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A Lamp For My Feet -W194 – Fear Rejection? Remember, You Are Unique

Fear Rejection? Remember, You Are Unique
by Rick Warren

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it”. (Psalms 139:13-14 NLT)

The Bible says you were prescribed before birth. God knew what you would be like. He chose you, and he chose your characteristics. This means you are unique. There is only one you. There is nobody else who could be you. If you don’t be you, who is going to be you? You are irreplaceable.

I read recently that there are 25,000 varieties of orchids in the world. If I had been God, I would have made a yellow orchid, a blue orchid, and a red orchid. Not God. The creator loves variety – 25,000 different varieties of orchids.

What’s even more amazing is there are 4 billion varieties of people. And God made them all. You’re unique. Nobody can be you. David says be grateful: “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14 NLT).

Be glad you’re you. God didn’t make you by accident. Can you imagine an artist whose paintings all look the same? How about a guy who paints 12 pictures and puts them up in his living room, then the pictures come to life and vote to all become like one. The artist would be disappointed. God doesn’t want you to be like anybody else. He wants you to be you.

When you understand this, you will be less likely to fear rejection.

Talk About It

How does comparing yourself to others undermine your purpose in life?
How does comparing yourself to others influence your relationship to God?

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 – W193 – Needed-A New Birth!

Needed-A New Birth!

‘You must be born again.’ John 3:7 NIV

The Bible says that 130 years after Adam first sinned, he was still fathering children ‘in his own likeness’. (Genesis 5:3 NIV) And as Adam’s descendants, we have all been born with the nature of fallen man.

Sometimes people say, ‘He’s just like his dad.’ Or we say, ‘My dad was an angry man, now I’ve got his temper!’ ‘My dad couldn’t stay with my mum, now I’m going through a divorce.’ ‘My dad was an alcoholic, now look at my drinking and drug-taking!’ ‘My dad was a workaholic, now I put in 14 hours a day.’ ‘My dad wasn’t affectionate with us, now I don’t know how to be loving toward my children.’ History repeats itself over and over through our fallen nature.

Here’s a fascinating example: ‘Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.’ (Genesis 20:2 NIV) Abraham was willing to sacrifice Sarah to save his own neck. What would you have done? Before you answer, notice that Isaac wasn’t even born when his father did this. Yet years later, Isaac did exactly the same thing in the same place (Genesis 26:7). It’s genetic! It’s in our DNA.

But there’s good news. When you receive Christ as your Saviour, He breaks that cycle. When you’re ‘born of the spirit’, you get a new Father and a new nature (see John 3:3-6). You don’t have to walk in the likeness of your earthly father any longer; you can walk in the likeness of your heavenly Father and become more like Him every day. Fed up with your old nature and ways? Ready for a new birth? Turn to Christ!

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A Lamp For My Feet -W192 – You Don’t Have to Please Everybody

You Don’t Have to Please Everybody
by Rick Warren

“It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you.” (Proverbs 29:25a TEV)
If you constantly worry about what other people think, then you’re caught in an emotional trap. You don’t have to please everybody any more than you can please everybody. It’s a myth to think that in order to be happy, you must be liked and approved of by everyone you meet. It’s just not true.

Even God can’t please everybody, and only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do. Jesus said he only focused on pleasing God (John 8:29).

So how do you handle hard-to-please people? One thing you don’t do is cave in. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you’re supposed to submit and let others manipulate you. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold” (Phillips).

The truth is, no one can pressure you without your permission. If you feel pressured by someone, you’re allowing yourself to feel pressured by that person. If you feel controlled or manipulated, you’re allowing yourself to be controlled or manipulated.

You don’t have to do that! It’s OK to stand up for what’s right. It’s OK to be assertive. Many Christians are afraid to speak up. Many think it’s more spiritual to just be quiet and put up with it all. But God doesn’t expect you to be a doormat – and he didn’t make you to be a wimp.

Talk About It
What are some ways that you can be assertive and not compromise as a Christian?
What kind of consequences have you experienced when you have made decisions with more concern for what others think than what God thinks of you?

