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

Self-Esteem According to God

For you made us only a little lower than God,
and you crowned us with glory and honor
.
PSALM 8:5 NLT

When you encounter tough times, you may lose self-confidence. Or you may become so focused on what other people are thinking—or saying—that you fail to focus on God. To do so is a mistake of major proportions—don’t make it. Instead, seek God’s guidance as you focus your energies on becoming the best you that you can possibly be. And when it comes to matters of self-esteem and self-image, seek approval not from your peers, but from your Creator.

Millions of words have been written about various ways to improve self-image and increase self-esteem. Yet, maintaining a healthy self-image is, to a surprising extent, a matter of doing three things:

1. Obeying God

2. Thinking healthy thoughts

3. Finding a purpose for your life that pleases your Creator and yourself.

The following common-sense, Biblically-based tips can help you build the kind of self-image—and the kind of life—that both you and God can be proud of.

Being loved by Him whose opinion matters most gives us the security to risk loving, too—even loving ourselves. ~Gloria Gaither

As you and I lay up for ourselves living, lasting treasures in Heaven, we come to the awesome conclusion that we ourselves are His treasure! ~Anne Graham Lotz

Your self worth is more important than your net worth.    ~Anonymous

The Creator has made us each one of a kind. There is nobody else exactly like us, and there never will be. Each of us is His special creation and is alive for a distinctive purpose.   ~Luci Swindoll

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, help me speak courteously to everyone, including myself. And when I make a mistake, help me to forgive myself quickly and thoroughly, just as I forgive others. Amen

Accepting Advice

A wise man will hear and increase learning,
and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.

PROVERBS 1:5 NKJV

If you find yourself caught up in the inevitable challenges of these turbulent times, it’s probably the right time to start searching for knowledgeable friends and mentors who can give you solid advice. Why do you need help evaluating the person in the mirror? Because you’re simply too close to that person, that’s why. Sometimes, you’ll be tempted to give yourself straight A’s when you deserve considerably lower grades. On other occasions, you’ll become your own worst critic, giving yourself a string of failing marks when you deserve better. The truth, of course, is often somewhere in the middle.

Finding a wise mentor is only half the battle. It takes just as much wisdom—and sometimes more—to act upon good advice as it does to give it.  So find people you can trust, listen to them carefully, and act accordingly.

It takes a wise person to give good advice, but an even wiser person to take it. ~Marie T. Freeman

God guides through the counsel of good people.   ~E. Stanley Jones

Yes, the Spirit was sent to be our Counselor. Yes, Jesus speaks to us personally. But often He works through another human being.   ~John Eldredge

A single word, if spoken in a friendly spirit, may be sufficient to turn one from dangerous error.   ~Fanny Crosby

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank You for the mentors whom You have placed along my path. When I am troubled, let me turn to them for help, for guidance, for comfort, and for perspective.  And Father, let me be a friend and mentor to others,  so that my love for You may be demonstrated by my genuine concern for them. Amen

Your Never Alone

The Lord is the One who will go before you.
He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not be afraid or discouraged.

DEUTERONOMY 31:8 HCSB

If God is everywhere, why does He sometimes seem so far away? The answer to that question, of course, has nothing to do with God and everything to do with us.

When we begin each day on our knees, in praise and worship to Him, God often seems very near indeed. But, if we ignore God’s presence or—worse yet—rebel against it altogether, the world in which we live becomes a spiritual wasteland.

Are you tired, discouraged, or fearful? Be comforted because God is with you. Are you confused? Listen to the quiet voice of your Heavenly Father. Are you bitter? Talk with God and seek His guidance. Are you celebrating a great victory? Thank God and praise Him. He is the Giver of all things good.

In whatever condition you find yourself, wherever you are, whether you are happy or sad, victorious or vanquished, troubled or triumphant, celebrate God’s presence. And be comforted. God is not just near. He is here.

God is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen.   ~Charles Swindoll

God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you have been the only man in the world.   ~C. S. Lewis

God’s silence is in no way indicative of His activity or involvement in our lives. He may be silent, but He is not still. ~Charles Swindoll

The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a very small object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether. ~C. S. Lewis

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, even when it seems to me that You are  far away, You never leave my side. Today and every day, I will strive to feel Your presence, and I will strive  to sense Your love for me. Amen

In Turbulent Times, Keep Praying

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises.
JAMES 5:13 HCSB

God is trying to get His message through . . . to you! Are you listening?

Perhaps, if you’re experiencing tough times or uncertain times, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the press of everyday life. Perhaps you forget to slow yourself down long enough to talk with God. Instead of turning your thoughts and prayers to Him, you may rely upon our yown resources. Instead of asking God for guidance, you may depend only upon your own limited wisdom. A far better course of action is this: simply stop what you’re doing long enough to open your heart to God; then listen carefully for His directions.

Do you spend time each day with God? You should. Are you in need? Ask God to sustain you. Are you troubled? Take your worries to Him in prayer. Are you weary? Seek God’s strength. In all things great and small, seek God’s wisdom and His grace. He hears your prayers, and He will answer. All you must do is ask.

I have found the perfect antidote for fear. Whenever it sticks up its ugly face, I clobber it with prayer. ~Dale Evans Rogers

God always answers the prayers of His children—but His answer isn’t always “Yes.” ~Billy Graham

Prayer accomplishes more than anything else.   ~Bill Bright

I have witnessed many attitudes make a positive turnaround through prayer.   ~John Maxwell

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, let me raise my hopes and my dreams, my worries and my fears to You. Let me be a worthy example to family and friends, showing them the importance and the power of prayer.  Let me take everything to You in prayer, Lord, and when I do,  let me trust in Your answers. Amen

Make Peace With the Past

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
JOHN 14:27 KJV

Some of life’s greatest roadblocks are not the ones we see through the windshield; they are, instead, the roadblocks that seem to fill the rearview mirror. Because we are imperfect human beings who lack perfect control over our thoughts, we may allow ourselves to become “stuck” in the past—even though we know better. Instead of focusing our thoughts and energies on the opportunities of today, we may allow painful memories to fill our minds and sap our strength. We simply can’t seem to let go of our pain, so we relive it again and again . . . with predictably unfortunate consequences. Thankfully, God has other plans.

Philippians 3:13-14 instructs us to focus on the future, not the past: “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NKJV). Yet for many of us, focusing on the future is difficult indeed. Why? Part of the problem has to do with forgiveness. When we find ourselves focusing too intently on the past, it’s a sure sign that we need to focus, instead, on a more urgent need: the need to forgive. No amount of anger or bitterness can change what happened yesterday. Tears can’t change the past; regrets can’t change it. Our worries won’t change the past, and neither will our complaints. Simply put, the past is, and always will be, the past. Forever.

Can you summon both the courage and the wisdom to accept your past and move on with your life? Can you accept the reality that yesterday—and all the yesterdays before it—are gone? And, can you entrust all those yesterdays to God? By God’s grace, you can.

So if you’ve endured a difficult past, learn from it, but don’t live in it. Instead, build your future on a firm foundation of trust and forgiveness: trust in your Heavenly Father, and forgiveness for all His children, including yourself.

If you are God’s child, you are no longer bound to your past or to what you were. You are a brand new creature in Christ Jesus.   ~Kay Arthur

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, free me from anger, resentment, and envy. When I am bitter, I cannot feel the peace that You intend for my life. Keep me mindful that forgiveness is Your commandment, and help me accept the past, treasure the present, and trust the future . . . to You. Amen