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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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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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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God Says You’re Forgivable

When something starts going wrong in your life, do you automatically think, “God’s getting even with me, I know it! I did that thing I’m ashamed of yesterday (or last year or twenty years ago) and now he’s settling the score.”

Does God really treat his children that way? Absolutely not! Isaiah says God doesn’t hold our sins against us. Once we’ve confessed our sins to him, it’s all forgiven and forgotten and he doesn’t even bring up the past.

If you’re a Christian, pay close attention to Ephesians 1:4-5: “Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children – this was his pleasure and purpose.” (TEV)

Do you realize that when God looks at you, he sees you through Jesus Christ? When Jesus died on the cross, he paid for all of your sins so you are forgiven and they are forgotten.

That’s why becoming a Christian is such GOOD NEWS. I give Jesus my life and he takes it, forgives me and then gives me a new chance. He says, “Now I see you without a single fault. You stand before me covered with my love.”

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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God Says You’re Acceptable

Many of us base our self-confidence on what other people think, so we work hard at being accepted. We buy things, we wear things, we join things — all just for the benefit of trying to be accepted by our friends, family, co-workers and peers.

Does God say you have to earn acceptance? That you could ever deserve it? No. The Bible just says, God has accepted you.

If you’re a believer, then you’ve accepted Jesus into your life. But do you understand that God accepts you? He loves you unconditionally and accepts you for who you are.

Some of you grew up with unpleasable parents. No matter what you did it was never, ever good enough. Even today you’re still trying to earn their love and approval.

If that’s the case — with your parents or with anyone else you’ve been seeking to please — there are two things you need to know:

First, in all likelihood, you’re never going to get that approval or acceptance. Not because of who you are but because of who they are. Second, you don’t need their approval because you are acceptable to God. You don’t need their approval to be happy.

You only need the love and approval of one person, and you already have it: God says you are acceptable!

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Controlling Your Reactions

You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction. God says maturity and responsibility are evident in your life when you can handle the pressures and pains without becoming stressed out or angry and blowing up.

The way we usually express our emotions is through our words. Jesus tells us, “On judgment day, people will have to give an account for every careless word they’ve said.” (Matthew 12:36 GWT)

So if you want to be responsible — God says you need to put your mind in gear before you put your mouth in motion. You need to think before you speak.

But being responsible in your responses means more than what you say. It’s also in your actions.

“Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:21 LB)

One of the ways you show responsibility is by not trying to get even with people who hurt you. When you try to get even with someone for what they did to you, you’ve just lowered yourself to their standard. And a person who tries to get even is no better than the person who did the wrong.

But when you forgive that person, that’s returning good for evil. You let God settle the score and He has better resources than you do to do it. That’s controlling your reactions.

-from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

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Grace, God’s Power Freely Given

If you’ve been in the world very long, you’ve learned that there are very few days that go exactly the way we’d like them to go. Thankfully, God is never going to put us in a situation without giving us the ability to be in it with joy.

I believe God gives us His special grace for every situation. Here’s how I like to define grace: God’s power to help us do whatever it is we need to do. You can have that power today, but you have to receive it, and the only way to receive it is by faith.
Romans 12:3 says that “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

Ask yourself today, “What am I doing with my faith?” Are you putting your faith in yourself, or in others, or in your circumstances? That’s not living in grace, that’s just living by your own strength and works. And it won’t get the job done!

But when you release your faith and trust God to do what you can’t do, you’re putting your faith in Him. Then grace, God’s power, will come through the channel of faith and will enable you to do things that will amaze you and others.

Here’s my longer definition of grace: It’s God’s power coming to us freely, meaning it doesn’t cost us anything other than just putting our faith in God, enabling us to do with ease what we could never do on our own with any amount of struggle or effort.

Put your faith in God. He wants to give you His grace today.

Prayer Starter: God, I know that life won’t always go the way I want it to, but I trust in You. By faith, I receive Your grace, the power You have freely given to help me walk through any situation I face today.

—from Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional

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