We need discernment in what we see and what we hear and what we believe.
In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All He asks is that we come to Him...that we spend a while thinking about Him, meditating on Him, talking to Him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with Him -- totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of His presence.
Envy is one of the great enemies of active spirituality. It keeps us from loving our neighbours, from functioning with others in community, and from affirming people's unique worth. It also steals contentment from the heart. Is there anything or anyone you are envious of?
Sin may have the power to kill and destroy, but God is the Creator of life. He can create it from nothing, and He can restore it from death.(John 11:25-26).
Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how -- guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately... yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it -- emotional and spiritual damage will occur.
There is an enormous difference between growing old in the Lord and growing up in Him. One is automatic and requires no effort at all ... just aging. But the other is never automatic, or easy. It calls for personal discipline, continual determination, and spiritual desire. Churches are full of sleepy saints who are merely 'logging time' in God's family.
Adversity is a good test of our resiliency, our ability to cope, to stand back up, to recover from misfortune. Adversity is a painful pedagogue.
Leaders need to cultivate two things: a righteous heart and a rhinoceros skin.
I believe firmly in God's control in life.
How important is the heart! It is there that character is formed. It alone holds the secrets of true success. It's treasures are priceless -- but they can be stolen.
Worry erases the promises of God from your mind.
Sometimes people can't see past us to hear our message. We never have a second chance to leave a first impression.
We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
If you life is an example of glorifying God, others won't see your good works and glorify YOU, because they'll know what you are doing is for God's glory.
Laughter is the most beautiful and beneficial therapy God ever granted humanity.
I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.
People who soar, are those who refuse to sit back and wish things would change.
It's a delightful thing to receive a good word just at your time of need. Encourage someone today.
Only you can determine your choice of attitude. Choose wisely, choose carefully, choose confidently!
I have tried and I cannot find, either in scripture or in history, a strong-willed individual whom God used greatly until He allowed them to be hurt deeply.
The swift wind of compromise is a lot more devastating than the sudden jolt of misfortune.
Anxious. Intriguing word. It literally means, "to be divided" or "distracted." It conveys the idea of being so mentally ill at ease that you cannot do what you need to do because you are so distracted in your thinking.
The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
Please, put aside all excuses and ask yourself, "What should I be doing?" Yes, you alone can make a difference. The question is, will you?
We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Our attitude is everything.
Go God's way! His is the most reliable route to follow when life gets complicated. It will have its tough moments, but you will never regret it.
I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun.
Vision encompasses vast vistas outside the realm of the predictable, the safe, the expected.
Make a plan now to keep a daily appointment with God. The enemy is going to tell you to set it aside, but you must carve out the time. If you're too busy to meet with the Lord, friend, then you are simply too busy.
I am often the brunt of my own humor.
Life...as God intended it enables us to live above the drag of fear, superstition, shame, pessimism, guilt, anxiety, worry, and all the negativity that keeps people from seizing each day as a gift from Him.
You won't find God at the Seminary and you won't find wisdom in the halls of intellectualism.
If the pace and the push, the noise and the crowds are getting to you, it's time to stop the nonsense and find a place of solace to refresh your spirit.
Today is unique! It has never occurred and it will never be repeated. At midnight it will end, quietly, suddenly, totally. Forever. But the hours between now and then are opportunities with eternal possibilities.
Do you need strength? Peace? Wisdom? Direction? Discipline? Ask for it! God will hear you.
Nothing is so common as unsuccessful men with talent. They lack only determination.
We aren't just thrown on this earth like dice tossed across a table. We are lovingly placed here for a purpose.
When you suffer and lose, that does not mean you are being disobedient to God. In fact, it might mean you're right in the center of His will. The path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss.
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
With vision there is no room to be frightened. No reason for intimidation. It's time to march forward! Let's be confident and positive!
It is a pity that many Christians have the TV schedule better memorized than a single chapter for God's precious Word.
Another problem with worry is that it makes you forget your worth. Worry makes you feel worthless, forgotten, and unimportant.
