Archives

A Lamp For My Feet – You Have the Power to Say ‘No’

You Have the Power to Say ‘No’
by Rick Warren
“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are now controlled by the Spirit, if you have the Spirit of God living in you.” (Romans 8:9 NLT)
Some people today insist that we should just give in to any desire that comes our way. It’s a destructive mindset. Just because you have the desire to eat an entire chocolate cake doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Romans 8:9 says, “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are now controlled by the Spirit, if you have the Spirit of God living in you” (NLT).
Before you became a believer, you only had willpower to fight against temptations. But it never was enough. You were relatively powerless against the great cravings that drove you.
As a believer, now you’ve got the Holy Spirit — and a new ability to say “no.” You still have the same compulsions, desires, lusts, and impulses you had before you began a relationship with Jesus, but now the power of God resides inside of you. Now you can say “no.”
Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” The Bible doesn’t say you won’t have sinful desires after you become a Christian, but it says the Holy Spirit will help you choose not to satisfy them.
If you ever hear someone say, “I’m a Christian, but I couldn’t stop myself,” they’re lying. They simply never called on the power of the Holy Spirit in the moment of temptation.
You have the power to say “no.” Use it.
Talk It Over
•    What’s dragging down your spiritual life that you need to say “no” to?
•    What factors (like friends, family, work, and other external stresses) make it difficult for you to say “no” to temptations you’re facing? How can you reduce some of those factors?
•    Who can encourage you and help you say “no” to temptations?

*** *** ***
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 © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

This devotional is based on the current Daily Hope radio series at www.rickwarren.org
Share This Post

A Lamp For My Feet – There Is No Condemnation If You Belong to Jesus

There Is No Condemnation If You Belong to Jesus
by Rick Warren

“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, NLT)

The Bible says you won’t be perfect after you become a Christian. If someone tells you that, they’re not telling the truth. You’re going to mess up. You’re going to fail at times. And most likely you (or others) will beat yourself up for your failures.
But, if you’re a follower of Jesus, you can be sure of this: The Lord never condemns you.

Way too many believers live in fear, bitterness, and insecurity. Although they’re saved, you’d never know it by how they live. They’re too stressed out with fear that God will condemn them for what they’ve done wrong. Instead of dealing with their own guilt, they pile it on to others.
Yet the Bible says there’s no need: “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NLT).

In other words, God doesn’t judge you for all the things you’ve done wrong if you’ve trusted Christ. Jesus took all that judgment upon himself on the cross. God doesn’t have to judge you because Jesus was judged. He took the rap for your sins!
That’s amazing news. That is good news ¬— the Good News! There’s no reason for a Christian to walk around in shame. There’s no reason to be bitter or to live in shame. Before you were ever born, he knew every sin you’d ever commit — and he paid for them.
I don’t care what you’ve done in your past. I don’t care who you’ve hurt. I don’t care what other people tell you. If you’ve given your life to Christ, you’re forgiven.

Talk It Over
•    Is there a mistake from your past for which you’re having trouble forgiving yourself? What can you do about it now?
•    Why do you think we find it so difficult to accept Jesus’ forgiveness for the sins we’ve committed?

*** *** ***
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 © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Share This Post

A Lamp For My Feet – Show Your Gratitude

Show Your Gratitude
‘Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord…’ Psalm 107:8 NKJV

The Psalmist writes, ‘Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord, for His goodness…’ Notice the word ‘would.’ A thankful attitude is a choice you make regardless of the situation. You choose your attitude just like you choose the food you eat and the clothes you wear each day. And there’s plenty to be grateful for. You say, ‘Yes, but there’s plenty to complain about too.’ The point exactly – so you’ve a choice to make! Robinson Crusoe spent 27 years shipwrecked on an island. Here’s part of his journal entry (paraphrased). Let’s call his lists the Gripe list and the Gratitude list. Gripe: ‘I’m stuck on this desert island without hope.’ Gratitude: ‘I wasn’t drowned like the rest of my ship’s company.’ Gripe: ‘I’ve no clothes.’ Gratitude: ‘I’m in a hot climate; if I had clothes I couldn’t wear them.’ Gripe: ‘I’ve no way to protect myself from man or beast.’ Gratitude: ‘I see no wild beasts here to hurt me as I saw on the coast of Africa. What if I’d been shipwrecked there?’ Gripe: ‘I’ve nobody to talk to.’ Gratitude: ‘God sent the ship in near enough to the shore that I got out so many necessary things as will enable me to supply myself as long as I live.’ That’s powerful stuff! If you can grasp it and put it into practice, it’ll keep you from becoming a member of the Old Testament wilderness club known as ‘the murmurers’. Your attitude is simply the decision you make about how you’re going to approach things. It isn’t Disneyworld thinking to focus on the good things of life; it’s wisdom!

Hope Returns When We Remember God’s Unfailing Love
by Rick Warren

“Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.” (Lamentations 3:21-24 GNT)

Pain is a natural part of life. You can’t escape it. Broken relationships, missed opportunities, and rough seasons of life will always be with us. When they do come, you can either become bitter or hopeful.

The choice is yours.
Jeremiah faced the same choice. When his world came apart after Jerusalem was sacked in 586 B.C., the prophet wrote the book of Lamentations to share his honest frustrations with God. But he didn’t settle in his bitterness and stay there.

In Lamentations 3:21-24, after sharing his bitter feelings, he wrote, “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope” (GNT).

In the midst of a terrible situation, Jeremiah changed his perspective. It’s healthy and good for us to be honest with God about our feelings, but you have to eventually change your perspective. As long as our minds are on our pain, we won’t solve anything.

Instead, like Jeremiah, we need to recognize God’s great love for us. Jeremiah changed his perspective and recognized the enduring mercies of God. No matter what the problem, no matter how much anger you’ve spewed at God, he still loves you. It’s a constant you can depend upon — no matter what.
The longer you focus on what depresses you, the longer your depression will last. Bitterness keeps you caught in your own pain. In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah gives you a simple cure for bitterness: change how you think.

In the midst of a depressing tirade, Jeremiah says, “Yet hope returns …”

How can you have hope even in your darkest days? You remember, “The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue.”

You can count on that! His mercies are as fresh as the morning and as sure as the sunrise.

Talk About It
•    What makes hope a choice when we’re going through troubles?
•    What practices can you make a part of your life during difficult times that’ll keep hope at the forefront?

*** *** ***
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 © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Share This Post

A Lamp For My Feet – How real is God’s kingdom for me?

How real is God’s kingdom for me?
Hennie Symington

“Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. Matthew 7:21

The “Good News” about the kingdom of heaven
As believers we are all part of the kingdom of God. For some it is a concept which exists only in a far-off kingdom of a life after death. Yet we are constantly reminded that the kingdom of God is “immanent” in others words it is present here and now as much as it is present in heaven.

Everything Jesus taught us, must be seen in the light of the good news of the kingdom of God. His ethics, his ideas on religion, what he said about himself can all be gathered under the umbrella of the “good news” of the kingdom of God. In Matthews 3:2 he says: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” \

What does it have to do with me?
As citizens of the kingdom, this affects us directly. As children of God we cannot choose where or whether we would like to be part of the king because the kingdom is already present. We can however choose how we can help to make the kingdom visible in a world that has become blind to the reality of God’s presence on earth. It touches on every aspect of you life and how you live your life – from the way you treat a persistent beggar at the crossroads, a stubborn teenager in hour house, a difficult spouse, you aged parents, your colleagues at work to the stranger in your midst.

So let’s journey through the kingdom as if on a holy pilgrimage and see where our journey brings us. As they say, the journey takes you, not you the journey. Enjoy the ride.

Prayer for the day:
Dear God, forgive me for thinking that the coming of the kingdom has nothing to do with me. Make me mindful of your presence in all that I do, see and experience. Amen.

