Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: Two Ways to Examine Your Experiences

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“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT).

An unexamined experience is worthless.

There are people who are 50 years old who haven’t lived 50 years. They’ve lived one year 50 times. They’re still making the same mistakes, because they never stop and extract the lessons. They never stop to ask, “What happened in this last year, and what can I do differently so that I am living life better?”

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (NLT).

What does that mean? It means you take some time to review the experiences of your life, and you look for two things:

Look for benefits. What did you really enjoy in your life? Don’t just say, “I really enjoyed that job.” Ask, “What was it about that job that I really loved?” Don’t just say, “I really liked that class.” Ask, “What exactly about that class did I like? Why was it so fulfilling to me?” You’ll get little clues about where you should be headed with your life.

Look for patterns. Particularly, you want to look for patterns in your failure. Because when you fail, you tend to do it the same way every time. So you look and say, “Where have I failed in the past? What patterns do I keep repeating?” You don’t look at it to beat yourself up but because you want to be different. Those who ignore the mistakes of their past are likely to repeat them. This was the problem with the Israelites. Their trip to the Promised Land should have only taken a few weeks, not 40 years. But they refused to learn from their experiences and God’s tests. Each failed test meant one more lap around the desert.

The Bible says in Job 32:7, “The longer you live, the wiser you become” (The Message). That verse is a possibility, not a promise. I know a lot of people who are old and dumb. Wisdom does not automatically come with age. Maturity is when you extract meaning from the everyday experiences of life.

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Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

 

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Motivation · Power Thoughts · Rick Warren

POWER THOUGHTS: If You Believe It, Then Do It

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22 NIV).Yesterday, we looked at Mark 12:30: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (NLT). And one way to look at this verse is to focus on loving God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all your acting. God shaped you to be primarily a talker, a feeler, a thinker, or a doer.

Talkers love God with their hearts. Feelers love God with their souls. Did you know that you can also love God with your intellect? Thinkers love God with their minds. When you’re developing and strengthening your mind, it is an act of worship.

Thinkers love Bible study. Psalm 119:97 says, “How I love your law! I think about it all day long”(GNT).

People who are thinkers fall in love with the Bible when they become believers. There is no other book in the world like it! It has the answers to life’s questions, including: Why am I here? Where am I going? What is the purpose of life? Does my life matter? What’s the past? What’s the future? Where did I come from?

We need thinkers, because the world needs consideration. Somebody has to be thinking through complex issues and the implications of what the rest of us are doing. We need people who think through tough problems and bring solutions to the table. That’s why we need scientists, writers, philosophers, and innovators.

But thinkers have to be careful to practice humility. The Bible says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom” (Proverbs 3:7a NLT). Why? Because God is God, and you’re not.

Humility is a choice. Not once in the Bible are you ever told to pray for God to humble you. It says to “humble yourself before the Lord.” It’s a choice. Humility is something you do to yourself. Nobody else can do it to you. They can humiliate you, but they can’t make you humble. In essence, humility is total dependence on God. It’s not denying your strengths; it’s being honest about your weaknesses.

Thinkers also need to be careful to practice what they know. If you know it, then do it! James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (NIV).

God’s Word is our manual for life and that’s why he wants up to do the things he ways we should do. He’s our Creator, and he knows the best way we should live. The great news is that God is always right there with us, helping us to follow his instructions.

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Love and joy to you all,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

Prayer · Rick Warren

PRAYER: 5 Evening Prayers to Close Your Day

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Evening Prayer for the Family

Heavenly and merciful Father, as we come to the end of the day, I pray that You will spread your protective arms over me and my family. Cover us with your protecting angels and keep us well and safe from all harm and spiritual attacks.

Almighty Father, I count myself blessed for the wonderful family members You’ve bound me with, though I may not always appreciate them. Give us peace and love towards one another. Quell the quarreling tongue. Bring us close to each other.

I pray for my family members who are not Christians, who have not given their lives to Christ. Bless them, oh Lord, with understanding and wisdom, that they would come to know you and have a relationship with you. In Jesus all-powerful name I pray, Amen!

