A Compass for Life’s Journey

Scripture: Proverbs 3:1-6
If you’ve ever been lost in the woods, you know the concerns, confusion, and panic such a situation causes. Now think what a difference it would have made to know that a compass was in your pocket. Spiritually speaking, we have such a compass—God’s Word. But it does no good unless we let it guide us.
At times, we may fail to follow scriptural guidance because of …
Neglect. Sometimes we are so busy walking through life that we forget to look at God’s compass to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.

Pride. We often want to determine our own destiny. Many of us prefer to plan a course of action by relying on our strength, wisdom, and abilities.

Distractions. The Lord’s path of obedience isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it can be extremely challenging. Satan offers other trails that promise pleasure and ease if we will just ignore the compass and follow him. Although these routes seem pleasant at first, they lead to heartbreak and discouragement.

Difficulties. Whenever obstacles appear on the trail, our natural tendency is to try and find a way around them. But by ignoring God’s compass and stepping off the path, we’ll miss the blessings He wants to give us through the rough patches—benefits such as strong faith and godly character.

Why should we wander when the Lord’s compass is available? Let Scripture be your guide on life’s journey. God promises productive days and fruitful years if you follow His path. He’ll direct each step of your way, and His peace will sustain you, even during the difficult times.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from InTouch Ministries.

Hunger

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” – Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV)

Jeremiah was given many difficult assignments, often delivering messages that were guaranteed to generate resistance, and make him unpopular.

Facing these struggles, he constantly found himself returning to God’s Word, where he found reassurance and confirmation. This is how he stayed in tune with Him. The Word became like food: the sustenance of his life. It wasn’t an option, but something he needed for his very existence. He could not live without it.

It gave him purpose and direction. It provided him with perspective and understanding. Strength and confidence. It kept him from evil and prevented him from drifting into sin. It gave him wisdom and discernment. It was the “joy and rejoicing” of his heart.

In contrast, many people today never read the Bible. Others only read out of a sense of obligation or duty. For them it’s not a joy or a priority. They do not understand that this is not an ordinary book. It is “living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12).

No matter how long we have been Christians, we need to remember the importance of hungering for the Bible. Making this a priority of every day. Never taking it for granted. Reading it. Studying it.
Ask God to give you a greater hunger for His Word. Approach the Word in the same way that you think about food: Something you need for your very life. Realize that, without it, you are lost and vulnerable.

This Word provides you with God’s wisdom. It will equip you to make the right decisions. It will give you discernment and understanding. And it will give you spiritual strength and equip you to face your challenges.

What a privilege! What a joy!

Today’s Inspiration Prayer
Father, thank You for the power of Your Word. It is precious to me. I need it every day to know what how to live. Reveal more of Your truth to me. I praise You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Further Reading: Jeremiah 15
STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from InTouch Ministries.

You Have the Power to Say no

“So, dear brothers, you have no obligations whatever to your old sinful nature to do what it begs you to do” (Romans 8:12 TLB).
I don’t know about you, but I admit there were a lot of things I could not say “no” to before the Holy Spirit came into my life. I wanted to say “no,” but I didn’t.
It really doesn’t matter what you call them, but we all have compulsions, habits, lusts, drives, desires, or attractions that make us feel like we have no choice but to do them. You just can’t help yourself. You just can’t say “no.”
But if you’ve accepted Jesus Christ into your life, you can say “no.” Romans 8:9 says, “You are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all)” (NLT).
Yes, you will still have those desires. But the Holy Spirit will give you the power to say “no” to them; you do not have to satisfy those desires. This is the difference the Spirit of God makes in you. This is how God sets you free from your compulsions.
The worst kind of slave is being a slave to your own natural desires. Some people say, “Well, if it’s natural, why should I limit it?” A lot of things seem natural. It’s natural to be self-centered, but acting on that desire might not be good for your kids or your spouse.
Natural doesn’t mean it’s always good. I might have a natural desire to cheat you out of all your money, but that doesn’t mean I should do it.
When I’ve accepted Christ into my life, I have the Holy Spirit to help power my decisions and say “no” to the natural and “yes” to the spiritually mature choice.
Talk About It
What are some “natural” desires in your life that can draw you away from Jesus?
What’s your typical strategy for handling those desires — and how well is your strategy working?
How is the Holy Spirit helping you say “no” to the natural and “yes” to spiritually mature choices?
STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

Reasons to Pray

Scripture: Psalm 25:1-22            
What motivates you to talk with God? Throughout the Scriptures, we are commanded to pray. In fact, Jesus—the Son of God—considered prayer so essential that He regularly left the crowds to seek time alone with His Father (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16). Any relationship requires communication if it is to grow and flourish, and that includes our relationship with God.