Servants must be big people. Big enough to go on, remembering the right and forgetting the wrong.
Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hopes. When my attitudes are right, there is no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.
You may be going through a trial so overwhelming that it's borderline unbearable. You want to see the end of the tunnel. Which is only natural, because once we see that little speck of light, we feel we can make it through to the finish. But God's tunnels are often twisting, too complex and dark to see the light for many days. In such settings He says, "In that dark, twisting, seemingly endless period of time, trust Me. Stop running scared! Stop fearing!
While I wholeheartedly believe in choosing to approach every challenge with a great attitude, I don't mean that we should abandon authenticity and live in fantasyland.
A teardrop on earth summons the King of heaven.
Our minds can be kept free of anxiety as we dump the load of our cares on the Lord in prayer.
Courage is not limited to the battlefield or the Indianapolis 500 or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are the inner tests, like remaining faithful when nobody's looking, like enduring pain when the room is empty, like standing alone when you're misunderstood.
Dream big ... don't let anybody or anything break your wishbone. Stay strong, full of faith, and courageous... keep that backbone straight. And along the way, don't forget to laugh and enjoy the journey.
An anniversary says, "Think of the dreams you have weathered together. They are intimate accomplishments.
Christlikeness is a journey, not a destination. The joy is in the journey.
Which should be an excellent reminder that when God tells you to do something, you'd better do it; He always has a reason.
A "godly" person is one who ceases to be self-centered in order to become God-centered.
God has somehow placed into Christian's insides a special something, that extra inner reservoir of power that is more than a match for the stuff life throws at us.
I'm here today to warn you: I want you to watch out for the adversary. Guard yourself from any spirit of entitlement. Restrain any and all subtle temptation to gain attention or to find ways to promote yourself.
If you aren't vigilant, if you aren't daily humbling yourself before Him, seeking His face, discerning His timing, operating under the Spirit's control, you may push and shove and force your way prematurely into that place where God wanted you, but you will not have arrived in His own time.
When you have vision it affects your attitude. Your attitude is optimistic rather than pessimistic.
I don't have to explain or defend the will of God. My job is simply to obey it.
I want to preach till the last breath in my lungs runs out.
Battles are won in the trenches, in the grit and grime of courageous determination; they are won day by day in the arena of life.
Alleged 'impossibilities' are opportunities for our capacities to be stretched.
Someone has said,"Education is going from an unconscious to conscious awareness of one's ignorance."..No one has a corner on wisdom. All the name-dropping in the world does not heighten the significance of our character. If anything, it reduces it. Our acute need is to cultivate a willingness to learn and to remain teachable.
From the tiny birds of the air and from the fragile lilies of the field, we learn the same truth, which is so important for those who desire to live a life of simple faith: God takes care of His own. He knows our needs. He anticipates our crises. He is moved by our weaknesses. He stands ready to come to our rescue. And at just the right moment, He steps in and proves Himself as our faithful heavenly Father.
Know yourself, like yourself, be yourself.
Some folks serve the almighty dollar far more faithfully than the Almighty God. They get greater delight out of balancing the budget than watching the Lord multiply the loaves and fishes.
Focus on your marriage. Because that's the nucleus of the home, whatever you do to restore its health and strength will naturally restore what's broken among the other relationships. If you have no children yet, this will make a comfortable nest for them to begin life well. If you have children, the changes you make in your marriage will affect the rest of the household more quickly and dramatically than you think.
There can be no more reliable authority on earth than God's Word, the Bible. This timeless, trustworthy source of truth holds the key that unlocks life's mysteries. It alone provides us with the shelter we need in times of storm.
The single most important issue in all of life (is) your relationship with the living God... how you can know Him in a personal and meaningful way.
Consistency: It's the jewel worth wearing; It's the anchor worth weighing; It's the thread worth weaving; It's a battle worth winning.
It takes faith to find personal significance in your relationship with God rather than how much money you earn, how beautiful you look, how many toys you own, how many trophies you collect, or how much territory you conquer and control.
