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A Lamp For My Feet – W229 – Make the Most of It

Make the Most of It
‘…When it prospers, you will…prosper.’ Jeremiah 29:7 GWT

Are you at a place in your life and you’d rather not be there? Well, God has a word for you, but it may not be one you want to hear. It’s the same word Jeremiah brought to his people when they were slaves in Babylon, far from everything near and dear: ‘You’re not going home anytime soon, so change your attitude, dig in and make the best of it. Buy homes, plant gardens, let your children get married…and in addition, pray for the peace and prosperity of the city where you’re living because when it prospers, you will prosper.’ (Jeremiah 29: 5-7 paraphrase)

The Israelites were in exile because God had allowed them to be taken captive. So, could it be that you are where you are today because God placed you there to bless those around you? Instead of putting your life on hold waiting for circumstances to change, start sowing into other people’s lives what you want to come back as a harvest in your own. Why? Because when they are blessed, you’ll be blessed too! How do we know? Because Jesus said, ‘Give, and it will be given to you…the measure you use…will be measured to you.’ (Luke 6:38 NIV)

Martha Washington said, ‘I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be. I have learned that the greater part of happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.’ That sounds just like Paul: ‘…I have learned [to be] content in…every situation…’ (Philippians 4:12 NIV) If you want to go from surviving to thriving, make the most of where God placed you.

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A Lamp For My Feet – W228 – God Is Not Surprised by Your Faults

God Is Not Surprised by Your Faults
by Rick Warren

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG)

Have you been acting as if God is totally unaware of your faults?

The truth is, God know your faults and failures, but he still loves you unconditionally.

In fact, God knows your feelings and frustrations, and he sees your hurt more than anyone else can. God knows your future, so he can tell what you need to know. God knows your fears, and he wants you to hand your worries over to him. God knows your faithfulness, because he sees every good thing you do.

The fact that God knows everything means nothing I face will hinder his ability to help me; nothing that is to come will catch him by surprise; nothing I fear will be too big for God’s strength; and nothing I do in his name is ever done in vain.

God says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11, MSG)

Talk About It

  • How should the fact that God sees your faults and still loves you change the way you relate to him?
  • Give your fears to God, and trust that he can handle your future.

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 ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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A Lamp For My Feet – W227 – You’re Equipped for a Purpose

You’re Equipped for a Purpose
‘We are…created…to do good works’ Ephesians 2:10 NIV
God uses people like you, ordinary people with work and family responsibilities, mortgages and busy lives. The Bible says, ‘…we are…created…to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ Note the word ‘prepared.’ It’s the same word that’s used for making sure a team has the training and equipment it needs to win. The truth is, each of us is ‘…an instrument for noble purposes…’ (2 Timothy 2:21 NIV) When do you know the true value of an instrument? When it’s in the hands of a master! So put your life into the Master’s hands and watch what He does with it. He ‘saved us…not because of anything we did… but because of God’s purpose…before time began.’ (2 Timothy 1:9 NCV) And He ‘…has given each of [us] a gift from His great variety…to serve one another’ (1 Peter 4:10 NLT); ‘…gifts…to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church…’ (Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT) Do you still think your life doesn’t count for much? Jesus said, ‘Go and make followers of all people in the world…Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always…’ (Matthew 28:19-20 NCV) You’re not just another face in the crowd; your life has value and purpose, even on those days when you feel totally inadequate. So, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…since…you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward…’ (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV) Can you think of any greater incentive than that moment when you stand in His presence and hear, ‘Well done,’ for giving it your best shot?

