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A Lamp For My Feet – When Temptation Calls

When Temptation Calls
by Rick Warren
“A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.” Proverbs 14:16 (NASB)
It’s common sense that if you don’t want to get stung, stay away from the bees! If you don’t want to get burned, don’t get close to the fire! If you don’t want to fall off the cliff, don’t hang off the ledge!
The goal is not to see how close you can get to the temptation but rather how far away from it you can stay. Proverbs 14:16 says, “A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless” (NASB). A fool thinks he can handle temptation, but who is he kidding? You don’t go to a bar just to eat pretzels! You need to do a frank assessment. You need to analyze when and where you are most tempted and vulnerable. Then, you need to stay away from those situations as much as you can.
The Bible says to run from temptation: “I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws” (Psalm 119:59 NLT). If you have to physically remove yourself, do it! When Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph, he left his coat and split. Sometimes you may have to leave your coat. Get out of the situation. Run from it. Don’t stick around. When you’re tempted, get up and change the channel. Or take a shower. Or turn on music. Go for a walk. Read the Bible. Call a Christian friend in your support group. Do something to break the spell.
Here is some practical advice: Don’t ever try to argue with the devil. You’ll lose every time. He’s had thousands of years to think up lines to counter anything you could come up with. Don’t rationalize it. Don’t justify it. Don’t argue it. The key thing to do is break the focus. Don’t look at the cookies and repeat, “I don’t want them! I don’t want them!” Who are you kidding? Turn around! The more you fight a feeling, the more it grows in intensity. When temptation calls you on the phone, don’t try to argue. Just drop the receiver, and go do something else.
Talk It Over
  • Where are you most tempted? Is it in airports? On business trips? At home when you’re alone and the kids are at school? During the weekend? When you’re watching television?
  • What changes do you need to make in your schedule or lifestyle to minimize your exposure to these situations?
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A Lamp For My Feet – When God Puts You on Hold

When God Puts You on Hold
(1)’…Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always.’ Romans 12:12 TLB
We’ve been dubbed ‘the microwave generation’ for good reason – we charge through life like we’re on fire! But God has His own timetable and it can’t be rushed. So when He puts you on hold: Watch your words. Like a small rudder on a big ship, what you say determines your direction and helps stop the wrong thoughts from infiltrating your mind.
Mel Weldon said, ‘My mind is a garden, my thoughts are the seeds; my harvest will be either flowers or weeds.’
Ask God to help you control your emotions. Paul says, ‘Be glad for all God is planning…Be patient in trouble…and prayerful always.’ Complaining magnifies the problem. Prayer turns negative energy into a powerful force for good. Look for the humour in it. Solomon said, ‘…he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.’
(Proverbs 15:15 NKJV) Laughter dispels tension, lightens the burden and fills your soul with joy. Appreciate the chance to learn, however difficult the problem.Solomon said, ‘…the diligent make use of everything…’ (Proverbs 12:27 NLT)
Learn from your experience regardless of how hard it is, and remember, some of the world’s greatest discoveries and breakthroughs resulted from crises. Love unconditionally. Problems are caused by people, and under pressure it’s tempting to lash out. The bottom line is: we all make mistakes, and nobody is beyond redemption! Aren’t you glad about that?
Learn to see people through God’s eyes. ‘…Overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:21NIV) Be courteous, and maintain your dignity when you’re under pressure (Romans 12:10).
‘By your patience possess your souls.’ Luke 21:19 NKJV
Make peace your priority. Don’t let your inner man be controlled by outside pressures. When you ‘go to war’ everybody suffers, but when you let ‘…the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts…’ (Colossians 3:15CEV), it restores your perspective and creates an atmosphere that’s conducive to solutions. Look for a breakthrough from an unexpected source.When you ‘commit your way to the Lord…’ (Psalm 37:5 NKJV), don’t be surprised when the people and circumstances He sends into your life aren’t what you expected.
He spoke to Balaam through a donkey (Numbers 22), and He used a burning bush to get Moses’ attention (Exodus 3). Don’t be in such a hurry.
Ever notice that the faster you go, the more behind you get? Jesus said, ‘By your patience possess your souls.’ As Henry Blackaby observes: ‘God’s timing is…best…He may be withholding directions to cause you to seek Him more intently. Don’t try to skip the relationship and get on with doing.
God is more interested in a relationship with you than He is in what you can do for Him.’ Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Solomon said, ‘…with humility comes wisdom.’ (Proverbs 11:2 NLT) If the people you turn to aren’t immediately available, be patient and don’t give up. God designed us to work together, and somewhere up the road you will be called to help somebody by sharing what you’re learning right now. ‘He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4 CEV)
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A Lamp For My Feet – Keys to Answered Prayer