At least one indication of unbelief is the tendency to measure life's challenges against our own adequacy instead of God's promises. To enter our Sabbath rest, we must put an end to self-reliance -- trusting in our own abilities to overcome difficulties, rise above challenges, escape tragedies, or achieve personal greatness.
You will find a common dichotomy in life. Those who don't have vision or determination, and refuse to dream the impossible, are always in the majority.
We gain the ability to rejoice under pressure through a carefully monitored training program directed by the Lord Himself.
God doesn't work on our timetable. He has a plan that He will execute perfectly and for the highest, greatest good of all, and for His ultimate glory.
No pressure is greater than God's power.
Only grace-large doses, frequently displayed, released-will restore the wounded.
To be used of God. Is there anything more encouraging, more fulfilling? Perhaps not, but there is something more basic: to meet with God. To linger in His presence, to shut out the noise of the city and, in quietness, give Him the praise He deserves. Before we engage ourselves in His work, let's meet Him in His Word... in prayer... in worship.
Learning more truth is a poor and cheap substitute for stopping and putting into action the truth already learned.
Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.
When you pray, pray so that you may know Him. When you seek to simplify, do it as a means of knowing Him more. When you surrender, or behave with humility or sacrifice, do it with the sole purpose in mind to know Him.
Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.
GRACE: All you can do is take it.
Faith does not change my circumstances; faith changes me. Faith may not bring in the tuition check when I need it, but faith will give me what it takes to hang on.
Alleged impossibilities are opportunities for our capacities to be stretched.
God has called His creation to find satisfaction in a personal relationship with Him, and stop trying to manage the world by conforming it to our expectations, and to allow Him to govern His creation. He continues to say through an ancient Hebrew worship song, "Be still and know that I am God!
First impressions never have a second chance.
Rejoicing is clearly a spiritual command. To ignore it, I need to remind you, is disobedience.
When God's in it, the job gets done.
Next time you're faced with a credit-purchase decision, wait. Don't say no necessarily. Just wait. I challenge you to present your need to the Lord before presenting it to a bank, and see what He does with it.
I am convinced that wise planning is good. But plans, like material possessions, must always be held loosely. Yes -- always! Plan wisely, but be ready for God to rearrange things and take you along paths that may feel dangerous to you. Don't sweat it; He knows what He's doing. And He isn't obligated to inform you ... or request permission to upset your neat little agenda!
Jesus never commanded believers to produce fruit. Fruit is the purpose of the branch, but it is not the responsibility of the branch. The branch cannot produce anything on it's own. However, if it remains attached to the vine, it will receive life-sustaining sap, nourishment, strength, everything it needs.
It's the most exciting thing to watch God work when I've asked him about something, to listen to him and watch him work. It's like this friendship, and it just grows and grows and grows and grows.
Every one of us can blame somebody for something that has happened in our lives. But don't waste your time. What we need most is a steady stream of love flowing among us. Love that quickly forgives, willingly overlooks, and refuses to take offense.
Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, money, circumstances, than failures and success, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, ability, or skill. It will make or break a business, a home, a friendship, an organization. The remarkable thing is I have a choice every day of what my attitude will be. I cannot change my past. I cannot change the actions of others. I cannot change the inevitable. The only thing I can change is attitude. Life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.
Because the Holy Spirit is God, we feel Him as He controls our circumstances and transforms our lives. When He does that, He uses us. He melts us in relationships. He molds us in the pursuit and the direction of His will. He fills us with power and the perseverance to keep at it. He uses as He controls our circumstances and transforms our lives. Ask the Spirit of God to use you, just as you are, with the gifts and abilities that He's given you. Secure in the confidence that God is in control of your life, you will be free to serve Him with joy and effectiveness.
Without a quest, life is quickly reduced to bleak black and wimpy white, a diet too bland to get anybody out of bed in the morning. A quest fuels our fire. It refuses to let us drift downstream gathering debris.
