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

Posted from WordPress for Android

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

Posted from WordPress for Android

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

Posted from WordPress for Android

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

Posted from WordPress for Android

God Says I’m Valuable

How much are you worth? I’m not talking about money. We confuse self-worth with net worth, but they are very different. Your value has nothing to do with your valuables.

How much are you worth?

I once read an article in the Journal of Hospital Practice that calculated how much each of the enzymes and hormones and all the different things in your body are worth. The author added them up and if you are an average size person you are worth six-million, fifteen dollars and forty-four cents ($6,ooo,o15.44) based on your weight. (Some of us are worth more!)

You’re a six-million dollar man or a six-million dollar woman! The article’s author also estimated that, if you calculate the cost of creating each cell in your body, it would be about six thousand trillion dollars.

You are priceless.

Jesus thought this was so important that he took a whole chapter of the Bible to talk about it. In Luke 15 he tells three stories — the lost son, the lost coin, and the lost sheep. It’s the same punch line in each story. Jesus says, “You matter!”

You matter to God. You are valuable. God says you are valuable because he loves you and he has accepted you in Christ.

—from Rick Warren’s daily devotional

Posted from WordPress for Android

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

Posted from WordPress for Android

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

Posted from WordPress for Android

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

Posted from WordPress for Android

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

Posted from WordPress for Android

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

Posted from WordPress for Android