“Your Prayers Have an Impact”

“Your Prayers Have an Impact”
by Rick Warren

“God hears us wherever we ask Him and we know also that He gives us what we ask from Him.” 1 John 5:15 (GNT)

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Do you ever wonder if prayer really works? You’re praying about something and Satan whispers to you, “This is a waste of time. Forget it! Who do you think you are? What do you thing you’re doing? God is not listening. Don’t waste your time.”

Prayer works because God is in control. The basis of all miracles is God’s sovereignty. Why does He do one and not another? Because God is in control. We have to trust His wisdom and His goodness.

Ephesians 3;20 says, “God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.” (LB)

Prayer can do whatever God can do. His resources are available to you. Twenty times in the New Testament it says, “Ask.” It’s encouraging to know that things that are out of my control are not out of God’s. I may not be able to change a situation but I can pray and God can change it.

I know exactly what some of you are thinking right now. If I can pray and ask God to change things and if God is really in control of everything, why don’t I get everything I pray for?” Good question. Here are three reasons:

1) God is not genie. You don’t put in a prayer, rub a thing and get whatever you want. If every prayer were answered we’d be spoiled brats. Do you give your children everything they ask for? I hope not. You know what’s best for them. You can see the bigger picture. If you can see the bigger picture for your kids, how much bigger is the picture God can see?

2) Sometimes Christians pray in conflict. You get two Christians praying at the Super Bowl for different teams. Who’s God going to answer? Obviously, God can’t answer every prayer at the same time.

But I thinks the real reason is this:

3. God knows what’s best and you don’t. If you think you do, that is very presumptuous. First John 5;14 tells us, “We are sure that He (God) hears us if we ask Him for anything that’s according to His will.” (GNT) Look at the phrase “according to His will.” The attitude of your prayer needs to be: Lord, this my prayer request, but Thy will be done.” That’s what Jesus prayed, “Lord if it’s possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless let Thy will…” (Luke 22:42).

“As Your Soul Prospers”

As Your Soul Prospers

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers”
(3 John 1:2, KJV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

In the New Testament, John prayed that we would prosper and be in health “as our souls prosper.” One translation says “as you are strong in spirit.”

God wants your inner man to be strong and healthy because your internal condition affects your external condition. If you are healthy in your soul, you will be healthy in your relationships, finances and every area. On the other hand, if your internal condition is negative, sour and defeated, then your life will reflect the same thing.

How do you become strong and healthy in your soul? First of all, by making Jesus your Lord and Savior and dedicating every area of your life to Him. Then, as you meditate on and follow His Word, you are giving strength to your inner man. You are programming your mind and heart in the right direction. You are setting yourself up to prosper and be in health in every area of your life!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father in heaven, thank You for Your goodness. Thank You for choosing me and setting me up to prosper in this life. Today, I dedicate every area of my heart and mind to You. Strengthen my inner man by Your Spirit today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“Three Ways to Reflect on God’s Word”

“Three Ways to Reflect on God’s Word”
by Rick Warren

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:23-24 (NIV)

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God’s Word is like a mirror. We use mirrors to evaluate ourselves. We look in a mirror to assess the damage from the night before. Then we do something about it. What good is a mirror if we don’t do anything about what we see? God says a mirror reflects what we’re like on the outside and God’s Word reflects what we’re like on the inside.

James gives us three practical ways to reflect on the Word of God —

1. Read it. “The man who looks intently into the perfect law” (James 1:25 NIV). The word “look” in Greek means “to stoop down and gaze in.” James says to focus your attention on the Word of God. Look at it intently in detail.

Here are nine things to look for, the S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S:
S – Is there a Sin to confess?
P – Is there a Promise to claim?
A – Is there an Attitude to change?
C – Is there a Command to obey?
E – Is there an Example to follow?
P – Is there a Prayer to pray?
E – Is there an Error to avoid?
T – Is there a Truth to believe?
S – Is there Something to thank God for?

2. Review it. “… and continues to do this …” (James 1:25 NIV) That means over and over and over. The Bible calls this meditation. Read it and review it continually. Stay in it and be faithful to the book. I know some people that are more faithful to Facebook or the sports page than they are to God’s Word.

3. Remember it. “…not forgetting what he has heard.” (James 1:25 NIV) Nothing will do more for your spiritual life than developing the habit of memorizing Scripture. “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11 NLT)

“The Test of Maturity is Character”

“The Test of Maturity is Character”
by Rick Warren

“Do not merely listen to what the word says and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:22 (NIV)

James says it is self-deception when we don’t merely listen to God’s Word and don’t let it change us. We think that just gaining knowledge makes us spiritually mature. The test of maturity is not knowledge. The test of maturity is character. A lot of people have great Bible knowledge but they are spiritual midgets.

We need to put God’s Word into practice. We need to continually apply it in our lives.

In fact, knowledge increases responsibility. The more we know, the more we’re accountable for. What am I doing about what I know? Jesus said, “To whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48)

In Matthew 7, Jesus tells the story of the wise and the foolish builders. He says the foolish builder builds on sand. He is like the guy who hears the Word of God but doesn’t do what it says. The wise man is the one who hears it and then goes out and makes an honest attempt to apply God’s Word in his life.

Jesus said John 13:17, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (NIV) I think the simplest definition of maturity is to be a doer of the word. You do what the Bible says. We must not only read the Word, we must heed the Word.

Every single one of us knows more spiritual truth than we’re putting into practice right now. We don’t need to know more, we already know enough. We just need to put into practice what we already know. Be a doer of the Word.

“Pray for Others”

“Pray for Others”
by Rick Warren

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.”
Philippians 1:4 (NIV)

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Isn’t it an encouragement when you know people are praying for you?

If you’re struggling with a relationship today, let me tell you this: The quickest way to change a relationship from bad to good is to start thanking God in prayer for people.

Praying for them will do two things — change your attitude and change them. Positive praying is much more powerful than positive thinking. People may resist our help, spurn our appeals, reject our suggestions and not listen to our suggestions, but they are powerless against our prayers.

When you say to somebody, “I’ll pray for you” what do you say? What do you pray? Most of us are good at praying in a crisis but on a normal basis, what do you pray? God, bless them? That’s so general. The more specific you are in prayer the more specifically you get an answer.

In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul spells out exactly what he’s praying for people. “And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” (NIV)

These verses give you four things you can pray for people today –

1. “Abound in love …” Pray that they will grow in love.
2. “Discern what is best …” Pray that they make wise choices.
3. “Be pure and blameless …” Pray that they will do the right thing.
4. “Filled with the fruit of righteousness …” Pray that they will live for God’s glory.

“Receive Grace”

Receive Grace

Today’s Scripture:

” It is through Him that we have received grace (God’s unmerited favor) and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the nations”
(Romans 1:5, AMP) .

Today’s Word:

Do you want to see more of God’s favor and blessing in your life? Receive His grace. Grace is God’s favor, but it’s also His supernatural empowerment. When you have God’s grace and favor, it enables you to accomplish more and be more effective both in your own life and in building His kingdom.

This verse says that God’s grace enables us to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples among all nations. In other words, grace empowers us to live the life God has called us to. Now, maybe you can’t go to all nations today, but you can make a difference in the lives of the people around you. You can “promote faith” by living a life of love and obedience to God’s Word. You can “promote faith” by encouraging the people in your life and living as an example of His goodness.

Today, open your heart and thank Him for His grace that empowers you. Let His truth set you free and then enjoy that freedom! Live as an example of His love because you are making a difference in the people around you.

Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace, favor and mercy that empowers me to live the life You’ve called me to. I receive Your grace by faith. Help me to stay obedient to Your Word and live as an example of Your love and light. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

es you to accomplish more and be more effective both in your own life and in building His kingdom.

This verse says that God’s grace enables us to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples among all nations. In other words, grace empowers us to live the life God has called us to. Now, maybe you can’t go to all nations today, but you can make a difference in the lives of the people around you. You can “promote faith” by living a life of love and obedience to God’s Word. You can “promote faith” by encouraging the people in your life and living as an example of His goodness.

Today, open your heart and thank Him for His grace that empowers you. Let His truth set you free and then enjoy that freedom! Live as an example of His love because you are making a difference in the people around you.

Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace, favor and mercy that empowers me to live the life You’ve called me to. I receive Your grace by faith. Help me to stay obedient to Your Word and live as an example of Your love and light. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“Love People From the Heart”

“Love People From the Heart”
by Rick Warren

“It is right for me to feel this way about all of you since I have you in my heart.”
Philippians 1:7 (NIV)

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I’ve discovered that if people are not on my heart, they’re on my nerves. if you don’t have your kids in your heart, they get on your nerves. If you don’t have your husband in your heart, he gets on your nerves.

The reason so many marriages are crumbling is that mates are reacting to each other from their mind rather than their heart. When your wife says, “I feel depressed” listen to her; it’s legitimate. When your husband says, “I don’t feel this is the right thing we ought to do. We ought to do it this other way.” Listen to him.

Heart love begins with understanding why someone feels the way they do. Ask questions and then listen. Hear the hurt, look for the problems, know what makes your mate tick. You need to understand the moods of the people closest to you, why they act the way they do. If you care you’ll be aware.

How do you love people who, even when you do understand them, you find them unlovable? God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:8 NIV). In Greek, the word “affection” is the word for intestines. In Greek society, the Greeks thought that the seat of the emotions was in your stomach, your liver, your internal organs.

Paul was saying, “I’ve go a gut feeling of love for you.” That is not a natural kind of love. It is a supernatural kind of love and that’s why Paul said it’s not from himself, but it’s the affection of Christ Jesus. Human love wears out and dries up and dies on the vine. The only kind of love that lasts in spite of heartache and difficulty in tough circumstances is God’s love — the affection of Jesus Christ.

So how do you get this king of love? “God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.” (Romans 5:5 NIV) God’s love is not something you work up. It is something that is poured into you by the Holy Spirit as you let Him live in you day-by-day.