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Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Giants Between You and Your Dream BY RICK WARREN — JANUARY 29, Thursday

“Everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:47 NLT)
In the story of David in 1 Samuel, he actually had to fight four other giants before he got to Goliath. They weren’t physical giants, but they were giants in his mind.
You are far more likely to have to face those giants than a Goliath, but they can be just as big and intimidating and can keep you from becoming who God wants you to be and fulfilling the dream that God has put in your heart.
The first giant in facing your dream is delay. No dream is fulfilled instantly. God gives you the dream on one day, but he doesn’t fulfill it the next day. It may be years before you see the fulfillment of your life dream. There is always a waiting period.
In David’s case, his dad held him back from the dream. After Samuel anointed David as king, Jesse told David to get back to tending the sheep!
When God’s plan contradicts somebody else’s plan, there’s going to be a delay, and people are going to try to hold you back — sometimes even the people who love you the most. But God is faithful, and he will complete his work in you in his time.
The second giant you may face is discouragement. Goliath created a climate of fear in Israel, and everybody was convinced they were going to lose the battle.
Who are you listening to who says it can’t be done? Who is putting down your dreams, saying it won’t ever happen?
Sometimes you just need a fresh voice — a kid from the village with fresh eyes who says, “This guy’s nothing. We can take him down.”
The third giant standing in your way is disapproval. In David’s case, his own brother questioned his motives and disapproved of him going after Goliath.
When God gives you a dream that other people are afraid of and you go for it anyway, you will be misjudged, maligned, and misunderstood. You have to decide what matters more to you — the approval of other people or the approval of God.
The fourth giant you may have to face is doubt.
There was nobody who was a greater expert on war than King Saul, and he told David he was crazy for thinking a boy could fight a warrior like Goliath.
Maybe the expert is saying you can’t do it, either. That’s enough to make you start doubting yourself.
When I wrote “The Purpose Driven Life,” I got a letter from the editor (which I framed) that said, “This book will never work. Nobody’s going to read 40 chapters.” The experts are often wrong.
Talk It Over
  • What have you learned about yourself and about God when a dream has been delayed?
  • Who do the voices of discouragement that have kept you down belong to? Who do you need to listen to instead?
  • What are God’s promises that you can use for encouragement when you start to doubt yourself or your dream?

Just Do It Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 29 January Thursday

– Luke 13:14
Religion is dangerous. Religion would rather debate about healing than see somebody healed. Religion would rather argue about deliverance than see somebody set free.
You can see an example of that in Luke 13. Jesus healed a woman who had been bowed over for 18 years. Think of it, a dear old woman--a daughter of Abraham Jesus called her--set free after being bound by the devil for nearly two decades. You'd think the temple rulers would have been rejoicing at what Jesus had done. But, no! They were angry because He'd done it on the wrong day.
Do you know what's worse? Those very same religious leaders who criticized Jesus for healing on the Sabbath could have ministered healing to that woman themselves on any of the other six days of the week if they'd cared enough to do it.
That's why Jesus was so indignant with them. They had the same covenant of Abraham as Jesus. But their religion had kept that woman bound instead of setting her free. It always does.
Remember that next time someone tries to get you sidetracked into a religious debate about healing or deliverance. If someone needs to be delivered from a demon, just do it! Don't get all hung up on theological questions about where the demon is.
"Is it in his body? Or his brain? Or his spirit? Or his pocket?" While you're arguing about questions like that, the demon will be driving the poor guy up the wall.
The question isn't, "Where is the demon?" The question is, "Why haven't we gotten this man delivered? He's our blood brother in the Name of Jesus and he ought to be free!"
Once you start asking that question, you won't care whether that demon is inside or outside, hovering over or sitting under. All you'll care about is getting that person free!
That's the difference between religion and the love of God. Religion argues. Love acts. Choose love today.
Scripture Reading: Luke 13:11-17

A Double Portion of Blessing - Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 28 January Wednesday

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.”
(Zechariah 9:12, ESV)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
No matter what has been taken away from you, no matter what you’ve lost or experienced in the past, if you give it over to God, He will return to you more than you could ask or imagine. He’ll make things right and give you more than what was lost or stolen. The Bible says that when you put your hope in God, He blesses you with a double portion. God wants to multiply your joy, peace, wisdom, health, finances — a double portion of His favor in every area of your life! The first step in moving forward into this fresh future is forgetting the disappointments of yesterday. It’s time to turn loose those disappointments of your past and reach out in faith to God’s abundant future.
God, I praise You today because You are the God of the double portion! I give You the losses and disappointments of my past, trusting Your love and provision for me. In Jesus’ Name.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Here’s What You Should Spend Your Money On BY RICK WARREN — JANUARY 28, Wednesday

“Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.” (Luke 16:9 NLT)
The best use of your money is to use it to get people into Heaven.
Luke 16:9 is a problem verse that most people don’t understand. Jesus says, “Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home” (NLT).
Jesus is saying that, just like the shrewd manager who made friends he could count on later, you need to use some of your money to make eternal friends that you will have forever in Heaven and who will welcome you when you get there.
He’s not saying you can buy your way into Heaven, because you can’t. Jesus has already paid the price on the cross. He’s not saying you can purchase your salvation, because you can’t. Salvation is a free gift by grace.
Jesus is telling you to use your money to build friendships that are going to go on and on for eternity. When you use your money to help other people meet Jesus, you make friends for eternity and you gain rewards for eternity.
One day you’re going to die. Imagine that when you get to Heaven, there’s a hundred people standing at the entrance, clapping and cheering and saying, “We’ve been waiting for you! We’re here because you spent some money to tell us the Good News. We’re your friends for life … no, eternity, because we’re in debt to you. If it weren’t for the way you used your money, we wouldn’t have heard how to get to Heaven.”
Are you using any of your money for that kind of thing? Is anybody going to be in Heaven because of you? Because of the way you used your money?
When you buy a Bible and you give it to somebody who doesn’t have one, you’ve stored up treasure in Heaven. When you support a program that shares the Good News around the world, you have stored up treasure in Heaven. When you help build a church, you have stored up treasure in Heaven. That is the highest and best use of your money.
You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead by investing in people who are going to Heaven.
Talk It Over
  • What are some of the things you spend money on that do not have an eternal impact?
  • Who are the people God has already placed in your life with whom you can share the Good News?
  • What are some ways you can use your money to invest in eternal friendships?

Don't Be Stony Ground Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 28 January Wednesday

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
Mark 4:16-17
There seems to be an abundance of "stony ground" Christians these days. Initially, they get excited about the Word of God. They'll hear a message on prosperity, for instance, and they'll go home saying, "Hallelujah! I'm going to prosper in the Name of Jesus!" But then, somehow, things don't work out like they thought they should.
Their bank balance doesn't double overnight. They go through some disappointments. They suffer some criticism. Then, before you know it, their faith has withered away.
If you don't want that to happen to you, make up your mind right now that you're not going to let the rough times defeat you. Decide now that you're going to hang onto the Word even when the persecutions and afflictions come—because, I can guarantee you, they willcome.
When you decide to walk by faith, you don't get rid of trials. You learn to overcome them.
When you let the Word of God get down into your heart, you're going to learn more about the devil than you ever wanted to know because he's going to do his best to see to it that the Word is unfruitful in you. He's going to be trying to mess you up every time you turn around. You'll have problems, but the difference is now you have the answer—the Word of God.
Thank God, however, through Christ Jesus you have the power to defeat Satan. When he brings problems and disappointments your way, you don't have to lie down and let them steam roll over you. Just keep fighting the good fight of faith until you win.
Sure you'll get knocked down sometimes. But when you do, get back up and say, "Look here, Devil, I'm not going to let you steal the Word out of my heart. It's in there and I'm meditating on it. I'm saying it with my mouth, and I'm acting on it until God's blessings overtake me. If you don't believe me, just hide and watch!"
If you'll take that attitude, no matter what that devil does, he'll never make a "stony ground" Christian out of you!
Scripture Reading:
2 Corinthians 4:6-18

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You Are Made for a Purpose - Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 27 January Tuesday

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us."
Romans 12:6, NIV
Understanding why God put you here is one of the most important principles when it comes to discovering your unique purpose and calling in life. The reason is that knowing why you are here on earth helps you answer the question of why God has uniquely gifted you the way He has, and what He has called you to accomplish individually. There's nothing more exciting than to discover your purpose, your area of calling and really focus on it! Don't let the enemy tell you you've been forgotten or left out. God has not left anybody out. You have talents, you have abilities, you have natural strengths and you need to be aware of what they are and make sure that you're taking advantage of them and using them for His glory. There is something important that only you can accomplish for God!
God, help me to understand clearly the reason You created me and gifted me the way You have, so I can fulfill my purpose and experience the joy and victory that comes from being in Your will. In Jesus' Name. Amen.