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How to Show Love to a Demanding Person

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“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” 1 Corinthians 13: 7 (NLT, 2nd  edition).

Love can be absolutely exhausting. Don’t let anyone fool you. The kind of love that really makes a difference in this world will zap everything out of you.

Sometimes you just don’t feel like you have any more love to give. Maybe you’re in a people-intensive job, such as teacher, salesman, or waitress, and you come home and think, “I just can’t face another need, another problem, or another heartache.” So you just shut down.

Or you need to show love to a particular person who is demanding, selfish, and never returns your love. And you just think to yourself, “I’m done. No more.”

While that’s perfectly natural and perfectly human, it’s not the standard of love God calls us to in the Bible. The Bible says, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT, 2nd edition). Love never gives up.

How can you have that kind of persistent love for another person? You get refueled.

When my kids were young, I remember taking the family to a nearby air show. It was so impressive to see how they would hook up a tanker to a jet in flight to refuel. I’ll never forget that.

But, can you imagine someone flying a jet saying, “I don’t need to refuel!” The jet would crash and burn. In a long distance flight, a jet has to refuel.

To give the kind of persistent love that God wants you to give, you have to refuel your love tank. Look around at society, and you’ll see it’s littered with debris from relationships that have crashed and burned because people didn’t refuel their love.

How do you refuel your love tank? You start by letting God love you. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). When you’re worn out, tired, and can’t imagine showing love to anyone else, remember that God loved you so much that he sent his Son to die for you.

Now that’s real fuel. That’s what keeps you going when you want to quit.

Talk It Over:
What do you need to do this week so you can refuel and love others well?
– What are the characteristics of God’s love that you can exemplify?
– Who have you lost faith in or given up on? How can you show love to that person today?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission
Daily Hope:  www.PurposeDriven.com

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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Your Mind is Your Most Spiritually Vulnerable Organ

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“Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable” Philippians 4:8 (GNT).

The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you, which is why the Bible teaches that we should “run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right” (2 Timothy 2:22a TLB).

Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you feel. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you in.

Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it — just hang up!

Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is okay to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theater in the middle of the movie. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees.

Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Talk It Over: 

  • When you are in the midst of temptation, what “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable” things can you think about instead of the temptation?
  • We manage our minds and monitor our media intake in order to defeat temptation. What changes might that mean for you when it comes to TV, movies, and social media?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission
Daily Hope online at www.PurposeDriven.com

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Why Should I Trust God with My Pain?

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“I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT ( 2nd edition).

When you’ve got something that is very precious to you, whether it’s rare, expensive, or an heirloom, and you don’t want it to be stolen, broken, or burned up, you take it to the bank and entrust it to the protection of a safety deposit box.

Even more than a locked box in your bank, whatever you entrust to God, he’s going to take care of. You can count on it. He has a track record. Other people may not have a consistent track record of taking care of things for you. But whatever you entrust to God, he will take care of.

So, what do you need to entrust to God today? I’ll tell you what it is — it’s whatever you’re worrying about. Whatever you’re worrying about, you need to entrust it to the safety deposit box of God’s love.

Worry is practical atheism, because it’s acting like you don’t have a Father in Heaven who loves you and who can be trusted, like you’re a spiritual orphan. Worry is unbelief; it’s saying you don’t believe the 6,000 promises God made in the Bible.

The most difficult time for you to put stuff in God’s safety deposit box is when you’re in pain. When you are suffering, you don’t want to trust even God. You want to pull it back and hold it to yourself.

Paul knew this, but he also knew that when you’re in pain, that’s when you need to trust God the most. He said, “I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT (2nd edition).

I talk to people sometimes who say, “I’m afraid to give my life to Jesus Christ because I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep the commitment.”

Let me just be honest with you: You can’t keep your commitment. You will mess up! Fortunately your salvation isn’t based on your keeping the commitment. It’s based on Christ keeping his promise and taking care of what you’ve committed to him.

Talk It Over:

What does worry do to your life?
– Why do you think it’s sometimes easier to hold onto your pain than release it to God?
– What do you need to entrust to God today?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

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God Walks Through the Fire with You

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“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” Isaiah 43:2 (NIV).

The heat is on.

No one likes that feeling. It happens when pressure gets tight, when deadlines get close, and when expectations get intense.

