The best place to find the truth is in the Bible

The best place to find the truth is in the Bible

Read: Proverbs 14

How do you know who to listen to or which advice to take when you have a decision to make? Between family, friends, the news, and the Internet, we have access to an overwhelming amount of information. But a hunger for knowledge is only helpful if we’re hungry for truth.  

The book of Proverbs is full of godly wisdom broken into short, practical sayings. In Proverbs 14:1-12, Solomon tells us the best place to seek truth is in God’s Word.

Well-meaning people tell us all sorts of things, some true and some false. It’s up to us to discern the difference between the two. “A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies. The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning” (Proverbs 14:5-6).

Making any decision requires thoughtfulness. Proverbs 14:15 cautions us not to believe everything we hear, but to take our time and think through the outcomes of our decisions. We don’t have to make decisions quickly based on other’s opinions. After all, what God has to say on the subject matters the most. Take a look at what the Bible says and ask God in prayer to show you your next step.  

God cares about our plans, and He cares about hearts. He will never tell us to do anything that contradicts His Word. Advice may change over time, but the truth of the Bible remains (Isaiah 40:8).

Reflect:

·       Are you taking advice from those who love Jesus or those who love the world?

·       Have you asked advice from multiple people who love Jesus, yet their advice is very different? If so, set aside some time to pray and study what the Bible says regarding the advice you are seeking.

·       Are you depending on advice from others for complete direction on a decision? Have you asked God to show you your next step? If not, focus first on seeking time with God alone to just listen. He hears our prayers and answers them.

 

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

Lying won’t get you what you really want

Lying won’t get you what you really want

Read: Proverbs 13

Remember the rush of getting away with a little white lie as a child?

Maybe you said you cleaned your room when really you stashed the entire mess under your bed. Maybe you said you ate your vegetables as you slid that hunk of broccoli to the family dog under the table.

The lies we told as kids seem insignificant now. But left uncorrected, lying is a sinful habit we can carry into adulthood.

Lying takes many forms in Proverbs 13 — speaking carelessly and saying things we don't mean, pretending to be someone we’re not, saying we don't need help when we do, conning others to make money, saying one thing and doing another.

As adults we’re no longer trying to convince our parents we ate our broccoli, we’re trying to convince others we're a different version of ourselves. We lie when we feel like there is something to hide. Proverbs 13:7 describes this tendency perfectly: “One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.”

God made each of us unique and special. It doesn’t matter if we’re rich, poor, happy, sad, if we care about who wins the Super Bowl or not. We are God’s children made on purpose, for a purpose, and with a purpose. And, the sooner we stop striving to make our lives what we think they should be, the sooner we can begin building the life God made us to see.

Where the fool’s life is full of pretense and drama, “a God-loyal life keeps you on track” and “a plain and simple life is a full life” (Proverbs 13:6-7, MSG). The wise and godly don’t experience the rush of getting away with a lie, but they also don’t experience the consequences of getting caught in one.

Reflect:

·       Think back to the last time you lied about something. What were you hiding? Was the lie worth compromising your integrity?

·       Is insecurity causing you to pretend to be someone you’re not? Ask God to give you confidence and to believe that you are worthy of being who you are.

·       Those who surround themselves with wise people grow wiser. Who are the wise people in your life who are helping you get wiser?

 

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

Avoid fools if you don’t want to become one

Avoid fools if you don’t want to become one

Read: Proverbs 12

We have all heard the phrase “guilt by association.” Did you know there is also such a thing as “hurt by association”?

The Bible has a lot to say about foolishness and wisdom. The term “fool” is not used as an insult nor does it refer to a person’s IQ. Foolishness describes a state of mind and a matter of character. If respect for God is the beginning of wisdom, the opposite is also true: A foolish person is someone who does not respect God (Proverbs 9:10).

While we all act foolishly at times, there is a significant difference between making mistakes and living opposed to Jesus.

Proverbs 12 describes fools as quick-tempered, prideful, and manipulative (Proverbs 12:2and Proverbs 12:5). Fools refuse to accept advice or correction, and they intentionally seek to hurt others (Proverbs 12:1Proverbs 12:5-16). But, those who respect God and follow Jesus make a conscious effort to seek peace, tell the truth, work hard, and encourage those around them (Proverbs 12:17-28).

