Monday, December 31, 2012
By: D. Cerullo
“‘I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB
On the surface, everything seemed hopeless. God’s people had abandoned Him and embraced sin. As a result, judgment was coming. In fact, the people of Judah were about to go into exile.
Everything was being shaken.
But in the midst of these uncertain times, God gave His people a powerful reassurance: Hestill had a plan for their lives. No matter how world conditions might appear, the Lord had not planned “calamity” for them. Although they would go through uncertainties and difficulties, His plan was for their welfare. He already had planned a wonderful “future and a hope” for them.
God wanted them to focus on His sovereignty and trust in Him. He had not abandoned them. As they called upon Him, He promised to hear them.
But there was a condition: They needed to seek Him with their whole heart. We feel God’s concern and how much He wanted to help them, heal them, protect them, bless them, and restore them. His thoughts were “of peace and not of evil” (KJV).
The Lord’s words of comfort and assurance still are true. In our time, there may be problems and uncertainty in the world. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. But we need to remember that God knows the future! His plans are sure, and He wants to prosper us and give us a hope.
God does not just have a plan for the world, but also for you! In fact, you have a role to play in His unfolding plan for the world. How can you find that plan? That unique role? How can you receive His peace? By seeking Him with all your heart.
Call on Him today! Commit the coming days to Him. He knows the plans that He has for you…and they are GOOD plans!
”Father, thank You that You have prepared a future for me. I seek You. I submit my life to You. Direct my steps. Help me to serve and please You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Sunday, December 30, 2012
By: C. Arrington
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)
Most of us look forward to Christmas with joy and anticipation. Then, almost too quickly, the New Year abruptly arrives only a week later. How do you view the coming year? Do you look forward to fresh possibilities and renewed potential? Or do you cling to the familiarity of the waning year?
Whether we like it or not, time hurls us forward. The New Year stretches before us like a blank white piece of paper. Why not take advantage of the clean slate the New Year provides and set some goals to work toward. As you set goals, be willing to take steps out of your comfort zone. But remember, making the goals realistic for your age and stage of life will determine whether the goals are attainable.
Following are some areas in which to consider goal setting:
Spiritual goals – (John 15:5) Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. Decide to devote some time and energy to jump-starting spiritual growth:
1. Read the Bible through. Even if you’ve done this before, consider doing it again. God will show you fresh truths when you dig into His Word. Read-the-Bible through. Guides are available from a number of sources.
2. Get involved in a structured Bible study. There are lots of many options. If your church doesn’t offer group Bible studies, check to see if studies are offered in your community at Christian bookstores or other churches.
3. Decide to share Jesus without fear. Make witnessing a priority.
Mental goals – (Proverbs 1:5) Challenge yourself mentally by taking steps to learn or try something new.
1. Do in-depth library or Internet research on a particular subject – a country, a religion, or historical event. Take notes on what you’ve learned.
2. Enroll in a continuing education class at a local college or tech school.
3. Get your whole family involved in learning a foreign language.
4. Volunteer to teach English as a second language.
Emotional/Relational Goals – (Colosians 3:12-13) Often we need to work on emotional issues or strained relationships, but continually avoid doing so because of the difficulties involved. Consider goals in the following areas:
1. Forgiveness – Decide to extend the gift of forgiveness for an old hurt. You’ll gain a new sense of freedom because you no longer carry a grudge.
2. Patience – Practice patience in areas where you are historically impatient.
3. Anger management – Make a conscious decision to control your anger and determine its sources.
Physical Goals – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Following the marathon overindulgence of December, most of us need to get serious about maintaining the temple that is our body. Decide to:
1. Enroll in an exercise program and go! It’s easy to have a gym membership, but it takes discipline to actually attend and work out.
2. Deny yourself those tasty morsels that do nothing to adorn the temple. View food as fuel for the machine instead of gratification for the taste buds.
3. Have a family plan that encourages physical activity and togetherness.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
By: S. Chavis
“Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways. Where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses.” Arlen Price
We are only 8 days from 2013 (give or take a few days depending on when you’re reading this). Can you believe it’s practically 2013? The year has flown by – hasn’t it?
What a year it’s been. I know for me this year has been filled with so many changes, challenges, curve balls, ups, downs and of course my favorite things – possibilities. And, when I look at just about everyone else around me, I see that these exact same things have played out in their lives as well.
In fact, so much has happened this year, that I feel like I can’t even remember January. It feels like ages ago. Is it the same for you too?