Daniel had three friends who experienced the heat being on them — both figuratively and literally — in Daniel 3.

When Daniel’s friends wouldn’t bow in worship to a statue of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king angrily had his men toss them into a fire and turn up the heat seven times hotter.

Literally, the heat was on.

But God walked with them through it.

The Bible says,

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, ‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty.’ He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods’” (Daniel 3:24-25 NIV).

Of course, you and I know it wasn’t “a son of the gods” in there with those guys. It was Jesus — the only Son of God. He was walking through the fire with them.

And he’ll walk through the fire with you, too.

Jesus tells us, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”
(Matthew 28:20b NIV).

The Bible tells us you’ll never be alone. God will always be there with you and for you.

In Isaiah 43:2 God says,

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (NIV).

Notice the Bible doesn’t say if you pass through the waters; it says when you pass through the waters.

You will have troubles. But Jesus will always walk with you through them.

Talk It Over:

– How have you seen God walk with you through tough times?
– Why is it sometimes tough to see God at work when things are difficult?
– To whom can you pass on this message of hope during difficult days?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

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Choose Hope

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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. He is all you need. And, no matter what, “in him I put my hope.”

You’ll never know that God is all you need until he’s all you have.

Are you there yet? There’s no better place to be.

Thought:

– 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 will keep hope at the forefront?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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Renew Your Faith at Christmas

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But the angel said to them, “… I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10 (NIV)

Knowing that Christmas time is God’s chosen time teaches us that Christmas is the time for us to renew our faith.

We need not fear God because of the Good News of Christ’s arrival; it is a Good News meant to “bring great joy to all people.” (Luke 2:10 NLT)

What is the Good News?

  • You matter to God: God knows everything about you — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and He still loves you. He cares about you. He loves you more than you could ever know. God is for you, not against you.
  • You are not an accident: Regardless of the circumstances of your birth, you were not the result of an accident. God has a plan and a purpose for your life.  The only way you will find meaning and satisfaction is to discover God’s purpose for your life and then to get right into the center of his will.

God sent Jesus so you could know what He’s like. God wanted to relate to you and to me, so He became like us — a human being.

The thing is this — I don’t have the foggiest idea of what it means to relate to something like ‘The Force‘ — some impersonal power in the sky.  But when I see Jesus in human form, I can say, “That’s what God’s like.  I can understand that.”

This is why Christmas is not about a religion. You may be Catholic; you may be Jewish; you may be Presbyterian, or Baptist, or Lutheran; I don’t care what your religious background is, Jesus didn’t come to give you religion.  He came to give you a relationship.

Christmas is God saying,

I want to relate to you.  I want you to know Me as much as I know you.”

That’s joyful news. It’s great news!

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission


God  is waiting to show His love and kindness to you and to guide your life.  He wants to make something beautiful of your life.  And you can open your heart and life to Him today by praying this prayer with a sincere attitude.

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.

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Faith, Not Feelings Pleases God

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“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21 NIV).

When you are a baby Christian, God gives you a lot of confirming emotions and often answers the most immature, self-centered prayers so you’ll know he exists. But as you grow in faith, he will wean you of these dependencies.

God’s omnipresence and the manifestation of his presence are two different things. One is a fact; the other is often a feeling. God is always present, even when you are unaware of him, and his presence is too profound to be measured by mere emotion.

Yes, he wants you to sense his presence, but he’s more concerned that you trust him than that you feel him. Faith, not feelings, pleases God.

The situations that will stretch your faith most will be those times when life falls apart and God is nowhere to be found. This happened to Job. On a single day he lost everything — his family, his business, his health, and everything he owned. Most discouraging, for 37 chapters, God said nothing!

How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent? How do you stay connected in a crisis without communication? How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when they’re full of tears? You do what Job did: “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised’” (Job 1:20b-21 NIV).

Tell God exactly how you feel. Pour out your heart to God. Unload every emotion that you’re feeling. Job did this when he said, “I can’t be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak” (Job 7:11 GNT).

He cried out when God seemed distant: “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house” (Job 29:4 NIV).

God can handle your doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions. You can bring everything to him in prayer.

Thoughts:

In what ways can you show God that you trust him even when you don’t feel his presence?
– What are some of the things you can praise God for, even when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

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Don’t Give the Devil a Foothold

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“Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” Ephesians 4:26b-27 (NLT, 2nd edition).

