STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT

” If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 TLB).

When you learn how to relax in God’s liberating grace and break out of the prison of perfectionism, you will find a new level of joy and freedom in your life. Why? Because perfectionism is destructive to your life in several ways.

It defeats your initiative.

Have you ever had a project you haven’t been able to get started? You think, “One of these days I’m going to get around to it,” but you just can’t take that first step. One possible reason is perfectionism. You’re waiting for the perfect circumstance or timing, or you’re waiting until the kids get out of school, or you’re waiting until a certain amount of money comes in. When you set your standards so high, perfectionism causes paralysis, and you can’t get anything done.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (TLB).

It damages your relationships.

Nobody likes being nagged or corrected all the time. It’s frustrating and irritating! The Bible says, “Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends” (Proverbs 17:9 TLB). Perfectionism—the desire to always correct—damages relationships because it’s rooted in insecurity. Perfectionists who are harsh and demanding on other people are really harsh and demanding on themselves.

It destroys your happiness.

Ecclesiastes 7:16 says, “Don’t be too virtuous, and don’t be too wise. Why make yourself miserable?” (GW). This Scripture isn’t talking about genuine righteousness or real wisdom. It’s talking about perfectionism. You can transform any virtue into a vice by taking it to the extreme.

Your worst nag lives under your skin, because you are your own worst critic. (That’s true for all of us!) Since we tend to resent and even dislike people who nag us, if you’re always nagging yourself, what does that say about you? It says that you don’t like yourself. You think you’re not good enough. And you think reminding yourself what’s wrong with you is going to motivate you into doing the right thing. It’s not! That’s called perfectionism, and it causes you to constantly put yourself down.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

SPIRITUALLY NOURISHED

‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven.’

John 6:51 NIV

We all know that diet is important. Diet can play a huge role in how healthy we are. We’re often told the foods we should eat more of and the foods we should eat less of. But we also need to take our spiritual diet seriously. Jesus said: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.’ Just as what we eat influences our physical health, what we’re feeding on spiritually also influences how we act, think and behave. When we focus on feeding ourselves spiritually, we grow spiritually. So what are we consuming?

Do we spend our time watching reality TV, reading gossip-filled magazines, listening to music with explicit lyrics or comparing our lives with others on social media? Are we focusing only on the physical food we’re eating? In the Old Testament, we’re told that ‘man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord’ (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV). We need God’s Word in our lives. We need to be consuming His Word if we’re going to be spiritually full and spiritually nourished We need to spend time feeding on the Bible, conversation with God and with other Christians, worship music, teaching or books.

It doesn’t mean that we can’t watch TV, go on social media or listen to music that isn’t classed as ‘Christian music’. But what it does mean is that we need to be carefully looking at what we’re consuming and the effect it’s having on us. And it means we need to be building time into our days to feed ourselves spiritually as well as physically.

SETTING BOUNDARIES AGAINST TEMPTATION

2 Timothy 2:20-22

Do you have a sin that you simultaneously hate and love? You really want to overcome it, but as soon as you’re tempted, the anticipated pleasure erases all your willpower. These love/hate temptations are what cause us the greatest struggle, but sometimes part of the problem is our lack of boundaries.

Although we’ll never be totally free from temptation, we can take steps to protect ourselves—namely, we can establish practices and boundaries to guard us from wandering into a danger zone. When Scripture addresses this topic, it presents two contrasting instructions.

Flee lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Tim. 2:22). The goal isn’t simply to resist temptation, but to move as far as possible in the opposite direction, toward godliness.

Submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). Trying to withstand temptation is futile unless we first commit to living obediently before God. With submission comes the power to resist.

Don’t conform to the world, but be transformed by renewing your mind (Rom. 12:2). If we fill our head with the ideas and priorities of the culture, we’ll be easy targets for temptation. But Ephesians 6:17 calls God’s Word our “sword of the Spirit”—a weapon we can use for defense against the enemy’s attacks.

God showed us the boundaries behind which we are safe. He’s warned that if we toy with our cravings and place ourselves in the way of temptation, we will fall. So draw near to God (James 4:8) and the protection of His Word, wisdom, and power.

 

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 23-25

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SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries.

A Murderer at Heart

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. – (Ephesians 4:31)

Many of us would never murder a person, but we may wish someone were dead. Have you ever hated anyone? Let me rephrase the question: Have you ever driven on a freeway anywhere ?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” (Matthew 5:21–22).

We also read in 1 John 3:15, “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.” The word used here for hate means “to habitually despise.” It is not just a transient emotion of the affections but a deep-rooted loathing.

We all lose our temper at times. I don’t think the Bible is saying that if you get angry and honk at someone, then you are a murderer. No, you are just a honker, and maybe you shouldn’t have lost your temper. The hatred the Bible is speaking of here is a deep-rooted loathing. It’s an attitude that says, “I hate your guts. When you walk into a room, I just seethe. I boil. I would like to see you destroyed. I sit around and think of ways that I could hurt you.”

Guess what? That is like murdering a person, and that is a sin before God.

So even if we have never committed the physical act of murder, the reality is that we still can be murderers in our hearts.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Greg Laurie Daily Devotional

 

 

A Confident Relationship

“Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me… Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm… At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me… But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” – 2 Timothy 4:10-17 NASB

Paul began his Christian life when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Others were present, but no one else heard Jesus’ voice. They just knew something dramatic had taken place, that Paul had become blind.

In Damascus, Paul met with Ananias, who gave Paul perspective, praying for him and giving him direction. Perhaps most importantly, he introduced Paul to the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:1-18).

While Paul learned much from other Believers, it was the strength of his personal relationship with God, through His Spirit, that gave his ministry unusual power and impact. Although he had moments of uncertainty, he always eventually found clarity and answers, and received God’s direction.

As Paul approached the end of his earthly ministry, we see why this pattern had become so important. He described to Timothy how he felt alone and abandoned. It seemed that “no one supported” him. He was opposed by people who once had been his friends and partners. Some (like Timothy and Mark) provided him with encouragement and companionship, but others deserted him.

Yet he knew that he could depend on the Lord, who “stood with me and strengthened me.” Because of this awareness of God’s presence, he could focus on his ministry and His call on his life.

The Bible makes it clear that all Believers are part of the Body of Christ. We are not to forsake our “assembling together” (Hebrews 10:25). Yet we each need to develop our personal relationship with Him.

Make sure that you are strong in your personal relationship with God. Seek to be so confident that you completely trust Him. That you know that He is with you. And remember. You are never alone.

Today’s Inspiration Prayer:
Father, I desire to know You better. I commit my life to You. Help me to serve You and please You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: 2 Timothy 4
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SOURCE: Culled from Inspiration Ministry.

RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN

‘Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.’ – Colossians 3:10 NLT

When we become a Christian, things in our lives change. We change some of our behaviour; we stop doing certain things and start doing others. We change the way we might speak, and most importantly, we begin to change the way we think. Why is this the most important? If we don’t change our thinking, our actions and words will soon return to how they were before. When we retrain our brain, our actions and words will follow suit.

Changing how we think doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. The Bible says: ‘Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.’ The more we learn about Jesus, the more we transform and change to be like Him. As we learn what God thinks about us, we begin to change our thoughts to think about ourselves like that too. As we learn what Jesus would do in a situation, we begin to think like Him too. Romans 12:2 says: ‘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’ (NIV).

So how do we renew our mind? We need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word so that we know how He thinks about things. The Bible even tells us some things we should be focusing our thinking on: ‘Think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected’ (Philippians 4:8-9 NCV). And we can always ask Him to help bring our thoughts into line with His.

What Now?

Throughout the day, try and weigh up some of your thoughts. Are they good, worthy of praise, true, honourable , right, pure, beautiful, and respected?

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Word for You.

TODAY IS YOUR BEST DAY BECAUSE OF JOY

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ISAIAH 35:10 KJV

Joy is one of the great benefits and blessings of the Kingdom of God within your life. Joy is the melody of heaven that is placed in your heart; joy is the Holy Spirit’s symphony that is played within your spirit; joy is the theme song of every person who trusts in the Lord and knows His love.

Joy is the highest level of delight that a person can experience. Human happiness is dependent upon the experiences and circumstances of life, while joy is dependent upon God alone. God, not your personality type, is the source of your joy. Today, joy flows from His heart to yours like a fountain that will never run dry.

We move into the highest levels of joy when we abide in the love of the Father, and through Him, reach out to love others. Today is your best day as you allow the Father to fill you with His love, love others through you, and as you walk in the fullness of His joy.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from DaySpring Daily Devotional.