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 – W191 – Four Ways to Build a Relationship with the Lord

Four Ways to Build a Relationship with the Lord

‘Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord…’ 2 Peter 3:18 NKJV

First, make up your mind.
Spiritual growth doesn’t happen by osmosis. You don’t just wake up with it one morning; you have to set your heart on it and make it your highest priority. Otherwise it won’t happen. The Bible says: ‘Let not that man suppose he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.’ (James 1:7 NKJV)

Second, break up your will.
Until your will is surrendered to God and brought into alignment with His purposes, you will go in circles spiritually. Israel went in circles in the wilderness for forty years, yet they were only eighteen kilometres from the Promised Land. Don’t let that happen to you. ‘Now may the God of peace…make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight.’ (Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV)

Third, wake up your faith.
Obey the leadings of God’s Spirit. Don’t be afraid, He will not let you down. Just make sure you don’t let Him down. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is…a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’ (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)

Fourth, take up your cross.
‘…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’ (Matthew 16:24-25 NKJV) If you’re serious about building a relationship with the Lord, do these four things.

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A Lamp For My Feet -W190 – The Benefits of Making Jesus ‘Lord’

The Benefits of Making Jesus ‘Lord’

‘…No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.’ 1 Corinthians 12:3 NKJV

Making Jesus ‘Lord’ of your life means that He must have the first and last word in all things which concern you. It means you are called to walk with Him, to prove yourself valuable to Him, to please Him and do what He wants, when He wants it, and in the way He wants it done. Here are three great benefits that come from putting Jesus behind the wheel and making Him ‘Lord’.

(1) When you don’t know what to say, He will tell you. ‘The Sovereign Lord has given Me His words of wisdom, so that I may know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning He wakens Me and opens My understanding to His will. The Sovereign Lord has spoken to Me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.’ (Isaiah 50:4-5 NLT)

(2) When you can’t defend yourself, He will fight for you. ‘…The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me…they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.’ (Psalm 27:1-3 NLT)

(3) When the burden feels too heavy, He will carry it for you. ‘Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.’ (Psalm 55:22 NLT) And these three benefits are yours when you make Jesus ‘Lord’ over every area of your life.

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A Lamp For My Feet -W189 – Live Happy … Amidst Failure

Live Happy … Amidst Failure

By Benescke Janse van Rensburg

On the 26th June 2012, Rafael Nadal, the number two-seed in the Wimbledon tennis tournament, arrived at the court to play his match against Lukas Rasol, the 100th player on the world rankings. There was no doubt that Nadal would be the winner. He already was the 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon champion and won the French Open tournament a few weeks ago with a record seventh consecutive time. This, compared to the 26-year-old Czech, Rasol, who in his Wimbledon career lost five consecutive times in the first round.

Great was the shock to spectators, sport commentators and especially to Nadal when Rasol won the match hours later, sending Nadal home. This defeat, ranked as one of the biggest Wimbledon shocks in the history of the tournament, shattered Rafael’s dream to win his twelfth Grand Slam tournament.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar state of shock and disappointment in which you could only blame yourself? Moses was there. His temper caused him to change from an Egyptian prince in the palace to a criminal fleeing for his life in a single day. Jonah had a similar experience. Due to his disobedience to God, he changed from a prophet with a mission from God, to a man stuck in the fish’s belly. And David experienced it too. In one day he changed from being a man after God’s own heart to a murderer who committed adultery.

How do you handle those situations of disappointment? Do you turn back to God like Moses, Jonah and David did? Do you confess your sin and accept responsibility for your wrong choices, trusting God to work everything together for the good in your life?

In Psalm 62:7-8 the Psalmist writes: “Trust in him (God) at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” And in Romans 8:28 we read: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Rafael Nadal will definitely not hang up his racket after his Wimbledon disappointment. And you shouldn’t either give up hope for a better future in your life after a disappointment. Remember, God can use any difficult, shocking situation to pull you closer to Him and to demonstrate His power to you. He might even use it to prepare you for perhaps the biggest breakthrough in your future. Will you trust Him to do it? God bless.

Father God, thank you that no challenge will ever be too big for You to turn around. Lead me through your Holy Spirit to learn and grow closer to You throughout every challenge. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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A Lamp For My Feet – W188 – God can use what you are going through!

God can use what you are going through!

Introduction:

we often wonder why we are going through certain things. We may even feel that we do not understand why god is allowing us to go through such trials and challenges. These are questions that good people often ask. In the course of life we do face many issues, challenges and problems and in all these cases we are called upon to face and deal with these things. The bible is full of accounts of how god used the impossible and challenging circumstances in people’s lives to bring about his plans and purposes. Just think about Joseph, Moses and Paul. We may wish away what we are facing, but perhaps god has a hand in things and perhaps he wants to use what you and i may be challenged with for a greater reason?