Who we surround ourselves with has a direct impact on our desire and ability to pursue the kind of life Jesus wants us to live. It is not possible to follow Him and ignore His warnings about people we should avoid.

The friends we run closely with influence the direction we go in. If we want to be wise, we have to surround ourselves with people who encourage us to make good decisions and help us avoid the deceit of foolishness (Proverbs 12:26).

Reflect:

·       Who do you know that encourages you to follow Jesus? Are there people in your life who you find yourself getting into trouble with more often than not?

·       Does knowing where Jesus leads us (peace, contentment, joy), change your perspective about heeding His warnings? Why or why not?

 

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

How are you measuring success in life?

How are you measuring success in life?

Read: Proverbs 11

Often, we correlate success with how much wealth someone has accumulated. Our lives are successful based on the size of our bank accounts, the size of our houses, how many possessions we have, and our overall net worth. But is that what success really looks like?

There is nothing wrong with money. Money isn’t itself evil, but the value we give to it can be.

When God gave Solomon, the principal writer of Proverbs, a choice to have anything he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom above all else. In return, Solomon had it all — wealth, wisdom, beautiful women. But as Solomon lays out the true meaning of success in Proverbs 11, those status symbols are nowhere on his list.

Instead, Solomon says success comes from working hard and being generous with what we have (Proverbs 11:24-26). We can’t take our stuff with us when this life is over. Everything we gain in life can be taken away, but a relationship with Jesus will never fade away.

Solomon also warns us that success that is not rightfully gained is not success at all (Proverbs 11:29-31). It may appear that people who have gained wealth wrongfully are successful, but whether we see it or not, there are always consequences to our actions. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

Wealth is a gift, not a goal.

All the wealth in the world can’t compare with the true riches that are gained from following Jesus.

Trusting in our wealth leads us to destruction, but trusting in God leads us to our destiny. When we realize that true wealth is not something that we can gain but is given to us by God, then and only then, will we truly be successful in life.

Reflect:

·       Where is your trust today? What’s one way you can invest in your relationship with Jesus this week?

·       Have you ever watched dishonest people get ahead at work, on a sports team, or in ministry? What did you learn from that situation?

·       Generosity is a one of the best ways to train our hearts to trust Jesus. What’s one way you can be generous with what God has already given you?

 

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

Will they miss you when you’re gone?

Will they miss you when you’re gone?

Read: Proverbs 10

How will others remember us when we are no longer alive on this earth? This question may seem unimportant, but we are choosing how others will remember us by the way we live today.

How we live matters so much more than what we do or accomplish. Each day, we make a choice. We can choose to live a life wrapped up in what’s easy, comfortable, and all about ourselves, or we can choose to live a life focused on what the Lord wants for us.

Proverbs 10:27 says, “The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.” Fearing the Lord is different from being afraid. Fear of the Lord comes from awe. It’s what happens when we see Jesus for who He is and are filled a deep respect for Him.

How we live today is shaping a legacy others will either want to remember or want to forget.

When we live a life focused on the Lord, instead of ourselves, we discover how much He loves us. Nothing we could ever do would make Him love us more or love us less. The Lord wants to help us stand firm when life is hard (Proverbs 10:25), to crown our heads with blessings (Proverbs 10:6), and to give us everything we need to live (Proverbs 10:3).

How we live in response to God’s love affects our lives today and for eternity. Proverbs 10:16 promises that “The wages of the righteous is life…” When we follow Jesus and do what He says, we are filled with joy (Proverbs 10:28), we have hope (Proverbs 10:24), and we leave a legacy others will want to remember (Proverbs 10:7).

Reflect:

·       How do you want to be remembered when you’re gone? Take some time to think about your legacy and what you hope it will be.

·       How is the way you’re living today affecting the legacy you want to have one day? Is there anything you need to start doing or stop doing to get there?