‘…God…will fulfil His purpose for me.’ Psalm 57:2 NLT

The Bible is full of people who used their talents to bless others: musicians, masons, seamstresses, ship-builders, teachers, farmers, fishermen, authors, architects, artists, administrators etc. God gives ‘…each of us the ability to do certain things well…’ (Romans 12:6 TLB) Yet much of what He gives us goes unrecognised and unused. Mac Anderson says: ‘Making a living is not the same as making a life… You can’t fake passion; it’s the fuel that drives any dream and makes you happy to be alive…The first step is to know what you love. We all have unique talents and interests, and one of life’s greatest challenges is to match [them] with career opportunities that bring out the best in us. Sometimes we only find it through trial and error-but it’s worth the effort… James Audubon…changed locations, partners and businesses, yet failed and became bankrupt. Not until he understood he must change did he have any shot at success… He loved the outdoors and was an excellent hunter and artist. He travelled the country observing and drawing birds, and earned a place as one of the greatest wildlife artists ever. More importantly, the work made him happy and provided the peace of mind he’d sought all his life.’ The Psalmist says, ‘I cry out to God…who will fulfil His purpose for me.’ Pray and ask for God’s direction. Begin to list your strengths and weaknesses. Get feedback from people who will be honest with you. Once you find your God-given purpose, build your life around it, and ‘…do it all for the glory of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

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A Lamp For My Feet – W226 – Practice the Principle of Replacement

Practice the Principle of Replacement

by Rick Warren

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (Proverbs 4:23 GN)

Long before psychology came around, God said your thoughts determine your feelings and your feelings determine your actions. If you want to change your life, you have to control the way you think.

Our minds are really an amazing creation. It would take a computer the size of a small city just to carry out the basic functions of your brain. Your brain contains more than 100 billion nerve cells. Each individual cell is connected with 10,000 other neurons.

You’re also constantly talking to yourself. Research indicates that most people speak at a rate of 150 to 200 words per minute, but the mind can process about 500 to 600 words a minute. That’s why you can listen to me and plan today’s dinner at the same time.

The problem is that a lot of us are like Job, who says, “Everything I say seems to condemn me” (Job 9:20b GN). He’s saying, in effect, “Everything I say puts me down.” If you are a typical human being, you are your own worst critic.
We’re always putting ourselves down. We walk into a room smiling, but inside we’re thinking, “I’m fat. I’m dumb. I’m ugly. And I’m always late!”

But when you say those things, you’re really pointing to the Creator who made you.  When you say, “God, I’m worthless. I’m no good. I can’t do anything,” you’re saying, “God, you blew it with me.” That’s why God says it’s wrong to put yourself down. How do you eliminate negative self-talk so you can become a more confident person?

The Bible teaches the principle of replacement. “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right … Think about all you can thank God for and be glad about” (Philippians 4:8 TLB).

In other words, don’t think about all those weaknesses in your life. Focus on who God wants you to be and what God wants to do in your life. I don’t know a better antidote to low self-esteem (or to facing your hurts, habits, and hang-ups) than to read God’s Word every day — study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and apply it in your life.

The best thing you can do to raise your confidence level is to start believing what God says about you. When I find a verse in the Bible that speaks to me, I write it down on a card, memorize it, and then affirm it by saying it back to God: “Father, thank you that I am valuable, significant, forgivable, and capable.”

” Let God renew your mind, because “your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 GN).

Talk About It

  • What do you know to be true about yourself because of what the Bible says?
  • What things that are “true and good and right” can you focus on 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 Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

 

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A Lamp For My Feet – W225 – Total Commitment

‘Total Commitment’
…Then you will receive praise, honour and renown‘ Deuteronomy 26:19 NLT

Imagine how honoured you would feel if a president or prime minister decided to visit you and spend the night at your house. You wouldn’t leave dirty dishes piled up in the sink, clothes strewn across the floor and a ring around the bathtub. No, you’d give the place a radical makeover! And you wouldn’t make them sleep in the garage, the box room or the attic; you’d vacate the master bedroom and give it to them. Your goal would be to honour them in every way because their presence had honoured you.