Share This Post

A Lamp For My Feet – Willpower Won’t Solve Your Problem

Willpower Won’t Solve Your Problem
by Rick Warren

“I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (Romans 7:22-23 NLT)

You have a war inside of you that will rage for your entire life between who you used to be and who you’ve become in Jesus Christ. Paul, the most decorated missionary in the history of Christianity and the author of most of the New Testament, battled with it.
The Bible says in Romans 7:22-23, “I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me” (Romans 7:22-23 NLT).
I hate to tell you this, but you’ll always have this battle. You’ll never outgrow it. You can’t read enough Scripture to make the temptations go away. You can’t hide from them.

Until you get to Heaven, you’re stuck with an all-out battle between your two natures. I’ve been a believer for a long time, but my old nature is still there. My old nature wants me to be prideful, lustful, self-centered, deceptive, and just downright sinful sometimes.
The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Willpower won’t solve the problem. Just because you want to change and put everything into making that change doesn’t mean you’ll make the change. It may work for a bit, but you’ll get tired and stop the effort.
In your spiritual walk, you want to choose to follow your new nature, meaning you choose not to follow your old nature. For instance, if you’re tempted with lust but you immediately remove yourself from the temptation, you’ll starve the old self. If, when you’re tempted with pride, you remember your dependence upon God, your old nature can’t last long.
Talk It Over
•    In what ways do you see your old nature struggling with your new nature on a daily basis?
•    How can you set yourself up for success in these situations?

*** *** ***
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 © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

This devotional is based on the current Daily Hope radio series at www.rickwarren.org

Share This Post

A Lamp for My Feet – Thy Kingdom come …

“Thy Kingdom come …”
Hennie Symington

Some Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. His answer was, “The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. No one will say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, “There it is!” because the Kingdom of God is within you.”Luke 17:20:21

How do I experience God’s kingdom?
Jesus often spoke of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. Throughout his brief life on earth the theme of the kingdom runs through his words like a golden thread. In Matthew alone, the Kingdom of heaven is referred to more than 45 times while both Mark and Luke speak of the Kingdom of God several times.
One thing that becomes clear from the Gospels is that this kingdom is not a distant phantom on the horizon or a promise of a kingdom that will come in the far distant future, but one that already exists here and now “as it is in heaven”. After all, God has been and is still present in all times from the beginning of time to eternity. .

The Kingdom is invisible but present
This kingdom is not of the world but has everything to do with this world. It involves the power of God to rule over all things in heaven and on earth and putting his plan of salvation into action. It is a kingdom where the grace of God extends to all people and at the same time it is a powerful kingdom where Christ reigns over the entire universe. Yet this mighty kingdom is present in the hearts of all who acknowledge Christ’s dominion over his or her life.
Not an earthly kingdom
It’s not the kind of kingdom we are used to with the trappings of wealth and power. It is not a second rate kingdom competing with the kings of this earth. It is not just another dynasty, but a kingdom that has been present from the beginning and throughout the history of our faith with a lineage that extends to the end of time.

In this kingdom there are no social orders and no ranks. Princes and princesses have the same rights as ordinary people and the only law that rules is the law of love. If someone slaps you, you turn the other cheek, and if someone forces you to walk a mile with him, you go the second mile.

Not our kind of kingdom
Unfortunately this is not the kind of kingdom the world desires. We live in a materialistic world where “image” rules and the biggest, the, strongest and richest is our benchmark. It’s only once you realise that this kingdom offers a wealth far beyond your wildest dreams and that your duty as a citizen of this kingdom is to reveal this kingdom to the world by obeying the King and spreading the message of salvation that it becomes real.

Prayer
Lord, I have been so blinded by the outward display of wealth and power that your kingdom has lost its shine for me. Show me those pictures of that faraway Kingdom to remind me of your presence in the world.

How real is God’s kingdom for me?
Hennie Symington
“Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. Matthew 7:21

The “Good News” about the kingdom of heaven
As believers we are all part of the kingdom of God. For some it is a concept which exists only in a far-off kingdom of a life after death. Yet we are constantly reminded that the kingdom of God is “immanent” in others words it is present here and now as much as it is present in heaven.

Everything Jesus taught us, must be seen in the light of the good news of the kingdom of God. His ethics, his ideas on religion, what he said about himself can all be gathered under the umbrella of the “good news” of the kingdom of God. In Matthews 3:2 he says: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” \

What does it have to do with me?
As citizens of the kingdom, this affects us directly. As children of God we cannot choose where or whether we would like to be part of the king because the kingdom is already present. We can however choose how we can help to make the kingdom visible in a world that has become blind to the reality of God’s presence on earth. It touches on every aspect of you life and how you live your life – from the way you treat a persistent beggar at the crossroads, a stubborn teenager in hour house, a difficult spouse, you aged parents, your colleagues at work to the stranger in your midst.

So let’s journey through the kingdom as if on a holy pilgrimage and see where our journey brings us. As they say, the journey takes you, not you the journey. Enjoy the ride.

Prayer
Dear God, forgive me for thinking that the coming of the kingdom has nothing to do with me. Make me mindful of your presence in all that I do, see and experience. Amen.
The Kingdom is “inside”, not on top”
Hennie Symington

The time has come, and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel. Mark 1:15

The Kingdom is immanent
The world we live in is not a place where we easily find peace. We lie awake at night with a feeling of distress while deep in our hearts we dream of a place where we can lead a quiet, untroubled life.

Often, it is God who in the depth and darkness of the night brings to you a different perspective on life which reminds you that the kingdom of heaven is near you, above you, next to you, and around you and not just a far off destination with an uncertain date of departure.

What does it mean to me?
If you can understand and accept that God is here and now, you can believe and accept that God’s love and support is actively present in your life.

In order to build an awareness of the kingdom of heaven within you, you need to become more aware of God’s presence which changes your outlook on life. In the midst of chaos around you, you become aware of the greater harmony of life that you sometimes lose sight of.

My calling in the kingdom
If the kingdom of heaven is near or already present, it is the duty of Christians be actively involved in making God’s kingdom visible. So, instead of just staring at the horizon of eternity, take note of the signs of God’s kingdom in our time and it delight therein.

Prayer
Father, thank you that your kingdom is present among us giving us a foretaste of heaven when you will be present in everything and in all things.

Share This Post

Christmas Is About Your Eternity

Christmas Is About Your Eternity
By Rick Warren

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12 NLT, second edition)

Turn on your television or surf the Web this Christmas, and you’ll discover all sorts of Christmas messages. But for the One who invented Christmas — God — there’s only one message that really matters.

God wants to share eternity with you.

That’s what Christmas is all about. You weren’t created just to live 80 or 90 years on Earth and then die. You’re far more valuable than that to God. God has some long-range plans for you. He made you to live forever.

One day your heart will stop. That’ll be the end of your heart, but it won’t be the end of you. You’ll last for eternity — trillions of years! And God wants you to be a part of his family.

He sent Jesus to Earth as a baby so one day he could die for your sins, and then you can spend forever with him.

That’s the great news of Christmas. This offer is available to anyone. The Bible says of Jesus, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 NLT, second edition).

God wants to spend eternity with you, so he made the way to him simple: You believe, and you receive. You believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and you receive him into your life. God sent his Son to Earth 2015 years ago to die for you. That’s God’s very first Christmas gift, sent to you thousands of years before you were even born.

Honestly, celebrating Christmas and not receiving the number one gift God has for you is dumb. Do that, and you’re missing the point entirely. Acts 10:35 says, “It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from — if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open” (MSG).

No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, you’ve got a place in God’s forever family ready and waiting for you. The invitation is wide open. Just believe and receive.

Are you ready? What are you waiting for?

You can learn more about how you can believe and accept the Good News about Jesus on my website at rickwarren.org/know-god. Please let me know if you make the decision to follow Jesus. I’d like to pray for you! Write me at rick@rickwarren.org.

Talk It Over

  • Have you accepted God’s number one gift for you this Christmas? Are you ready? What are you waiting for?
  • If God sent Jesus to Earth to die for you, what does that say about your value to him?
Share This Post
Categories