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

The Power of Patience

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage  the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:14 NASB

Life demands patience . . . and lots of it! We live in an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect people. Sometimes, we inherit troubles from others, and sometimes we create trouble for ourselves. In either case, what’s required is patience.

Lamentations 3:25-26 reminds us that, “The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord” (NIV). But, for most of us, waiting quietly for God is difficult. Why? Because we are fallible human beings, sometimes quick to anger and sometimes slow to forgive.

The next time you find your patience tested to the limit, remember that the world unfolds according to God’s timetable, not ours. Sometimes, we must wait patiently, and that’s as it should be. After all, think how patient God has been with us.

Two signposts of faith: “Slow Down” and “Wait Here.” ~Charles Stanley

Our challenge is to wait in faith for the day of God’s favor and salvation.   ~Jim Cymbala

God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. To know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. ~A. W. Tozer

As we wait on God, He helps us use the winds of adversity to soar above our problems. As the Bible says, “Those who wait on the LORD . . . shall mount up with wings like eagles.” ~Billy Graham

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, let me live according to Your plan and according to Your timetable. When I am hurried, Lord, slow me down.  When I become impatient with others, give me empathy. Today, Lord, let me be a patient Christian, and let me trust in You and in Your master plan. 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

Genuine Contentment

The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
PSALM 29:11 NIV

Everywhere we turn, or so it seems, the world promises us contentment and happiness. But the contentment that the world offers is fleeting and incomplete. Thankfully, the contentment that God offers is all encompassing and everlasting.

Happiness depends less upon our circumstances than upon our thoughts. When we turn our thoughts to God, to His gifts, and to His glorious creation, we experience the joy that God intends for His children. But, when we focus on the negative aspects of life—or when we disobey God’s commandments—we cause ourselves needless suffering.

Do you sincerely want to be a contented Christian? Then set your mind and your heart upon God’s love and His grace . . . and let Him take care of the rest.

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.   ~John Piper

The secret of contentment in the midst of change is found in having roots in the changeless Christ—the same yesterday, today and forever.   ~Ed Young

Contentment is something we learn by adhering to the basics—cultivating a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, living daily, and knowing that Christ strengthens us for every challenge.   ~Charles Stanley

Contentment is not escape from battle, but rather an abiding peace and confidence in the midst of battle. ~Warren Wiersbe

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, You offer me contentment and peace; let me accept Your peace. Help me to trust Your Word, to follow Your commandments, and to welcome the peace of Jesus into my heart, today and forever. Amen

A Series of Choices

The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and  doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you.
MATTHEW 6:33 NCV

Your life is a series of choices. From the instant you wake up in the morning until the moment you nod off to sleep at night, you make countless decisions—decisions about the things you do, decisions about the words you speak, and decisions about the way that you choose to direct your thoughts.

As a believer who has been transformed by the love of Jesus, you have every reason to make wise choices. But sometimes, when the stresses of the daily grind threaten to grind you up and spit you out, you may make choices that are displeasing to God. When you do, you’ll pay a price because you’ll forfeit the happiness and the peace that might otherwise have been yours.

So, as you pause to consider the kind of Christian you are—and the kind of Christian you want to become—ask yourself whether you’re sitting on the fence or standing in the light. The choice is yours . . . and so are the consequences.

The greatest choice any man makes is to let God choose for him.   ~Vance Havner

Every step of your life’s journey is a choice . . . and the quality of those choices determines the quality of the journey.   ~Criswell Freeman

Life is pretty much like a cafeteria line—it offers us many choices, both good and bad. The Christian must have a spiritual radar that detects the difference not only between bad and good but also among good, better, and best.    ~Dennis Swanberg

Every day, I find countless opportunities to decide whether I will obey God and demonstrate my love for Him or try to please myself or the world system. God is waiting for my choices.   ~Bill Bright

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, I have many choices to make. Help me choose wisely as I follow in the footsteps of Your only begotten Son. Amen

The Simple Life

Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.
MATTHEW 18:4 MSG

Want to reduce stress during these turbulent times? Here’s a simple solution: Simplify your life. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. After all, you live in a world where simplicity is in short supply.

Think for a moment about the complexity of your everyday life and compare it to the lives of your ancestors. Certainly, you are the beneficiary of many technological innovations, but those innovations have a price: in all likelihood, your world is highly complex. Unless you take firm control of your time and your life, you may be overwhelmed by a stress-inducing tidal wave of complexity that threatens your happiness.

Your Heavenly Father understands the joy of living simply, and so should you. So do yourself a favor: Keep your life as simple as possible. Simplicity is, indeed, genius. By simplifying your life, you are destined to improve it.

Simplicity reaches out after God; purity discovers and enjoys Him.   ~Thomas À Kempis

It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature.   ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

It is part of Satan’s program to make our faith complicated and involved. Now and then, we need a rediscovery of the simplicity that is in Christ and in our faith in Him.   ~Vance Havner

The most powerful life is the most simple life. The most powerful life is the life that knows where it’s going, that knows where the source of strength is; it is the life that stays free of clutter and happenstance and hurriedness. ~Max Lucado

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, help me keep it simple. When I complicate my life, give me the wisdom to simplify. The world values complexity, Father, but You do not. Today, I will strive to keep my thoughts focused intently on Your Word, on Your love, and on Your Son.  Amen

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries