. What’s wrong?

We decided it’s often because of procrastination. When we don’t act right away, it becomes harder to do the longer we wait. But when we do what God says, freedom comes into our lives.

What is God calling you to do? Is it a phone call you need to make? An action you need to take? Whatever it is, write it down right now, tell God you’re willing to do it, and ask him to give you the strength you need to make it happen.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Biblical Obedience: Love + Trust + Action

Today, the word obey has a negative connotation. We view obedience as a forced, unwilling decision to do something we don’t want to do because we’re afraid of punishment.

But that’s not the kind of obedience that’s in God’s Word. Obedience in the Bible means this: love + trust + action.

It starts with love, as Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (NIV) Obedience comes from knowing that God loves you and you love him in return.

A lot of people think obedience is about fearing God, but God wants us to see obedience to him as a relationship of love. And out of love comes trust. If you trust what God is saying to you, and you believe that he loves you, then that will lead to action.

You need to have all three because action without love is just rote religion. And love without action is just mere talk.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Praying for Others

Jesus reflected the heart of God when he prayed his purposes for the disciples. You, too, should pray that the people in your life will focus on the five purposes of God.

We can pray that those we care about will LIVE FOR CHRIST joyfully: “I pray these things while I’m still in the world so that they will have the same joy that I have.” (John 17:13 GW)

We can pray they will GROW STRONG spiritually: “I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” (John 17:15 NLT)

We can pray that others will SERVE CHRIST effectively: “Make them ready for Your service through your truth; Your teaching is truth.” (John 17:17 NCV)

We can pray they will EXPERIENCE FELLOWSHIP personally: “My prayer is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as You and I are one, Father and the world will believe You sent Me.” (John 17:21 LB)

We can pray they will BRING OTHERS TO CHRIST regularly: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me because of their message.” (John 17:20 TEV)

When you do this, you will help the people in your life move toward the heart of God and into the purposes God planned for their lives.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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God’s Unfailing Love

Like goodness, God’s unfailing love follows us in life.

King David says it pursues us! Picture a parent following a little child around picking up after them. When we’re struggling with hurts, habits, and hang-ups, God is coming right alongside us, helping to pick up our messes and telling us that his unfailing love is always there.

This means, rather than entering into the future with a question mark, you can do it with an exclamation point!

God will be with you no matter what happens. He will help you out: “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6 NLT)

God’s goodness will provide and protect. God’s mercy (unfailing love) will pardon and forgive. God’s goodness will supply. God’s mercy will soothe. God’s goodness will help. God’s mercy and will heal.

Goodness is the fact that God gives us good things in life that we don’t deserve. Mercy means God holds back the condemnation we deserve.

from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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