Overcommitted?

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.  Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.
ROMANS 12:11-12 MSG

Do you have too many things on your to-do list and too few hours in which to do them? If so, it’s time to take a long, hard look at the way you’re prioritizing your days and your life.

The world encourages you to rush full-speed ahead, taking on lots of new commitments, doing many things, but doing few things well. God, on the other hand, encourages you to slow down, to quiet yourself, and to spend time with Him. And you can be sure that God’s way is best.

How will you organize your life? Will you carve out quiet moments with the Creator? And while you’re at it, will you focus your energies and your resources on only the most important tasks on your to-do list? Or will you max out your schedule, leaving much of your most important work undone?
Today, slow yourself down and commit more time to God. When you do, you’ll be amazed at how the Father can revolutionize your life when you start spending more time with Him.

Life is strenuous. See that your clock does not run down.   ~Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Taking care of yourself physically really helps emotionally. People who get a lot of sleep, who do the things that relieve stress, can withstand a lot of stress.   ~Laura Bush

Jesus taught us by example to get out of the rat race and recharge our batteries. ~Barbara Johnson

Come, come, come unto Me, / Weary and sore distressed; / Come, come, come unto Me, / Come unto Me and rest. ~Fanny Crosby

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, when I’m tired, give me the wisdom to do the smart thing: give me the wisdom to put my head on my pillow and rest! Amen

Good Decisions Mean Less Stress

If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.
JAMES 1:5 NLT

Life presents each of us with countless questions, conundrums, doubts, and problems. Thankfully, the riddles of everyday living are not too difficult to solve if we look for answers in the right places. When we have questions, we should consult God’s Word, we should consult our own consciences, and we should consult a few close friends and family members.

Perhaps Søren Kierkegaard was stating the obvious when he observed, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Still, Kierkegaard’s words are far easier to understand than they are to live by.

Taking a forward-looking (and stress-conquering) approach to life means learning the art of solving difficult problems sensibly and consistently . . . and sooner rather than later.

Life is built on character, but character is built on decisions. ~Warren Wiersbe

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently. ~Agnes Demille

The Reference Point for the Christian is the Bible. All values, judgments, and attitudes must be gauged in relationship to this Reference Point.   ~Ruth Bell Graham

Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily.   ~John Maxwell

Don’t be overwhelmed . . . take it one day and one prayer at a time.   ~Stormie Omartian

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, give me the insight to make wise decisions and the courage to act upon the decisions that I make. Amen

Using Your Talents

Do not neglect the gift that is in you.
1 TIMOTHY 4:14 NKJV

God gives each of us a unique assortment of talents and opportunities. And our Heavenly Father instructs us to be faithful stewards of the gifts that He bestows upon us. But we live in a world that encourages us to do otherwise.

Ours is a society that is filled to the brim with countless opportunities to squander our time, our resources, and our talents. So we must be watchful for distractions and temptations that might lead us astray.

God has blessed you with unique opportunities to serve Him, and He has given you every tool that you need to do so. Today, accept this challenge: value the talent that God has given you, nourish it, make it grow, and share it with the world. After all, the best way to say “Thank You” for God’s gifts is to use them.

Not everyone possesses boundless energy or a conspicuous talent. We are not equally blessed with great intellect or physical beauty or emotional strength. But we have all been given the same ability to be faithful. ~Gigi Graham Tchividjian

The Lord has abundantly blessed me all of my life. I’m not trying to pay Him back for all of His wonderful gifts; I just realize that He gave them to me to give away. ~Lisa Whelchel

It is the definition of joy to be able to offer back to God the essence of what He’s placed in you, be that creativity or a love of ideas or a compassionate heart or the gift of hospitality. ~Paula Rinehart

Almighty God created us, redeemed us, called us, endowed us with gifts and abilities and perceptions. To demean the gift is to insult the Giver. ~Penelope Stokes

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You have given me abilities to be used for the glory of Your kingdom. Give me the courage and the perseverance to use those talents. Keep me mindful that all my gifts come from You, Lord. Let me be Your faithful, humble servant, and let me give You all the glory and all the praise. Amen

This Is His Day

This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad today!

PSALM 118:24 NCV

God gives us this day; He fills it to the brim with possibilities, and He challenges us to use it for His purposes. The 118th Psalm reminds us that today, like every other day, is a cause for celebration. The day is presented to us fresh and clean at midnight, free of charge, but we must beware: Today is a non-renewable resource—once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Our responsibility, of course, is to use this day in the service of God’s will and according to His commandments.

