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A Lamp For My feet – W215 – God Is Working in Your Situation

God Is Working in Your Situation

‘…Who works out everything in agreement with…His…will.’ Ephesians 1:11 AMP

WA Criswell noted that before a stone was laid in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren saw it in his mind. Before he struck a chisel against marble, Michelangelo saw the mighty Moses and purposed it in his heart. Why should it surprise us then that the designer and architect of the universe should have a plan and purpose for His creation?
The Psalmist said, ‘…you wove me [together] in my mother’s womb.’ (Psalm 139:13 NAS) Before you were even conceived God considered everything that could affect your life, including ‘…the course of world events…’ (Daniel 2:21 NLT), decisions of political leaders (Proverbs 21:1), and how much hair you’d have (Luke 12:7). Think about that when you’re having a bad hair day! Dr. Robert Jeffress says: ‘God’s design not only includes circumstances beyond your control, but those you assume are under your control.

You may think you’re in charge of your time, the route you drive to work, the items you purchase at the supermarket but ‘the Lord decides what a person will do.’ (Proverbs 20:24 NCV) All your choices, not just the good ones. If your conception resulted from the pre-marital liaison of two hormonally-charged teens, an affair, or even a rape, after reading Psalm 139, could you really say your birth was an accident? Somehow God was able to use the moral failure of others to accomplish His plan. And if He can use other people’s mistakes for good, why are we surprised that He can use our mistakes to achieve His purpose?

It’s a mind-boggling thought and one that offers hope to anyone who has failed.’

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A Lamp For My Feet – W213 – Study the Bible for Success

Study the Bible for Success
by Rick Warren

“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know … that not one of all the good promises God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” (Joshua 23:14 NIV)

There are more than 7,000 promises in the Bible. God says you can take these and claim them; they are there for you. The word “promise” is a key theme in the life of Joshua. At the beginning of his life, God made a promise, and at the end of the book, Joshua comments on those promises.

Joshua 1:3 says, ” Wherever you go, I’ll give you that land, as I promised Moses” (CEV). It is impossible for God to lie. If he says it, it will happen, and that settles it -whether you believe it or not! God told Joshua, “I know there are seven enemy countries in this land, and they’re all bigger and stronger, but I promise you you’re going to possess the Promised Land.”

At the end of the book, right before he dies of old age, Joshua says “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth . You know … that not one of all the good promises God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed” (NIV).

That’s what I call the bookends of a successful life!

What exactly does God promise to those who serve him? There are many promises, including these three from Joshua chapter 1. You can count on:

  1. Strength. Whatever God calls you to do, he’s going to give you the power to do it.
  2. Success. You were designed to succeed at what God made you to do.
  3. Support. God’s work done God’s way will not lack God’s support.

There are thousands of other promises in the Bible that you can claim. And there’s only one way you’re going to be able to claim them: Study God’s Word. Read it, memorize it, and meditate on it.

God said to Joshua, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in everything you do” (Joshua 1:8 NLT).

There is absolutely no correlation between your abilities and success. Your success is based on your commitment to the Word of God. When you are committed to obeying and meditating on the Bible, you will succeed at what God chose for you to do.

Talk About It

  • What do you think it means to meditate on the Bible? How do you do it?
  • Have you been relying on yourself and your abilities for success? What have been the results?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller “The Purpose Driven Life.” His book, “The Purpose Driven Church,” was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional (c)2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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A Lamp For My feet -W212 – Let Go of Your Doubt to Build Confidence

Let Go of Your Doubt to Build Confidence
by Rick Warren

“Be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 LB)

Doubt is the single greatest enemy of confidence. It limits your potential. It causes procrastination. It will cause you to miss God’s best. James 1:6 says, “Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind” (GNT). When you doubt, you let your circumstances control you.

“Be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 LB). God tells Joshua to “Get rid of that doubt stuff! Banish it!” Banish means to dump it. Throw it out the window. Get it out of sight. Don’t deal with it any more. Get rid of it.