David was a man who knew the Lord intimately. Since he recorded many of his prayers in the psalms, we are able to catch a glimpse of his heart as he poured out his soul before the Lord. Today’s passage shows us five reasons that we, too, should come to God in prayer:

1. Guidance (Psalm 25:4-5). If we ask, the Lord will lead and teach us.

2. Forgiveness (Psalm 25:7; Psalm 25:11). Each day we need God’s cleansing for sin and His power to repent and turn back to Him.

3. Decisions (Psalm 25:12). When we reverentially fear God, He instructs us in the way we should choose.

4. Trouble (Psalm 25:16-18). When we’re overwhelmed by difficulties, no one can comfort us like the Lord.

5. Protection (Psalm 25:19-20). God is the one who guards our soul and rescues us from the enemy’s attacks.

When we seek the Lord, He becomes our refuge. God understands our weaknesses and invites us to come to Him with all our concerns. It’s in the intimacy of prayer that we learn to know His faithfulness, compassion, and love. Then we can say, as David did, “O my God, in You I trust” (Psalm 25:2).

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries.

How Christ Modeled Humility

Scripture: Philippians 2:1-11                     
Although humility is not highly valued in our society, it’s essential in the Christian life. And the one who set the pattern for it is Jesus Himself. Therefore, as His followers, we too should seek to have a humble spirit. Humility is lowliness of mind that does not seek to exalt or assert self, and from today’s passage, we learn that it’s characterized by several traits:

Humility is other-focused (Phil. 2:3-4). Christ was looking out for our interests when He came to earth to rescue us from sin and condemnation.

Humility doesn’t grasp rights and privileges (Phil. 2:6-7). Although Jesus was fully God, He emptied Himself and took on the limitations of humanity.

Humility willingly serves others (Phil. 2:7). The Lord didn’t come as a self-serving ruler who wanted to conquer and subjugate the world. Instead, He came as a lowly slave serving others.

Humility obeys God (Phil. 2:8). The Son came to earth in full obedience to the Father. He did and said only what His Father commanded Him (John 5:19), including His ultimate act of obedience: laying down His life on the cross to pay for the sins of mankind.

These qualities are the exact opposite of the ambition, self-promotion, and self-advancement our culture values. From the world’s perspective, humility is weakness. But which takes more strength—to deny self or to promote self? Humility requires the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to overcome our natural self-centeredness. Instead of being a sign of weakness, it’s actually a sign of Christ’s life in us.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries.

God’s Ultimate Purpose for Our Trials

“For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified” – Romans 8:29-30. 

Difficult situations are easier to bear if we know that something good is going to result from them. The problem is that our idea of good may not be the same as God’s. Since His ways and thoughts are much higher than ours, we must trust Him to know what is best, even if it causes us pain, frustration, or hardship (Isa. 55:9). The ultimate good the Lord is working to accomplish is our conformation to the image of His Son, and trials are one of the tools He uses in the process.

However, we should never think that God sends affliction into our lives and then sits back to see what will happen. Our loving heavenly Father oversees every aspect of the situation.

The Lord designs our trials. God considers every adversity necessary to achieve a specific purpose in our life (1 Peter 1:6-7). He knows each of us intimately and sees where we need correction or spiritual growth to become more Christlike.

God determines the length of our trials. From our perspective, any suffering lasts too long. But when we depend on the Lord, He gives us grace and strength to endure until His purpose is accomplished (Phil. 4:13).

The Lord limits the intensity of our trials. He knows what we can handle and will not give us more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Nothing in our life is random or meaningless. Even when we don’t understand what the Lord is doing, we can trust that He will use our trials to make us more like His Son in character, conduct, and conversation.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries.

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