Keys to Answered Prayer
‘…Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.’ John 16:24 NKJV
If your prayers are not being answered, ask yourself:
  • How is my relationship with the Lord? ‘If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.’ (Psalm 66:18 NAS) Anything that adversely affects your relationship with God also affects your prayers. Friendship gives you favour; intimacy gives you access. Jesus said, ‘If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.’ (John 15:7NKJV)
  • How strong is my faith? ‘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) Notice three words:
    • ‘Believe.’ God’s deepest longing is to be believed, regardless of emotion or circumstance.
    • ‘Diligently.’ When you pray, put your heart and soul into it. Paul speaks of ‘labouring…in prayer.’ (Colossians 4:12 KJV)
    • ‘Him.’ God is not some ‘force out there’, He’s your heavenly Father Who ‘…knows that you need all these things.’ (Matthew 6:32 NKJV) Your highest priority should not be getting your needs met, but building your relationship with God.
  • Am I showing patience? ‘Until God’s time finally came – how God tested his patience!’ (Psalm 105:19 TLB) Joseph was tested by the very promise God gave him. Can’t you hear Satan whisper, ‘I thought the dream said you were supposed to be Prime Minister; what are you doing in prison?’ But it only looks like a prison; in reality, it’s the birthplace of destiny. Joseph saw God’s promise fulfilled – in God’s time. And you will too!
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A Lamp For My Feet – Hold Your Blessings with an Open Hand

Hold Your Blessings with an Open Hand
by Rick Warren
“There is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6
God is more interested in your character than your comfort. He’s not going to give you things if you haven’t learned the principle of contentment first.
Contentment is not a lack of ambition. It’s not a lack of goals. Contentment means your happiness doesn’t depend on your circumstances.
How do you eliminate discontent? You eliminate the cause: comparing. We compare everything in this country — lawns, cars, husbands and wives, clothes, the education of our kids (we even put “My kid was Student of the Month” on car bumpers).
Whenever you compare, you’re going to become discontent. You’ve got to learn to stop comparing yourself to others.
Paul says in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (NIV). Contentment does not come naturally; it is something you have to learn. If we do this, God promises to meet all our financial needs.
The Bible says, “There is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:6-7 NRSV).
One of the greatest secrets in learning to be content is to realize that you don’t really own anything. It’s all on loan to you for about 80 years! You didn’t bring a single thing into this world, and you’re not going to carry anything out of it, either. You just get to use it while you’re here on Earth. The Bible calls that stewardship. You are the manager or steward of what God allows you to have while you’re here, but it’s not really yours. When you understand that you’re just a manager of the blessings God allows in your life and you hold them with an open hand, you won’t be uptight about losing them.
So what if you lose things? God can turn off one faucet and turn on another just as easily. Learn to be content, because things don’t last. God is more interested in your character than your comfort.
Talk It Over
What does it mean practically to hold God’s blessings with an open hand?
Make it a goal today to be conscious of the ways you compare yourself to others. What do you need to do when you’re tempted to compare?
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Three Kinds of Peace God Wants to Give You This Christmas