Prayer Before Sleep

Dear God, as I lay down to sleep, release the stress and tension in my body. Calm my thoughts and remove all restlessness.

Heavenly Father, as I close this day, I thank You for all the blessings in my life – family, friends, love, hope, and a secure future. I thank You for Your presence in my life, and I pray that You give me wisdom and courage to deal with everything that comes my way tomorrow.

Heavenly Father, as I close this day, I thank You for all the blessings in my life

Help me to trust You with my life. Direct my steps and let me walk in Your ways. Dear Father, continue speaking to me every moment of everyday and allow me to know the perfect peace that only You can provide.

Above everything, protect my mind and actions so that the enemy might not get through to me. Lord, I pray and ask that You give me the wisdom to deal with my circumstances, light my path way through the dark tunnel. Grant me restful sleep tonight, in Jesus name, Amen!

Evening Prayer for Safety

Lord of Hosts, Gracious Father, and Protector of mankind, I pray to You today for safety and protection. Knowing Your promise to keep us from harm, I believe and trust that my family and myself are safe in Your protective arms.

In Your Word, You advise us that the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. On my own, I am powerless against such evil but through You I am a conqueror.

You promised that whatever we bind on earth, will be bound in heaven. Therefore, I bind all traps that the devil has set on my path. Every harm that he has conjured, I bring down, in the mighty name of Jesus. As for evil intents, I ask You to get them away from my hearing, sight, feeling, thought, touch, and sense.

Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. And whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Lord, help us to be aware of wrong thoughts that enter our minds and, when they do, let us not sit and take the beating from the enemy but we can cast down every wrong thought with Your Word. Lord, I come against every mind-binding spirit and every other evil spirit, in the name of Jesus.

Thank You for providing protection and safety even before I asked. I pray this, believing in Your goodness and love, now and forever, amen.

Prayer for a Blessed Night

Lord, as I come to this day’s end, I give You thanks for all the blessings You’ve bestowed upon me today. I had a troublesome day but I got through it because You provided the strength, wisdom, peace, and safety to empower me.

Now that I am done for the day, I ask for one more thing: a blessed, peaceful night. Let me not sin against You in thought or deed. Rather, allow me to spend the time reflecting on Your goodness and grace.

Now that I am done for the day, I ask for one more thing: a blessed, peaceful night

Lord, thank You for Your unfailing love and that nothing can separate us from You. Lord, help me to be patience as I wait for Your promises to be manifested. May I not fret or complain, nor even worry, for You have got me engraved in the palm of Your holy righteous hand. Father, thank You in Jesus name, Amen.

I pray all this trusting and believing in our Lord Jesus’ name, amen.

God bless.
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Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: Let God Breathe New Life into Your Healthy Efforts

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“We will never turn our back on you; breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!” (Psalm 80:18 The Message) 

The Bible says, “We will never turn our back on you; breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!” (Psalm 80:18 The Message)

Breathing is one of the few functions of your body that you do automatically — but it can also be done mindfully. When you remember to breathe deeply, you can actually clear your body and mind. By slowing your breathing, you can lower your heart rate and your stress level! Breathing is a powerful way to strengthen your body.

Mindful breathing is a reminder that your need for intimacy with God is like your need to breathe in air. King David sang, “I live and breathe God” (Psalm 34:2).

God can breathe new life into you and your efforts to become healthier. He says, “I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:6b TEV).

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Talk It Over

  • What does it mean to “live and breathe God”? Why is this significant to your success in getting healthy?
  • What does the truth that God can breathe new life into you mean to your efforts to become healthy and strong?
  • Taking five slow, deep breaths before you eat can help you eat less and enjoy the food more. Try this during your next meal. How does it affect the way you eat and the way you feel during and after the meal?

 

Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

 

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: God’s Solution for Loneliness

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“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).

The Bible encourages us to consider several things when we grapple with loneliness:

First, focus on the needs of others. We can choose to turn our eyes toward other people, instead of staying focused on ourselves. And we can look for specific ways to serve them. The apostle Paul focused on telling more people about Jesus: “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).