Over the last year, there were so many lessons and experiences that came our way. Perhaps you’ve had:
those situations that tested your ability to forgive and keep moving forward;
those times where the Chief Negativity Officer in your mind needed to be reeled in so you could manage through fears and doubts;
those times when you had way too much going on and you just needed to slow down, put things into perspective, and take a Time In;
a realization that it was time to finally make a tough decision about something that’s been weighing on you.
Over the last year there really were so many experiences and lessons that came our way. Every single thing we experienced, has in one way or another strengthened us and set us up to take advantage of the future in a new and improved way – even if that’s sometimes hard to see.
It’s Time to Gear Up For 2013
So, the time has come to get ready for 2013 and set ourselves up to make it one of the best years we’ve ever had.
Isn’t it time to make the things you really want happen? I know I am committed to doing that and if you are too, I have discovered the 7 specific steps that must be taken and a roadmap that can be used.
But, for now, let’s make sure we are getting all the excuses out of the way.
In January, many of you committed to not make anymore excuses in 2012. I am so glad you did, and of course am hoping you will join me again. Because it’s time to take a quantum leap. Doesn’t that sound good?
Here’s a reminder of the list of 59 excuses we are committed to not making. If you have made any of these in 2012, it happened and its over – no need for regrets or to beat yourself up.
Today is a new day and 2013 will have a whole new set of possibilities just sitting there waiting to be taken advantage of. Get rid of all the excuses TODAY so you can see your possibilities, choose them, and most importantly seize them.
59 Excuses to (Again) Make Sure You Aren’t Making
1. I just can’t do it
2. I don’t have enough time
3. It’s too late
4. It’s impossible
5. It’s just not realistic
6. I tried already and it didn’t work
7. I’m afraid of failing
8. It’s just not the right time
9. It’s going to be so difficult
10. I don’t have the willpower
11. There is a reason why things aren’t falling into place
12. I don’t want to try, get my hopes up and end up being disappointed
13. Things rarely go my way
14. I’m not as good as the other people that are already doing it
15. My friends don’t think it will work
16. Every time I try, it never works out
17. I am not motivated enough
18. I will be so embarrassed if it doesn’t work out
19. Things like that never happen to people like me
20. I doubt that would work
21. I’ve got responsibilities and bills to pay
22. I don’t want anyone to see me fail
23. I am just not disciplined enough
24. It’s too risky
25. It will take so long
26. I don’t deserve it
27. That’s just not how I am wired
28. I can’t afford it
29. Nothing ever goes my way
30. I don’t have the energy
31. I’m too old
32. I’m too young
33. That’s just not the way things work
34. It’s too big
35. I’m too scared
36. I’m too tired
37. I am not smart enough
38. It’s too hard to change
39. I can’t take that chance
40. I have too much to lose
41. I am too afraid of what could happen
42. No one believes I can do it
43. I can’t figure it out
44. I never have been good at completing things
45. I am not disciplined enough
46. Life isn’t fair
47. I am cursed
48. I already did everything I could
49. It’s just too much
50. I am stressed out
51. I can’t go any further
52. It’s never going to happen
53. No one will ever give me a chance
54. I can’t focus
55. I am too lazy
56. I just can’t do it anymore
57. I don’t have anyone that will support or help me
58. I am afraid it will not work
59. It’s just not possible
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
By: M. Butler
I heard someone say one time, “Testings will last as long as it takes to change our mind, attitude, and actions.” But isn’t it just like our human nature to respond with the “knee jerk” reaction of “Yeah, but I really can’t see the value or purpose behind all of this trouble and all of these trials”?
Our carnal mind is as shrewd as a lawyer looking for a loophole. Let’s face it: we don’t like tribulation one bit, and if we had our way, it would be “us” on “easy street” from here on out! But God’s Word tells us a different story.
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The mind of Christ knows that the servant is not above his Lord. The disciple is not above his Master, who learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). God is even now preparing a people who cannot be moved, upset, or frustrated by anything. The cry of His heart is for His sons and daughters to share His throne and shepherd the nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:26-27).
We have to be a people whose character is unshakable. Can we walk around in the furnace of testing without complaining? Can we still shout praises in the jail at midnight? Tall order, I know, but there is always a purpose in our trials, a purpose in our affliction, a purpose in our tribulations. All the temptations, tears, heartaches, unfaithful friends, loss of property, loss of business, peril, hateful neighbors, fiery furnaces, dens of lions, rugged crosses—all things too numerous to mention—are working for the good of God’s elect and are adding, though unseen now, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory to us.