Now read this: ‘You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in His ways, and…do everything He tells you. The Lord has declared today that you are His people, His own special treasure, just as He promised, and that you must obey all His commands. And if you do, He will set you high above all the other nations He has made. Then you will receive praise, honour, and renown…’ (Deuteronomy 26:17-19 NLT)
Let’s take this a step further. When Old Testament priests entered the ministry they went through a rite called ‘consecration’. From that moment on they belonged exclusively to God and were committed to obey Him in all things.
You say, ‘What does any of this have to do with me?’ A lot: if you want God to use you, to honour and promote you, you can’t marginalise or compartmentalise Him. You must commit yourself to doing His will! And that includes your time, your talent, your treasure, your body, your mind, your spirit, and your all. God wants ‘total commitment’.

Please spread this message amongst your family and friends and ask them to sign up at http://christianmessages.net/ so that they can also get the message every week.

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A Lamp For My Feet – W224 – What does God think of you?

What Does God Think of You?  
By Rick Warren  
 
“The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end.” (Isaiah 54:10 GNT)
If you don’t feel loved by God, you’re certainly not going to offer love to anybody else. It is impossible to be loving unless you understand and remember the way God loves you.You need to remind yourself every day what God thinks about you — not what the world thinks or what you think about yourself. That is what removes your fears.Let me give you four things God thinks about you to help you remember why and how to love.You’re completely accepted.We spend much of our lives trying to earn acceptance from our parents, peers, those we respect, those we envy, and even total strangers.
But you need to realize God has already settled this issue of acceptance:
“Jesus … made us acceptable to God” (Titus3:7 CEV).
What Jesus did on the cross made you completely acceptable to God — no matter what you’ve done or will do.You’re unconditionally loved.God doesn’t say, “I love you if …” or ” I love you because …” He says, “I love you — period!” You can’t make God stop loving you, because his love is not based on what you do but on who he is.
Isaiah 54:10 says, “The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end” (GNT).
You’re totally forgiven.Because Jesus died on the cross and gave his life as a payment for your sins, you are totally forgiven.
Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT).
God doesn’t rehearse your sins; he releases them.You’re considered extremely valuable.There are two things that create value: who owns something, and what somebody’s willing to pay for it.
You are a child of God and “have been bought and paid for by Christ” (1 Corinthians7:23 TLB).
Jesus Christ paid for you with his life. That’s how valuable you are.When you remember that you are accepted, loved, forgiven, and valuable to the Creator of the universe, you will be better equipped to show that love to others and build deeper relationships.
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A Lamp For My Feet – W223 – Don’t Give Up: God Is Still Working

Don’t Give Up: God Is Still Working
by Jon Walker

“Put your heart right, Job. Reach out to God. Put away evil and wrong from your home. Then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more. Your life will be brighter than sunshine at noon, and life’s darkest hours will shine like the dawn. You will live secure and full of hope.” (Job 11:13-18 TEV)

If you want to remain free of bitterness or regret, begin to trust that God is actively working on your behalf, even in what appears to be the worst of circumstances. This is a matter of faith, where you choose to believe God is at work.
With God working in your life and in faith:

You can choose to accept the past. No sin, no action, no choice on your part is too big for God to handle or too big to be worked for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

You can choose to embrace the present. There’s no need to play the “what if” game. The past is forgiven and gone, and the future is in God’s omnipotent hands; you’re free to focus on the present and your job to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Martyred missionary Jim Elliot once wrote, “Wherever you are, be all there.” God wants you in the present, because that’s where his grace will flow.

You can choose to look expectantly toward the future. Even if you make mistakes today, God still controls your future. Walking in the Spirit, you can live life to the fullest, without fear of making mistakes or stumbling into some terrible circumstance that takes you out of God’s control. Even when things appear to be terrible, you can trust that God is working out some divine plan through you.

“We pray that you will be filled with his mighty, glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens — always full of the joy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:11 LB).

Trust God with your past and future and commit your present to his purpose. Then watch and see how God provides abundantly for you and through you so that you can express the joy of the Lord and his grace in your life.

Talk About It
What do you need to let go of in your past?

What do you need to trust God with for your future?
Jon Walker’s new book, Breakfast with Bonhoeffer, is a story of God’s faithfulness during struggles with bipolar disorder, divorce, and economic uncertainty.

This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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