When you give the Devil a foothold into your life, he takes a stronghold. What does that mean? If you give Satan control of one little part of your life, he will soon take over the whole thing. You give him a foothold into your life, and he turns it into a stronghold.

Let me explain it this way: On D-Day, Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. It was critical that they establish a beachhead — that is, a foothold on the beach that would allow them to set up a staging area to bring in more men and equipment for the battle. From that tiny foothold, the Allied forces were able to push inland in an effort to liberate France.

But Satan isn’t trying to liberate you. He wants to establish a foothold in your life in order to take over more and more of your life. Once he gets deep enough into an area of sin, he turns the foothold into a stronghold, and that makes it harder for you to take back control of your life.

How does Satan get a foothold in your life? In Ephesians 4:27, the example is anger, but it could be any negative emotion. If you fill your life with worry, he’s gained a foothold in your life. If you fill your life with resentment, he’s gained a foothold in your life. If you allow guilt to turn into shame, Satan has a foothold in your life.

The Apostle Paul says the best way to deal with these negative emotions is immediately. He says, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26b-27 NLT, 2nd edition). You make a choice to deal with it right away.

Otherwise, the negative emotion will fester in your heart and give Satan the opportunity to establish a foothold in your life.

Talk It Over

  • What negative emotion have you allowed the Devil to use to take a foothold in your life? Or, what emotion has the potential to become a foothold for the Devil?
  • What does it mean for a negative emotion to fester in your life?
  • How can you be proactive about dealing with negative emotions that may arise in your life?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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Why Is Life so Hard?

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All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.Isaiah 53:6 (NLT)

Everything seems to be a battle. Nothing is easy. The fact is, life is difficult.

So, why is life so hard in this world?

The Bible says rebellion against God broke everything.

It all started back with the first couple, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. When God created the world, everything was perfect. It was paradise. And Adam and Eve had no problems, suffering, sadness, temptations, or troubles.

But one day Adam and Eve decided that they wanted to do what they wanted to do. God told them, “You can do anything you want to in this paradise except one thing.” And what did Adam and Eve do? The one thing God told them not to do.

Why did he even give them a choice? Because without a choice, they couldn’t choose to love God. If you’re forced to love God, then it’s not real love.

Romans 5:12 says, “Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it” (GNT). Before sin, there was no death in the world. There was no sadness in the world. There was no sorrow. There was no difficulty in the world. People would not die. Adam and Eve could have lived forever as long as it was a perfect environment. It was only when everything got broken that sin brought death into the world.

Adam and Eve weren’t the only ones who made that choice. I’ve made it, you’ve made it, and everybody else in the world has made it. We have all said, “I don’t want to do the right thing; I want to do the easy thing.We’ve all said, “I don’t want to say the truth; I want to say what’s convenient.We’ve all said, “I don’t want to be what God wants me to be; I want to be what I want to be.” We’ve all done this.

The Bible says in Isaiah 53:6,All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own” (NLT).

We have all broken God’s laws. We have all rebelled by sins, transgressions, and iniquities. And that’s why nothing works correctly — your marriage, your health, your finances, your body, your relationships. Nothing works correctly, because sin broke everything.

When you understand why life in the world is so hard, you’re no longer going to be surprised by it. You’re not going to be surprised when things don’t go your way. You’re not going to be surprised when plans don’t pan out. You’re not going to be surprised when things actually go bad. And you will be able to handle the hard times of life much more easily.

So why is life so hard? Why do we suffer? Why is everything a battle? The answer is that rebellion against God broke everything.

Talk about it:

– Why do you think this answer to the cause of the world’s problems is not enough for non-believers and even some believers?

– Think of a time when you followed your own way instead of God’s. What was the result?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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Five Steps for Handling Frustration

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“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you Isaiah 26:3 (NIV).

Here are five simple steps for dealing with frustrations in your life.

Ask yourself, “Did I cause it?” The Bible says, “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7b NIV). We are often frustrated by things in life because we bring them on ourselves.

Ask yourself, “What can I learn from it?” Romans 8:28b says, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him” (NIV). There are many bad things in the world, but all things work together. God can even take the negative and turn it into a positive if we let him. Use irritation as an opportunity to become more like Christ.

Thank God in the situation. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18a we read, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (NIV). You don’t have to be thankful for a bad situation, but you can be thankful in a bad situation. Frustration may be a blessing in disguise.

Turn the frustration into a funny, humorous event. The Bible says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22a NIV). A sense of humor is God’s antidote for anger and frustration.

Ask God to fill you with his love. Why? Because 1 Corinthians 13:5b says, “[Love] is not easily angered” (NIV). Love is self-giving, not self-serving. We get irritated because we think everyone and everything has to revolve around us. Love concentrates on the other person.

Jesus faced constant frustrations, but he never got irritated. He always made time for people. We get so preoccupied with our own things that we forget that people are the priority in life.

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

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Becoming More Like Jesus

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I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of sufferingIsaiah 48:10 (NLT).

No one likes those times when stress gets turned up, deadlines mount, and expectations seem unreachable.

But sometimes God uses heat in your life to burn off the stuff that’s tying you down.
You just need to trust God through the pain.

What’s got you tied up? What’s limiting you from being all God meant for you to be?

God can use the trials in your life to eliminate what’s holding you back.

God says in Isaiah 48:10, “I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering” (NLT).

It’s highly unlikely you’ll literally go through a fiery furnace in your life, but you’ll go through the furnace of suffering many, many times. God will refine you with that fire.

It’s like silver and gold. When they heat it up, they get rid of impurities. Then you’re left with 100 percent gold or 100 percent silver.

If you ask a silversmith how to know when silver is pure, he’ll tell you it happens when you can see your reflection while looking into the cauldron.

God knows you’re purified when he can see his own reflection in you. You look more Christlike.
It’s the fire that does that.

Talk It Over:

– How has God made you more like Jesus through tough times?
– Sometimes it is easier to turn away from Christ in the midst of our suffering, instead of allowing it to make us more like him. Why?
– What does it mean for you to “be like Jesus” after God refines you through suffering?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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Even Your Weaknesses Bring Glory to God

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My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did?’” Romans 9:20 (CEV).

Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experiences — these are the five things that make you, you. I call them your SHAPE.

Accepting your SHAPE — the unique way God made you that brings glory to him — means to believe that God knows best. It all comes down to the matter of trust. Do you believe that God made a mistake when he made you? Or do you trust him, knowing that he has a plan for your life? Do you believe it?

Many of us make these kinds of statements: “God, there are things I don’t like about myself. I wish I had different hair or a different color of skin. I wish I were taller, shorter, skinnier. I wish I had more talent. I wish I could do ‘that.’ I wish I looked like him. I wish I had her smarts.” And on and on our lists go. This kind of thinking is basically telling God, “You blew it! Everybody else is okay. But you goofed up big when you made me.”

When you reject yourself, you are in essence rejecting God, because he’s your Creator. When you don’t accept yourself, it’s rebellion against God. You’re saying, “God, I know better than you. You should have made me differently, with a different set of strengths and a different set of weaknesses.”

But God says, “No, I created you exactly the way you are because I want you to be you — with your strengths and your weaknesses. All of it can give me glory — if you’ll just start doing what I made you to do instead of trying to be like everybody else.

It’s actually quite arrogant to reject yourself. The Bible says in Romans 9:20, “My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did?’” (CEV).

Whenever we doubt God’s love and wisdom, we always get into trouble. The root behind these problems is that you don’t trust God. You don’t believe God really loves you. You don’t believe that he really has your best interest at heart. You wish he had made you something different. As a result, there’s a spirit of bitterness in you that produces frustration and keeps you from being the person God wants you to be.

But you don’t have to live that way — there is hope! Job 10:10 says, “You guided my conception and formed me in the womb” (NLT). God wanted you, and he loves you. Believe it, and then trust it!

Talk It Over:

  • How can believing that God really loves you change the way you view yourself?
  • What about yourself have you always wanted to change? How do you think God may have intended to use that very trait to bring glory to him?
  • How has God used your weaknesses to bring glory to him?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

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Don’t Let Your Loneliness Lead to Bitterness

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The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them2 Timothy 4:16 (NLT).

Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:16, “The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them” (NLT).

Paul, one of the greatest followers of Jesus ever, was on trial in Rome, and not one person stepped forward to defend him. Not one! He was absolutely by himself. Nobody stepped forward to say, “This is a good guy. He’s alright.” Yet Paul did not say, “Those jerks — after all I’ve done for them all these years!” Instead, he said, “May it not be counted against them.” In other words, he was not going to let himself become bitter. Because bitterness always makes loneliness worse.

