A Renewed Sense of Purpose

You will show me the path of life;
in Your presence is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore
.
PSALM 16:11 NKJV

If you’re experiencing tough times, you may be asking yourself, “What does God want me to do next?” Perhaps you’re pondering your future, uncertain of your plans, unsure of your next step. But even if you don’t have a clear plan for the next step of your life’s journey, you may rest assured that God does.

God has a plan for the universe, and He has a plan for you. He understands that plan as thoroughly and completely as He knows you. If you seek God’s will earnestly and prayerfully, He will make His plans known to you in His own time and in His own way.

Perhaps your vision of God’s purpose for your life has been clouded by a wish list that you have expected God to dutifully fulfill. Perhaps, you have fervently hoped that God would create a world that unfolds according to your wishes, not His. If so, you have probably experienced more disappointment than satisfaction and more frustration than peace. A better strategy is to conform your will to God’s (and not to struggle vainly in an attempt to conform His will to yours).

Sometimes, God’s plans and purposes may seem unmistakably clear to you. If so, push ahead. But other times, He may lead you through the wilderness before He directs you to the Promised Land. So be patient and keep seeking His will for your life. When you do, you’ll be amazed at the marvelous things that an all-powerful, all-knowing God can do.

God will make obstacles serve His purpose.   ~Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Underneath each trouble there is a faithful purpose.   ~C. H. Spurgeon

God does not discipline us to subdue us, but to condition us for a life of usefulness and blessedness.   ~Billy Graham

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, let Your purposes be my purposes. Let Your priorities be my priorities. Let Your will be my will.  Let Your Word be my guide. And, let me grow in faith and in wisdom today and every day. Amen

When Times Are Tough, Get Busy

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
COLOSSIANS 3:23 NKJV

It isn’t easy to overcome tough times—it takes hard work and lots of it. So if you’re facing adversity of any kind, you can be sure that God has important work for you to do . . . but He won’t make you do it. Since the days of Adam and Eve, God has allowed His children to make choices for themselves, and so it is with you. You can either dig in and work hard, or you can retreat to the couch, click on the TV, and hope things get better on their own.

The Bible instructs us that we can learn an important lesson of a surprising source: ants. Ants are among nature’s most industrious creatures. They do their work without supervision, rumination, or hesitation. We should do likewise. When times are tough, we must summon the courage and determination to work ourselves out of trouble.

God has created a world in which diligence is rewarded and sloth is not. So whatever you choose to do, do it with commitment, excitement, and vigor. God didn’t create you for a life of mediocrity or pain; He created you for far greater things. Reaching for greater things—and defeating tough times—usually requires work and lots of it, which is perfectly fine with God. After all, He knows that you’re up to the task, and He still has big plans for you.

Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.    ~Peter Marshall

All work, if offered to Him, is transformed. It is not secular but sacred, sanctified in the glad offering.   ~Elisabeth Elliot

God has lots of folks who intend to go to work for Him “some day.” What He needs is more people who are willing to work for Him this day.   ~Marie T. Freeman


TODAY’S PRAYER

Heavenly Father, when I am fearful, keep me mindful that You are my protector and my salvation. Give me strength, Lord, to face the challenges of this day as I gain my courage from You. Amen

In Turbulent Times, Consider the Possibilities

For nothing will be impossible with God.
LUKE 1:37 HCSB

Are you afraid to ask God to do big things—or to make big changes—in your life? Is your faith threadbare and worn? If so, it’s time to abandon your doubts and reclaim your faith in God’s promises.

Ours is a God of infinite possibilities. But sometimes, because of limited faith and limited understanding, we wrongly assume that God cannot or will not intervene in the affairs of mankind. Such assumptions are simply wrong.

God’s Holy Word makes it clear: absolutely nothing is impossible for the Lord. And since the Bible means what it says, you can be comforted in the knowledge that the Creator of the universe can do miraculous things in your own life and in the lives of your loved ones. Your challenge, as a believer, is to take God at His word, and to expect the miraculous.

