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Be An Answer To Jesus’ Prayer

Be An Answer To Jesus’ Prayer

Many times I have said to friends and viewers of LIFE Today, “If you want your prayers answered, seek to be an answer to someone else’s prayer!” As Betty and I have supported other missions and ministry endeavors all over the world, we have seen the things we were able to do or provide come as a direct answer to someone’s prayer, not just a need met. When we give attention to the concerns of our Father and hear the heart’s cry of others, there is no question that God grants us light in our darkest moments and we become a fruitful garden, truly an ever-flowing stream. Recently I have found myself overwhelmed by a deep yearning to be an answer to Jesus’ prayer. For centuries, dedicated believers and the general public have repeated the words of the model prayer Jesus gave the disciples in Matthew 6. Every phrase has become increasingly precious to me, especially, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” which is preceded by the necessary manifest power of His kingdom coming – not a future reward, but the present prevailing reality of His majestic power. Living with an awareness of God’s kingdom now increases our sensitivity to everything in the spiritual realm. God is ever-present in transforming power which can and should be revealed through our yielded lives. Meditate on this truth! My personal focus now and for the rest of my life is to see Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17 fulfilled in our day. Our Lord expressed excitement to His Father about the glory that had been revealed through Him to His followers now being revealed to the world through them. Very specifically, He addresses something we have everything to do with if the prayer is to be answered. He desires that we each become one with the Father as He (Jesus) is. We are to capture the heart of the Father because we have been totally captivated by His heart. His will becomes our will, His concerns our concerns, and His focus our focus. As we submit to Him “presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds to know what the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”1 Jesus prayed for us to be protected from the evil one and to become holy, consecrated by the truth of His word. Paul referred to this process as being “washed with the water of the word.”  Jesus taught that abiding in Him enables us to know the truth that sets us free. It is critically important – absolutely necessary – for us to come into this oneness...

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The Sufferings of His Broken Heart

The Sufferings of His Broken Heart

Go with me for a moment to witness what was perhaps the foggiest night in history. The scene is very simple; you’ll recognize it quickly. A grove of twisted olive trees. Ground cluttered with large rocks. A low stone fence. A dark, dark night. Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See that person? See that solitary figure? What’s he doing? Flat on the ground. Face stained with dirt and tears. Fists pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a stupor of fear. Hair matted with salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead? That’s Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Maybe you’ve seen the classic portrait of Christ in the garden. Kneeling beside a big rock. Snow-white robe. Hands peacefully folded in prayer. A look of serenity on his face. Halo over his head. A spotlight from heaven illuminating his golden-brown hair. Now, I’m no artist, but I can tell you one thing. The man who painted that picture didn’t use the gospel of Mark as a pattern. Look what Mark wrote about that painful night, he used phrases like these: “Horror and dismay came over him.” “My heart is ready to breakwith grief.” “He went a little forward and threw himself on the ground.” Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. Mark used black paint to describe this scene. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:3 NASB) We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief. We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart. The writer of Hebrews would later pen, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV) My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity. The next time the fog finds you, you might do well to remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think that no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to him pleading among the twisted trees. The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention. It may be the closest you’ll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very well be that the hand that extends itself to lead...

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He Sees

He Sees

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE “I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul” (Psalm 31:7, NLT) TODAY’S WORD God sees and cares about everything that happens in your life. He’s seen every wrong that’s been done to you. He’s seen every unfair situation. He told the people of Israel, “I have seen your affliction. I have seen how badly you were treated those 430 years that you were in slavery.” Then He went on to say, “I have come down to deliver you.” When God brought them out, they didn’t come out empty-handed. God made their enemies hand over their gold and silver. God vindicated His people, and He will vindicate you! Maybe someone has wronged you today. You could easily become bitter and angry and spend your life trying to pay them back. However, if you will give it to God and let Him do it His way, scripture says He’ll pay you double for your trouble! Today, know that He sees where you are, He sees where you’ve been and He sees the struggles of your heart. Release the struggle to Him and let Him reward you with His everlasting promises. A PRAYER FOR TODAY Father God, today I choose to release the struggles in my heart. I release the offenses and wrongs done to me. I choose forgiveness. I choose peace. I choose to let You be my vindicator knowing that You love me and care for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. Source: Joel & Victoria...

