Strength in times of trouble you version

My Prayer For Protection Do you ever feel like you are on point?  On the tip of the spear walking into battle?  Do you pray for protection? This meditation will help you navigate enemy territory when you feel like you are on point.  God is always with you and beside you watching your way, studying your path, and keeping you from wandering astray.

MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

UTMOST

The Habit of Having No Habits

If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful…  2 Peter 1:8

When we first begin to form a habit, we are fully aware of it. There are times when we are aware of becoming virtuous and godly, but this awareness should only be a stage we quickly pass through as we grow spiritually. If we stop at this stage, we will develop a sense of spiritual pride. The right thing to do with godly habits is to immerse them in the life of the Lord until they become such a spontaneous expression of our lives that we are no longer aware of them. Our spiritual life continually causes us to focus our attention inwardly for the determined purpose of self-examination, because each of us has some qualities we have not yet added to our lives.

Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, “I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.” No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality.

Love means that there are no visible habits— that your habits are so immersed in the Lord that you practice them without realizing it. If you are consciously aware of your own holiness, you place limitations on yourself from doing certain things— things God is not restricting you from at all. This means there is a missing quality that needs to be added to your life. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there someplace where you are not at home with God? Then allow God to work through whatever that particular circumstance may be until you increase in Him, adding His qualities. Your life will then become the simple life of a child. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 15-16; John 3:1-18

DEVOTIONALS DAILY

Devotional daily Faithway

You see them everywhere. Little inspirational sayings like, “You are the only one who can limit your greatness.” Or, “Make your optimism come true.” They are on posters in gyms and offices. Social media is plastered with them. Do they help? Do they work? Well, if you’re feeling harried because of a stressful commute and a looming project, a kid with the sniffles, not to mention a pile of laundry sitting in a corner at home and a to-do list that stretches to the horizon, is a pithy platitude really going to turn things around for you? Maybe.

If you don’t feel guilty for not measuring up, a powerful quote might give you a boost. You may suddenly feel a surge of motivation. It can shape your self-talk in that moment to take positive action. But for a deeper and abiding change, you’ll need more than a feel-good slogan. You’ll need more than inspiration to change your on-going internal dialogue.

Inspiration has its place. But ultimately inspiration that comes from the outside is synthetic. It won’t last for long. It has a short shelf life when it comes to deep, life-changing self-talk. It may be helpful, even necessary at times, but it’s not enough. Don’t be hoodwinked by the “inspirational-industrial complex.” Long-lasting and life-transforming inspiration has to arise from a deeper place.

True and lasting change is an inside job that has nothing to do with performance.

It doesn’t matter if you’re married or single, young or old, shy or assertive: if your self-worth hangs on a condition of good performance, your self-talk is sure to be riddled with self-doubt, insecurity, and anxiety. After the upbeat quotes become white noise, your inner voice is bound to be condemning. Why? Because, as French philosopher Blaise Pascal said, there is an “infinite abyss” in the heart of each of us that can be filled only by God. And until we fill that abyss with God’s love — until we feel it deep in our beings — our sense of worth and significance becomes illusive. We will never be fully satisfied. We will never have a solid foundation of love to stand on.

Healthy people plant their feet firmly on a deep and confident sense of worth that is built by God’s love.

They recognize that God created them and that He knows them intimately and loves them — no matter what. They think of themselves as “wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 NIV). They have intrinsic worth that no longer depends on performance.

We could give you a list of psychological tricks and techniques to change your negative self-talk. But we prefer to cut right to the heart of the matter. So at the risk of sounding trite, the key to changing your negative self-talk into the best kind of self-talk is to experience God’s love deep down in your soul. We’re not talking about “knowing” God’s love — which comes as a result of a studied and reasoned, or academic, pursuit. You can know things you don’t experience. For example, you can argue that the Bible says God loves the world (John 3:16), and you are part of the world, so you are loved by God. That’s a mental exercise. Not an experience.

In the 1700s, Jonathan Edwards used a simple analogy: “There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet and having a sense of its sweetness.” You can know honey is sweet because someone tells you, but you don’t really know its sweetness until you’ve tasted it.

We’re talking about opening your heart and allowing the sweetness of God’s love to be experienced. This is more about your heart than your head. It’s what John Wesley was getting at in pondering God’s love when he described his heart as being “strangely warmed.” Pascal, who was a mathematician and scientist as well as a philosopher, said his heart was “directed into the love of God.” It’s a feeling at the center of our beings. It’s beyond knowing with your head. In fact, it’s beyond comprehension. How can you wrap your head around being loved by the Creator — so much so that you feel it?

When I (Les) was a graduate student in seminary, a professor asked a class of more than fifty students: “How many of you experience God’s love?” He quickly added, “Don’t raise your hands on impulse. Think about it and only raise your hand if you know the feeling of being loved by God.” Out of this room of students preparing for ministry, how many hands went up? Fewer than a dozen. Those who didn’t raise their hands gave answers like “I know I’m supposed to say that I have… I know the Bible says He loves me… but I don’t feel it.” Some even admitted that God felt cold, aloof, and demanding — not loving.

The professor wasn’t surprised. It wasn’t his first time to pose the question to a class of students. He followed it up with another: “How many of you have been conscious of God’s love for you, personally, in the past week?” No hands went up this time. He waited a couple of beats and continued: “How many have been conscious of God’s disapproval of you this week?” Hands shot up all around the room.