When we arrive at dilemmas in life and we are unable to decipher the right direction to go, if we hope to maintain our confidence in the process, we must (repeat must) allow the Lord to be our Guide, our Strength, our Wisdom -- our all!
Authentic men aren't afraid to show affection, release their feelings, hug their children, cry when they're sad, admit it when they're wrong, and ask for help when they need it.
If you are having difficulty loving or relating to an individual, take him to God. Bother the Lord with this person. Don't you be bothered with him -- leave him at the throne.
The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it's a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.
To be "in Christ" is to place one's trust in Him for salvation from sin. To be "in Christ" is to trust His goodness, not our own; to trust that His sacrificial death on the cross paid the complete debt of death we owe for our sin; to trust that His resurrection gives us eternal life instead of relying upon our own ability to please God. To be "in Christ" is to claim, by faith, the free gift of salvation. To be "in Christ" is to enjoy a completely restored relationship with our Father in heaven by virtue of His Son's righteous standing.
It is easy for Christians to have the false impression that once we have established a relationship with Christ, which we believe sets us right with God, the problems of life will somehow scoot away or they will slowly be removed from our lives.
When you are giving people the gospel, you are giving them something to believe, and you have to set the stage for that. You don't just drive up and dump the truck and drive off.
You and I are, by birth, by nature, and by choice, inwardly depraved, which is to say that we are entirely corrupt. That's not to say that we have no good in us; we do. However, anything good in us has been tainted with evil. It touches everything. Without the redeeming power of Christ we cannot halt our own moral slide.
The crisis of physical hunger is essentially a crisis of faith. What or whom will you trust to meet your most basic needs? Will you trust the God who made human bodies, or will you seek your own way? (Deuteronomy 8:1-3).
So, you want to be like Christ? Me too. But that kind of godliness won't just happen by hanging around a church or thinking lofty thoughts three or four times a day or learning a few verses of Scripture. It will take more -- much more. Disciplining ourselves will require the same kind of focused thinking and living that our Master modeled during His brief life on earth.
Encouragement is awesome. Think about it. It has the capacity to lift a man's or a woman's shoulders. To breathe fresh air into the fading embers of a smoldering dream. To actually change the course of another human being's day, week, or life.
The pursuit of happiness is a matter of choice...it is a positive attitude we choose to express. It is not a gift delivered to our door each morning, nor does it come through the window. And it is certain that our circumstances are not the things that make us joyful. If we wait for them to get just right, we will never laugh again.
No, the thing that makes for greatness is determination, persisting in the right direction over the long haul, following your dream, staying at the task.
Allowing anger to seethe on the back burner will lead to a very large lid blowing off a very hot pot.
Let your life yield a sweet, winsome melody that this old world needs so desperately. Yes you can if you will.
God's word is tailor-made for gray-slush days. It sends a beam of light through the fog. It signals safety when we fear we'll never make it through.
The best tests of my Christian growth occur in the mainstream of life, not in the quietness of my study.
Excellence-moral, ethical, personal excellence-is worth whatever it costs.
Encourage one another. Many times a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept people on their feet.
If God awarded us medals, as they do in the Olympics, love would win the gold, joy the silver, and peace the bronze.
When a church is spending more of its budget on media than shepherding, something is out of whack. We have gotten things twisted around.
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to do and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody would do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Just as bank tellers need a thorough knowledge of legitimate currency in order to spot counterfeit bills, so Christians need a thorough knowledge of the Bible in order to spot bogus religious teachings. How grounded are you in the Scriptures? How deep are your theological roots? How capable are you of detecting false teachings?
Honesty has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it. No ulterior motives. No hidden meanings. An absence of hypocrisy, duplicity, political games, and verbal superficiality. As honesty and real integrity characterize our lives, there will be no need to manipulate others.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.
God never calls His people to accomplish anything without promising to supply their every need.
I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude... When my attitudes are right theres no challenge too great for me.
