Bible Study · Lent

BIBLE STUDY: 8 Ways to Beat Temptation

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We all face temptations of many kinds. God wants us to beat them. We don’t have to sin, as powerful as temptations feel. Here are 8 ways to gain the victory.

1.  Pray before you are tempted

Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” And as he told us to pray, “Give us THIS DAY” our daily bread,” it’s good to ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil THIS DAY.

2. Flee. A good run is better than a bad fall.

Stay as far away sin as you can. Don’t think you won’t fall. If you hired someone to transport your most valuable possessions, you wouldn’t tell them to see how close to the edge of a cliff they could drive. In Proverbs 7 a “young man lacking sense” wanders near the house of an woman at twilight, and just “happens” to run into her. She’s dressed sensually. She says her husband’s gone and describes her perfumed bed. Eventually he follows her like an ox going to slaughter. Eve got into trouble by engaging with Satan and looking at how delicious the fruit looked. Flee temptation. Stay out of the car in the park in the dark.

3. Quote Scripture

That’s how Jesus overcame the tempter. When you feel like grumbling remind yourself to “rejoice always.” When tempted to give a harsh reply think, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” When rankling against correction remind yourself, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Of course, to quote Scripture when tempted means we must know it first, which means we must regularly take it in.

4. Pray in the midst of temptation.

Draw near to the throne of grace for help in time of need. Your sympathetic high priest, who was tempted as you are yet without sin, will help you (Heb 4).

5. Get a brother or sister to pray with you.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

6. Ask someone to hold you accountable.

A friend once said to me, “Mark, when I get back from my business trip this week, can you ask me if I watched TV in the hotel room? When I’m alone on trips I can be tempted to watch bad stuff. Knowing you are going to ask me will help me fight temptation.”

7. Remember God’s faithfulness.

“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 CO 10:13). God will never let us be tempted beyond the strength he gives, and if we ask he’ll “provide the way of escape” to get us through it.

8. Remind yourself that sin has consequences.

Remember Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband’s death, God forgave him, but told him the sword would never depart from his house, that his own family members would do him great harm and the child he conceived with Bathsheba would die. (2 Sa 12:10–14).

So here’s a quick summary:

Pray before you are tempted
Flee
Quote Scripture
Pray in the midst of temptation
Get a brother or sister to pray with you
Ask someone to hold you accountable
Remember God’s faithfulness
Remind yourself that sin has consequences

Keep fighting the good fight!

Be blessed,

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 (Source: Bible Study Tools )

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Bible Study · Lent

BIBLE STUDY: Praise God No Matter What

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“That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven” (Daniel 2:19 NLT).

Most of us don’t really know what to do when we’re confronted by an impossible situation. Did you know that a teenage boy from thousands of years ago can help?

Over the past few devotionals, we’ve learned some incredible principles from how Daniel dealt with an impossible request by the most powerful king of his time period. So far we’ve seen Daniel model these five actions.

  1. Don’t panic, and then ask why.
  2. Ask for more time.
  3. Gather prayer partners.
  4. Pray to God for help.
  5. Ask God for supernatural help.

The next thing we learn from Daniel in Daniel 2 is to worship God.

It is important to understand that worship is much more than just music. There are thousands of ways to worship. Anytime I turn my attention to God, that’s worship. When I express my love to God, that’s worship. You don’t have to be in church to worship.

When you worship God, you move your focus off of your problem and onto God.

The Bible says of Daniel, “That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven” (Daniel 2:19 NLT).

The passage shows you how to worship God in the midst of a crisis. Specifically, Daniel did three things.

  • He praised God for who he is. (v. 20)
  • He honored God for what he does. (v. 21-22)
  • He thanked God for his help. (v. 23)

That’s worship. Do that and you’ll move the focus off of you and your problems, and put it on God.

And he’s always where our focus should be.

10-15-17-Unshakeable-Praise-God-No-Matter-What

Talk It Over

  • Why is worship sometimes tough when you’re facing a particularly difficult situation?
  • How have you seen worship impact your stress level during struggles in your life?
  • Which of the three parts of worship mentioned in the devotional do you struggle with the most during a crisis: praising God for who he is, honoring God what he does, or thanking God for his help? Why?