Man’s adversity is God’s opportunity.   ~Matthew Henry

God specializes in things thought impossible.   ~Catherine Marshall

If all things are possible with God, then all things are possible to him who believes in Him.   ~Corrie Ten Boom

Do we not continually pass by blessings innumerable without notice, and instead fix our eyes on what we feel to be our trials and our losses? And, do we not think and talk about our trials until our whole horizon is filled with them, and we almost begin to think we have no blessings at all?   ~Hannah Whitall Smith

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, give me the courage to dream and the faithfulness to trust in Your perfect plan for my life. When I am worried, give me strength for today and hope for tomorrow. Today, Father, I will trust You and honor You with my thoughts, with my prayers, with my actions, and with my dreams. Amen

Finding Strength in Turbulent Times

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
PHILIPPIANS 4:13 NKJV

God’s love and support never changes. From the cradle to the grave, God has promised to give you the strength to meet any challenge. God has promised to lift you up and guide your steps if you let Him. God has promised that when you entrust your life to Him completely and without reservation, He will give you the courage to face any trial and the wisdom to live in His righteousness.

God’s hand uplifts those who turn their hearts and prayers to Him. Will you count yourself among that number? Will you accept God’s peace and wear God’s armor against the temptations and distractions of our dangerous world? If you do, you can live courageously and optimistically, knowing that you have been forever touched by the loving, unfailing, uplifting hand of God.

One with God is a majority.   ~Billy Graham

When trials come your way—as inevitably they will—do not run away. Run to your God and Father.   ~Kay Arthur

The same God who empowered Samson, Gideon, and Paul seeks to empower my life and your life, because God hasn’t changed.   ~Bill Hybels

A divine strength is given to those who yield themselves to the Father and obey what He tells them to do.   ~Warren Wiersbe

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, sometimes life is difficult. Sometimes, I am worried, weary, or heartbroken. But, when I lift my eyes to You, Father, You strengthen me. When I am weak, You lift me up. Today, I turn to You, Lord, for my strength, for my hope,  and for my salvation. Amen

The Need to Forgive

All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another,  forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
EPHESIANS 4:31-32 HCSB

It has been said that life is an exercise in forgiveness. And it should be added that forgiveness is an essential step in overcoming tough times.

Christ understood the importance of forgiveness when He commanded, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV). But sometimes, forgiveness is difficult indeed.
When we have been injured or embarrassed, we feel the urge to strike back and to hurt the ones who have hurt us. But Christ instructs us to do otherwise. Christ teaches us that forgiveness is God’s way and that mercy is an integral part of God’s plan for our lives. In short, we are commanded to weave the thread of forgiveness into the very fabric of our lives.

Do you invest more time than you should reliving the past? Are you troubled by feelings of anger, bitterness, envy, or regret? Do you harbor ill will against someone whom you simply can’t seem to forgive? If so, it’s time to finally get serious about forgiveness.

When someone hurts you, the act of forgiveness is difficult, but necessary. Until you forgive, you are trapped in a prison of your own creation. But what if you have tried to forgive and simply can’t seem to do so? The solution to your dilemma is this: you simply must make forgiveness a higher priority in your life.

Have you sincerely asked God to forgive you for your inability to forgive others? Have you genuinely prayed that those feelings of anger might be swept from your heart? If so, congratulations. If not, perhaps it’s time to move past your own particular tough times by freeing yourself from the chains of bitterness and regret.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.   ~C. S. Lewis

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, forgiveness is Your commandment, and I know that I should forgive others just as You have forgiven me.  But, genuine forgiveness is difficult. Help me to forgive those who have injured me, and deliver me from the traps of anger  and bitterness. Forgiveness is Your way, Lord; let it be mine. Amen

Worship Him Every Day

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him  must worship in spirit and truth.
JOHN 4:24 HCSB

God’s Word makes it clear: we should offer our Creator the praise and worship He deserves—and we shouldn’t wait until Sunday morning to do so. Yet we live in a distraction-filled society that encourages us to make praise and worship a one-day-a-week activity.

