A Lamp for My Feet – Sound Thinking

Sound Thinking
‘God has…given us…a sound mind.’ 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
The Bible says, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’ In order to improve your life you must change two things:
(1) Your thought processes Gordon MacDonald says: ‘People who are out of shape mentally usually fall victim to ideas and systems that are destructive to the human spirit… They have not taught themselves how to think, nor have they set themselves to the lifelong pursuit of the growth of the mind…so they grow dependent upon the thoughts and opinions of others. Rather than deal with ideas and issues, they reduce themselves to lives filled with rules, regulations and programmes.’ The moment you think you know it all, you’ve merely stopped thinking.

(2) Your expectations The story’s told of a man who went to a fortune teller. She said to him, ‘You’ll be poor and miserable until you’re fifty.’ The man asked her, ‘What will happen then?’ She replied, ‘Then you’ll get used to it.’ Be honest; how many successful people do you know who are apathetic and negative? None! Faith produces excitement, commitment, energy – characteristics that help you achieve success.

If you’d like to possess these qualities then raise your expectation level and bring it into alignment with God’s promises. ‘…Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ (Mark 11:24 NKJV) Do you want to succeed where you’ve failed before? To become the person you always hoped to be? Don’t start by changing your actions, start by changing your mind. Renew it daily with God’s Word. Nothing you do will have as great an impact.

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A Lamp for My Feet – Surrender Leads to Victory

Surrender Leads to Victory
by Rick Warren

“We are not our own bosses to live or die as we ourselves might choose. Living or dying we follow the Lord. Either way we are his.” (Romans 14:7-8 LB)
The paradox of surrender is that it produces power and victory. Stubborn temptations and overwhelming problems can be defeated by Christ when handed over to him.
As Joshua approached the biggest battle of his life, he encountered God, fell in worship before him, and surrendered his plans. That surrender led to a stunning victory at Jericho.
Surrender doesn’t weaken you; it strengthens you. Surrendered to God, you don’t have to fear or surrender to anything or anyone else. The founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, once said, “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”

Why surrender?
Because you belong to your Creator. God has a right to direct your life: “We are not our own bosses to live or die as we ourselves might choose” (Romans 14:7 LB). “Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people” (Psalm 100:3a NLT). Because Christ bought you with his sacrifice. The Bible says, “And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15 HCSB). When you surrender to Christ, you fulfill the very purpose he died for — not just to save you from Hell but also to save you from self-centeredness! We Christians do not live for ourselves but for our Savior.

“At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes” (Romans 6:19b TEV). Because God modeled it first. He took the initiative, surrendering Jesus for our benefit: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16 NASB). Our surrender is the only reasonable response to that kind of love. You cannot love Christ without surrendering to him.

Talk About It
– What are the temptations and problems that you need to hand over to Christ today?
– How do you want to use the power that comes with surrender?

Surrender: the Only Way to Live
by Rick Warren
Though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men.” (Philippians 2:6-7 LB)
Everybody surrenders to something or someone in life. If not to God, you’ll surrender to popular opinion, money, resentment, or fear, to your own pride, lust, and ego.

We were designed to worship something, and when we fail to worship God, we create gods (idols) to which we surrender ourselves. E. Stanley Jones said, “If you don’t surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos.” You’re free to choose what you surrender to, but you’re not free from the consequences of that choice: “So give yourselves completely to God” (James 4:7a NCV).

Surrender is not the best way to live; it is the only way to live. Nothing else works. All other approaches lead to frustration, disappointment, and self-destruction. The King James Version of Romans 12:1 calls surrender “your reasonable service.” The Contemporary English Version translates it as “the most sensible way to serve God.”

Surrendering your life is not a foolish emotional impulse but a rational, intelligent act, the most responsible and sensible thing you can do with your life. Your wisest moments will be those when you say “yes” to God: “So we make it our goal to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9a NIV).

Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you discover the greatest hindrance to God’s blessing in your life is not others but yourself — your self will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfill God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans. If God is going to do his deepest work in you, it will begin with this.

So give it all to God: your past regrets, your present problems, your future ambitions, your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Christ in the driver’s seat of your life, and take your hands off the steering wheel. Don’t be afraid; nothing under his control can ever be out of control.

Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything: “I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency” (Philippians 4:13b AMP). You may worry, “What if I stumble or relapse?” If? You will stumble in pleasing God! No one can live a perfectly surrendered life except Jesus. But God has provided for the inevitability of your sin: “If you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely” (1 John 2:1 LB).

Talk About It
– In what ways does the world try to keep you from surrendering?
– How have you let your pride or ambition keep you from surrendering to God?