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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 (Source: Rick Warren)

Bible Study · Lent

BIBLE STUDY: Prayer with an Attitude

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The Bible tells us we should “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Unfortunately, for many of us, a few minutes spent in prayer feels like forever. Why do we struggle so much with prayer when we know how vital it is to our relationship with God?

 We certainly don’t lack information about how to pray. Christian bookstores are packed with books that explain in great detail the various methods of prayer. But perhaps we need to also direct our attention to our motivation, our attitude, in prayer. The following article, entitled “Focus on the Father” by Rusty Rustenbach (excerpted from Discipleship Journal, Issue 6), explores how our attitude can make prayer an adventure rather than a burden.  As you read through the article, underline any portions that stand out to you. Then respond to the questions and exercises.

 Privilege of Prayer

Of all the ingredients in discipleship, the area many of us struggle with most is prayer. According to one recently published estimate, a typical Christian layman spends about three and a half minutes each day in prayer. Full-time Christian workers average about seven minutes per day. This pitiful situation must amaze even the Lord Himself, for Isaiah 59:16 records that when no one was found to intercede for His people, God was appalled. Why do we fail to take full advantage of the privilege of prayer? Is it a lack of discipline? Are we too busy? Are we unmotivated?

 1. What things make it difficult for you to spend quality time in prayer?

 _Too busy or tired

_ Can’t concentrate

_ Don’t know what to pray about

_ Don’t feel like it

_ Feel guilty

_ Not convinced it makes a difference

_ Other:

Perhaps the basic cause of our weakness in prayer relates to how we view God. We may have no genuine awe for the One “who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13). God seems more like a superhero from a child’s cartoon, whittled down to human size.

 If we aren’t captivated by God, prayer is a tedious task. It becomes a discipline that only those with wills of steel can master. I once regarded prayer as “gutting it out” before God. It meant trying to bring reams and reams of petitions before the Lord. The more requests I could bring, the more spiritual I was.

2. What similarities do you see between the author’s approach (bringing “reams and reams of petitions before the Lord”) and Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:7?

3. How would you compare the focus of prayer in Matthew 6:7 with the focus in Matthew 6:9-13? Which of these is most like your approach to prayer?

Communion or Wrestling Match?

I also misinterpreted statements from godly men about the importance of prayer. Martin Luther’s statement that “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer” implied to me that prayer was a guaranteed formula for success.

Rather than being a dynamic communion with the sovereign Lord of the universe, to me prayer was an exercise meant to wrestle effects into the lives of people and to manipulate God’s hand. Prayer became lifeless and tedious. It was like castor oil: terrible tasting, but good for me.

4. Which of the following statements describe your general attitude toward prayer? Check all that apply.

_ Prayer is like a marriage—it is hard work but can be very rewarding.

_ I want to like prayer, but I really don’t.

_ Prayer is like writing “thank you” notes—it is an obligation I need to fulfill.

_ I look forward to prayer.

_ I enjoy the time I spend in prayer, but I would like to go deeper.

_ Other:

 Yet God reminded me of the truth I was neglecting: He wanted to commune with me. What does this mean? Communion is defined as the intimate sharing of thoughts and emotions, and an intimate fellowship, rapport, or communication. This is the kind of relationship God wants with me.

5. How is God’s desire for communion (intimate relationship) with us expressed in the following verses?

Isaiah 65:1-2

Jeremiah 33:3

Matthew 23:37

Romans 5:8-10

1 John 4:9-10

Isaiah 30:18

6. Summarize in your own words the most significant or meaningful insight you gained from the verses above.

What Is Your Picture of God?

I saw I had become hardened to the excitement of walking in continual awareness of God’s presence. I realized afresh that He desires open communion with me. He has little interest in the petition gymnastics I was trying to perfect in prayer. He wants me to be preoccupied with Himself. Seeing God this way enables us to stand in awe of Him. It stimulates our heart to vital communion and conversation with Him. Seeing God as He is requires faith on our part, but whoever is enamored and thrilled with God is then rightly motivated to pray. Discipline will still be necessary, but prayer won’t be drudgery. I believe that is hat John 4:24 is hinting at: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (emphasis added).