If we allow the distractions of everyday living to interfere with the practice of regular worship and praise—or if we yield to the countless temptations of our world—we find ourselves engaged in a struggle between good and evil, a clash between God and Satan. Our responses to these struggles have implications that echo throughout our families and throughout our communities.

Do you take time each day to worship your Father in heaven, or do you wait until Sunday morning to praise Him for His blessings? The answer to this question will, in large part, determine the quality and direction of your spiritual life in good times and in turbulent times.

Every day provides opportunities to put God where He belongs: at the center of our lives. When we do so, we worship Him not only with our words, but also with our deeds, and that’s as it should be. For believers, God comes first. Always first.

I am of the opinion that we should not be concerned about working for God until we have learned the meaning and delight of worshipping Him. ~A. W. Tozer

Worship is a daunting task. Each worships differently. But each should worship.   ~Max Lucado

To worship Him in truth means to worship Him honestly, without hypocrisy, standing open and transparent before Him.   ~Anne Graham Lotz

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, let today and every day be a time of worship. Let me worship You, not only with words and deeds, but also with my heart. In the quiet moments of the day, let me praise You and thank You for creating me, loving me, guiding me, and saving me. Amen

God's Protection

Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
MICAH 7:8 HCSB

Have you ever faced challenges that seemed too big to handle? Have you ever faced big problems that, despite your best efforts, simply could not be solved? If so, you know how uncomfortable it is to feel helpless in the face of difficult circumstances. Thankfully, even when there’s nowhere else to turn, you can turn your thoughts and prayers to God, and He will respond.

God’s hand uplifts those who turn their hearts and prayers to Him. Count yourself among that number. When you do, you can live courageously and joyfully, knowing that “this too will pass”—but that God’s love for you will not. And you can draw strength from the knowledge that you are a marvelous creation, loved, protected, and uplifted by the ever-present hand of God.

Whatever hallway you’re in—no matter how long, how dark, or how scary—God is right there with you.   ~Bill Hybels

God helps those who help themselves, but there are times when we are quite incapable of helping ourselves. That’s when God stoops down and gathers us in His arms like a mother lifts a sick child, and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.   ~Ruth Bell Graham

Life is literally filled with God-appointed storms. These squalls surge across everyone’s horizon. We all need them.   ~Charles Swindoll

God will not permit any troubles to come upon us unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty.   ~Peter Marshall

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, sometimes life is difficult. Sometimes, I am worried, weary, or heartbroken. And sometimes, I encounter powerful temptations to disobey Your commandments. But, when I lift my eyes to You, Father, You strengthen me. When I am weak, You lift me up. Today, I will turn to You for strength, for hope, for direction, and for deliverance. Amen

In Turbulent Times, Don't Give Up!

For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.
PROVERBS 24:16 NKJV

The old saying is as true today as it was when it was first spoken: “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” That’s why wise travelers (like you) select a traveling companion who never tires and never falters. That partner, of course, is your Heavenly Father.

The next time you find your courage tested to the limit, remember that God is as near as your next breath, and remember that He offers strength and comfort to His children. He is your shield and your strength; He is your protector and your deliverer. Call upon Him in your hour of need and then be comforted. Whatever your challenge, whatever your trouble, God can help you persevere. And that’s precisely what He’ll do if you ask Him.

Perhaps you are in a hurry for God to help you resolve your difficulties. Perhaps you’re anxious to earn the rewards that you feel you’ve already earned from life. Perhaps you’re drumming your fingers, impatiently waiting for God to act. If so, be forewarned: God operates on His own timetable, not yours. Sometimes, God may answer your prayers with silence, and when He does, you must patiently persevere. In times of trouble, you must remain steadfast and trust in the merciful goodness of your Heavenly Father. Whatever your problem, He can handle it. Your job is to keep persevering until He does.