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Learn Trust by Obeying in Small Ways

Learn Trust by Obeying in Small Ways

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6 (NIV) You learn to trust God by obeying him in small ways. At this point in relationship with Jesus, you no doubt agree God is the supreme ruler of the universe, powerful enough to overcome any problem or defeat any enemy, that “everything comes from him; everything happens through him; everything ends up in him.” (Romans 11:36 MSG) And, if this is true, then your struggle to give it all to God is not over the issue of whether or not he’ll be able to fulfill his promises—he clearly can do that. Perhaps the resistance you and I exhibit when we’re faced with trust is because we wonder if God will do it the way we want it done—“Yes, I believe God can work this out, but I’m not sure he will do my way.” God patiently understands your hesitancy. He made the first move toward establishing a loving, trusting relationship with you. Think about this — He didn’t wait until you could be trusted to receive his love, and he doesn’t insist you become trustworthy before he trusts you with precious gifts (Romans 5:6–8). Even when we were still powerless, Jesus came to guide us home and to give us an exceedinlg, abaundant life on our journey there. “…When we were still powerless …” suggests we now have power to live that abundant life, to follow Jesus into our destiny – and we do! But it is the power of Jesus working in and through us, not a power we earned or developed on our own. When we obey God, even in small ways, “we find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.” (Romans 5:2...

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Through the Fire

Through the Fire

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE “…We went through fire and flood, but You brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:12, NLT) TODAY’S WORD In scripture, three Hebrew teenagers, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were told to bow down to the king’s idol or they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. They said, “No, King. We’re not going to bow down. We know our God will deliver us.” Their attitude was, “We’re not worried about it. We know we have inside information. We know everything is going to be alright.” Notice they didn’t fight it. They weren’t upset. They weren’t complaining. They were at peace. They knew God Almighty had His hand upon them. The guards threw them into the fiery furnace, and when all was said and done, they came out without even the smell of smoke on them! Notice that God didn’t deliver them from the fire; He delivered them through the fire. Maybe you are going through the fire today. Know that God is with you. He’s doing a work in you, and He’s displaying His glory through you. Remember, on the other side of the fire is a place of abundance and blessing! Stand strong and see the fulfillment of the promises He has in store for you! A PRAYER FOR TODAY Father in heaven, thank You for delivering and saving me. I stand strong no matter what I may be facing, knowing that You are with me. Thank You for protecting me through the fire and for leading me to the place of abundance and blessing You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ Name....

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God Can, Even Though I Can’t

God Can, Even Though I Can’t

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV) The only way you will fulfill God’s destiny for you this decade is to rely on God’s strength. And that means you have to confess ‘I can’t’ before you can agree ‘God can.’ Otherwise, we’ll just keep thinking there’s still some ability (competency, sufficiency) in us that will allow us – independent of God – to do the things he expects of us during this Decade of Destiny. We’ll continue to believe, wrongly, that we can do some things, perhaps all things, apart from God. We’ll keep applying the pretzel logic that we can make decisions disconnected from God that somehow keep us connected to God’s plans for us. And when we make choices disconnected and independent from God, there is little difference between the way we live our lives and the way non-believers live their lives. “But people who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT) You have the Holy Spirit inside you. You have the ability to understand when God is telling you to take steps toward his goals for your life. Ask him to teach you to hear his still small voice and to help you take the steps he tells you to take. Then, look for the ways he guides you through the decisions and details of your life. For the next few weeks, keep a list of all the times you sense God giving you direction. This will help you to see that he is at work in your life and that he has a constant interest in the details of your...

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He Answers You

He Answers You

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE “I will answer them before they even call to Me…” (Isaiah 65:24, NLT) TODAY’S WORD Have you ever thought about something you wanted or needed, and suddenly that need was supplied even before you had time to stop and pray? God knows your needs before you even speak them. He wants to provide for you and answer the very desires of your heart. Don’t ever think God is too busy to answer you. Don’t ever think your needs are too small or that you don’t matter. The truth is that He cares about everything that concerns you, and He loves to hear you call upon His name! When you put Him first in everything you do, when you faithfully follow His commands, He’ll pour out an extra portion of His goodness and favor upon you! Remember, you are very special to God, and He hears you and answers you. It may not be in your timing or in the way you expected, but know that He always has your best interest at heart. He is working things out for your good, and He will always answer — sometimes before you even call! A PRAYER FOR TODAY Father in heaven, thank You for Your faithfulness in my life. I trust that You hear me and that You will answer me. Show me Your ways and teach me to trust in You as I surrender to You every area of life. In Jesus’ Name....

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God Is Stronger Than We Think

God Is Stronger Than We Think

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV) We’re not as strong as we think we are, but God is stronger than we think. You become strong through God’s strength. His strength enters your life, delivered by the Holy Spirit—Jesus within—and the more dependent you are on God, the stronger in him you become. In our weakness, he is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). “I can do everything . . .” doesn’t mean, ‘Now that I’m a believer, I’m strong enough to do everything and anything for God.” Your own testimony can attest to the fears and failures related to such thinking. The strength of “I can do everything . . .” comes through God, who gives you the strength you need for each day. Your ability to “do everything” is wholly dependent upon him because your strength is dependent upon him. It’s not a strength you work up to by pumping iron with emotional or mental barbells. Strength comes from submission. The thing you do that may require the greatest strength is to submit yourself completely to God! But God is “working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13 NLT). Strength is linked to faith. You believe in faith that God is giving you his strength; and so, in faith you can act in confidence, knowing the strength is there: “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (2 Timothy 4:17...

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Don’t Be Distracted From Your Purpose

Don’t Be Distracted From Your Purpose

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22 (NIV) Living this decade for the glory of God will require a change in your priorities, your schedule, your relationships, and everything else. It will sometimes mean choosing a difficult path instead of the easy one. Steve Adams, our pastor to children at Saddleback Church, says when we are moving forward in the direction God tells us, “Action requires traction, but the enemy brings distraction.” In other words, we can’t just say we believe in God’s plan, or say we need to take some steps. God requires that we take real steps to move us forward. But the enemy, as Steve notes, rushes in with distractions designed to pull us away from God’s plan. We become like the man described by James in the Bible, who looks into a mirror, but then forgets what he looks like as he walks away. Distractions such as bad attitudes, excuses, procrastination, and busyness make us mere ‘listeners’ of the word when God calls us to be ‘doers.’ We face a choice with every step we take into this decade of destiny: Will we fulfill God’s purpose, or will we shrink back and live a comfortable, self-centered life? Will we live for our own goals, comfort, and pleasure, or will we live the rest of our lives for God’s glory, knowing that he has promised eternal...

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How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Seventh Test

How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Seventh Test

“[God’s] peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)   The final test in recognizing God’s voice is to ask yourself, “Do I sense God’s peace about it?” If you think you’ve heard from God, it measures up to God’s Word, you’ve gotten advice from other people and passed the other tests, but you still feel confused or anxious, then it doesn’t pass the seventh test. Why? “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33 NIV). So you wait and remain patient until you sense God’s peace. God is a perfect father. Parents don’t want their kids to feel worried or pressured when they ask them to do something. No, they want their children to feel encouraged. That’s the same way God wants to relate to you. He doesn’t want you to feel anxiety in anything he asks you to do. The only time a sense of pressure is legitimate is when you keep saying no to God. That is a relational pressure that comes from holding God at arm’s length. Satan wants to drive us compulsively in the things we do, but God doesn’t work that way. God wants to draw us compassionately. He’s the shepherd who wants to lead the sheep. He doesn’t drive us; he guides us. And, as sheep, we need to listen for his voice. Philippians 4:6-7 describes the attitude you should have when you listen to God’s voice. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT). It’s not just a matter of hearing God’s voice; it’s also a matter or responding. Hearing is not enough. You have to act as well. The Bible says that God speaks to people who do three things. “Listen to this wise advice; follow it closely, for it will do you good, and you can pass it on to others” (Proverbs 22:17 LB). God speaks to those who listen to what he says, follow it closely, and then pass it on to...

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How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Sixth Test

How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Sixth Test

“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NLT)   When you get an idea and you are wondering if it is from God, the sixth question to ask yourself is, “Is it convicting or is it condemning?” If it convicts, then it is from God, but if it condemns then it is from Satan. A lot of Christians live under condemnation, or constant guilt, and they think it is from God. It isn’t. Condemnation comes from Satan. But conviction comes from God. Here’s the difference between the two: The purpose of conviction is to correct you on a specific issue in order to bring a change in your life, and it is motivated by God’s love. Because God loves you, when he sees an area in your life that needs change – a relationship, a habit, an attitude – he will nudge you and say, “You need to work on this thing that’s out of whack in your life.” The purpose of condemnation is to criticize and make you feel guilty, usually in a vague way. If you’ve ever felt guilty but you couldn’t point to anything specific, or if you’ve ever had a feeling of worthlessness, that is condemnation from Satan. But Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). God will never attack you; he will never say you’re worthless or unlovable. In fact, in Revelation 3:19 God says, “Those whom I dearly and tenderly love, I tell their faults and convict and discipline. So be earnest and repent (changing your mind and attitude)” (AMP). As soon as you start to confess and change, you will no longer feel any conviction. It’s short-term. But condemnation is Satan’s way of making you feel worse and worse. It doesn’t go away even after confession. It’s like the American court system. First there is the conviction of a crime in the court; then comes the condemnation, or sentencing which can last for years. But God doesn’t work that way. In God’s justice system the Holy Spirit convicts us of what’s wrong in our life and we admit it. Jesus pays the condemnation. He serves the punishment for our sin through his death on the cross. And we are free to live the way God created us to live, to live the way Jesus enables us to live. That’s the grace of...

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How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Fifth Test

How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Fifth Test

“We will all be judged one day, not by each other’s standards, or even our own, but by the judgment of God … it is to God alone that we shall have to answer for our actions.” Romans 14:10, 13 (PH)   If something is not your responsibility, why should God talk to you about it? Wouldn’t he just talk directly to the person it concerns? This is the fifth test to consider when you wonder if an idea or impression you have comes from God – “Does it concern your responsibility?” In John 21, Jesus told Peter that he would die a martyr’s death. Peter’s response was to glance at John, who was standing nearby, and ask Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:21 NIV). Peter wasn’t satisfied with God telling him what was going to happen in his life. He wanted to know about John’s future as well. Jesus responded by saying, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:22 NIV). “What is that to you?” My wife, Kay, calls that the WITTY principle. We get ourselves in so much trouble when we start comparing ourselves to others. But when we do this, God says, “What is that to you?” He wants our focus to be following him, not worrying about other people. Have you ever heard someone say, “God told me to tell you”? My response to that is, “Are you sure about that?” All believers have a direct line to God. And God doesn’t have to tell someone else to tell you. He can talk to you directly. Now, does God ever speak to others through another person? Of course he does. But there are three guidelines you need to follow if feel God is using you to speak to someone else. Be patient and pray. Give God a chance to speak to that person directly. God will typically use you to confirm in someone else’s life what he’s already told them. So when you share your words with someone it won’t be a big surprise if it’s really from God. 3. God will usually use you without you being conscious of it. If God is going to speak through you to others, he will often do it in a way that you don’t even realize it was God speaking through you. But the person on the receiving end will recognize its...

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How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Fourth Test

How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Fourth Test

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)   The fourth test for confirming a word from God is to ask yourself, “Is it consistent with how God shaped me?” At  Church, we use the acronym SHAPE to describe the collection of a person’s Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences. These five things make you unique from everyone else in the world. They also reveal your purpose in life. A lot of people ignore their SHAPE and end up wasting millions of dollars going after pipe dreams, starting businesses and making plans they weren’t shaped to do. God will never lead you a way that is inconsistent with your SHAPE. If you have a musical ability, you should use it. But if you’re tone deaf and can’t carry a tune, you shouldn’t try out for American Idol. Romans 12:6 says, “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well” (LB). So ask yourself, “What do I love to do that I’m good at doing?” Note that I didn’t just say, “What do you love to do?” Before I became a pastor, I was a worship leader. I played guitar and loved to sing, but nobody liked hearing me. So I learned pretty quickly that while I had a passion for music, I didn’t have the talent for it. I loved it, but I wasn’t good at it. You discover a lot of God’s will simply by looking at what you are good at. And if you get an impression that makes you wonder if it’s from God, but it leads you completely contrary to your SHAPE, then it’s not from God. You can know that for a fact. God is not going to ask you to do something he hasn’t given you the ability to...

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How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Third Test

How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Third Test

“God’s intent is that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known.” Ephesians 3:10 (NIV) God has not meant for anyone to go through life alone. He made us to live in relationship with other people. So when it comes to hearing God’s voice, you need to listen to the people around you. You need a church family and a small group to confirm whether what you sense God directing you to do is true or not. This is the third test question: Are there other people who can confirm what I believe God is saying to me? If God has genuinely spoken to you, he will confirm it through other mature believers. This idea that we have to do everything on our own is an American idea, not God’s. He wants you to share your idea with others for confirmation and listen to their feedback. And if you feel resistance to the thought of even asking somebody else about your idea, that should be a huge red flag that the idea did not come from God. The reason God tells us to get advice is because he wants to save us from a lot of things. As it says in Proverbs 11:9, “The wisdom of the righteous can save you” (GNT). Advice from other mature believers can save you time wasted doing the wrong thing. It can save you from wasting money. It can save your reputation. It can save you from making mistakes. One of the main reasons people mess up their lives is that they have no godly friends to give them feedback. That is why it is so important to be in a small group with fellow believers who can hold you accountable and give you advice. The Bible says, “In the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14b KJV). If you are not in a small group, you are skating on thin ice and you don’t know when you might fall...