Today, treasure the time that God has given you. Give Him the glory and the praise and the thanksgiving that He deserves. And search for the hidden possibilities that God has placed along your path. This day is a priceless gift from God, so use it joyfully and encourage others to do likewise. After all, this is the day the Lord has made.

Some of us seem so anxious about avoiding hell that we forget to celebrate our journey toward heaven.   ~Philip Yancey

All our life is a celebration for us; we are convinced, in fact, that God is always everywhere. We sing while we work . . . we pray while we carry out all life’s other occupations. ~St. Clement of Alexandria

The church is the last place on earth to be solemn . . . provided you have lived right.   ~Sam Jones

Celebration is possible only through the deep realization that life and death are never found completely separate. Celebration can really come about only where fear and love, joy and sorrow, tear and smiles can exist together.   ~Henri Nouwen


TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear Lord, You have given me so many blessings, and as a way of saying “Thank You,” I will celebrate. I will be a joyful Christian, Lord, quick to smile and slow to frown. And, I will share my joy with my family, with my friends, and with my neighbors, this day and every day. Amen

Your Real Riches

Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
MATTHEW 6:19-21 HCSB

All too often we focus our thoughts and energies on the accumulation of earthly treasures, creating untold stress in our lives and leaving precious little time to accumulate the only treasures that really matter: the spiritual kind. Our material possessions have the potential to do great good—depending upon how we use them. If we allow the things we own to own us, we may pay dearly for our misplaced priorities.

Society focuses intently on material possessions, but God’s Word teaches us time and again that money matters little when compared to the spiritual gifts that the Creator offers to those who put Him first in their lives. So today, keep your possessions in perspective. Remember that God should come first, and everything else next. When you give God His rightful place in your heart, you’ll have a clearer vision of the things that really matter. Then, you can joyfully thank your Heavenly Father for spiritual blessings that are, in truth, too numerous to count.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.   ~Jim Elliot

Wealth is something entrusted to us by God, something God doesn’t want us to trust. He wants us to trust Him.   ~Warren Wiersbe

When possessions become our god, we become materialistic and greedy . . . and we forfeit our contentment and our joy.   ~Charles Swindoll

What we possess often possesses us—we are possessed by possessions.   ~Oswald Chambers


TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear Lord, all I have belongs to You. When I leave this world I take nothing with me. Help me to value my relationship with You—and my relationships with others—more than I value my material possessions. Amen

Keeping Up With The Joneses?

Wherever your treasure is,  there your heart and thoughts will also be.
LUKE 12:34 NLT

As a member-in-good-standing in this highly competitive, 21st-century world, you know that the demands and expectations of everyday living can seem burdensome, even overwhelming at times. Keeping up with the Joneses can become a fulltime job if you let it. A better strategy, of course, is to stop trying to please the neighbors and to concentrate, instead, upon pleasing God.

Perhaps you have set your goals high; if so, congratulations! You’re willing to dream big dreams, and that’s a very good thing. But as you consider your life’s purpose, don’t allow your quest for excellence to interfere with the spiritual journey that God has planned for you.

As a believer, your instructions are clear: you must strive to please God. How do you please Him? By accepting His Son and obeying His commandments. All other concerns—including, but not limited to, keeping up with the Joneses—are of little or no importance.

For better or worse, you will eventually become more and more like the people you associate with. So why not associate with people who make you better, not worse? ~Marie T. Freeman

True friends will always lift you higher and challenge you to walk in a manner pleasing to our Lord. ~Lisa Bevere

We, as God’s people, are not only to stay far away from sin and sinners who would entice us, but we are to be so like our God that we mourn over sin. ~Kay Arthur

You will get untold flak for prioritizing God’s revealed and present will for your life over man’s . . . but, boy, is it worth it. ~Beth Moore

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, other people may encourage me to stray from Your path, but I wish to follow in the footsteps of Your Son. Give me the vision to see the right path—and the wisdom to follow it—today and every day of my life. Amen

Beyond Envy

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.
1 PETER 2:1-2 NKJV

Because we are frail, imperfect human beings, we are sometimes envious of others. But God’s Word warns us that envy is sin. Thus, we must guard ourselves against the natural tendency to feel resentment and jealousy when other people experience good fortune. As believers, we have absolutely no reason to be envious of any people on earth. After all, as Christians we are already recipients of the greatest gift in all creation: God’s grace. We have been promised the gift of eternal life through God’s only begotten Son, and we must count that gift as our most precious possession.

So here’s a simple suggestion that is guaranteed to bring you happiness: fill your heart with God’s love, God’s promises, and God’s Son . . . and when you do so, leave no room for envy, hatred, bitterness, or regret.