·       If you want to know if you’re living for yourself, consider the following:

o   Am I bringing joy to those closest to me or causing them to worry?

o   Are the things I say helpful or harmful to others?

o   Can others trust me to do what I say I will do?

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise

How to avoid getting pulled in again

How to avoid getting pulled in again

Read: Proverbs 7

Few things are as terrifying as being swept up by a riptide or strong current. Before you realize what’s happening, you are out of control, at the mercy of the ocean current. Caught in the current, a person can get sucked away 10 feet per second — far too fast to swim back to shore. If you are fortunate enough to be rescued, expect to be badly shaken and possibly injured.

Riptides are dangerous. They are also completely avoidable. At beaches where riptides happen frequently, signs warn swimmers and surfers not to venture into certain areas. Meteorologists can predict weather conditions that create strong currents and advise us about when and where swimming could be dangerous.

Temptation often comes at us like a riptide. We’re swimming along just fine, when all of a sudden something tugs us in another direction. We’re swimming hard, but we’re getting nowhere.

Thankfully, the Bible provides us with warning signs and instructions on how to avoid the pain and destruction of giving in to sin (Proverbs 7:21-23). The same way a meteorologist understands the weather, God is the expert on sin and the human condition. He made us, and one of the best ways to protect ourselves from temptation is to immerse ourselves in the truth of His Word (Proverbs 7:1-5 and Proverbs 7:24-25).

We protect ourselves from temptation by immersing ourselves in the truth of God’s Word.

A high regard for Scripture is the best protection against sin. That’s the warning the father gives his son in Proverbs 7 when he says to love wisdom like a sister and make insight a beloved member of the family. We can choose to ignore warning signs and make excuses, or we can steer clear of temptation entirely.

Learning by experience is effective, but often painful. Wouldn’t you rather stay out of the water out of Scripture-based empowerment rather than being driven by the crippling fear of past experience?

Reflect:

·       Is there a temptation that pulls you in like a riptide? How can you combat this based on the principles the father gives his son in Proverbs 7?

·       What is one habit you can start to make sure you are maintaining familiarity with God’s voice through Scripture?

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

Why you need to be leading you

Why you need to be leading you

Read: Proverbs 6

Proverbs 6:7-8 says the ant “has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” How does the ant know what to do if it doesn’t have a leader? The answer is that it probably learned from watching other ants do those very things from a tiny, early age.

If we pay close enough attention and take the time to learn, we don’t actually need anyone to tell us what to do or what steps to take in our relationships with Jesus.

A couple of years ago, a man said something similar in relation to his wife. He doesn’t have to tell his wife to read her Bible because she knows its value and she knows how. She does it on her own because it matters in her relationship with Jesus. He is her husband and he leads her, but leading is more than pushing others to do what they should be doing anyway.

Too many of us put obedience on hold until someone tells us what to do. That’s too much pressure to put on anyone, whether it be your husband, your pastor, your wife, your small group leader, or whoever else you think should be leading you.

Proverbs 6:20-22 reminds us that proper instruction prepares us to operate and act on our own. Having leaders does not excuse us from doing what needs to be done, taking care of ourselves, and taking our next steps with Jesus. The Bible is our instruction. It’s time to take responsibility for ourselves and act, just like the ant.

Reflect:

·       Is there a step in your relationship with Jesus that you’ve been putting off until someone else tells you what to do or confirms that you should do it?

·       Who are the leaders in your life? What do you expect from them? Are you expecting too much?

·       Is there anything you’re avoiding that you need to take responsibility for now?

 

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

Flirting with trouble is more dangerous than you think

Flirting with trouble is more dangerous than you think

Read: Proverbs 5

Any one of us can become trapped by seduction. Sexual temptation isn’t something we fall for; it’s something we take steps toward over time.

We all have a real enemy who tries hard to sweet talk his way into our lives. Slowly and surely, like dripping honey, Satan tries to convince us that what he offers is better than what we have. He does his best to lure us into believing that the repercussions for sexual sin are not a big deal.

People have affairs all the time.

He/she will never know.

Who’s going to tell?

It’s only this once.

Giving in to seduction will lead to greater devastation than we ever imagined. When the father in Proverbs 5 warns his sons, “Do not go near the door,” he isn’t being extreme.  