Second, focus on your purpose. Even when the apostle Paul was isolated in a prison, he never stopped living out his purpose. He kept telling others about Jesus. In fact, while under house arrest in Rome, he wrote many of the letters that are now part of the New Testament.

Third, focus on supporting others. Instead of thinking, “I’m so lonely,” say, “Father, help me be a friend to people who need a friend. Help me to help lonely people.” That’s an effective antidote for loneliness.

You can help others become rich in relationships by giving them the gift of you.

Talk It Over

  • Talk about the significance of this verse: “But the Lord stood at my side” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).
  • How can living out your purpose help you with loneliness?
  • What are some ways you can reach out and support other people who might be lonely?

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Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

 

Motivation · Power Thoughts · Rick Warren

POWER THOUGHTS: When You’re Angry, Slow Down and THINK

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19b NIV).

We save ourselves a lot of pain and heartache if we follow one simple rule: Slow down when we’re angry or hurt.

The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19b NIV).

Yet, usually we do just the opposite. We’re quick to speak, slow to listen, and swift to become angry. That’s backward! But if you do the first two — be slow to speak and quick to listen — the last part will be automatic. You’ll find yourself becoming angry less often and less naturally.

There’s an important rhythm to this idea, which the Bible reiterates over and over again. For example:

  • Proverbs 14:29Patient people have great understanding, but people with quick tempers show their foolishness (NCV).
  • Proverbs 15:28“Good people think before they answer. Evil people have a quick reply, but it causes trouble” (GNT).
  • Proverbs 15:18“Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments”(CEV).

    How do you slow down and think before rushing to anger? Consider these five questions before speaking when you’re angry.

  • T:Is it truthful? Is what I’m about to say the truth?
  • H:Is it helpful? Or will it simply harm the other person?
  • I:Is it inspirational? Does it build up, or does it tear down?
  • N:Is it necessary? If it’s not necessary, why do I need to say it?
  • K:Is it kind? Will it encourage or discourage?

It’s not enough just to slow down when we’re angry. Take extra time to THINK about what to say or do next.

Talk It Over:

  • Describe a time when you spoke quickly in anger and regretted it.
  • If you were to speak without thinking, which part of the THINK acronym are you most likely to skip, and why?
  • How have you seen a rush to anger affect someone you care about?

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Love and joy to you all,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: God Is Real, No Matter How You Feel

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“The Lord has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him” (Isaiah 8:17 GNT).

It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life — when he has provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

Friendships are often tested by separation and silence; you are divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk. In your friendship with God, you won’t always feel close to him.

Philip Yancey has wisely noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.”

That’s when worship gets difficult.

To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation — times when it seems as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. God feels a million miles away. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness, doubt, and estrangement from God as “the dark night of the soul.” Henri Nouwen called them “the ministry of absence.” A. W. Tozer called them “the ministry of the night.” Others refer to “the winter of the heart.”

Besides Jesus, David probably had the closest friendship with God of anyone. God took pleasure in calling him “a man after my own heart” (see 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22).

Yet David frequently complained of God’s apparent absence:

  • “Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?”(Psalm 10:1 TLB).
  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?”(Psalm 22:1 NLT, second edition).
  • “Why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 43:2a GNT; see also Psalm 44:23; 74:11; 88:14; 89:49).

Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and he doesn’t leave you. He has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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Talk It Over

  • What practical steps can you take to help you worship God even when you’re in pain or in a trial?
  • What do you think God wants you to learn during these times?
  • What are some of God’s promises that can give you hope and encouragement?

Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

 

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: You’re Alive Because God Wants to Love You

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“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it ave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT, second edition).

A while back, a man came into my office and said, “I’m a Christian, but I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere in my spiritual growth. I’m kind of stuck in neutral.”

I said, “What do you think the problem is?”

He said, “I think my problem is I just don’t love God enough.”

I said, “That’s not your problem. Your problem is not that you don’t love God enough. Your problem is that you don’t understand how much he loves you.”

Love is always a response to love. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). When you say, “I don’t love God,” it’s because you don’t understand just how much he really loves you.

To understand your life’s purpose and calling, you have to begin with God’s nature. God is love. Love is the essence of his nature. The only reason there is love in the universe is because of God. Ants and snails do not love, but you were made in God’s image, so you can love.

The reason you are alive is because God wanted to love you. The first purpose of your life is to be loved by God! Yes, it is important to serve, obey, and trust him, but your first purpose is to love him.

Let this sink in: Your first duty is not to do anything but just be loved by God.

Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)

 

Bible Study · Rick Warren

BIBLE STUDY: Start Unlocking Scripture with This Study Method

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Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives” (Colossians 3:16a NLT).

Studying the Bible in a way that changes your life doesn’t take a bunch of expensive tools. You don’t need commentaries or Bible study software. In fact, if you were stuck on a desert island with just a Bible, you could simply use the method you’ll learn about in this devotional.

God says that if we meditate on his Word, we’ll be successful. Here’s a method you can use to meditate on God’s Word in a way that’ll please God.

The “pronounce it” method of biblical meditation is an easy method for meditating on Scripture — and getting every ounce of spiritual nutrition you can out of it.

You start with a verse and read it over and over again. Each time you read the verse, you emphasize a different word. It’s the simplest way to start unlocking Scripture. You can do it even if it’s the first time you’ve ever opened up a Bible. It’s simple but amazingly powerful. Each time you emphasize a different word, you get a different perspective.

Take the first part of Colossians 3:16 for example. The verse says, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives” (NLT).

The first time you read the verse, emphasize the word “let.”Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” What does it mean to let? It means “give permission.” You open the door; it’s your choice. You have to choose to let the Word of God dwell in you richly.

Then read the verse again and emphasize “message.” “Let the message of Christ dwell in you richly.” That means you need to get God’s Word in your mind.

Then emphasize the word “Christ.” You’re not dwelling on what some philosopher, guru, or talk show host has to say. You’re dwelling on the words of Christ! You may not want to let the word of the world dwell in you, but that’s what happens when you spend your time watching TV instead of reading God’s Word.

Then you focus on the word “richness.” What does that mean? It means the opposite of poorly. In other words, richness means lusciously, extravagantly, and profoundly. God doesn’t want his Word to be a poor substitute in your life. He wants it to create beauty in your life.

Then emphasize the word “fill.” Don’t rush through God’s Word so you can get on with the rest of your day. To let the Word of Christ fill you is to let it live within you.

Finally, focus on the words “your lives.” The Bible isn’t just God’s Word for your pastor, a seminary professor, or your small group leader; it’s God’s Word for you! The Bible is instruction for every single believer.

See all the great jewels you discovered in this passage just by focusing on one word at a time? You didn’t need a seminary degree or a great library of reference tools. You can do this!

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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 (Source:Rick Warren)

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: Four Steps to Make God’s Word a Habit

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“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31b NASB).

It’s a really important step to commit to reading your Bible regularly for a short period, maybe a few weeks. It’s a great way to get started, but you should never leave it there. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31b NASB). It’s the long-term commitment to learning from Jesus and his Word that makes us his disciples.

How do you continue in the Word and stay connected with Jesus through his Word for the long term?

  1. Make the decision to do it. It starts with your commitment. Don’t wait for a better time to make God’s Word a regular part of your life. Start your commitment today.
  2. Make a declaration. Announce your intentions to others. Hold yourself accountable. If you keep your commitment to God a secret, it’s easier to slip up.
  3. Make a determination. Don’t allow anything to knock you off your commitment. Be absolutely determined to make this a permanent habit in your life, particularly in the early months. If you start skipping days, it’ll be much harder to stay committed to God’s Word.
  4. Double up. Get a spiritual partner to come alongside you for support and encouragement. This is someone with whom you can share what you learn in your quiet times. It could be someone in your small group, a friend, or a family member. The Bible says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT).

Spending time with God should be a lifelong habit, not a passing fancy. Research shows you need to do something for about six weeks straight to build a habit. Make God’s Word part of your life today — and for the rest of your life.

Bless you,

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(Source: Rick Warren)