Discontent dries up the soul.  ~Elisabeth Elliot

How can you possess the miseries of envy when you possess in Christ the best of all portions?    ~C. H. Spurgeon

Is there somebody who’s always getting your goat? Talk to the Shepherd.   ~Anonymous

What God asks, does, or requires of others is not my business; it is His.   ~Kay Arthur

Too many Christians envy the sinners their pleasure and the saints their joy because they don’t have either one.   ~Martin Luther

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, when I am envious of others, redirect my thoughts to the blessings I have received from You. Make me a thankful Christian, Father, and deliver me from envy. Amen

Too Busy?

Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.
PROVERBS 21:5 MSG

Has the hectic pace of life robbed you of the peace that might otherwise be yours through Jesus Christ? Are you one of those people who is simply too busy for your own good? If so, you’re doing everybody a disservice by heaping needless stresses upon yourself and your loved ones.

God offers you a peace that passes human understanding, but He won’t force His peace upon you; in order to experience it, you must slow down long enough to sense His presence and His love.

Today, as a gift to yourself, to your family, and to your world, invite Christ to preside over every aspect of your life. It’s the best way to live and the surest path to peace . . . today and forever.

Often our lives are strangled by things that don’t ultimately matter.   ~Grady Nutt

This is a day when we are so busy doing everything that we have no time to be anything. Even religiously we are so occupied with activities that we have no time to know God.   ~Vance Havner

Being busy, in and of itself, is not a sin. But being busy in an endless pursuit of things that leave us empty and hollow and broken inside—that cannot be pleasing to God.   ~Max Lucado

We often become mentally and spiritually barren because we’re so busy.   ~Franklin Graham


TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear Lord, when the quickening pace of life leaves me  with little time for worship or for praise, help me to reorder  my priorities, and let me turn to Jesus for the peace that only He can give.  Amen

Out Of Balance?

Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.
PROVERBS 19:8 MSG

Face facts: life is a delicate balancing act, a tightrope walk with over-commitment on one side and under-commitment on the other. And it’s up to each of us to walk carefully on that rope, not falling prey to pride (which causes us to attempt too much) or to fear (which causes us to attempt too little).

God’s Word promises us the possibility of abundance (John 10:10). And we are far more likely to experience that abundance when we lead balanced lives.

Are you doing too much—or too little? If so, it’s time to have a little chat with God. And if you listen carefully to His instructions, you will strive to achieve a more balanced life, a life that’s right for you and your loved ones. When you do, everybody wins.

We are all created differently. We share a common need to balance the different parts of our lives.   ~Dr. Walt Larimore

It is important that we take time out for ourselves—for relaxation, for refreshment.   ~Ruth Bell Graham

Always remember that we can learn to control our weaknesses through the power of the Holy Spirit and in doing so become well-balanced individuals who cannot be controlled by Satan. ~Joyce Meyer

Does God care about all the responsibilities we have to juggle in our daily lives? Of course. But He cares more that our lives demonstrate balance, the ability to discern what is essential and give ourselves fully to it. ~Penelope  Stokes

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, let me find contentment and balance. Let Your priorities be my priorities, and when I have done my best, give me  the wisdom to place my faith and my trust in You. Amen

Perspective For Today

Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.
PROVERBS 4:6 NLT

Sometimes, amid the demands of daily life, we lose perspective. Life seems out of balance, and the pressures of everyday living seem overwhelming. What’s needed is a fresh perspective, a restored sense of balance . . . and God.

If a temporary loss of perspective has left you worried, exhausted, or both, it’s time to readjust your thought patterns. Negative thoughts are habit-forming; thankfully, so are positive ones. With practice, you can form the habit of focusing on God’s priorities and your possibilities. When you do, you’ll soon discover that you will spend less time fretting about your challenges and more time praising God for His gifts.

When you call upon the Lord and prayerfully seek His will, He will give you wisdom and perspective. When you make God’s priorities your priorities, He will direct your steps and calm your fears. So today and every day hereafter, pray for a sense of balance and perspective. And remember: your thoughts are intensely powerful things, so handle them with care.

Earthly fears are no fears at all. Answer the big questions of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective.   ~Max Lucado

When we look at the individual parts of our lives, some things appear unfair and unpleasant. When we take them out of the context of the big picture, we easily drift into the attitude that we deserve better, and the tumble down into the pit of pride begins.   ~Susan Hunt

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.   ~Melody Beattie

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, when the pace of my life becomes frantic, slow me down and give me perspective. Give me the wisdom to realize that the problems of today are only temporary but that Your love is eternal. When I become discouraged, keep me steady and sure, so that I might do Your will here on earth and then live with You forever in heaven. Amen