Scripture reading:

Daniel 6:1-28 (the story of Daniel in the lion’s den) key verse: Daniel 6:22

1. God uses what we go through
god uses the problems that we are facing to be able to work in our lives. Primarily god is interested in our hearts. We need to respond wisely to the issues that life brings our way and not get into a reactionary mode. Sometimes one problem can lead to a new solution that could change our lives. One thing that you can be sure of is that god knows what you are facing and what you are going through. He wants to use those things and turn them out for good.

Romans 8:28 we are assured and know that all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good for those who love god and are called according to [his] design and purpose.
God is able to turn the most desperate situation around into something good. God’s intentions are clear.

Jeremiah 29:11 for i know the plans i have for you, says the lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

2. What you are going through can bring you to a place of trusting god
often times the issues come because we do our own thing. We do not allow god to lead us and guide us. And as a result we end up with problems. When we trust in ourselves and in our own abilities we are setting ourselves up for a problem. God wants us to trust him and trust him completely.
2 Corinthians 1:9 but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on god.
Life does not always make sense. We don’t always know why certain things happen. Even when things don’t make sense, god is still in control. As a result we can learn to rely on him and not on ourselves.

3. What we go through can bring about change in our lives
i have seen people who are so convinced of their opinion and position that it is impossible for them to change. God wants our lives to be a process where we are changing from strength to strength and from glory to glory. When we are confronted with problems we are also confronted with change. God can use these issues to help us make those changes that he would have us make in our lives. Problems are a critical inflection point or a t-junction that calls for decision and change. There is a great song we used to sing: ‘change my heart oh god, make it ever new’. If you are facing something today, you need to evaluate if this problem does not call for change in your heart and in your life.

4. What we go through can be an opportunity for god
sometimes it is only when we have problems that we turn to god for help. When everything is going well we tend to sail along without allowing the lord to lead and guide us. God wants to lead and guide you. When trouble comes it causes us to return to god and call on him in our situation and circumstances.

Nahum 1:7 the lord is good. When trouble comes, he is the place to go! And he knows everyone who trusts in him!

Psalm 120:1 in my troubles i pled with god to help me and he did!

No matter what you may be facing today, let it be an opportunity to call on god for his guidance in your life. Expect the unexpected. You may feel god guiding you to do something unusual and from a human perspective it may seem strange, but remember god is god and he sees things differently. It tells us in the bible that god has got a plan for each of our lives. We may feel things are falling apart but god may be co-ordinating affairs to bring us into the fulfillment of his plan.

Jeremiah 29:11 for i know the plans i have for you, says the lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8:28 and we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love god and are fitting into his plans.

5. What we go through can bring us to a place of maturity
although we might not like to admit it, problems play a role of bringing us to a place of maturity. Here we see a clear parallel between real life and the things we go through. A child comes to maturity as it faces life’s challenges and moves on. For the moment we may be facing difficulty, but god has a plan and his plan is that we become what he intended for us to become. I have discovered that the people who can help me the most, in the difficulties i am facing, are those who have had similar difficulties and moved through those difficulties to a place of maturity and victory. This is a place where the problem does not rule them but instead they have learnt what they needed to learn and god has taken them onto the next thing that he has for them!

James 1:2-4 dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.
God wants us strong in character, full and complete – mature.

Your obstacle could become your opportunity!
Your stumbling block could become your stepping stone!
Your test could become your testimony!
Your misery could become your ministry!
Your failure could become your foundation!

Conclusion: the apostle Paul also faced challenges
yes, even the great apostle paul faced challenges. He called it his ‘thorn in the flesh’. He asked god to remove this hindrance on three occasions, but it seems that this was not to happen. God said this to him:
2 Corinthians 12:9 but he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” therefore i will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

My grace is sufficient for you! The grace that we will receive if the challenge is not removed could be of greater value to the individual than the direct answer to his prayer would have been. It was just like this with paul; and also with david; and so it is often the same with christians now. The removal of the issue/challenge may appear to be a blessing, but it might also bring with it some new form of danger to our spiritual lives; the grace that god may give in the trial may be of more lasting value and may be connected with the development of some of the greatest aspects of christian character. God can use what you are going through. His grace is enough for you. He will bring you through what you are facing and in the process you will be different and you will see things differently.

By: Andrew W Roebert

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