We don’t give up. We look up. We trust. We believe. And our optimism is not hollow. Christ has proven worthy. He has shown that He never fails. That’s what makes God, God.   ~Max Lucado

Stand still and refuse to retreat. Look at it as God looks at it and draw upon His power to hold up under the blast.   ~Charles Swindoll

Just remember, every flower that ever bloomed had to go through a whole lot of dirt to get there! ~Barbara Johnson

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, when life is difficult, I am tempted to abandon hope in the future. But You are my God, and I can draw strength from You. Let me trust You, Father, in good times and in bad times. Let me persevere—even if my soul is troubled—and let me follow Your Son, Jesus Christ, this day and forever. Amen

In Turbulent Times, Study God's Word

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,  so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 HCSB

The words of Matthew 4:4 remind us that, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (KJV). As believers, we must study the Bible and meditate upon its meaning for our lives. Otherwise, we deprive ourselves of a priceless gift from our Creator.
God’s Word is unlike any other book. The Bible is a roadmap for life here on earth and for life eternal. As Christians, we are called upon to study God’s Holy Word, to follow its commandments, and to share its Good News with the world.

Jonathan Edwards advised, “Be assiduous in reading the Holy Scriptures. This is the fountain whence all knowledge in divinity must be derived. Therefore let not this treasure lie by you neglected.” God’s Holy Word is, indeed, a priceless, one-of-a-kind treasure, and a passing acquaintance with the Good Book is insufficient for Christians who seek to obey God’s Word and to understand His will. After all, man does not live by bread alone . . .

The strength that we claim from God’s Word does not depend on circumstances. Circumstances will be difficult, but our strength will be sufficient.   ~Corrie Ten Boom

God has given us all sorts of counsel and direction in His written Word; thank God, we have it written down in black and white.   ~John Eldredge

If you want to know whether you’re thinking correctly, check it out in the Word.   ~Charles Stanley

Weave the fabric of God’s Word through your heart and mind. It will hold strong, even if the rest of life unravels.     ~Gigi Graham Tchividjian

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, Your Word is a light unto the world; I will study it and trust it, and share it. In all that I do, help me be a worthy witness for You as I share the Good News of Your perfect Son and Your perfect Word. Amen

In Turbulent Times, Guard Your Thoughts

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
PHILIPPIANS 4:8 HCSB

Are you an optimistic, hopeful, enthusiastic Christian? You should be. After all, as a believer, you have every reason to be optimistic about life here on earth and life eternal. As English clergyman William Ralph Inge observed, “No Christian should be a pessimist, for Christianity is a system of radical optimism.”  Inge’s words are most certainly true, but sometimes, you may find yourself pulled down by tough times. If you find yourself discouraged, exhausted, or both, then it’s time to ask yourself this question: what’s bothering you, and why?

If you’re worried by the inevitable challenges of everyday living, God wants to have a little talk with you. After all, the ultimate battle has already been won on the cross at Calvary. And if your life has been transformed by Christ’s sacrifice, then you, as a recipient of God’s grace, have every reason to live courageously.

Are you willing to trust God’s plans for your life, in good times and turbulent times? Hopefully, you will trust Him completely. Proverbs 3:5-6 makes it clear: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NKJV).

A. W. Tozer noted, “Attitude is all-important. Let the soul take a quiet attitude of faith and love toward God, and from there on, the responsibility is God’s. He will make good on His commitments.” These words should serve as a reminder that even when the challenges of the day seem daunting, God remains steadfast. And, so should you.

So make this promise to yourself and keep it—vow to be a hope-filled Christian. Think optimistically about your life, your profession, your family, your future, and your purpose for living. Trust your hopes, not your fears. Take time to celebrate God’s glorious creation. And then, when you’ve filled your heart with hope and gladness, share your optimism with others. They’ll be better for it, and so will you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, I will focus on Your love, Your power, Your promises, and Your Son. When I am weak, I will turn to You for strength; when I am worried, I will turn to You for comfort; when I am troubled, I will turn to You for patience and perspective.  Help me guard my thoughts, Lord, so that I may honor You this day and forever. Amen

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries