Saturday, March 14, 2009

Daily Digest #246

We were burdened beyond measure, . . . so that we despaired even of life. —2 Corinthians 1:8

Allow me to share to you several articles from the Purpose Driven Life online (read below). May we be enlightened, as we reflect on all our trials and experiences, and the lessons that come along with them. May we learn to divert our attention to the good side of things and trust that everything works out for the best.

For this, let us pray... May we learn to surrender ourselves completely to His will and time. May we seek comfort and strength from Him, and trust that we are being molded. May we grow an intimate relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Pray always.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans … to give you a future and a hope … You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.” Jeremiah 29:11, 13 (LB)

*** *** *** ***

No matter what the pollsters, pundits, and prognosticators claim, no one can accurately predict all that is going to happen in the next year, let alone the next few days or weeks. Our best forecasts are just educated guesses.

Change is not only increasing in speed and intensity, but also in unpredictability. How can anyone succeed when the future is so uncertain?

The Bible suggests three timeless principles for facing an uncertain future:

1. Set goals according to God’s direction.
It’s foolish to make plans without first consulting God. He’s the only one who does know the future – and he’s eager to guide you through it.

The Bible says, “We may make our plans, but God has the last word” (Proverbs 16:1 GNT). In other words, planning without praying is presumption. Start by praying, “God, what do you want me to do in 2009?”

2. Live one day at a time.
While you can plan for tomorrow, you can’t live it until it arrives. Most people spend so much time regretting the past and worrying about the future, they have no time to enjoy today!

John Lennon once wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Decide to make the most of each moment this year. Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time” (Matthew 6:34 LB).

3. Don’t procrastinate.
Do it now! “Don’t boast about what you’re going to do tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).

Procrastinating is a subtle trap. It wastes today by postponing things until tomorrow. You promise yourself that you’ll do it “one of these days.” But “one of these days” is usually “none of these days.”

What did you plan to get done last year that you didn’t do? When do you intend to start working on it?


[The boy’s father said,] “... If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!” Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” Mark 9:22-24 (MSG)

*** *** *** ***

Is it possible to be filled with faith and doubt at the same time? Yes!

You can have faith that God wants you to do something and still be scared to death. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is going ahead and doing what you’re called to do in spite of your fear.

You have to begin with the faith you already have: it may be just a little, but you start there. A beautiful example of this is the story of the man who brought his sick son to Jesus in Mark 9. Jesus looked at the man and said, “I can heal your son. If you will believe, I will heal him.”

The father then makes a classic statement: “Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.”

Have you ever felt like that? “Lord, I have some faith. But I also have some doubts.” This man was filled with faith and doubt, yet despite his honest doubts, he went ahead and asked Jesus for a miracle. And he got his miracle – Jesus healed his son.

Mustard seed faith moves mountains.
No matter how weak or how frail you think your faith is, it’s enough to get you through what you’re facing because your “little faith” is in a big God.

Matthew 17:20 says, “If you have faith as small as the mustard seed, nothing will be impossible to you.” That’s not a lot of faith; in fact, it’s just a little faith. But what else does that verse teach? “If you have faith as the mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, ‘Move’ and it will be moved.”

Mustard seed faith moves mountains. Don’t get this reversed; we tend to read this verse backward; we want it to say, “If you have faith like a mountain, you can move a mustard seed” – as if it takes enormous faith to do a very little task.

Everybody has faith. You had faith this morning when you ate your cereal – faith that your spouse didn’t put poison in your granola!

You had faith when you sat down in your computer chair – faith that it wouldn’t collapse.

Everybody has faith; the difference is what you put your faith in.

Sometimes people will tell me they don’t want to surrender to Jesus until all their questions are answered; they don’t want to make a commitment until every thing is understand.

God wants you start with the faith you have; and based on the example of the mustard seed, you don’t need a whole lot of faith to do great things for God. You just need a little.

So here’s a trustworthy equation:

Little Faith + Big God = Huge Results!

· You take your little faith; “Lord, I believe! Help me with my unbelief!”

· And you place your faith in our big God,

· And then he’ll show you how he works out huge results.

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. Proverbs 4:23 (TEV)

*** *** *** ***

To change your life, you must change the way you think. Behind everything you do is a thought. Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude.

God revealed this thousands of years before psychologists understood it: "Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts" (Proverbs 4:23 TEV).

Imagine riding in a speedboat on a lake with an automatic pilot set to go east. If you decide to reverse course and head west, you have two possible ways to change the boat's direction.

One way is to grab the steering wheel and physically force it to head in the opposite direction from where the autopilot is programmed to go. By sheer willpower, you could overcome the autopilot, but you'd feel constant resistance. Your arms would eventually tire of the stress, you'd let go of the steering wheel, and the boat would instantly head back east, the way it was internally programmed.

This is what happens when you try to change you life with willpower; you say, "I'll force myself to eat less ... stop smoking ... quit being disorganized and late."

And, yes, willpower can produce short-term change, but it creates constant internal stress because you haven't dealt with the root cause. The change doesn't feel natural. Eventually you give up and go off the diet.

There is a better and easier way: Change your autopilot; in other words, the way you think. "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think" (Romans 12:2 NLT).

Change always starts first in the mind. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act, which means "there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes" (Ephesians 4:23 NLT).

To be like Christ you must develop the mind of Christ. The New Testament calls this mental shift "repentance," which in Greek literally means "to change your mind."

To repent means to change the way you think - about God, yourself, sin, other people, life, your future, and everything else, and you adopt Christ's outlook and perspective on life.

Labels: ,