Eventually, a series of small decisions can snowball us into a place we swore we’d never go. All sin begins with a single choice — a decision to believe that we’ll find greater freedom and satisfaction outside God’s boundaries and protection.

In describing the intimacy two people experience in marriage, the father reminds his sons that obedience is not a prison; it protects our true freedom.

Coveting what is not ours, what was never meant to be ours, leads to death, but gratitude leads to blessing and joy (Proverbs 5:18-19).

Our choices are a big deal. God knows our every thought and the depths of our hearts. He wants us to follow Him wholeheartedly, committed to His ways and truth. Leaning in, humbly listening to wisdom and correction is the first step away from utter ruin and into the whole and satisfying life God has planned for each of us.

Reflect:

·       Is there any area of your life where you may be too “near the door,” one step away from making a choice that will lead to entanglement and ruin?

·       What can you do today to put distance between yourself and the temptation you’re facing?

 

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

 

6 August 2018

You have access to a wealth of wisdom

You have access to a wealth of wisdom

Read: Proverbs 4

Everyone wants to believe the myth of control. We believe we are in control of our lives, until something happens and we’re not.

Turns out, the people in our lives who have “been there and done that” know what they're talking about. With every token of advice in Proverbs 4, the father basically reminds his son, “listen to me because I love you and I've been there.”

We receive a wealth of wisdom by listening to the people God places in our lives. We all need wise people in our lives. Wisdom comes in many forms: words from a parent, grandparent, Fuse group leader, mentor, or friend. Older, godly people can offer the gift of perspective communicated in love.

There are those who are wicked who will attempt to deceive and derail us with their advice, but if we heed the words of the wise, we will be successful. This is why the father warns his son to be selective with who he listens to.

All advice is not created equal. Value the words of those who love Jesus and love you. Let their words carry more weight.

We mature in our faith the same way we mature in life. We learn from those who go before us. Then, we act in accordance to their advice, guarding our hearts, guarding our mouths, keeping focused on what’s ahead, and not losing focus. And as we grow, pass the same wisdom we’ve received on to others. And before we know it, we’re leading others in love just as we were led.

Reflect:

·       Do you have at least one person who loves Jesus and loves you that you can turn to for wisdom? Who is it?

·       Is there any area of your life where you struggle to guard your heart and keep focused? What’s one habit you can start building today to help you not lose focus?

·       Think of all of the wisdom that helped get you where you are today. How can you pass along what you’ve learned about God and life with the younger people in your life?

 

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

Why the party scene won’t make you happy

Why the party scene won’t make you happy

Read: Proverbs 20

From movies to music, our culture seems to hold the party scene on a platform and shout, “This is where you’ll find fulfillment!” Where else will you meet someone special, solidify your social status, and make memories you’ll tell your kids about one day?

In reality, the air smells like body odor and alcohol. The conversations rarely go deeper than surface level. And the decisions you make can affect the rest of life, but not for the better.

The party scene might be interesting, but is it the kind of life we want to lead?

Drunkenness often leads us to do things we never thought we’d do — pick fights, avoid responsibility, cheat others — all the while concealing and numbing the longing in our hearts for something more (Proverbs 20:1-6).

Only a relationship with Jesus can fulfill us and sustain us. Proverbs 20:7 says, “The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.” The righteous are not those who never mess up, but those who carry no blame because Jesus has paid for their sins.

When we ask Jesus into our lives, the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see things as they really are (Proverbs 20:12). And as our priorities change, our lives begin to change. Instead of overindulging in wine or strong drink, the Bible tells us to fill ourselves with wisdom from God and His people. When the volume of truth gets turned up, the voice of the world gets tuned out.

Our greatest moments didn’t happen inside the walls of a rager. We were created for more. The Lord is working in us even when we can’t see Him (Proverbs 20:24). And as we seek our fulfillment in Him, wisdom can become our legacy.

Reflect:

·       Which voice is louder right now, the world’s or the Lord's?

·       What’s one way you can surround yourself with wisdom today?

 

 

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

Is God mad at me?

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

Is God mad at me?