Three Kinds of Peace God Wants to Give You This Christmas
By Rick Warren“God … sent Christ to make peace between himself and us” (2 Corinthians 5:18a CEV).
You may have had a good year. You may have had a bad year. But as we come to the end of 2016, you’re likely pretty tired. You’re worn out physically, mentally, and spiritually.
There’s hope! God doesn’t want you to go through another year without his peace.
As we head into 2017, the Lord specifically wants to give you three different kinds of peace.
Peace with God.
This is spiritual peace — and it’s the most important. It affects everything else. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:18, “God … sent Christ to make peace between himself and us” (CEV).
God doesn’t want us to live disconnected from him. Peace with God doesn’t come from something we do. Peace with God comes from what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. God wants to give you that important peace this Christmas season.
Peace within.
The Bible has a word for this: emotional peace. It’s called the peace of God. When I have peace with God, then I get the peace of God inside me. Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (NIV). God wants his peace to rule in our lives.
The Hebrew word for “peace” in the Bible is shalom. You’ve heard this word. Shalom means more than just ending of hostilities.
In fact, you’ll find more than 790 verses about the peace of God in Scripture. For those with a broken heart, God gives us comforting peace. For those with a confused heart, he gives us guiding peace. For those with a shamed heart, he gives us forgiving peace. When we have a worried heart, he gives us confident peace.
He provides peace for every problem.
Peace with others.
Then the Lord offers relational peace. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:16, “Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death” (NLT, second edition). The further we are from God, the more our relationships with others are messed up. If you want to strengthen your relationship with others — like your spouse or your kids — strengthen your relationship with God. It’ll pull you together.
The only way to have lasting peace with others is to be united as children of God.
This Christmas, as we sing and talk about peace on Earth, know that God wants to give you real and lasting peace in each of these three areas.
Peace isn’t an unattainable dream. It’s a free gift from God.
Talk It Over
When you look at three kinds of peace described above, which one seems most elusive to you right now?
How have you seen your relationship with others improve as your relationship with God has improved?
What steps can you take this week to restore a broken relationship in your life?
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A Lamp For My Feet – Sow Today to Reap God’s Blessing

Sow Today to Reap God’s Blessing
by Rick Warren

“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

Every farmer knows that what you sow in one season, you will reap in another season. You plant in the spring, and you harvest in the fall. The way you respond right now is definitely going to affect your future. If you respond correctly in a season of life and you do the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it, it pays great dividends in the future.

“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”(Galatians 6:9 KJV). In other words, don’t give up. No matter which season you’re in, there are four questions you need to ask yourself so that you will reap God’s blessing in the next season.What can you learn in this season of life?There are some things we only learn through experience.

Deuteronomy 11:2says, “Remember … what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him” (GNT).

What can you enjoy in this season of life?The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).

We are to live the good and the bad days with a sense of gratitude, because each day is a gift from God.What is most important for this season? Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” If that’s true, then you can’t have it all at one time. You have to make some tough decisions about what really matters at this particular time in life.How can you help others in this season of life?

The Bible says very clearly that you weren’t put on this earth just to live for yourself: “Whenever you are able, do good to people who need help” (Proverbs3:27 NCV).

God gave you abilities, talents, and energy to help other people.Pray this prayer today: “Jesus Christ, I want to grow in you. I want to develop spiritually. Would you use the seasons of my life? Would you teach me to learn to trust you in every season, even the difficult ones? Lord, I invite you to be at the center of every season of my life, so you can build the character that I will take with me to Heaven. In your name I pray. Amen.”

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A Lamp For My Feet – What You Learn in Tough Times

What You Learn in Tough Times
‘…Problems and trials…are good for us…’ Romans 5:3 TLB
We all want ‘…the crown of life…’ the Lord promised (James 1:12 NKJV) – but we don’t want the ‘problems and trials’ that develop ‘strength of character in us.’ (Romans 5:4 NLT) But it can’t be done. Here’s what you learn in tough times:

(1) Enjoyment. ‘Count it all joy when you fall into…trials.’ (James 1:2 NKJV) It’s when you pass God’s test that He fills you with His joy. So pull some of the groans out of your prayers and throw in a few hallelujahs. Remember, pain is inevitable – misery is optional! (2) Enlargement. The Psalmist wrote, ‘…You gave me

(2) Enlargement. The Psalmist wrote, ‘…You gave me enlargement. The Psalmist wrote, ‘…You gave me room when I was in distress…’ (Psalm 4:1 NRS) Most of the things we know best, we learned the hard way. Our greatest progress comes from our greatest pain; hence God doesn’t save us from it, but strengthens us in it.

(3) Enlightenment. The Bible says, ‘Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness…’ (Psalm 112:4 NKJV) We don’t realise how little we know until we walk through life’s dark places and God turns on the light.

(4) Endurance. James writes, ‘…See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm…’ (James 5:7-8 NIV) You can’t shorten the seasons or hurry the harvest, so be patient. And pay attention. While you’re waiting, God is working. Bruce Wilkinson says, ‘Tests of faith are trials and hardships that invite you to surrender something of great value to God… [and look forward to] the refining experience… and the priceless result.’

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