This is just one of the ways Paul teaches us how to live when we are going through a season of loneliness. When you feel lonely, you need to minimize your hurt. You need to play it down and pray it up. Don’t rehearse it over and over in your mind. If you do, it just gets bigger and bigger and out of control.

Refuse to become resentful, because bitterness will eat you up.

Bitterness and loneliness go together because they become a cycle. You become lonely. Then you start feeling bad about it and have a pity party. Then you become bitter. Your bitterness makes you even lonelier, which makes you more bitter. Soon, you’re a hardhearted, depressed person that nobody can get close to.

Nobody wants to be around a bitter person. Nobody wants to be around a cynic. Nobody wants to be around a person who is angry.

Bitterness will only perpetuate your loneliness. That’s why, when you go through a season of loneliness, you should minimize the hurt. Don’t build a wall around your life.

Talk It Over – What is your natural reaction to loneliness?
– What people in your life can you reach out to when you are lonely?
– When you feel like replaying the events or circumstances that led to your loneliness, what might you do instead?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

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Three Mistakes to Avoid in the Face of Difficulty

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In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the worldJohn 16:33b (NIV).

In Acts 27, Paul set sail for Rome with other prisoners, and they faced great difficulties on their journey because the winds were against them. Paul warned the men on one leg of their voyage that if they set sail, they would be caught in a major storm and the results would be disastrous. They decided to sail anyway, making three common mistakes that we also tend to make that get us into trouble.

1. We listen to bad advice. “[They] followed the advice of the pilot” (Acts 27:11b NIV). God had already said not to do it, and Paul warned them not to do it. But because the “expert” said it was okay, they did it. If God tells you to do one thing and all the experts in the world tell you to do something else, don’t listen to the experts. Listen to what God says.

2. We follow the crowd.The majority decided that [they] should sail on” (Acts 27:12b NIV). The majority is often wrong! The majority of the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt, and they were wrong, too. Peer pressure keeps a lot of people from doing what God wants them to do.

3. We rely on circumstances. “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity” (Acts 27:13a NIV). Paul warned the others that they were heading into a storm, but they sailed anyway. You should not go through every open door you see. You should not take advantage of every opportunity given to you. You should not accept every job that is offered to you. You should not date everybody that asks you out. Satan can arrange circumstances, too, so you need to ask God for his direction.

Trouble is a part of life. You will have difficulties! Jesus told us so in John 16:33b: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (NIV).

But knowing how to avoid these three mistakes will help you navigate through the difficulties you faced on your journey of faith.

Thoughts: – Why do you think God allows you to experience difficulty on your journey of faith?
– How have you gotten into trouble because you made one of the three mistakes discussed in today’s devotional?
– How did God deliver you in that situation?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

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If You Want to Hear God, Get Still and Listen

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Pause a moment, Job, and listen; consider the wonderful things God doesJob 37:14 (GNT).

Sometimes as adults we get spiritual wiggles. We cannot get still and be quiet.

But you have to be quiet in order to hear God speak. If you want to hear God’s vision, then you’re going to have to turn off the television. You can’t listen to God and the TV at the same time!

It is possible God never speaks to you because you’re never quiet. Something is always going on in your mind, so while God is trying to get through to you on the telephone of life, he’s getting a busy signal. You’ve got to reserve time alone with God.

The Bible says in Job 37:14, “Pause a moment, Job, and listen; consider the wonderful things God does” (GNT).

God wants to spend time with you. He says, “Pause, be quiet, get alone, and learn solitude so I can talk with you.

Is getting God’s dream for your life worth a day of your life? Have you ever taken an entire day and done nothing but be alone with God? Talk to God in prayer. Let God talk to you through the Bible. Relax. Think. Write down the thoughts he puts in your mind. Set some goals. Look through your schedule. Set your priorities. Spend the day saying, “God, where do you want me to go? What direction do you want my feet headed?

God speaks to people who take the time to listen — not just for a day but also on a regular basis. This is called a quiet time, and it is when we can have an intimate conversation with God.

Talk It Over: – Think about your quiet time. How much time do you spend actually being quiet and waiting on God to speak to you?

– What distractions do you need to eliminate so that you can be still and quiet?

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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