Read: Proverbs 3

We want to spend time with Jesus, but we forget to set the alarm clock and oversleep instead of reading the Bible and praying. We know community is nurturing and supports us, but after a hard workday, we’re too tired to make it to group.

Conviction allows us to recognize when we’ve messed up and motivates us to do things differently moving forward. Guilt binds us down and convinces us we can never move forward. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit. Guilt is a tool of Satan.

Satan is crafty in his efforts to steal our joy and destroy our best intentions. That’s one reason Proverbs reminds us to remember the Lord’s teaching and His character:  “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3).

Loving and faithful are the two most consistent ways God describes Himself. Of all of the things He would have us hold close and “write on the tablets of our heart,” it’s this: I still love you and I’m not leaving you.

When circumstances would cause us to give up, God tells us to remember who He is and to show those characteristics to others — including ourselves.

When we hear whispers that would pull us away from the Lord, we can have hope by simply remembering who loves us, who died for us and how many times He has already been faithful.

Reflect:

·       Have you ever allowed guilt to cause you to give up on something good?

·       What’s one way you’ve seen God demonstrate his love and faithfulness this month?

·       What’s one step you can take to help you remember God’s love and faithfulness even when times are tough?

The best way to find your way

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.

The best way to find your way

Read: Proverbs 2

Imagine going on a road trip without a GPS, a map, or any familiarity with the road ahead of you. At first, it might not be difficult to find your way. But eventually, you would reach a point where you had no sense of direction. You would be lost. Technology provides quick and easy navigation for the road, but what about when we feel lost in life?

It’s hard to find direction when we don’t always have clear instructions from God.

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t hear what God was saying to you? Maybe you faced a big decision where it wasn’t clear which option was best. We may not have a road map or GPS for the situation before us, but the Lord doesn’t want to confuse us or leave us hanging.

God gives us a way to hear from Him and understand His desire for our lives. Proverbs 2:6says, “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Every word in the Bible was “God-breathed,” meaning it was inspired by God and recorded by men (2 Timothy 3:16). That’s why we call the Bible “God’s Word.” Reading the Bible is the way we hear from God and grow in wisdom and understanding.

As we read the Bible and pray, we get to know God better and learn to trust Him more. And the more clearly we see God, the more clearly we can see what He would want for us.  

Wisdom doesn’t always come right away, and it doesn’t always come in the way we wanted. But God always guides us in His own timing for our good.

Reflect:

·       When was the last time you felt lost and needed direction from God?

·       What’s one step you can take to hear from God this week?

·       Has there been a time when God revealed His plan for you in a way you didn’t expect?

 

So you want to be wise? Read: Proverbs 1

Proverbs: A 31-Day Devotional

Retrieved from https://newspring.cc/studies/proverbs-a-31-day-devotional/so-you-want-to-be-wise.So you want to be wise?

Read: Proverbs 1

Most of us know ‘the look.’ It’s the face mom makes when she catches us digging into the cake for the church social. It’s the face dad makes after finding his favorite silk tie tied to the dog. Whether the offense was immediately forgiven, or punished severely, we know we’ve messed up when we see ‘the look’ and we learn from those mistakes.
 
In Proverbs 1, King Solomon states the purposes for the rest of his book: to learn wisdom, understanding, prudent behavior, doing what is right and fair, knowledge, and discretion. 

We don’t have to learn everything by mistake. Wisdom says if we consistently obey God’s rules, we can avoid painful consequences. Read the Bible; do what it says. 

As adults, we balk at the idea that wisdom is as simple as being obedient. Too often, we go about our daily grind and pretend we’ve got it together. We refuse advice that teaches us to live a more fruitful, less anxious life.  

But at the start of this book, Solomon calls us to humble ourselves, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). 
 
Solomon writes that “… the complacency of fools will destroy them.” But God shows us another way to live: “Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you…whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm” (Proverbs 1:23-32). 

Wisdom begins with listening. Achieving it is a lifetime journey. 