BE GENEROUS BECAUSE GOD IS GENEROUS

THURSDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2018

As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (2 Corinthians 9:13 NLT).

As followers of Christ, we need to remember to be generous.

Why is it so important to remember to be generous? Here are three ways it makes an impact on our lives.

It makes you happy. Acts 20:35 says, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (NLT). Notice Jesus didn’t say it is not a blessed thing to receive. It does make you happy to receive. But the world will tell you that you will be happiest when you receive. Jesus turned that idea around and said that you will be happier when you give than when you receive.

It just makes sense. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (NIV). Every one of us wants others to be generous with us. Do you think that by sowing miserly selfishness you’re going to reap generosity from God and others? God says that’s not the way life works. There is a law of sowing and reaping. So if you want to reap generosity, you have to sow generosity.

It shows the world what God is like. The Bible says, “As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (2 Corinthians 9:13 NLT).

When it comes to generosity, what encourages me is to remember the incredible generosity of God. Look at the world we get to live in. Look at the life he gave us. Look at the way he meets our needs. God is the perfect model of generosity. And when we are generous with others because of God’s generosity toward us, it points others to God.

Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart?

Are you ready to receive God’s gift of grace to you? It’s a simple prayer that will tell God you accept the gift of Jesus.

Prayer:

“Dear God, I’m scared, but I want to get to know you. I don’t understand it all, but I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you were with me, even when I didn’t recognize it. I thank you that you are for me — that you didn’t send Jesus to condemn me but to save me.

“I admit that I never even realized I needed a Savior, but today I want to receive the gift of your Son. I ask you to save me from my past, my regrets, my mistakes, my sins, my habits, my hurts, and my hang-ups. I need you to take away the stress and fill me with your love. I need to be at peace with you, and I need you to put your peace in my heart.

“I ask you to save me for your purpose. I want to know why you put me on this planet. And I want to fulfill what you made me to do. I want to learn to love you and trust you and have a relationship with you. I prayer this in the name of Jesus, amen.”

STAY BLESSED

YOUR THREE-WAY CALLING

In Jude 1, we read the following greeting,
Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.

The Greek word for called here is used in three different ways. As believers in Jesus Christ, this word tells us we are called to three things:

1. It is used for those who are summoned to an office, duty, or a responsibility. Friend, every believer has been called. You have a duty, you have an office, and you have a responsibility. We have all been called to do something for Christ. We are ambassadors for Christ, and we need to represent Him to a lost and dying world.

2. The word called is also used in the Greek language to summon someone to a feast or a festival. And you know what? You have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and you will sit down one day to enjoy all the things God has planned for eternity.

3. Finally, the word translated called in this passage is used to summon someone into court to give an account for themselves, or to summon them to judgment. One day we will have to give an account of our lives. One day every one of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for the works done in the body.
You have a responsibility to represent Christ to our dying world, to someday celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb, and to ultimately give an account of your life.
I pray you will embrace and fulfill your calling today!

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COMMIT TO LIVING BY YOUR VALUES

“[Moses] regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Hebrews 11:26 NIV).

The first resolution: Choose to be who God wants you to be. The second resolution: Choose short-term pain for long-term gain.

And then Moses made a third life-shaping resolution: He chose God’s values, not the world’s. And that’s why God used him!

Hebrews 11:26 says, “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (NIV).

Moses made a value judgment. He clarified what mattered most to him.

Let me ask you: What matters most in your life? What are the top three or four values in your life? Can you name them easily?

If you ask me, I’ll tell you quite simply what they are for me: integrity, humility, and generosity. I decided more than 30 years ago that I wanted to build my life on integrity, humility, and generosity because they’re the antidotes to the three traps of leadership.

Can you name the three most important values in your life right now? If you can’t, then you certainly can’t live by them. You’re not living your values if you can’t even name them. Before you go one more day, you need to sit down and ask, “What’s most important to me? What are the top values in my life?” And you need to write them out, because until you clarify your values, you can’t live by them.

Moses chose God’s values over the world’s values. Why is this so important? Because if you don’t decide what’s important in your life, other people are going to decide for you. They’re going to push you into their mold. And you’re going to live your life by their values, not yours.

STAY BLESSED