“There’s no greater waste of energy than resentment.”

everydayprayersFrom Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith:

To harbor resentment is nothing short of harboring a criminal, for resentment is bent on criminal activity: stealing peace, vandalizing sleep, robbing relationship, killing kindness, murdering hope, infecting the innocent with deadly toxins, to name a few of resentment’s crimes…There’s no greater waste of energy than resentment.

“Nothing else in all the world has this ability…”

takinggodFrom Kevin DeYoung’s Taking God At His Word:

The word of God is able to do many things–everything, really. God created by the word. Abraham was called by the word. The people were gathered as a nation at Sinai by the word. Their deliverance from Babylon was made firm by the word. Lazarus was raised by the word. The apostolic church was called into existence by the word. Throughout redemptive history we see God creating, cursing, calling, converting, gathering, blessing, equipping, threatening, and promising by his word. And in our personal history, we see the power of God’s word most clearly in its ability to save us (2 Tim. 3:15)

Scripture doesn’t tell us everything we may want to know about everything. But it tells us everything we need to know about the most important things. It gives us something the Internet, with all its terabytes of information, never could: wisdom. The purpose of Holy Scripture is not ultimately to make you smart, or make you relevant, or make you rich, or get you a job, or get you married, or take all your problems away, or tell you where to live. The aim is that you might be wise enough to put your faith in Christ and be saved.

Nothing else in all the world has this ability. The word of the president is important. The word of your parents is to be honored. The word of your spouse is to be treasured. But only the word of God can save. Only in Scripture do we encounter the fullness of God’s self-disclosure. Only in Scripture do we find the good news of the forgiveness of sins. Only in Scripture can we be led to believe in Jesus Christ and, by believing, have life in his name. Don’t think you have nothing important to say in the world.Don’t worry whether you have anything helpful to share with hurting and needy people. Don’t despair that there is no transforming power in your life. Keep going in the gospel, and keep growing in the Scriptures. They are more than able.

“…worry flows out of a distorted or incomplete view of His nature and character.”

overcomingFrom Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick:

Jesus really got down to brass tacks when He said, “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matthew 6:30, emphasis added). Little faith! Think about those words. The Lord equates our worry with a lack of faith.

Why does the Lord say that worry is unbelief? How does my worry reflect the level of my faith? My worryometer is also a faithometer; and in this case it isn’t my faith that’s red-lining–it’s my unbelief. Why is worry unbelief? Because it has its roots in doubt about God’s character. It questions His Fatherly care and provision. When I worry about what’s going to happen to my life, what I’m really saying is, “God, You can’t handle this. You’re either too weak, uninterested, unloving, or not smart enough to take care of my life. I’ve got to devote all my attention to sorting this situation out on my own.”

Got has directed His children not to worry; He’s classified worry as a sin. Why? Because worry flows out of a distorted or incomplete view of His nature and character. God has revealed Himself both in His creation and in His Word. We are obligated by this self-revelation to know Him as He is. Although we’ll never completely understand Him or be able to fully comprehend His nature, He’s given us everything we need to know about what we need to know. When we spend our days worrying, we’re disregarding what He’s told us about His perfect holiness, power, wisdom, and love. We’re saying, “I have to handle this because You can’t be trusted.”

Worrying is also sinful because it elevates our thoughts and abilities to a godlike position. When we worry we’re putting our trust in our thoughts and in our ability to “work things out” in our mind.

“God doesn’t want us to grow in self-confidence.”

overcomingFrom Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick:

(The context of this quote is Moses’ fear and reluctance to answer God’s call to go to Pharaoh.)

I can really identify with Moses’ fear, can’t you? I can’t do that…I’m not good at public speaking…but what if they don’t believe me. Can’t you just picture it? I can. In fact, I think I’ve had those kinds of conversations with the Lord. All along, God was encouraging Moses. He assured him of His presence and His power to accomplish His will. But all Moses could see was his own inadequacy, fear and unbelief.

Notice that God didn’t spend time trying to boost Moses’ self-confidence. Rather, God kept reminding him that he should put his confidence in Him. Whenever we spend time trying to convince ourselves that we’re really better or stronger or wiser than we know we are, we’re doomed to failure. God doesn’t want us to grow in self-confidence. He wants us to put all of our trust in Him. After all, He’s the only one who’s powerful enough to overcome the Pharaohs in our lives.

As Moses grew in his trust of the Lord, God used him to accomplish a great deliverance. In fact, Moses is now known as one of the greatest leaders in biblical history. But that wasn’t because he was such a brave guy all on his own, was it? It was only because of God’s great power and His determination to accomplish His purpose. And what God did for Moses, He can do for you. You can rest in the knowledge that if God is calling you to do something, even if it’s just being brave enough to go to church and speak with people, then His grace will be effective in your life, too.

 

“If we were writing the script for our lives…”

quietplaceFrom The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

If we were writing the script for our lives, we probably wouldn’t assign ourselves the same tasks God has given us. We’d play it safe. We’d choose parts we could more easily manage. But by placing us into situations beyond our ability to handle, God allows us to experience something greater than our own feeble capabilities. We get the opportunity to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph. 6:10).