There are two things that rob our confidence and cause doubt.
1. Comparing yourself to others causes doubt. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says that people who compare themselves to other people are foolish. You should never compare yourself to anybody else because you are unique. God made you to be you; he doesn’t want you to be somebody else. Most people start off in life as originals and end up as carbon copies – and poor carbon copies at that!

God says not to compare yourself for two reasons: One, you’ll always find someone who’s doing a better job than you, and you’ll get discouraged. And two, you’ll always find somebody you’re doing a better job than, and you will be filled with pride. Don’t compare yourself. You are unique, so you are incomparable!

2. Past failures cause doubt. Some of you think that because of certain things in your past, God could never use you. Have you ever read the Bible? The spiritual leaders of the Bible did not exactly have a stellar record. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer and a murderer. Abraham gave his wife away – twice! Jacob stole the family inheritance from his brother. Paul was a religious terrorist. Peter was a hard driving, hard drinking, hard living fisherman – a salty sea dog!  And he probably cussed like one, too. God uses people with checkered pasts because none of us are perfect. God uses average, ordinary, dysfunctional people. If God only used perfect people, what would get done in this world?

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. What matters is what direction your feet are headed right now.

Talk About It
o    If God tells you to banish doubt, then you have a choice. You can doubt your doubts instead of believing them. Today, start a habit of acknowledging a doubt, but then choosing not to believe it. How does it affect your confidence?
o    Believe the Bible when it says that God wants to use you, that even before you were born you were put on this planet for a purpose, and that he is going to use you for ministry. How have you let your doubts keep you from doing what God has called you to do in ministry?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller “The Purpose Driven Life.” His book, “The Purpose Driven Church,” was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional (c)2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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A Lamp For My Feet -W211 – Satan Is Defeated

Satan Is Defeated
‘…the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.’ 1 John 3:8 NKJV

Have you ever watched one of those TV shows where the police show up, surprise the criminal and say, ‘You’re busted,’ then put them in handcuffs and take them off to jail? That’s what Jesus did to Satan. This word ‘destroy’ implies ‘to come un-glued,’ or ‘to fall apart’. Imagine the mortar crumbling and the wall coming down, or the spool running out of thread so that when the garment is picked up it falls apart. On what basis would you like to fight Satan? By the power of your own intellect, or by the power of God’s Word? By your own will, or by knowing God’s will, standing on it and enforcing its terms? Ever turn on the lights in a dark room and watch cockroaches run for cover? You didn’t do anything, you just turned on the light! Every wall Satan builds to keep you locked in crumbles when exposed to the light of God’s Word. Satan’s act literally comes un-glued. And it happens fast, because light travels at over 299,000 kilometres per second. Satan’s greatest weapon is your ignorance of God’s Word. That’s why he will fight you over Bible reading more than most other things. Jesus said, ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:32 NIV) The truth itself doesn’t set you free; it’s ‘knowing’ the truth, standing on it in times of trouble and trusting God to do what He has said, that empowers you not only to survive Satan’s attacks, but to triumph over him.

Satan Is Defeated
‘…He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.’ Hebrews 2:15 NLT

For many of us, death is our greatest fear. One comedian quipped, ‘I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens!’ But we can’t joke away the sobering reality the Bible describes as ‘the last enemy’. So what’s the answer? Jesus! ‘…only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.’ (Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT) Until Jesus came, Satan used the threat of death. Until then we all lived in fear of it. But because of the resurrection, all Satan has left are the lies he can tell about death. The word ‘destroy’ implies ‘to reduce to zero’ (1 John 3:8). Wow! By His death and resurrection, Jesus reduced Satan’s power to zero. And today Jesus says to you, ‘…Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’ (Revelation 1:17-18 NKJV) After destroying the prison of death, Jesus came out and said to Satan the jailer, ‘I’ll take those keys,’ then He went back to Heaven.
We grieve the loss of a loved one, and that’s a healthy thing to do. But you can handle the grief when you know you can live through it, and that you’ll be reunited in Heaven with your loved ones. So even in death, we win and Satan loses.