7. Read John 4:4-30, the context of the story of the woman at the well.

  1. How did the Samaritan woman’s inaccurate picture of God affect her ability to worship Him “in spirit and in truth”?
  2. What aspects of God’s character are hardest for you to grasp (for example, all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, sovereign, holy, righteous, loving, merciful, faithful, and so on)? How might this affect your prayer life?

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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 (Source: Bible Study Tools )

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)

Bible Study

BIBLE STUDY: The Book of Hosea

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Image result for hosea

When Moses asked Pharaoh to “Let my people go,” Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” If Pharaoh could have read the book of Hosea, he would have known that the Lord was a sovereign God (Chapters 1-3); a holy God (Chapters 4-7); a just God (Chapters 8-10); and a loving God (Chapters 11-14).

Pharaoh, of course, never had the benefit of the depth of knowledge that Israel was given through the mouth and pen of the prophet Hosea, and yet the people were as stony-hearted toward God as Pharaoh was those many centuries before.

Hosea is one of the most remarkable books of the Old Testament. No other messenger gives so complete an outline of the ways of God with His earthly people as does Hosea:

1)God suffers when His people are unfaithful to Him;
2)God cannot condone sin;
3)God will never cease to love His own; and, consequently
4)He seeks to win back those who have forsaken Him.

Hosea was a contemporary of Isaiah (for most of his ministry) and Amos (in his earlier years); he was the “Jeremiah” of the Northern Kingdom. His main target was the Northern Kingdom, yet his message encompassed the entire people of God.

“Not My People”?

One of the pivotal insights occurs in the setting aside of his adulterous wife, and in the remarkable naming of his children: Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah (“not loved”), and Lo-ammi (“not my people”). The blood of Jezreel figures prominently throughout Israel’s history and climaxes at Armageddon. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit confirms the application of these prophetic names to the State of Israel since they have been cast out of their land.1 Their restoration is one of the key pronouncements in Hosea. Dr. Charles Feinberg, an outstanding Jewish believer and scholar, says of Chapter 3:

“It rightfully takes its place among the greatest prophetic pronouncements in the whole revelation of God.”

Hosea is frequently quoted in the New Testament and each time reveals some surprises.2

The Fatherhood of God

Among the provocative hermeneutical insights is the strange application of Hosea 11:1 by Matthew (2:15), which links the Fatherhood of God toward Israel and His calling His Son out of Egypt.3 He didn’t just adopt them; He cared for them. How tenderly and compassionately the Lord taught and cared for His son, Israel. These words seem to parallel Moses’ description of Israel’s being carried through the wilderness as a father carries his son.4

In response to the love of God as seen in their redemption from Egypt, Israel, like a prodigal son, turned a deaf ear to God’s prophets, choosing Baal and other idols instead.5

“The Best of Times and the Worst of Times”

Their material prosperity was unequaled since Solomon (2 Kgs 14:25-28; 2 Chr 26:2, 6-15). Jeroboam had recovered all the territory lost to Israel, even the possession of Damascus. Yet material prosperity is not a guarantee of safety to a people whose stability rests not on the moral basis of the fear of God and obedience to His laws. Hosea’s warning was that God would use their enemies as His means of judgment. (We have explored the apparent parallels with America in our briefing pack, “Hosea, Can You See?”)

An Incredible Book

The Lord’s self-disclosure in Chapter 11 is so intense that many rank it as one of the greatest in the Bible. Perhaps among the most surprising of the prophetic insights in Hosea is the discovery of the prerequisites for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.6

It is truly an amazing book and, like all of the books of the Bible, the Holy Spirit always rewards the diligent student. And Hosea is among the most rewarding.

Image result for hosea

* * *

This article was originally published in the
December 1999 Personal Update News Journal.

Chuck Missler

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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Bible Study · Lent

BIBLE STUDY: What is the significance of using different postures in prayer?

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What is the significance of using different postures in prayer?