Like the mom who calls us to task for using crayons where we shouldn’t, God’s rebuke is meant to stop, redirect, and set us back on the path He knows is best for us. There, we will learn true wisdom. We can follow God, at ease on the path He has chosen, or we can risk being the fool that despises God and does things his own way. It’s up to us. 
 
Reflect: 

·       Will you commit to studying Proverbs with us to gain the ‘fear of the Lord’ and not ‘despise wisdom and instruction?’

·       What, if anything, would be different if you were being obedient to what Jesus has already asked of you?

Are you having difficulty with a major decision? Invite Jesus into your decision-making.

“He Will Tell You What's Ahead” - Joyce Meyer

“He Will Tell You What's Ahead” - Joyce Meyer

He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].  (John 16:13)

One of the many benefits of hearing from God is that listening to His voice helps us prepare for the future. The Holy Spirit gives to us the messages the Father gives to Him, and He often tells us things that will happen in the future.

We find many instances in the Bible in which God spoke to people and gave them information about the future. He told Noah to prepare for a flood that would come to destroy the people of the earth (see Genesis 6:13–17). He told Moses to go to Pharaoh and ask for the release of the Israelites and that Pharaoh would not grant this request (see Exodus 7). Obviously, God does not tell us everything that will happen in the future, but His Word promises He will tell us some things.

There are times when I sense that something good, or perhaps something challenging, is going to happen. When a challenge awaits me and I have some prior knowledge of it, that knowledge helps to cushion the blow when the difficult situation comes. If an automobile with good shock absorbers hits a pothole, those absorbers protect passengers in the car from the jarring impact that would result and no one gets hurt. God’s giving us information ahead of time works the same way.

Part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to tell us things to come. He knows the mind of God and He knows God’s individual plans for our lives. He will reveal what we need to know when we need to know it in order to fulfill the good plans God has for us.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Lord for Your precious Holy Spirit and for speaking to me about things to come. Help me to continually grow in my relationship with You so I can be even more sensitive to hearing Your voice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“He Will Tell You What's Ahead” - Joyce Meyer

“He Will Tell You What's Ahead” - Joyce Meyer

He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. (John 16:13)

One of the many benefits of hearing from God is that listening to His voice helps us prepare for the future. The Holy Spirit gives to us the messages the Father gives to Him, and He often tells us things that will happen in the future.

We find many instances in the Bible in which God spoke to people and gave them information about the future. He told Noah to prepare for a flood that would come to destroy the people of the earth (see Genesis 6:13–17). He told Moses to go to Pharaoh and ask for the release of the Israelites and that Pharaoh would not grant this request (see Exodus 7). Obviously, God does not tell us everything that will happen in the future, but His Word promises He will tell us some things.

There are times when I sense that something good, or perhaps something challenging, is going to happen. When a challenge awaits me and I have some prior knowledge of it, that knowledge helps to cushion the blow when the difficult situation comes. If an automobile with good shock absorbers hits a pothole, those absorbers protect passengers in the car from the jarring impact that would result and no one gets hurt. God’s giving us information ahead of time works the same way.

Part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to tell us things to come. He knows the mind of God and He knows God’s individual plans for our lives. He will reveal what we need to know when we need to know it in order to fulfill the good plans God has for us.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Lord for Your precious Holy Spirit and for speaking to me about things to come. Help me to continually grow in my relationship with You so I can be even more sensitive to hearing Your voice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

“Become an Aggressive Encourager” - Joyce Meyer

“Become an Aggressive Encourager” - Joyce Meyer

So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth].  (Romans 14:19)

One of the easiest ways to express love to others is to help them feel valuable. Mother Teresa of Calcutta ministered in the midst of appalling poverty, hunger, and disease, yet she said, "Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody...is a much greater hunger...than the person who has nothing to eat."

I've discovered that most people we meet do not have a sense of their infinite value as children of God. The thought that God loves them and sees them as precious has never entered their minds. I think the devil works very hard to make people feel devalued and worthless, but we can neutralize his lies by building people up and encouraging them. One way to do this is with a sincere compliment.

A compliment does not have to be something major. Little remarks such as, "That color really looks good on you"; "I like your hair that way"; or "I'm glad you are my friend" are very effective and meaningful.