Satan Is Defeated
‘…He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them.’ Colossians 2:15 NKJV

Standing on the deck of a US aircraft carrier at the end of the Pacific war, in an historic moment never to be forgotten, General MacArthur walked over to Tojo, the Japanese leader, and publicly stripped him of all his symbols of power. And that’s what Jesus did for you at the cross. ‘Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them.’ First, Tojo wanted peaceful coexistence, then compromise, then concessions. But he got none, because he was powerless. In a card game an opponent with an empty hand will try to bluff and bully you. But when you know you have a winning hand you can face him down, because knowledge is power. And your power over Satan comes from knowing that he’s a defeated foe. He was once known as the anointed cherub, but now Christ is the Anointed One. He was once known as an angel of light, but now Christ is the Light of the World. He was once known as the morning star, but now Christ is the Bright and Morning Star. He was once a heavenly worshipper, but now Jesus says, ‘In the presence of the congregation, I will sing Your praises.’ (Hebrews 2:12 NIV) He was once known as one of the sons of God, but now Jesus declares, ‘I am the Son of God.’ Satan is called the prince of this world, but Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Satan is called a roaring lion, but Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah who has prevailed over him (Revelation 5:5). Rejoice, Satan is defeated!

Satan Is Defeated
‘The serpent…asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat?”…”Of course we may…”‘ Genesis 3:1-2 NLT

The only power Satan has over you is the power of persuasion. ‘The serpent…asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat?”…”Of course we may”… “You won’t die…God knows that your eyes will be opened…and you will be like God”…The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some…Then she gave some to her husband…At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame…When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard You walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”‘ (Genesis 3:1-10 NLT) Never forget that story! And keep this in mind also: Satan is a talker, and you’ll never out-talk him. The power of persuasion is an incredible thing. The fashion industry can persuade you to take a wardrobe you paid a small fortune for last year, and replace it with what they’re selling now. Clothes you felt good about then, you don’t even want to be seen in now. The trouble is, in a few years’ time the clothes you wore last year will be back in fashion; you’ll be poor, and the fashion moguls will be rich. Temptation is all about persuasion. But if Christ has already persuaded you, Satan can’t make you do anything.

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A Lamp For My Feet W210 – Five Winning Choices

Five Winning Choices
by Rick Warren

“Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 LB)
Ultimately, your identity is based on your choices. Here are five winning choices you can make that will help determine your destiny:

1. I can choose to get healthier. Instead of bemoaning the fact that you don’t have an Olympic body, find ways to increase your energy, lower your stress, get more sleep, and have more power. Psalm 119:73 says, “You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands” (LB). Improving the controllable factors in your life helps you reduce the impact of the uncontrollable factors.

2. I can choose to deepen relationships. The fear of rejection prevents connection, and the only way to get rid of fear is to do the thing you fear the most. Learn communication skills, replace bad relationships, reach out and risk connecting with someone. “Let love be your highest goal!” (1 Corinthians 14:1 NLT)

3. I can choose to trust God no matter what happens. “I will always thank the Lord; I will never stop praising him” (Psalm 34:1 LB). When you get to the point in your life where you can say, “I praise the Lord no matter what happens,” that is a confidence that you won’t find anywhere in Hollywood, on Capitol Hill, or on Wall Street. That is a confidence built on a relationship with God!

4. I can choose what I think about. Throughout the 20th century, scientists believed the adult brain could not be changed. When the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner finally proved that you can rewire your brain, science finally caught up to the Bible: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2 NLT). Your self is created by your memories, and your memories are created by your mental habits. Feed your brain with truth – God’s Word.

5. I can choose Jesus as my Savior. I’m not just talking about Jesus saving you from your sins. I’m talking about letting Jesus be your savior every day. Letting Jesus save you gives you the power to follow through on the choices you make. “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 LB).

You get to choose how much God blesses your life; he is just waiting on you to use your wild card. It is never too late to change. When you make these five winning choices, God gives you a winning hand.

Talk About It
Pray this prayer today: “Dear God, there are some things you’ve dealt me and life has dealt me and others have dealt me that I don’t like. But I thank you for the wild card. Thank you that you made me in your image and that I can make choices. Today, in your power and your strength, I choose to get healthier. I choose to do the things that will give me more energy and a healthier mind, body, and emotions. Lord, I choose to build healthy relationships. I’m scared to death, but I’m going to risk building new, healthy connections. I want love to be my highest goal; I want my life to be built on love.

“God, I choose to trust you regardless of the circumstances. I will praise you no matter what happens! I will trust that every detail of my life is being worked out for good. Lord, I choose what I will think about – no more junk. Help me to fill my life with positive memories and the Word of truth. Most of all, Jesus, I choose you as my savior. I need your salvation, but I also need you to save me from myself. I need you to help me rewire my body, my heart, my mind, and my relationships so that the rest of my life is the best of my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller “The Purpose Driven Life.” His book, “The Purpose Driven Church,” was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional (c)2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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A Lamp For My Feet -W209 – To Win in Life

To Win in Life
‘…Run in such a way as to get the prize.’ 1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV

William Arthur Ward wrote: ‘Believe while others are doubting. Plan while others are playing… Decide while others are delaying. Prepare while others are daydreaming. Begin while others are procrastinating. Work while others are wishing. Save while others are wasting. Listen while others are talking. Smile while others are frowning… Persist while others are quitting.’ To win in life requires three things:
(1) You must start. That may seem obvious, but many of us are stuck in the starting blocks waiting for something to get us going. What has God called and equipped you to do? Step out and do it, and He will empower you!

(2) You must give it your all. Divers in the Olympics don’t save all their effort for their final dive. They concentrate on nailing every single one, increasing their chances for a gold medal. Don’t settle for mediocrity at any stage of life (Philippians 3:14).

(3) You must never quit. In the 1992 Olympics, Derek Redmond of Britain was competing in the 400 metre race when he suffered a torn hamstring and fell. As the other runners breezed past him, he began to struggle to his feet. His father, whose face was covered with tears, suddenly ran down from the stands to help him up. Slowly, agonisingly, they made their way around the rest of the track and crossed the finish line as the stadium in Barcelona burst into thunderous applause. Redmond didn’t win a medal, but he won something more important-the respect of the world.

The Bible says, ‘Run in such a way as to get the prize.’

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A Lamp For My Feet -W208 – Be Willing to Change

Be Willing to Change
‘…if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.’ Philippians 4:8 NIV

If you’re not moving closer to your dream, you may not be tenacious enough in your pursuit of it. And the key to greater tenacity is not necessarily working harder at the same things, but being willing to change. Change what?
(1)Your thinking. Are you convinced you can’t succeed? Do you describe yourself and what you’re doing in negative terms? Are you afraid to get started because conditions aren’t favourable? Do you stop trying to move forward when you don’t have the resources you need? If so, you need to change your mindset, to break the cycle of negative thinking.

(2) Your perspective. Do you have a short-term mindset? Are you expecting success in days, weeks, or months? The greater your assignment, the longer it’s likely to take. So recalibrate your expectations and create a more reasonable timetable for yourself; otherwise, you’ll live in frustration and defeat. That’s not God’s will for you. Paul’s desire was ‘…that I may finish my race with joy…’ (Acts 20:24 NKJV) God wants you to experience joy in the pursuit of your goal.

(3) Your ways. How are things going in your personal life and in your home life? Are you ready to deal with the habits and hang-ups that stand between you and success? What can you do today that will bring you closer to your dream-no matter how small the progress? Author and publisher Robert Collier says, ‘Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.’

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