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A Lamp For My Feet – W233 – You’re Forgiven

You’re Forgiven
‘In Him we have…forgiveness of sins’ Ephesians 1:7 NKJV

When God forgives you but you refuse to forgive yourself, you’re spurning His grace and choosing to be miserable. When you do that:

(1) Your loved ones are at risk. It’s not just about you. When you wallow in guilt you tend to be more withdrawn and critical, and less open and affectionate. So your spouse, children, parents, co-workers, friends and even your pets suffer along with you.

(2) Your health is at risk. Your mind affects your body. Doctors say bitterness generates chemicals that affect your vital organs. They increase your heart rate, raise your blood pressure, disrupt your digestion, tense your muscles, dump cholesterol into your bloodstream, and reduce your ability to think clearly. Each time you rehearse the past those bad feelings deliver more corrosive chemicals. Science is now confirming what God has said; namely, that those who don’t forgive themselves, and others, are more prone to heart attacks, depression, hypertension and other serious illnesses.

(3) Your future is at risk. The Bible says, ‘You will again have compassion on us… You will…hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.’ (Micah 7:19 NIV) Stop dredging up what God has buried. Start looking ahead; otherwise you’ll get mired in a bog of your own making. The Bible says, ‘He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.’ (Ephesians 1:7-8 NLT) With God’s forgiveness comes the wisdom and understanding to not only survive your past, but grow stronger as a result of it.

‘Bless the Lord…who forgives all your [sins]’ Psalm 103:23 NKJV

We tend to forgive others more easily than we forgive ourselves. This is especially so when we fail in a major area like a marriage or career, or our actions have hurt others, or our habits have hurt us, or we know we are not doing what we should. So what should you do?

(1) Acknowledge it. Don’t be afraid to confess what you’ve done. You’re not unique. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last to fail. Once you’ve obtained God’s forgiveness, get the support of a trusted friend. ‘Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’ (James 5:16 NKJV)

(2) Delete it. Often it’s not the offence itself, but the guilt and stress associated with remembering our actions that make us feel bad. Our reaction is the problem! Continually revisiting our failures doesn’t help at all, and it disappoints God. So catch yourself doing it-and hit the delete button! Focus on the fact that God has forgiven you, then put it behind you. ‘In Him we have…the forgiveness of sins…’ (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV)

(3) Replace it. Instead of guilt, choose gratitude. That’s not hard to do; just begin to reflect on God’s goodness. That’s what David did: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies.’ (Psalm 103:2-4 NKJV) When you start to look for them, you’ll find lots of things to thank God for.

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A Lamp For My Feet – W232 – Be Enthusiastic About Your Work

Be Enthusiastic About Your Work
by Rick Warren

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV)

If you want your work to be blessed by God, the first thing you must do is start working enthusiastically.
Enthusiasm is not based on how fun your job is or how much it pays; it’s based on why you do what you do. In fact, the word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek words “en theos,” which means “in God.”

If you want to be enthusiastic about your work, remember these three things:

  •     Your work is a test from God. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much … If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (Luke 16:10-12 NIV)
  •     God is watching what you do, even when no one else is. “Work hard so God can say to you, ‘Well done.’ Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work” (2 Timothy 2:15 LB).
  •     Your attitude determines your joy. “The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work” (Proverbs 12:24 MSG).

    You can’t succeed in life until you change your attitude about the work you are doing right now. Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically” (NLT).

    Talk About It

  •     Why do you do the job you have? What motivates you to work hard and well?
  •     In what ways can you show enthusiasm about your work?

    Turn Your Work into Worship

    “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24 NLT)

    Your boss is not really your boss; your boss is Jesus.

    There are two things I want you to see in our verses today.

  •     First, it says, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Colossians 3:23 NLT). It’s easier to be enthusiastic about your job when you turn the focus of your work from “I’m doing this for my boss” or “I’m doing this for a paycheck” to “I’m doing this for the Lord.” With that in mind, you can do anything — scrape paint, wash dishes, repair a car — and turn it into worship.
  •     Second, when you turn your work into worship, you start storing up credits in Heaven. Colossians 3:24 says, “Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.” As you work for God, you are making eternal deposits in Heaven.

    “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV). It doesn’t matter if you’re rearranging papers or signing bills; any job can become an act of worship if you do it enthusiastically for God.

    Talk About It

  •     As you think of your “credits in Heaven,” how does an eternal perspective help you keep your focus in your work?
  •     How can an “attitude of worship” be applied in other areas of your life as well?