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How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Second Test

How to Recognize God’s Voice – The Second Test

“In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 (NCV) God’s number one purpose in your life is to make you like Jesus. He is the standard for your life in how you think, act, feel and speak. That’s why the second test to determining whether an impression is from God or not is to ask this question: “Does it make me more like Christ?” God is never going to tell you something in your mind that would cause you to do something that’s un-Christlike. If it is not like Jesus, believe me, you didn’t get the idea from God. What is Jesus like? James 3:14-17 gives us some specifics that are a good measure for testing an idea: “If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition … such ‘wisdom’ is of the devil. The wisdom that comes from God is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere” (NIV). First of all, this passage tells us two things God’s wisdom is not. It will not be motivated by bitter envy or selfish ambition. These verses instead give seven things to test if an idea that comes into your mind is from God: Is it pure? If any thought is impure, God didn’t give it to you. Is it peace-loving? If the idea is from God, it will promote harmony and reconciliation, not conflict. Is it considerate? Any idea that would hurt or harm someone, even though it may benefit you, is not from God because he cares about the effect it might have on others. Is it submissive? If you get an idea from God, you must be open to having it tested by other people, asking them what they think about it. If you are hesitant and don’t feel like letting other people test the idea, then it didn’t come from God because it isn’t leading you to submit to others’ feedback. Is it full of mercy? An impression from God will make you more gracious and forgiving. It won’t make you judgmental or critical. Is it impartial and sincere? When you get an idea that’s from God, you don’t use it to manipulate people to get your own way. Any idea that encourages these seven qualities in your life is an idea that will make you more like Christ....

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How to Recognize God’s Voice

How to Recognize God’s Voice

How to Recognize God’s Voice – The First Test   “Don’t believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God; test it first to see if it really is!” 1 John 4:1 (LB) When I get an idea in my mind, how do I know if it’s from God? How do I know it’s not my own desire or even a lie from Satan? The answer is clear in 1 John 4:1 – I must test it to find out. This week I want to share with you the seven biblical ways to test an impression and find out whether it is from God or not. These seven tests form a filter and you need to make sure that the idea you are testing passes all seven of them. When it does, you can have absolute confidence that the idea is from God. The first test is to ask the question, “Does it agree with the Bible?” God will never contradict his written word. Luke 21:33 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (NIV). God’s truth is consistent. He is not going to tell you one thing in the Bible and then tell you something different in an impression. And as Proverbs 12:19 says, “Truth stands the test of time.” How does this apply as a filter? For example, the Bible tells us to pay our taxes when it says “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21 NIV). So if you feel God telling you not to pay your taxes this year, that thought isn’t from God. It would be a contradiction of his Word. There are also many verses in Proverbs that say God will bless your business if you have integrity and if you are honest and fair in all your business dealings. So if you get an idea that you could make more money and increase your profits by being dishonest, that idea is not from God. The vast majority of God’s will for your life is in God’s Word. So if anyone ever comes up to you and says you need the Bible plus another book to find truth, they are wrong. Galatians 1:8 says, “Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him be forever cursed” (NLT). That may sound harsh, but God’s truth does not change. If you want to know God’s voice, the only book you need to read is the Bible. You need to memorize it, study it, and meditate on it. When you know God’s Word you will not be fooled by lies. But you will...

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You have begun to live the new life

You have begun to live the new life

“You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you.” (Colossians 3:10a NCV) Every day Jesus wants you to become a little more like him: “You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you.” (Colossians 3:10a NCV) Today we’re obsessed with speed, but God is more interested in strength and stability than swiftness. We want the quick fix, the shortcut, or the on-the-spot solution. We want to instantly resolve all problems, remove all temptation, and release us from all growing pains. But we are learning, as we prepare for our Decade of Destiny, that real growth and lasting change come when we stay focused on our goals day-in and day-out. Real maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving. Growth is gradual, but as we stay with it, we are “becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” (2 Corinthians 3:18b...