“O Majestic heavenly Father, we know that all things work together in Your hands, and nothing comes into our lives without it first coming through You. All that comes to us is for our good and Your glory. Your desire for us is that we be refined and purified, even through fire. And at Christ’s return, we will be part of His bride, without spot or wrinkle, ready to reign with Him in glory forever. In all things, no matter how trying or difficult, teach us to rejoice and always trust in You.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)
Saturday, December 15, 2012
By: K. Hee
What are you worth? If you asked Bill Gates that question, he’d probably reply something like 60 billion dollars! But if someone came up to you and asked you that question, would you respond with a dollar value? Or, would you understand that your worth is more than just silver and gold?
You are precious to God. He knew you even before you were born. Even before your conception, He called you by name and gave you a destiny. He knows the number of hair you have on your head (Luke 12:7)! That’s how important you are to Him!
And here’s the most important thing about your value in God’s eyes: You are worth so much that He sent His Son to die for you. He doesn’t value us by taking into account all of our deficits, and then looking at how good we’ve been to determine whether we’re “in the red” or “in the black”! He see’s your worth as what He declares it to be: PRICELESS!
This is why His promise in Romans 8:32 is so powerful: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Since we’re so precious in God’s eyes that He would send His Son to die for us, why wouldn’t He freely give us His favor?
God loved you so much that He sent His most beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross on our behalf; so that we might be able to receive salvation through Him and be reunited with our Heavenly Father. If you haven’t embraced His gift of eternal life, do it today! And if you have, live every day giving thanks to Him for the worth He’s placed on you!
Pray that God will help you understand your true value in His eyes. Ask for strength to live your life in light of your worth to your Heavenly Father.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
By: J. Maxwell
"Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!"
Proverbs 31:8-9 (The Message)
Proverbs 31:8-9 (The Message)
Nothing has such a positive impact on a person as giving to others. And people who have a giving spirit are some of the most positive people I know. That's because giving is the highest level of living. They focus their time and energy on what they can give to others rather than what they can get from them. And the more a person gives, the better his attitude.
Most unsuccessful people don't understand this concept. They believe that how much people give and their attitude about it are based on how much they have. But that's not true. I know many people who have very little but are tremendous givers. And I know people who have been blessed with money, good families, and wonderful careers who are stingy and suspicious of others.
In life, it's not what you have that makes a difference. It's what you do with what you have. And that is based completely on attitude.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
“Then Pharoah said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” (Genesis 41:40 NIV)
Nobody, not even the magicians nor the wise men of Egypt could interpret Pharaoh’s troubling dream. Eventually, Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer remembered that while in prison, a young Hebrew boy, Joseph, had interpreted his dream and that of the baker. Joseph was summoned and God enabled him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Joseph told Pharaoh that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph advised Pharaoh to appoint a man who would be in charge of setting aside a fifth of the harvest during the years of plenty so that there would be enough food during the seven years of famine. Pharaoh was quick to appoint Joseph to be the man.
Brethren, it should be noted that the thirteen years or so before this time, Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers, then sold to Midianite traders for twenty shekels of silver by the same brothers. He was later sold as a slave to Portipher, Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. In Portipher’s house, he was lied against then thrown into prison. Joseph had seen it all. But God had a plan for Joseph’s life and nothing was going to abort that plan. God had already given Joseph dreams of what was to become of him and nothing, not even imprisonment, was going to stop those dreams from materializing and they did come to pass. That is why Joseph was able to say to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”(Genesis 50:20 NIV)
Friends, our God knows our end from the beginning and because He is by nature good, His plans for us are good. He says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God knew Joseph’s end from the beginning and He was simply using the trials and circumstances to prepare him for where he was taking Him.
In Romans 8:28 the Word of God says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Yes, the road may be rough and the trials may be tough but God says He will work all things out for our good.
Just as He used the trials to prepare Joseph to become second in command to Pharaoh, so He is preparing you for what He has in store for you. Remember, “For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18 KJV)
“Lord, we thank you for all that you continue to do for us. We bless you for your lovingkindness towards us. Help us never to give up when the persecution and trials come but to remember your Word that you have good plans for us. May we continue to trust you and love you even as we face these trials knowing that you are working all things out for our good in Jesus Mighty Name. Amen.”