    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 – W231 – Growing and Blessing Others

Growing-and Blessing Others
‘Carry each other’s burdens, and…you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ Galatians 6:2 NIV
If your desire is to bless others, you must ask yourself:
  1. (1) What am I doing to invest in myself? You can’t give what you don’t have. Unless you’re committed to personal growth you’ll have nothing of worth to give others. So, ‘…add to your faith…knowledge’ (2 Peter 1:5 NIV) and keep adding!
  2. (2) What am I doing to invest in others? Success can cause you to be self-seeking.
Although you make the most of your natural talent and work hard, you can still become a schemer who asks, ‘What can I get from others?’ Instead you must ask, ‘What can I give to others?’ In the book Mother Teresa-Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta, the little nun shares her thoughts with her superiors about her life and her calling to serve people. ‘I don’t know what the success will be…but if the Missionaries of Charity have brought joy to one unhappy home…made one innocent child from the streets keep pure for Jesus…one dying person die in peace with God…don’t you think, Your Grace, it would be worthwhile offering everything…for just that one…because that would bring great joy to the heart of Jesus.’ Mother Teresa inspired many of us, sat with presidents and kings, and modelled what servant-hood is to the world. Yet her dream of helping others started small, with the goal of affecting one unhappy home, one innocent child, or one dying person. The way in which you can bless the world around you is to do it-one life at a time.
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Easter 2015

1John 5:10-12Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Victory. This is what we have received. Jesus Christ conquered death, the relationship with the Father was restored and he remains in us through the work of the Holy Spirit. We are truly victorious in Christ! There is nothing in life or on earth that is bigger, stronger and more powerful than God’s love for us.

You are a redeemed sinner who knows the true God through Jesus Christ. In Christ you are a conqueror, and you need not fear the devil or death, because Jesus Christ rose victorious, he lives! Let us live as people who are born of God, people who have received a new eternal life with God.

Romans 5:8God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
– The cross is the ultimate demonstration of His love for us.
– He knew what we needed and He was prepared to pay the price.
– Our lives are richer and we are blessed as a result.
– Receive His love for you at this special time of the year.

Salvation: What Needed to Be Done Has Already Been Done
By Rick Warren — Apr 1, 2015

Romans 3:24 (NCV)All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.

If you were to ask 50 random people walking along the sidewalk, “How do you get to Heaven?” you’d get a lot of different answers. But basically they would all be summarized by the idea that you’ve got to earn your way to Heaven. You’d hear things like, “Try to be good, and do your best” or “Do more good things than bad things in life.” It’s all based on works, not grace.

But Romans 3:24 says, “All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ” (NCV). God says that salvation is absolutely free! You don’t work for a gift, and you can’t earn it or buy it.

This is the fundamental difference between Christianity and every other religion. Every other belief system can be summarized by one word: “do.” You do certain things in order to gain bliss, gain Heaven, gain God’s approval. It’s full of rules, regulations, and rituals.

On the other hand, if you were to summarize Christianity in one word, it would be “done.”

I had a guy ask me one time, “Pastor Rick, what can I do to be saved?” I told him, “You’re too late!” (That kind of shocked him.)

“You’re about 2,000 years too late! What needed to be done for your salvation has already been done, and you can’t do anything about it.”

Jesus Christ already did it. He paid for your salvation on the cross, and now he offers his grace as a free gift to you. That’s why Jesus Christ, when he was hanging on the cross, stretched out his arms and said, “It is finished.” What’s the “it”? It’s your salvation — the plan to provide grace for every person who needs it.

You’re not getting to Heaven based on what you do. You get to Heaven based on what has already been done for you by Jesus Christ.

There isn’t anything you can do to save yourself. You just accept God’s free gift of grace.

Talk It Over

  • Why do you think it’s hard for people to accept something that’s free?
  • What does God’s free gift of salvation say about his nature?
  • What are the things you do to try to earn God’s favor? What do you think he wants your motivation to be instead?
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A Lamp For My Feet – W230 – Are You Drifting Off Course?

Are You Drifting Off Course?
‘I take joy in doing Your will’ Psalm 40:8 NLT

Embarking on a rafting trip with friends, author John Blumberg observed: ‘We had a hard time getting away from shore…there appeared to be enormous momentum keeping us grounded. Slowly it got easier and we decided to relax. And it was during our moment of pause that reality set in concerning our ever-so-gentle-drift out to sea. We immediately…grasped for safety, one arm holding the raft, the other aggressively swimming. Twenty minutes later we’d made minimal progress. A lifeguard in a kayak appeared, and, comforted by his presence, we lightly commented about our distance from shore. But he wasn’t laughing! Orange [markers] had warned us not to go beyond them, but we ignored them and drifted five times further out than we should. The lifeguard didn’t leave, but he didn’t assist us either. Forty-five minutes later I walked ashore…shaking from exhaustion.’ We don’t run away from our values, we drift away and wake up in places we never meant to. Sin is subtle; it lulls you into thinking you have it all together, then one day you discover you’re in over your head. God’s Word is our safety marker. David said, ‘I take joy in doing Your will…for Your instructions are written on my heart.’ The Hebrew word for ‘heart’ means gut. It was used like we describe the heart as the core of our emotions. David’s thinking and emotions were so sharpened by Scripture, it settled ‘…deep within…’ (GWT) As a believer, God’s Word should be so ingrained in your heart that you want to do what’s right, and ‘take joy’ in doing His will.

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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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