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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sharpen Your Skills - Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 21 October Tuesday

“Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings...”
(Proverbs 22:29, NIV)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Too often, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing the same way over and over every day. But if we are going to live at our absolute best, we should constantly be growing and sharpening our skills. We should strive to learn and grow every single day because when we stop learning, we stop growing. When we stop growing, we stop living.
What are you doing to stretch yourself? What are you doing to improve your skills? Don’t get trapped into thinking that “good enough” is good enough. You were created for more than just average. Today is a new day, and there are new heights for you to climb. Pursue what you love and keep developing that area of your life. Take a class or find a mentor that will help you live skillfully. As scripture promises, you’ll go before leaders and rulers and excel in every area of life!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, today I resist mediocrity. I choose to give my very best to everything I do. Teach me to live skillfully so that my life is a continual praise to You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Willpower Won’t Solve Your Problem BY RICK WARREN — OCTOBER 23, Thursday

“I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (Romans 7:22-23 NLT)
You have a war inside of you that will rage for your entire life between who you used to be and who you’ve become in Jesus Christ. Paul, the most decorated missionary in the history of Christianity and the author of most of the New Testament, battled with it.
The Bible says in Romans 7:22-23, “I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another powerwithin me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me” (Romans 7:22-23 NLT).
I hate to tell you this, but you’ll always have this battle. You’ll never outgrow it. You can’t read enough Scripture to make the temptations go away. You can’t hide from them.
Until you get to Heaven, you’re stuck with an all-out battle between your two natures. I’ve been a believer for a long time, but my old nature is still there. My old nature wants me to be prideful, lustful, self-centered, deceptive, and just downright sinful sometimes.
The question is, what are you going to do about it?
Willpower won’t solve the problem. Just because you want to change and put everything into making that change doesn’t mean you’ll make the change. It may work for a bit, but you’ll get tired and stop the effort.
In your spiritual walk, you want to choose to follow your new nature, meaning you choose not to follow your old nature. For instance, if you’re tempted with lust but you immediately remove yourself from the temptation, you’ll starve the old self. If, when you’re tempted with pride, you remember your dependence upon God, your old nature can’t last long.
Talk It Over
  • In what ways do you see your old nature struggling with your new nature on a daily basis?
  • How can you set yourself up for success in these situations?

Choose Life Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 23 October Thursday

– Romans 8:6
If you were given the choice between life and death, which would you choose? The answer seems obvious. But, in reality, it's not.
You see, choosing death doesn't necessarily mean jumping from the nearest cliff. It's much more subtle than that.
The Bible says death is being carnally minded, being entangled in this present worldly realm. The Bible also tells us what life is. "My son, attend to my words," says Proverbs 4:20-22, "...for they are life!"
To be worldly-minded is death. To be Word-minded is life.
In Luke 10, there's a story that illustrates this principle extremely well. It's the story of Mary and Martha. You probably remember it. Mary was sitting at Jesus' feet listening to Him teach while Martha was bustling around in the kitchen cooking dinner for everyone.
Finally Martha couldn't stand it anymore. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work myself? Tell her to help me!" Jesus answered, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42).
Mary had set everything else aside, so she could hear the Word. But Martha had let the seemingly important business of living take priority over the Word. She'd chosen death, not life.
You see how easy it is to slip into that?
"But Brother Copeland," you say, "if I didn't spend all my time taking care of the business of living, my life would fall apart!"
Oh, really? Martha probably thought that too. She probably thought if she didn't cook dinner for all those folks, they'd go hungry. But they wouldn't have. Jesus had miraculously fed multitudes before and He could have done it again in Martha's home. She could have plopped herself down at Jesus' feet, and they could have had a banquet at God's expense!
Don't make the mistake that Martha did. Don't get so entangled in the business of living that you choose death by default. Decide to put the Word first place. Choose life!
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:5-13

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Missing Ingredient in Your Battle Against Sin BY RICK WARREN — OCTOBER 22, Wednesday