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He Makes Up the Difference

He Makes Up the Difference

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE “…for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)” (2 Corinthians 12:10, AMP) TODAY’S WORD No matter what weakness you think you may have, no matter what inadequacies or setbacks you’ve encountered, God wants to give you His divine strength! He wants to make up the difference and put you further ahead than you ever thought possible. One time in the Old Testament, God simply multiplied the sound of four men’s footsteps and caused them to sound like a mighty army. When their enemies heard them, they took off running. There were thousands of enemy troops running for their lives, scared to death, thinking they were being attacked by a massive army when, in fact, it was just four people! What happened? God made up the difference. Friend, God can make you seem bigger than you really are. He can make you look more powerful. He knows how to multiply your influence, your strength, your talent and your income. You don’t have to figure it all out; all you have to do is put your trust in Him. If you will release your faith for a supernatural year and wake up every day expecting God’s far and beyond favor, then you’re going to see God show up and make the difference in every area of your life!...

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Punch a Hole in the Dam

Punch a Hole in the Dam

Punch a Hole in the Dam “So [Israel] came up to Baal-perazim, and David smote the [Philistines] there. Then David said, God has broken my enemies by my hand, like the bursting forth of waters; therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim(Lord of breaking through).” (1 Chronicles 14:11) Like the bursting forth of waters. I love that phrase! It paints such a powerful and accurate picture of a breakthrough. Do you remember the story of the little boy who saw a leak in the dam and plugged up the hole with his finger? He knew that the force of the water flowing through that one tiny hole would have enlarged the leak with every second that passed. And, as the dam gave way to the pressure, that tiny trickle would have quickly become a raging flood. As you reach out your hand in faith, expect God to break in upon your enemies just like He did for David. That’s how your breakthrough will come like the bursting forth of waters! Punch one little hole in that wall of problems, and no devilish dam will hold you back. Dig one tiny hole in it with your faith and with the Word of God. Then keep tearing away at that hole by speaking out that faith day after day. Don’t quit! Because God’s forces are backed up behind you like an ocean of spiritual water. Each time you speak a word of faith, they leak through. The more you speak and the more you pray, the bigger that leak will get. Begin your breakthrough right now. Say, “Lord Jesus, I rejoice today that You are Lord of my breakthrough. I thank You that the flood of Your power is about to sweep through my life. I know there is no problem that can stand against it. Poverty can’t stand against it. Family problems can’t stand against it. Nothing the devil can do can stop my victory. I praise You for it NOW! Amen.” Keep praying that. Keep believing that. And before long, the forces of God will come bursting through, demolishing every obstacle in their...

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Love is Patient

Love is Patient

Love is Patient (1 Corinthians 13:4)   Patience is the red carpet upon which God’s grace approaches us. The Greek word used here for patience is a descriptive one. It figuratively means “taking a long time to boil.” Think about a pot of boiling water. What factors determine the speed at which it boils? The size of the stove? No. The pot? The utensil may have an influence, but the primary factor is the intensity of the flame. Water boils quickly when the flame is high. It boils slowly when the flame is low. Patience “keeps the burner down.” Helpful clarification, don’t you think? Patience isn’t naive. It doesn’t ignore misbehavior. It just keeps the flame low. It waits. It listens. It’s slow to boil. This is how God treats us. And, according to Jesus, this is how we should treat others. He once told a parable about a king who decides to settle his accounts with his debtors. His bookkeeper surfaces a fellow who owes not thousands or hundreds of thousands but millions of dollars. The king summarily declares that the man and his wife and kids are to be sold to pay the debt. Because of his inability to pay, the man is about to lose everything and everyone dear to him. No wonder “the man fell down before the king and begged him, “Oh, sir, be patientwith me, and I will pay it all.” (Matt. 18:26–27 NLT, emphasis mine) The word patience makes a surprise appearance here. The debtor does not plead for mercy or forgiveness; he pleads for patience. Equally curious is this singular appearance of the word. Jesus uses it twice in this story and never again. Jesus reserves the word for one occasion to make one point. Patience is more than a virtue for long lines and slow waiters. Patience is the red carpet upon which God’s grace approaches us. Had there been no patience, there would have been no mercy. But the king was patient, and the man with the multimillion-dollar debt was forgiven. But then the story takes a left turn. The freshly forgiven fellow makes a beeline from the courthouse to the suburbs. There he searches out a guy who owes him some money. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. “Be patient and I will pay it,” he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and jailed until the debt could be paid in full.” (vv. 28–30...

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