You Can’t Be a Self-Made Saviour

“Jesus Christ rescued us . . . by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue” (Galatians 1:4 The Message).                      
David was one of Israel’s greatest kings – powerful, smart, wealthy. He could have anything he wanted, but he knew he was unable to truly save himself. Only one person could rescue him: “I stand silently before the Lord, waiting for you to rescue me. For salvation comes from him alone” (Psalm 62:1 TLB).

It is impossible to work our way, buy our way, or earn our way into heaven. When it comes to salvation, we are unable to save ourselves. The government can’t save us. Our popularity can’t save us. Our level of success can’t save us. “There’s no such thing as self-rescue, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. The cost of rescue is beyond our means” (Psalm 49:7-8 The Message).

If you didn’t need a savior, God wouldn’t have sent one. But he knew that your spiritual condition was much worse than your physical condition could ever be. That’s why he sent Jesus to rescue you.

There is no way you can get into a perfect heaven on your own. There is no way you can pay for your salvation. The cost is beyond your means. So Jesus paid for it by coming and dying for you on the cross. He made that ultimate payment with his life. God simply invites you to accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus makes available.

Talk It Over

  • What are some ways we attempt to rescue ourselves?
  • Why do many people find it difficult to accept the idea that we can’t work, buy, or earn our way into heaven?
  • How would you describe Jesus’ “rescue efforts” in your own life?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

How to Walk Wisely

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6                           
Living a life that’s committed to Christ calls for following His wisdom. Let’s look at attitudes necessary for consistent Christ-centered lifestyle:

  • Determination.Walking in wisdom is not something that happens automatically. We must decide ahead of time to pursue godly living wholeheartedly.
  • Focus. To stay on the path of the Lord’s will, we must fix our attention on His Word. As we meditate on Scripture and absorb its truths, our minds will align with Christ’s, and our choices will be in tune with biblical principles.
  • Spirit Sensitivity. With determination to live a holy life and with close attention to Scripture, we become more sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit, our guide who indicates the direction we are to take.
  • Trust. Sometimes the Lord’s choice for us doesn’t appear sensible. It may seem foolish or require sacrifice. Trusting in His perfect wisdom is necessary if we’re to walk according to His plan.
  • Courage. Some things God requires of us may cause us to react with fear. As our trust in Him deepens, courage grows, and we discover the joy of embracing His choice for us.
  • Perseverance. It is one thing to start out on the right path; maintaining the course for a lifetime is something else. By depending on God, we can persist and choose wisely over a long period.

Walking in wisdom requires that we continually practice a few basics: Know God, trust Him, listen, and obey. Is this your pattern for living? Remember, a lifetime of godliness develops one choice at a time.

STAY BLESSED

How to Increase Your Faith

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.    – 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4                                      
What are some practical steps you can take to increase your level of faith today?

1. READ THE BIBLE.
 Romans 10:17 explains, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” That is, you must feed your faith a steady diet of God’s Word.

2. EXERCISE YOUR FAITH
. A bodybuilder doesn’t begin by lifting 500 pounds the first day. Rather, he exercises daily, gradually increasing his strength. Regularly exercising faith can bring about similar growth spiritually.

3. EMBRACE TRIALS.
 First Peter 1:3-9 reveals the difficult truth that adversity, when addressed in God’s power, creates greater faith. Just as a fire purifies precious metals, hardship strips away all but the pure core of faith.

4. EXAMINE THE TESTIMONIES OF OTHERS. 
A testimony is an individual’s own account of the Lord’s activity in his life. No one can ever deny, refute, or downplay someone else’s testimony. When you hear of God’s mighty deeds in another person’s life, your own faith grows.

5. PRAY
. You get to know someone by talking to him. That’s what prayer is: your personal communication with God. But don’t just talk; be sure to spend time listening. God wants to speak to you.

6. PRACTICE OBEDIENCE.
 You will never grow in your faith if you consistently disobey what God tells you to do. Perfect faith is a by-product of obedience. Put yourself in a position to see God’s best for your life, and your faith will soar.
Faith does not increase by accident. Growth takes time, dedication, and intentionality. Ask the Lord to help you exercise your faith today.
STAY BLESSED

How to Be Strong

“You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it.” – Deuteronomy 11:8 NASB                                                
There are many types of strength. Physical strength. Mental strength, having the ability to research options and make correct decisions. Strength of will, to maintain the determination to avoid distractions and focus on goals. Spiritual strength, having the resources, discipline, and willpower to have the right priorities, the right sensitivities, and the right perspective.
So, what is the key to being strong? Certainly practice and experience. Solid training and good teaching. Having the right information. And the discipline to put these elements into action.
As they thought about the task before them, the Israelites knew the strength of the people who occupied the Promised Land. They knew that there were giants in the land, that the people had more resources and many strategic advantages. They knew the territory and the resources.
But Moses told them the right way to approach this task. And the right way to receive the strength they needed. It was to keep God’s commands. To do things His way, every time, and in every situation. And, if they did this, He promised that they would “be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it.”
This is the kind of strength they needed for the task at hand. And it was a complete package. Mental strength. Spiritual strength. Even physical strength, for God would enable them to have the ability to do what they needed to do.
This is the way all of us can receive strength in our daily lives. Every kind of strength. Strength to do what is needed. Strength to persevere, face adversity, and overcome adversaries. Strength to have discernment and the ability to do what needs to be done. Strength for combat, and for victory.

Today’s Inspiration Prayer
Father, I depend upon You for the strength I need. Give me boldness and clarity of mind. Give me courage and discernment. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
STAY BLESSED

Four Steps to Help You Stop Worrying

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” – 1 Peter 5:7 NLT.                                                
It takes more than willpower to stop worrying. You already know that, because you’ve already tried it. You’ve thought, “I shouldn’t worry about this,” yet you just keep on worrying about it.
It’s going to take more than your willpower to stop worrying. It takes four things:
1. You have to get to know God.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:32, “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things” (The Message). If you don’t have a relationship with God, you have every reason to worry. You’ve got to get to know God! As a believer, you have a heavenly Father who has promised to take care of you. You are God’s child, and children get special privileges. When you worry, God says, “You’re my child. Why are you acting like an orphan?”

2. You have to put God first in every area of your life.
Matthew 6:31-33 says, “Don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. . . . Your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to” (TLB). Anytime you take God out of the center of your life and put anything else there — no matter how good it is — you’re going to worry.

3. You have to live one day at a time.
The Bible says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NCV). If you’re worrying about tomorrow, you can’t enjoy today. You miss today’s blessings. It’s okay to plan for tomorrow, but you have to live for today. Also, when you’re always worried about tomorrow, the future gets overwhelming. But God will give you the grace and strength you need when you get there. Right now, you only need enough power for today.

4. You have to trust God to care.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). How do you do that? One way is to memorize God’s promises in the Bible. They’re like an insurance policy for believers. When you know something’s covered, you don’t worry about it anymore. Another way is to pray. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a lot less to worry about.

What’s the result of taking these four steps? Incredible peace of mind: “You will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand” (Philippians 4:7 TLB).

Pray this prayer today: “Dear Father, I admit that I often forget that you are with me. I often forget what you’re like. Would you please forgive me for doing that? I need to get to know you better. I need to get to know your Word and your promises better. Help me to put you first in every area of my life. Help me to live one day at a time. Help me to not worry about tomorrow but instead focus on what you’re doing in my life right now. I want to trust in your promise to take care of every one of my needs — financial, relational, physical, social, spiritual, and emotional. Help me to trust you more and worry less. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

How to Stay United in the Face of Division

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”    – John 17:20-21                                                        
Everywhere I go today it seems I see churches divided. I was in another state preaching awhile back and it felt like everywhere they drove me, there were little tiny churches. So I asked the man who was with me, “Why are there so many churches? Was there some kind of big revival here?”
And he told me, “Nope. Every church you see only has a few people who actually attend it. They didn’t start from revivals, but from church splits.” He went on, pointing to the churches as we passed, “That church split because of the color of the carpet in the sanctuary… and that one split because they brought in a modern praise band.”
As he told me about the church splits, I was saddened. But unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised. It amazes me how men and women of God can find so many reasons to divide rather than unite for the cause of Christ. It’s contrary to the biblical message!
It’s time to stop the division and unite under the banner of Jesus Christ. Don’t let petty things drive a wedge in the body of Christ. Keep your focus on Christ, first and foremost, and that which threatens to divide us will fade away as our Savior is brought into focus!

FOCUS ON JESUS, NOT PETTY DIFFERENCES, AND YOU’LL FULFILL CHRIST’S COMMAND TO STAY UNITED IN THE BODY!

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Crosswalk Daily Inspirations.

The Love of Money

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  – 1 Timothy 6:9-11                                                               
In 1 Timothy 6:9-11, Paul gives us a critical insight.
I want you to notice: Before Paul tells us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness, he says we must first flee the love of money. You have to be willing to flee the wrong things before you can pursue the right things, because you cannot go in two directions at once.
If you are pursuing riches, and the gaining of wealth and the achievement of success have become your number one priorities, pushing everything else, including God, to the side, then you are pursuing the wrong thing.
You may be thinking, “Well, that’s great for some people, but that doesn’t apply to me.” You need to understand that you can be eaten up with the love of money and not have a dime in your pocket. All of us are subject to such a temptation and such a trap.
It’s fascinating that Paul uses the word “drown” here. I live by the Pacific Ocean, and generally people who drown do so because, (a) they overestimate their own abilities as a swimmer; or (b) they underestimate the power of the ocean.
If you overestimate your ability to be free from this type of a temptation, or you underestimate the power of this type of a temptation, you are setting yourself up for disaster.

Flee the wrong and pursue the right. Stay on course with God.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Answers with Bayless Conley.

How does the renewing of my mind set me free?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  – Romans 12:1-2       

How does the Word of God teach us the truth that sets us free? The original Greek in Romans 12 helps explain the process.
The apostle Paul tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).

Another way of saying it is, “Stop allowing the world to shape you into its mold.” The meaning of the phrase is further deepened in the Greek. He used words that mean, “Stop assuming an outward appearance and lifestyle that is inconsistent with your inner being.”
Now that Jesus Christ lives within you, it is incompatible with your true identity to allow the world to influence you into old behaviors. You have been freed from those old thought patterns, insecurities, inadequacies, and inferiorities, and freed to become a fruitful, Spirit-filled child of God.

Paul tells us to “be transformed,” a Greek word from which the English word metamorphosis is derived. The believer is to have a metamorphosis by making his outward appearance and lifestyle consistent with who is within him and what he has become internally.
This metamorphosis comes by the renewing of our minds—when we replace old, erroneous thought patterns with the truth we find in God’s Word. And when truth becomes a part of your thinking, you become a free man or woman, a free saint, a free child of God fully apprised and confident of your position, personage, and possessions in Christ.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Dr. Charles Stanley

Be careful what you say

‘The tongue also is a fire.’- James 3:6 NIV                                                                                Ever thought about the power of words? The things people say to us can last for years. They can shape how we behave and what we think about ourselves. And our words can do the same for others. And when our words are lies or gossip, they can create big problems. The Bible says: ‘Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body’ (vv. 5-6 NIV). So, knowing that our words can cause so many issues, we need to be extra careful about what we’re saying, when we’re saying it and who we’re saying it to. And we can ask for God’s help. David prayed: ‘Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips’ (Psalm 141:3 NIV). God knows all the words we say, and all the ones we don’t say. ‘Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely’ (Psalm 139:4 NIV).

That might sound like a scary thought. But when we remember that, it can help us to pay attention to what we’re saying and thinking. And that’s not just referring to the words we shouldn’t be saying. It can also help us to think about good things and to speak words that bring life, joy and peace to others. In 1 Thessalonians it says: ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing’ (5:11 NIV). And the Bible also says: ‘Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim’ (Proverbs 15:4 MSG). So let’s make sure our words help, not hurt; build up, not tear down.

What Now?
Every morning, before you speak to anyone, ask God to help you speak only encouraging and positive words during the day.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: United Christian Broadcasters

Honest with God

“The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’ – John 4:23-24 NKJV     
In His dialogue with the woman at the well in Samaria, Jesus spoke about “true” worshipers, and twice talked about “truth.” Clearly, He was concerned about truth.

The Greek word here has two roots. The first is “a,” which simply means “not.” The second means to lie hidden. It is as if Jesus was saying that truth is defined by what it is not! In fact, we might say that truth is what is not hidden. What is open and honest.

The opposite of truth, then, is hiding, being secretive and deceptive. From a spiritual perspective, this means trying to hide from God, pretending to be something we are not, being deceitful, presenting distorted attitudes.

Jesus was saying that God seeks those who worship Him with an open heart and an attitude that is transparent before Him, who don’t try to hide anything from Him.

God knows that we cannot be “perfect,” but He wants us to have an honest relationship with Him. To confess our sins. To be talk about our weaknesses and mistakes. This means that the depth of our relationship with Him depends on the depth of our openness and honesty.

If we want an intimate relationship with Him, we will talk about what is in our hearts. We will tell Him what we have done, and not hide anything from Him. How wonderful to think that God loves us so much that we can be open with Him!

In your life, remember that God knows you better than you know yourself. Ask Him to help you to be truthful and honest in your relationship with Him.

Today’s Inspiration Prayer
Father, search my heart and reveal Your truth to me. Help me to be open and honest with You. And forgive me for trying to hide anything from You. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

STAY BLESSED