Our great tendency in this age is to increase our speed, to run faster, even in the Christian life. In the process our walk with God stays shallow, and our tank runs low on fumes. Intimacy offers a full tank of fuel that can only be found by pulling up closer to God, which requires taking necessary time and going to the effort to make that happen.
Thanksgiving is a time of quiet reflection; an annual reminder that God has, again, been ever so faithful. The solid and simple things of life are brought into clear focus.
While I was raised around churches and had gotten to know a few preachers fairly well, the thought never entered my head that I would one day stand and deliver. Not only was I not interested, I lived with a major struggle: I stuttered.
Noise and crowds have a way of siphoning our energy and distracting our attention, making prayer an added chore rather than a comforting relief.
Nothing is more bothersome to me than retiring. Weird things happen when you disengage; first you get negative, then you start telling people about your latest surgeries, and eventually you lose touch. I want to stay in touch.
Patience is a bitter plant that produces sweet fruit.
Discipline is training that corrects and perfects our mental faculties or molds our moral character. Discipline is control gained by enforced obedience. It is the deliberate cultivation of inner order.
Those who feed on rumors are small, suspicious souls.
For there to be true maturity, people must be given room to grow, which includes room to fail.
Friends make life a lot more fun.
I'm not against screens, or new songs, or innovation. I just don't like the gimmicks. I want to know when worship is over that that leader's sole purpose was to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy. Be deliberate, but once you've made up your mind -jump in.
The secret to responsible trust is acceptance. Acceptance is taking from God's hand absolutely anything He gives, looking into His face in trust and thanksgiving, knowing that the confinement of the hedge we're in is good and for His glory. Even though what we're enduring may be painful, it's good simply because God Himself has allowed it.
Sometimes I wake up before dawn, and I love sitting up in the middle of the bed with all the lights off, pitch-black dark, and talking to the Father, with no interruptions and nothing that reminds me that there's anything in life but me and Him.
On tough days, you gotta have heart. Don't quit, whatever you do. Persevere.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
There is nothing more fearful for the average person in our society than to stand before a group of people and speak.
I have no interest in returning to yesteryear. I love the conveniences and delights of today's time. I wouldn't go back if I could.
The benefits of the resurrection are innumerable. To list a few: Our illnesses don't seem nearly so final; Our fears fade and lose their grip; Our grief over those who have gone on is diminished; Our desires to press on in spite of the obstacles is rejuvenated... Our identity as Christians is strengthened as we stand in the lengthening shadows of saints down through the centuries, who have always answered back in antiphonal voice: 'He is risen, indeed!'
In the wilderness, God's covenant people struggled with a choice between feeding their bellies and nourishing their souls. God provided manna-a breadlike food that fell to the ground during the night-to sustain the wandering Israelites and to teach them how to value His Word more than physical fulfillment.
Many seducers clutter the simple message of the gospel with legalistic additions, with convoluted attempts to legitimize moral compromise, and with psychological theories that turn churches into relational support groups instead of houses of worship.
Cultivate your own capabilities, your own style. Appreciate the members of your family for who they are, even though their outlook or style may be miles different from yours. Rabbits don't fly. Eagles don't swim. Ducks look funny trying to climb. Squirrels don't have feathers. Stop comparing. There's plenty of room in the forest.
Like sin itself, Satan appeals to the senses. He originated and perfected the art of disguising evil as good.
If you're running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. If you're trying to master a new language, try it one word at a time. There are 365 days in the average year. Divide any project by 365 and you'll find that no job is all that intimidating.
When you accept the fact that sometimes seasons are dry and times are hard and that God is in control of both, you will discover a sense of divine refuge, because the hope then is in God and not in yourself.
No one is immune to temptation. Not even a hero. Not even a nobody. Not even people like you and me. Lust is never very far away. And just when you least expect it, there it is again.
Don't get older; get better: Live realistically. Give generously. Adapt willingly. Trust fearlessly. Rejoice daily.
As far back as I can remember, my mother would have me down by the bed at night with her, praying. I can still hear her voice calling my name to God and telling him that she wanted me to follow him in whatever he called me to do.