“You didn’t need that. You needed this.”

quietplaceFrom The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

He who teaches man knowledge–the LORD–knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath. ~ Psalm 94:10-11

One of my heroes in the faith is Gladys Aylward, the revered missionary to China who worked tirelessly for the cause of the orphaned and oppressed. She once recalled how as a young girl in London, she had dealt with two great sorrows: the shortness of her stature and the color of her hair. All her friends, it seemed, were taller than she, and each had beautiful golden hair, while hers was “boring” black. She often prayed that God would reverse these undesirable traits in her physical appearance, making her look more like the girl she wished to be.

Years later, however, standing on a wharf in the teeming, Asian country where God had sent her to share His gospel mercies, she looked around and saw people everywhere who were as short as she was–and each had jet black hair. In that moment she realized that God had known what He was doing all along. By saying no to her youthful prayer, He had answered her perfectly–beyond her wildest imagining.

Each of us can recall times when we wanted something from God that He seemed unwilling to grant. Yet the passing years may have already revealed to you that His answer was far wiser and better than yours would have been. You didn’t need that; you needed this. And God has used your life to reveal His glory more clearly because of it.

Then let this same heart and mind inform your praying today, even when it seems as if no other answer of His could possibly substitute for the one that seems best to you. Let Him be God. Trust His answers.

Can you live with “no” being an answer. If not, then what has prayer actually become for you? What does God want prayer to be?

on sound doctrine

quietplaceFrom The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

As for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine – Titus 2:1

How much arsenic would you be comfortable knowing was in your food or drink? Just a little? Would that bother you? The fact is, many Christians tolerate trace amounts of contaminants in their belief systems, poisoning their perspectives on everything from family issues to finances to public policy.

This is why God’s Word so frequently exhorts us about holding fast to “sound doctrine.” The word “sound” in the original Greek is hugianino, a term closely related to our English word hygiene. To be sound is to be healthy, to ingest only that which is wholesome and beneficial to our lives. Insisting on sound doctrine is akin to the practice of carefully reading nutrition labels, or shopping at health food stores, or choosing organic options that are free from harmful pesticides and preservatives.

How many people do you know who go to great lengths to ensure the safety and soundness of the foods they eat? And yet how many people do you know who are just as careful to guard their hearts and minds from belief systems that can weaken their whole outlook on life and the faithful performance of their duties in the home, the workplace, and even in their local church or ministry?

Outright false doctrine isn’t that hard to spot or avoid. Full bottles of poison neither tempt nor attract us. What we must be careful about is letting our spiritual intake become sprinkled with just enough error, dispensed by charismatic personalities with just enough emotional stories and funny jokes, causing us to end up believing things that slowly deaden our spiritual senses over time.

Become so familiar with God’s Word and keep it so close to your heart that you’ll be able to discern whether what you’re hearing is truly healthy, sound teaching.

What would you say to someone who said they don’t need doctrine, that they only need Jesus? How does doctrine that is not sound impact our relationship with Christ and the way we live out our faith?

“Forgiveness is not like planting tulip bulbs…”

quietplaceFrom The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. ~ 1 John 3:20

Many people who sincerely want to find themselves on the other side of forgiveness have bought into myths and misconceptions that have defeated their best attempts at following through. For the next few days, I’d like to help dismantle four common barriers that can easily keep us frustrated on our journey to relational freedom.

First is the assumption that forgiveness and good feelings should always go hand in hand. You may have genuinely trusted God to help you forgive your offender. But then the phone rings. Their birthday rolls around. A situation flares up where they handle a similar circumstance in the same insensitive way, and you feel your emotions start to heat up again.

That’s when you might conclude, “I guess I haven’t really forgiven because if I had, I wouldn’t still feel this way.” But forgiveness cannot be proven by our feelings, any more than it can be motivated or empowered by them. Forgiveness is a choice. And feelings often aren’t. So it’s quite possible to forgive someone the right way — God’s way — and still have thoughts flash across your mind that seem to contradict the decision you made.

Forgiveness is not like planting tulip bulbs, where you never have to think about tit again, and everything just naturally comes up nice and pretty in the spring. No, life goes on. Sometimes old feelings turn up when you’re not expecting them, needing to be handled and replanted. But that doesn’t negate what you’ve done. It simply gives you a new opportunity to let the Lord reign over your emotions. When you don’t feel forgiving, that’s when you just keep forgiving — by faith.

Oh, how I needed to read this!

“Jesus didn’t do it all.”

crazybusyFrom Kevin DeYoung’s Crazy Busy:

Jesus didn’t do it all. Jesus didn’t meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do.

“That’s how a wise person thinks.”

quietplaceFrom The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Whereas a fool lives for the moment, without thought for the future implications of his choices, wise people make their decisions against the backdrop of eternity, considering how their choices will make a difference in the long run. Will this matter a hundred years from now? Five years from now? That’s how a wise person thinks.

Fools live for themselves, don’t care to be reflective, and are often careless and undisciplined in the way they handle their time. The wise, by comparison, live for the glory of God, aren’t afraid to examine themselves closely, and are thoughtful and intentional in how they steward the resources that have been entrusted to them…

…Does this mean we can’t ever take time off or just “have fun”? Of course not. But it is a call to be wise, to redeem the time and make the most of every opportunity, always keeping eternity in view.