The Practice of Surrender
by Rick Warren

“If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me.” (Matthew 16:24 NCV) Paul’s moment of surrender occurred on the Damascus road after a blinding light knocked him down. For others, less drastic methods are needed to get their attention. Regardless, surrendering is never just a one-time event. Paul said, “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31b NASB).

There is a moment of surrender and there is the practice of surrender, which is moment-by-moment and life-long. The problem with a living sacrifice is that it can crawl off the altar, so you may have to re-surrender your life 50 times a day: “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me” (Matthew 16:24 NCV).
Let me warn you: When you decide to live a totally surrendered life, that decision will be tested. Sometimes it will mean doing inconvenient, unpopular, costly, or seemingly impossible tasks. It will often mean doing the opposite of what you feel like doing.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5 NKJV). We are, by nature, self-centered. When hurt by someone, your natural inclination is to hurt back. It is natural to hoard money instead of generously sharing it, to defend yourself when criticized, to hide your mistakes instead of confessing them, and to try to impress others. You can usually figure out what will please God by doing the opposite of your natural inclination.

Bill Bright founded Campus Crusade for Christ, and through the worldwide Crusade staff, his tract “The Four Spiritual Laws,” and the “Jesus” film (seen by more than 1 billion people), it’s estimated that more than 150 million people have come to Christ and will spend eternity in Heaven. I once asked Bill, “Why did God use and bless your life so much?” He said, “When I was a young man I made a contract with God. I literally wrote it out and signed my name at the bottom. It said ‘From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ.’”

Have you signed a contract like that with God? Or, are you still arguing and struggling with God over his right to do with your life as he pleases? It is time to surrender — to God’s grace, love, and wisdom.

Talk About It
– What characteristics about yourself will you have to adapt in order to do “inconvenient, unpopular, costly, or seemingly impossible tasks” because of your surrender?
– Ask your small group or accountability partner to pray for you as you struggle to overcome your pride, ambition, and selfishness and surrender your life to Christ.
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, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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A Lamp for My Feet – How To Die Right

How To Die Right
He is not here, but is risen!’ Luke 24:6 NKJV

Christ, the founder of Christianity, was the only man capable of making an appointment beyond the grave and turning up to keep it. Jesus told His disciples, ‘After I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.’ (Matthew 26:32 NKJV) And He did. If you visit the graves of those who founded the great religions of the world, you will find that they are still occupied. But if you visit the grave where they laid Jesus, you will find that it is empty and the words of the angels still echoing, ‘He is not here, but is risen!’ Those words turn every Christian burial into a celebration. Jesus promised, ‘Because I live, you will live also.’ Eventually you will die of something; the question is: how can you die right? There are two correct answers to that question:

(1) By preparing in advance. It was a truly human tombstone that bore the inscription, ‘I expected this, but not just yet.’ Here’s how you prepare for death. ‘If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.’ (Romans 10:9 NKJV)

(2) By fulfilling your life’s assignment. Jesus said, ‘I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.’ (John 17:4 NKJV) In the final audit you will stand before God and He will ask you, ‘What did you do with the gifts I gave you? Did you fulfil your assignment on earth?’ In that moment, nothing will be more important than how you answer that question.

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A Lamp For My Feet – Winning Your Personal War With Satan

Winning Your Personal War With Satan

‘Be self-controlled and alert…’ 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
When nations decide to end a conflict, their leaders sign treaties that allow for the restoration of peaceful relations between them. Christ’s death and resurrection defeated Satan fairly and squarely. Then Christ the victor ‘…ascended up on high, [and] He led captivity captive…’ (Ephesians 4:8 KJV) He was welcomed back in Heaven as conqueror. But here on earth, no treaty was ever signed between Satan and God’s people. You are still his target. He continues to be a thief who comes to ‘…steal, kill and destroy…’ (John 10:10 TLB) He still ‘…prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) But Christ’s victory on the cross has positioned you to walk in daily triumph over Satan. However, winning your personal war with the Accuser isn’t a matter of brains or brawn; it’s a spiritual battle and you can only win it by employing God’s strategies for victory. For the next few days let’s look at them: ‘Be selfcontrolled and alert…’ (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) Being ‘selfcontrolled’ implies staying in charge of your emotions, thoughts, words, decisions and actions. It requires taking responsibility for your own life; not allowing people, circumstances or the devil to take the steering wheel from your hands and usurp your Power of Attorney to gain control. Being ‘alert’ means being conscious of your weaknesses and Satan’s corresponding ploys. You can’t afford to coast, run on autopilot, or go with the flow. Being alert exposes Satan’s welllaid strategies, enabling you to stop him dead in his tracks.

‘Submit yourselves therefore to God…’ James 4:7 KJV
Being ‘selfcontrolled and alert’ to Satan’s strategies empowers you to be proactive in your personal war with him (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). But your next step is crucial. The art of war follows set rules of engagement. If you’re losing more than winning, then you may have omitted this vital rule: ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God.’ Salvation doesn’t enrol you in a club for the religious elite; it enlists you in the army of the Lord. And this war isn’t just about you – it’s also about your King, His rulership and authority, and who acknowledges it. Kingdom power is only given by the King to His subjects. To win this battle you must recognise your King and submit to Him. The Roman centurion who met Christ understood this. ‘I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Go,” and he goes; and that one, “Come,”‘ and he comes…’ (Luke 7:8 NIV) He recognised that he, like Jesus, got his power by submitting to authority. Submitting yourself to Jesus is what gives you the power to battle Satan successfully. Don’t hurl yourself into the battle. Instead, recognise Christ’s authority and submit to it because it’s the submitted life that overcomes. At the point of your temptation, seize the moment and surrender yourself to Jesus, the King of kings, who said, ‘…All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth.’ (Matthew 28:18 NKJV) Under His authority you discover that victory over Satan comes, ‘…”Not by [human] might nor by [human] power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts.’ (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV)

‘…Resist the devil…he will flee from you.’ James 4:7 KJV
Once you become selfcontrolled, alert, and submitted to God, your next step must be to: ‘Resist the devil…he will flee from you’ When you are properly aligned with Jesus, His power and authority are behind you and at your disposal. Then when you act or speak you do so, not on your own, but as His representative. Think about it this way; when a police officer orders you to stop because you’re driving too fast, the entire force of the law comes into operation. If you refuse to stop you are taking on the local constabulary, the police service and the magistrates court, bringing down the full weight of their combined authority on your head. As long as that policeman is aligned with and submitted to those who are over him when he speaks and acts – they speak and act through him. Are you getting the idea? In God’s Kingdom the submitted life represents the King. So when you speak and act according to God’s will, He speaks and acts through you. Even Satan cannot break this chain of command! Nor can he withstand it. ‘Behold, I give you the authority…over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.’ (Luke 10:19 NKJV) When you are submitted to God you can resist the devil as Jesus did when He said, ‘Away from Me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” Then the devil left Him.’ (Matthew 4:1011 NIV) And when you speak those same words to the devil, ‘…he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7 KJV)

‘Come near to God and He will come near to you…’ James 4:8 NIV
Resisting the devil is imperative, but it is not the endgame. This is: ‘Come near to God and He will come near to you.’ Satan’s goal is to drive a wedge between you and God, so how do you keep him from doing it? By closing the gap between you and God! Observe three things: (1) Distancing from God is done unconsciously You become preoccupied, selfcentred, or overcommitted. Before you know it, prayer is limited to grace said over meals, Biblereading to the pastor’s sermon text, and worship to a Sunday morning interlude. ‘…Pay more careful attention, therefore, to what [you] have heard, so that [you] do not drift away.’ (Hebrews 2:1 NIV) Distancing is a subtle drift, not a sudden dash. (2) Distancing from God is dangerous Satan’s goal is to separate you from God and His blessing. Like a soldier in enemy territory who’s cut off, you become an easy target. The Bible says, ‘If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT) (3) Distancing from God is a choice. But it’s your choice, never God’s! He says, ‘…I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’ (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV) Whatever your circumstances, He remains faithful. ‘When you pass through the waters…the fire…I am with you…’ (Isaiah 43:25 NIV) What’s God’s part? ‘He will come near to you.’ Take one step in His direction and He will close the gap, embrace, secure, and enable you ‘…to stand against the wiles of the devil.’ (Ephesians 6:11 NKJV)

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A Lamp for My Feet – Faith Is Something We Do

Faith Is Something We Do
by Rick Warren

“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16 NIV)

Faith is more than something you just feel. Many people confuse emotions and feelings with faith. They come to church, and they’re moved emotionally, they’re inspired, and they’re stimulated. But that doesn’t mean they’re walking in faith.

The Bible says faith is something we do, not just what we feel. In other words, faith is not mere sentimentality. Let’s say I go out on the street and see someone who is homeless and destitute. I see that person is hungry, cold, and in need of clothing and shelter. Would I be showing great faith if I walked up and said, “Cheer up! Don’t worry; be happy! Feel good! Put on a happy face”?

It doesn’t take much faith to do that. Faith carries compassion. Faith says, “I’ll do anything I can to stop your hurt.” Throughout the New Testament, the witnesses say Jesus was moved with compassion for people. Jesus showed us that faith is practical.

When we see a need, we do something about it. We don’t just toss out a quick “Well, I’ll pray for you.” The Bible says we show our faith by what we do.

The world, however, is obsessed with self. But the more you give your life away, the more you take the focus off yourself, the more you serve others with unselfish love, and the more you bless others with your time and talents, then your counter-culture faith will be increasingly evident.

Talk About It
– In what areas is your faith more evident that others?
– What are the practical ways you can show your faith to others today?

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, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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A Lamp for My Feet – Prayer Thoughts

Prayer Thoughts
‘…Every morning, I tell you what I need, and I wait for your answer.’ Psalm 5:3 NCV

It takes time, but eventually sheep grow familiar with the voice of their shepherd and learn to trust him for everything they need. So how can you become equally familiar with the voice of God? Here are a few ideas:

(1) Give God your waking thoughts With your head on your pillow and your eyes still closed, offer God the first seconds of your day. Say, ‘Thank You for a night’s rest. Today I belong to You.’ CS Lewis wrote: ‘The moment you wake up each morning…all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.’

(2) Give God your waiting thoughts The mature married couple has learned the treasure of shared silence; they don’t need to fill the air with constant chatter. Just being together is sufficient. Try being silent with God. ‘Be still, and know that I am God…’ (Psalm 46:10 NIV) Awareness of God is the result of stillness before God. Jesus prayed, ‘That [they] may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe…’ (John 17:21 NIV) When are you most deeply aware of Christ’s presence ‘in you’ as He promised? To what degree have you consciously invited Him to be more and more at home in your heart? How has your practice of intimacy with God developed in the last few years?

‘Be still, and know that I am God…’ Psalm 46:10 NIV
Give God your whispering thoughts. Throughout the centuries, Christians have learned the value of brief sentence prayers. These are prayers that can be whispered anywhere, in any setting.

Frank Laubach sought unbroken communion with God by asking Him questions. Every two or three minutes he would pray, ‘Am I in Your will, Lord? Am I pleasing You, Lord?’

Imagine considering every moment as a potential time of communion with God. By the time your life is over, you will have spent six months at traffic lights, eight months opening junk mail, a year and a half looking for lost stuff, and a whopping five years standing waiting in various queues. Why don’t you give these moments to God?

By giving Him your whispering thoughts, the common becomes uncommon. Simple phrases such as ‘Thank You, Father,’ or ‘I stand on Your Word,’ or ‘My desire is to please You,’ can turn a commute into a pilgrimage. You needn’t leave your office or kneel in your kitchen. Just pray where you are. Let the kitchen become a cathedral and the classroom a chapel. Give God your waning thoughts. At the end of the day, let your mind settle on Him. Conclude the day as you began it – talking to God. Thank Him for the good parts. Question Him about the hard parts. Seek His mercy. Seek His strength. As you close your eyes, take assurance in the promise, ‘He who watches over [you] will neither slumber nor sleep.’ (Psalm 121:4 NIV) If you fall asleep as you pray, don’t worry. What better place to doze off than in the arms of your Father?

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A Lamp for My Feet – Moving from Doubt to Faith

Moving from Doubt to Faith

‘Lord, “Increase our faith.”‘ Luke 17:5 NKJV

Why do we experience so much doubt?

(1) Because doubt satisfies our need for selfprotection We don’t like to be wrong, to get hurt, or to fail, so our subconscious reasoning says, ‘It’s easier not to trust, to lower my expectations so I won’t be disappointed.’ But you are disappointed, aren’t you? Why? Because of your doubt.

(2) Because doubting comes easily We don’t wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, ‘Today I’m going to doubt God.’ No, doubt moves into a vacuum; it takes over when we don’t do the right things. ‘…Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’ (Romans 10:17 NKJV) If you don’t keep your mind filled with God’s Word; you’ll be constantly assailed by doubts.

(3) Because doubters are easy to find. Sometimes the people around us dwell on all the obstacles and difficulties, opening the door to doubt. And once that stream starts flowing, you get carried along with it.

(4) Because doubting is contagious Doubt is easier to catch than the common cold, and its carriers are words. The Bible says, ‘You are trapped by your own words.’ (Proverbs 6:2 CEV) The words you speak (and listen to) will either build you up or tear you down, increase your faith or decrease it. For example, ‘What will I do?’ versus, ‘In God’s strength I can handle it.’ Or, ‘It’s awful’ versus, ‘It’s a learning experience.’ Or, ‘I see no way out’ versus ‘It’s not too big for God.’ Words are powerful things. They determine your outlook and approach to life.

So in order to move from doubt to faith you must start eliminating unscriptural words from your life!

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