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” (Galatians 5:16 NLT)
You can do everything right and still not defeat a sin. You can read the Bible every day. You can pray. You can have a group of friends around you who’ll speak the truth in love to you on a regular basis.
And you can still be trapped in habitual sin.  
At the end of the day, you can’t depend upon yourself and what you can do to defeat sin. You need the Holy Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit enables believers to do what they can’t do and fulfill God’s desire for our lives.
Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (NLT).
You can have all the right equipment to defeat habitual sin in your life, but it won’t matter without the Holy Spirit. Imagine you were walking on the beach and saw a dead seagull that had died less than a minute earlier. If you pick it up, it won’t be much different than its live counterparts. It’ll still be warm. It’ll have the same muscles, bones, feathers, and wings. But if you toss it up in the sky, it’ll drop right back down to the ground. 
Why? The seagull has no life left. The life isn’t in the feathers, wings, or bones. It’s in the life God puts in it. Without a spirit, the bird won’t fly, even if it has all the right equipment.
You can have all the right equipment to live a successful, victorious life, but without the Spirit’s empowering, you can’t live that kind of life.
It’s like throwing a dead bird into the air.
You can’t live the victorious life of Christ on your own. It’s impossible. Your best intentions and your too-easily-broken promises won’t enable you to live the Christian life. The Holy Spirit has to live through you. 
Talk It Over
  • How does the Holy Spirit live through you?
  • Why do you think people are sometimes afraid of the Holy Spirit’s power in their lives?

When Tough Times Come Gloria Copeland Ministries daily devotional 22 October Wednesday

– Acts 9:31
There are times when life on this earth is hard and uncomfortable...and even downright painful. When those times come, you deeply need the comfort that only the Holy Spirit can bring.
How do you receive that kind of comfort?
By doing just what the believers in Acts did. By "walking in the fear of the Lord."
Now, when I talk about "the fear of the Lord," please understand, I'm not saying you should be afraid of God. He's your Father! You should be as secure and unafraid when you come before Him as a child who knows he is dearly loved. But you must also have so much respect for Him that whenever He reveals something you need to do, you do it immediately-- even if it goes against your natural desires. That's walking in the fear of the Lord.
Let me show you what I mean. Once, several years ago, I received a very disturbing phone call shortly before I was to preach at one of our meetings. It was painful news about a situation in which one of my children had been wronged. The news of it wounded my heart.
I cried, and in the natural, I wanted to get angry about it, to strike back in some way. But instead, I began praying in other tongues. As I prayed, I was prompted in my spirit to rejoice and praise the Lord.
I certainly didn't feel like praising. I felt like stomping my foot. But, out of respect to the Lord, I put my feelings aside and obeyed. Next, the Holy Spirit impressed me to read a particular prophecy. As I did, I could tell I was being strengthened.
Then suddenly, I realized I was free. By my obedience, I had opened myself to the comforting power of the Holy Spirit. The anger and pain that had filled me just moments before were gone! They had been replaced by the gentle love and reassurance of the Lord.
No matter how tough or painful a situation you may be facing today, trust and obey the directions of your Father. He will make that same supernatural, Holy Spirit-inspired comfort available to you!
Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

You Need a Battle Buddy BY RICK WARREN — OCTOBER 21, Tuesday

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen.” (James 5:16 NCV)
People don’t go to war by themselves. It would be a suicide mission. Someone has to have your back.
You need a battle buddy.
The same is true in the spiritual battles we all face. You can’t go to war against lustful thoughts, dishonesty, addictions, and fear by yourself. You’ll be doomed to fail.
If all you want is to be forgiven, admit your sin and brokenness to God. If you want to make a change, admit it to someone else.
Revealing your sin is the beginning of healing. You don’t have to admit your sin to everyone. But you need to admit it to someone. You need one person who’ll love you unconditionally, accept you completely, and pray for you constantly. You need someone of the same gender to be open and honest with.
The Bible says in James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen (NCV).
When you confess your sins to someone else, you open the relief valve and take the pressure off. Suddenly, the boogieman isn’t so big.
Often sin is a cycle. You start out humbly asking God for help, so he gives you the power to make it. After about six months of success, you start getting prideful. Then, you fall. And, in humility again, you ask God for help. If you could stay in that spirit of humility, you’d be good. But pride always returns.
You can’t kick that kind of cycle without friends who’ll pray for you, care for you, encourage you, and keep you on track. When success comes, they’ll help you keep your perspective so your humility stays in check.
That’s why local churches are so important. But you can attend many churches for years and never put yourself in a situation where you know others and are known by others. Make the effort to find a small group of believers in a local church with whom you can be open and honest.
To think you can quit a bad habit without being honest about it with others is simply a cop out. It never works. You guarantee failure when you do that.
Talk It Over
  • What sin in your life do you need to confess to another person?
  • To whom in your life can you confess your sin?
  • What frightens you about revealing your sin to someone else?