Understanding Postures of Prayer
let your posture express the attitudes of your heart

In the Biblical accounts of prayer, many postures are described. Abraham fell upon his face before God. (See Genesis 17:3, 17.) Moses prayed with his hands outstretched. (See Exodus 9:27–29.) King Solomon knelt in prayer. (See I Kings 8:54.) Jesus prayed looking up into heaven. (See Mark 6:41, John 11:41, and 17:1.)

Communication with God does not require a certain physical position, but postures do give expression to the attitudes of our hearts. Here we will look at eight postures of prayer, discuss their symbolism, and see how they relate to the beatitudes Jesus presented in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed arethey that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:3–12).

Lying Prostrate Before God

No position symbolizes humility better than being on our faces before God. This position of prayer demonstrates the beatitude of being poor in spirit. When Jesus described Himself, He said he was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29.)

A wise way to begin each day is to get on our faces before God and acknowledge our unworthiness, inadequacy, and inability to accomplish His will. We should ask for His mercy, trusting that His strength and goodness will sustain us throughout the day. Lying prostrate before God expresses the following attitudes:

  • It is an acknowledgement of our total unworthiness.
    When God made a covenant with Abraham, Abraham recognized his unworthiness before God and “fell on his face” before the Lord. (See Genesis 17:1–22.)
  • It is recognition of the need for God’s mercy.
    When the leper came to Jesus for healing, he fell on his face and begged for mercy, saying, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (Luke 5:12.)
  • It is a right response to a serious crisis.
    Often when the leaders of Israel faced impossible situations and knew that only God could deliver them, they fell on their faces before Him and sought His aid. (See Numbers 20:2–6 and Joshua 7:1–6.)

Kneeling Before God

When we repent of our sins, we appeal to the Lord for His mercy and forgiveness. Kneeling before the Lord is a symbol of the heart attitude we should have to make such a petition. It reflects the beatitude of mourning over sin and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
    Kneeling before God provides a visual image of submission to His authority. One day every knee will bow before God, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God. (See Philippians 2:9–11.)
  • It is a sign of earnest appeal.
    King Solomon knelt when he asked God to bless the Temple and the people of God. (See I Kings 8:54.) Elijah knelt in earnest prayer when he asked the Lord to send rain to end Israel’s drought. (See I Kings 18:41–46.)
  • It is a sign of personal humility.
    The psalmist humbled himself before the Lord and encouraged others to do the same: “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker” (Psalm 95:6).

Bowing Before the Lord

One who bows before God conveys an attitude of honor, gratitude, and faith, acknowledging that all things come from His hand. When Job suffered great losses, he bowed down on the ground: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20–21). This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of meekness and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It is a sign of reverence.
    In some cultures, one who wants to express reverence and respect for another will bow before him. The deeper the bow, the greater the respect he shows.
  • It is an expression of worship.
    When God answered the prayer of Abraham’s servant, the man “worshiped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth” (Genesis 24:52).

Standing Before the Lord

To stand before a ruler indicates that you have a legal right to be there. It is only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we are able to approach God as His children: “. . . We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:1–2).

This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of hungering and thirsting for righteousness and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It represents our position in Christ’s righteousness.
    “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1–2).
  • It symbolizes our preparation for battle.
    “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:13–18).
  • It shows readiness to serve.
    One expression that describes serving another person, especially a sovereign, is to “stand before” that person. Daniel and his companions were to serve the king after a period of preparation, “. . . that at the end thereof they might stand before the king” (Daniel 1:5). Since we have been “made free from sin,” we become “the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18).

Sitting Before the Lord

In Scripture, sitting is a position of authority. When the king or rulers of a city sat in their official places, they were in a position to rule and judge and to have their judgments carried out. This prayer position reflects the beatitude of giving and receiving mercy, and it expresses the following attitudes:

  • It reminds us that all believers are seated with Christ in heaven.
    When we recognize our sinful conditions before God, repent of our sins, and believe on Jesus Christ, we are adopted by God. We are seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father. (See Ephesians 1:15–23 and 2:4–7.)
  • It represents God’s call to forgive offenders.
    Jesus told His disciples, “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14–15). The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31–32).

Looking Up to Heaven

Looking a person in the face indicates confidence and honesty. It is indicative of an open, trusting relationship. The Gospels record many instances when Jesus prayed, looking up into heaven. This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of being pure in heart and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It demonstrates where our help comes from.
    Looking up to God in prayer serves as a testimony that we are putting our hope in Him and waiting on Him for help. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1–2, ESV).
  • It displays confident faith.
    At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus prayed with faith and thanksgiving before He raised Lazarus from the dead: “. . . And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou has sent me” (John 11:41–42).
  • It indicates intimate fellowship with God.
    Jesus never sinned. He enjoyed perfect fellowship with His heavenly Father. When He prayed on the night before His crucifixion, “these words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (John 17:1–2.)

Stretching Forth the Arm

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. . . . I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (I Timothy 2:1–4, 8).

In the Scriptures, the outstretched arm was symbolic of seeking God’s mercy and blessing. This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of being a peacemaker and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It appeals to God’s sovereign power.
    Before Pharaoh released the people of Israel from slavery, God sent ten plagues to the nation of Egypt. God thus demonstrated His ownership over all creation. When Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to ask God to stop the hailstorm, “Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord’s” (Exodus 9:29).
    When the Israelites fought against the Amalekites in the wilderness, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the battlefield with his arms outstretched, holding the rod of God: “It came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed” (Exodus 17:11).
  • It reflects God’s redeeming work: salvation.
    Recalling God’s provision for past needs renews our faith in present situations. Moses often called the people of Israel to remember the great works God.
    Before Israel entered the Promised Land to conquer it, Moses encouraged them not to fear the mighty inhabitants of the land: “Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; the great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out . . .” (Deuteronomy 7:18–19).
  • It demonstrates worship and petitions God’s blessing.
    When King Solomon dedicated the Temple to God, he sought God’s blessing on it. “Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: and he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart . . . . O Lord my God, . . . hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee today: that thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou has said, My name shall be there . . .” (I Kings 8:22–23, 28–29).

Leaping for Joy

Rather than being discouraged and defeated by trials and persecution, we are to“rejoice, and be exceeding glad” (Matthew 5:12). This phrase in the Greek indicates the outward action of leaping and skipping, an expression of great inward joy. This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of rejoicing in the midst of persecution and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It displays absolute confidence in God’s faithfulness.
    At sporting events, loyal fans leap for joy when their team wins. The pain and strain of the game are worthwhile in light of victory. In the midst of persecution, we can leap for joy, because we know that God’s triumph over evil will be the final outcome. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:17–18).
  • It confirms that eternal things are our highest priority.
    Personal possessions, reputation, or health may be lost as a result of persecution. However, compared to the eternal rewards we gain through such suffering, these losses are less significant. Paul said, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Whatever posture you assume, prayer is an important part of your relationship with God. The Apostle Paul challenges us to be faithful in this discipline: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:6–7).

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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 (Source: Mark Altrogge )

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: Only God Can De-stress Your Soul

Motivate Me

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 RSV).

When you’re stressed out, how do you typically unwind? How do you de-stress when you’re exhausted and overloaded? Maybe you go to a movie or out to dinner so you don’t have to cook. Or maybe you have a hobby or a sport that helps you unwind.

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but none of them are going to provide the relief you really need. You can take all the naps in the world, but it’s not going to de-stress your soul. It’ll rest your body, but it won’t rest your spirit.

There’s only one thing that can rest your soul: God. Only he can give you that inner peace that de-stresses you.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 RSV).

He doesn’t say, “Come to church.” He doesn’t say to come to Bible study or small group. When you are overloaded, there’s only one person who understands soul rest. It’s God. What you really need more than anything else when you are overloaded is more time alone with God.

How do you do that? Matthew 6:6 says, “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (MSG).

Some of you have never done this. Others of you, you haven’t done it in weeks or months. That’s why you’re overloaded. You need to spend time alone with God in silence. Pray and read some of the Bible.

Why don’t we listen to Jesus more often? Why don’t we turn to him? We usually turn to everything else before even thinking about turning to God. A lot of times we think we can handle it on our own, and other times we just don’t realize that God is waiting for us to call on him. Over and over in the Bible God tells us, “Cry out to me. Call out to me. Talk to me. Cast your burdens on me.”

If you’re running on empty today, the first thing you need to do is call out to God for help. Don’t turn to a pill, a program, or a plan. Come to Christ, and he will give you rest.

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Be blessed,

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 (Source: Rick Warren)

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: What Will You Do Today That Requires Faith?

Motivate Me

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).

Failure is never final. You’re never a failure until you quit, and it’s always too soon to quit! You don’t determine a person’s greatness by his talent, his wealth, or his education. You determine a person’s greatness by what it takes to discourage him.

So what does it take to discourage you from going after your dream? It may be as simple as a friend or relative or family member telling you, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

The Bible says in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (NIV). You want to know how many times I wanted to resign from Saddleback Church? Just every Monday morning when I think, “God, surely somebody could have done a better job than I did yesterday. This thing is too big for any one person.”

God says, “Just keep on keeping on.” I may not be real bright sometimes, but I don’t know how to quit. I don’t know how to give up.

God works in your life according to your faith. The Bible says, “Without faith it’s impossible to please God” and “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” and “According to your faith it will be done unto you.” So what are you doing in faith? You need to ask yourself every day when you get up, “God, what can I do today that will require faith?” That’s an important question, because that’s what’s going to please God.

There are a lot of things in your life you don’t have control over. You didn’t control who your parents were, when you were born, where you were born, or what your race or nationality is. You didn’t control what gifts and talents you were given. You didn’t decide how you look.

But you do have complete control over how much you choose to believe God. God uses people who expect him to act, who never give up, who take risks in faith, who get his dream and go after it. It’s your choice whether you want to be the kind of person God uses to accomplish his purpose.

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Be blessed,

e3zejc7nn7jgkf9qte2u

 (Source: Rick Warren)

Grace · Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: Let God Take the Driver’s Seat

motivateme1

Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am” (Matthew 16:24 MSG).

How do you let go and let God? First, you have to make Jesus the manager of your life.

The problem is, we usually want to be the manager of our own lives, and so we argue and disagree with God. We think we know what’s best. The reason you’re under a lot of stress is that you’re constantly fighting God in your mind — “I know God says to do this but I want to do that instead!”

Every morning when you wake up, you have a decision to make: Who’s going to be in charge of your life? Who’s going to be in control — you or God? Who’s going to call the shots — you or God? Every day, moment-by-moment, you are making that decision. When you choose to make yourself the manager of your own life, it causes conflict, confusion, and stress.

Jesus says in Matthew 16:24, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am” (MSG). Here’s what Christians tend to do: When we become believers in Christ, we give him the driver’s seat and then promptly hop into the backseat and become backseat drivers. We’re constantly giving him “advice,” like, “No, turn this way. Stop. Wait. Faster! I want to go that way. I want to see that sight.”

Your life doesn’t look very pretty when you’re trying to lead with God at the same time. You just need to let God be God and make Jesus the manager of your life.

Talk It Over

  • What are the details of your life that are most difficult for you to surrender to God?
  • How have you been quarreling with God without saying a word? What do your actions reveal about who is managing your life?
  • Determine today to give God control of the areas of your life where you have concerns and stress. What will that look like? What difference will that make in your life?

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Be blessed,

e3zejc7nn7jgkf9qte2u

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: To Hear God, Get Near to God

Motivate Me

“It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding”(Proverbs 2:6 TEV).

You say, “I want to trust God, but I don’t hear him.”

You don’t hear God when your mind is filled with a thousand other distractions. To hear God, you’ve got to get near to God. You’ve got to get alone with God and be quiet.

The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NIV). That means sit down and shut up. That’s how you hear God and get near to God. You have to sit alone and just be quiet with your Bible and say, “God, is there anything you want to say to me?” You read God’s Word, and you talk to him about what’s on your heart.

And, God says he will give you the wisdom you need to recognize his voice and follow through on what he says: “It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6 TEV).

Pray this today: “God, I want to listen to you, not the voices of doubt. I want to get close to you and get to know you better. I want to hear you, and I promise to then obey you. I want to be one of the people that you can use and bless.”

Be blessed,

e3zejc7nn7jgkf9qte2u

 (Source: Rick Warren)