Most people are quick to compare themselves with others, which means they often fail to see their own abilities and worth. Making another person feel valuable doesn't have to be time consuming. Let's train ourselves to be aggressive encouragers. Find some way to encourage every person you come in contact with throughout your day. Making people feel valuable won't cost any money, but it gives them something worth more than anything money can buy.

Prayer Starter: Father, open my eyes to the ways I can encourage those around me today. Help me to be sensitive to others even in the midst of my busy schedule. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

“Pray Often” – Joyce Meyer

“Pray Often” – Joyce Meyer

Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.  (Colossians 4:2)

Don’t put off praying until a more convenient time. Pray at all times, in every season, with all kinds of prayer (see Ephesians 6:18).

Prayer need not be long to be effective. It is the greatest privilege we have, and it releases the greatest power on earth.

We all need God’s help, and we get it by asking for it. Pray your way through the day.

Prayer Starter: I thank You, Father, that You are always listening. Help me to form a habit of talking to You throughout my day—asking, praising, and even listening for Your words of comfort. I love you so much. In Jesus Name, Amen.

“Never Go to Bed Angry” - Joyce Meyer

“Never Go to Bed Angry” - Joyce Meyer

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.  (Ephesians 4:26)

Now I don't know about you, but I'm glad this verse is in the Bible because it helps us to build character by giving us a guideline to follow in handling our anger: Let go of anger before bedtime.

There is only one problem. What happens when we become good and mad just before bedtime? If we become mad in the morning, at least we have all day to get over it. But when we become mad close to bedtime, we have to make a quick decision.

Why is it so bad for us to go to bed angry? I think it is because while we sleep, what we are angry about has time to get a hold on us and take root in us. But the Word says, Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him] (see Ephesians 4:27 AMPC).

This verse tells us what happens if we refuse to get over our anger by bedtime: It opens a door for the enemy and gives Satan a foothold. Once Satan gets a foothold in our lives, then he tries to establish a stronghold.

You may wonder, Well, if I am mad, what should I do about it? Get over it! You may think, That's easy for you to say, but you're not in my situation. I may not be in your situation, but you are not in my situation either. We all have different situations. If you are going to live a joyful, victorious life, you have to do so by choice and not by feelings.

In Deuteronomy 30:19 (AMPC) the Lord tells us, ...I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life.... Choose life by refusing to give in to anger. Take responsibility for your anger and learn to deal with it—process it and bring closure to it, and that will relieve the pressure.

Prayer Starter: Father, I thank You that know me inside and out. Please help me to get to the root of my anger and not allow the enemy to gain a foothold in my life. Help me not to react out of my emotions, but please strengthen me to make decisions that lead to peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“Healthy Roots Develop Fruit” - Joyce Meyer

“Healthy Roots Develop Fruit” - Joyce Meyer

May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love.  (Ephesians 3:17)

When you become a student of God’s Word, you begin to desire a change in your behavior. But so often, as soon as you deal with one bad behavior, another immediately pops up to replace it. Why? Because bad fruit comes from a bad root.

For example, as long as we feel bad about ourselves, we will produce bad fruit of some kind. It might be anger, insecurity, fear, or indecision. But it will show up in our behavior. We must deal with the root of the problem. No matter how good things look outwardly, if they are not right on the inside, sooner or later it will be revealed on the outside.

Your worth and value are not based on outward things; they are based on God’s love for you. Receive His love, learn to love and value yourself, and you will begin to produce better fruit in your life.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to have a greater understanding of Your love. Help me to see myself the way You see me and receive my worth and value from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“The Sacrifice of Praise” - Joyce Meyer

“The Sacrifice of Praise” - Joyce Meyer

Therefore know and understand today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below; there is no other.  (Deuteronomy 4:39)

Praising God starts your day right. Start thanking God as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Hebrews 13:15 says, Let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name (AMPC).

Jesus said, Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within them (John 7:38 NIV). Acknowledge the Lord, and drink that living water.

Prayer Starter: Father, I take a moment right now to thank and praise You for how wonderful You are! Thank You for sending Jesus to die for our sins, and thank You for every good thing You do for me each and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.