If you want to experience God’s love, if you want to feel it deep in your spirit, you’ve got to admit that you are indeed inadequate — that you haven’t and will not ever earn God’s love. It’s an impossibility.

You can only receive it as a grace gift. When God tells us,
Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually.
— 1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV
He is not merely making a suggestion. He designed us to live with Him. That’s where we find health, wholeness, and fulfillment. Jesus underscored this when He said,
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
— John 10:10 ESV
You may feel as though a million hurdles stand in your way to experiencing God’s love — guilt, shame, blame, perfectionism, legalism, inadequacies, hurts — but be assured that nobody has or ever will earn the love of God. Each of us is undeserving. But when we open our hearts to receive it and continually walk with God to experience it, our internal dialogue forever changes.

Instead of a momentary inspiration to get you to your next accomplishment so you can feel better about yourself, you find yourself feeling profoundly significant in front of your Creator and have a lifetime of motivation to be exactly who you were designed to be.

The payoff? Insecure feelings are few and far between. Worry wanes. Peace reigns. Your relationships become rich and vital. You are less defensive, more caring, generous, and attractive for all the right reasons.

The more you tune in to and master your self-talk, the more you embrace just how profoundly significant you are in the eyes of your Creator. You are becoming healthy and whole.

Excerpted with permission from Healthy Me, Healthy Us by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, copyright Les Parrott.

* * *

Your Turn

Do you want to have better relationships? A better marriage? A better life? Much of that starts with getting healthy inside first and using healthy self-talk. Do you want to experience God more and put His Word into your heart? Seek His face! Come share your thoughts on getting healthy on our blog. We want to hear from you!  ~ Devotionals Daily

 

COMMENT

 

Confident Parents

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

“Blessed is the man…whose confidence is in [the Lord].” Jeremiah 17:7

Matt, visiting his parents with his wife and two young sons, was in a reflective mood. While taking a walk with his father, he remarked, “You know, Dad, while I was growing up, I sort of had the feeling that you didn’t have a clue about this parenting stuff. But now that I’m a dad myself, I’m starting to change my mind. You’re getting smarter every year!”

Raising healthy, educated, self-disciplined children who love God and their fellow human beings may very well be the most challenging responsibility in living. It’s an unbelievably complex assignment. And of course, the job is even tougher in a culture that tries to undermine everything we do at home. Yet too many moms and dads today are complicating the task by taking on unnecessary guilt, fear, and self-doubt. I don’t believe that is what God has in mind!

The Scriptures clearly tell us that children are to be considered a blessing from God (Psalm 127:3–5), and that the privilege of raising them should be a wonderful, joyful experience. He has granted parents the authority to raise their sons and daughters: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). And when parents depend on Him to teach and lead their families, they can act with confidence: “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4–5).

We will make mistakes in bringing up our kids. Fortunately, however, we are not asked to do everything perfectly as moms and dads. Our children usually manage to survive our mistakes and failures and turn out better than we have any right to boast about. They may even figure out that we did know what we were doing most of the time!

When problems flare up in your family, I know how easy it is to second-guess your parenting decisions. But God did not entrust you with this job by accident. As long as you choose to obey the Lord and dedicate yourselves to raising your children according to the principles outlined in Scripture, no one can better fill the role of parent for your wonderful sons and daughters than you. When you are confident in Him (Jeremiah 17:7), you can be confident parents.

– James C Dobson

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Unrestrained Generosity

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us…!” 1 John 3:1

It’s no coincidence that we started this week’s look at generosity with a story about a little boy. Children are often our best teachers.

Years ago during the week of my birthday, our family decided to go for a leisurely stroll through our local shopping center. Ryan, who was eight at the time, opened his piggybank and took out five dollars he had been saving for something special. As we walked along, window shopping and enjoying being together, Ryan announced that he wanted to have some time alone to go to the toy store and pet shop. We set a time and place where we would meet, and off he went. In about thirty minutes, he came walking up with a grin that stretched from ear to ear.

Ryan said, “Here, Mom, this is for your birthday. But you can open it right now!” By the look on his face, it was obvious that he felt strongly about my opening the gift right there in the middle of the mall. So we found a nearby bench. He announced his present had cost a lot of money. (He had spent the entire five dollars on it.)

As shoppers filed by, he watched excitedly while I carefully unwrapped the package. Gazing down at its contents, I was suddenly filled with emotion. His present wasn’t anything he could have found in a toy or pet store. It wasn’t even something you’d expect to receive from an eight‐year‐old boy. There in my lap was a lovely desk set. The ostrich‐feathered white pen looked like an old‐fashioned quill that Ben Franklin might have used to sign the Declaration of Independence. The stand was padded in matching white, with a spray of pink flowers delicately painted around the edges.

My eyes brimmed with tears as I hugged and thanked my son for such an extravagant gift. It has been many years since that day, and I still treasure that pen as a reminder of Ryan’s spontaneous gift of love.

Most of us are too inclined to keep our purses or wallets shut tight against the opportunities for giving that are all around. Or when we give, we give what’s convenient or interesting to us, not to the recipient.

In our marriages, we have so many chances to practice childlike, unrestrained generosity—with no ulterior motive, necessity, or expectation in mind. The more we give and receive that kind of love, the more we will experience the love of God in our homes. I think the apostle John had something like “unrestrained generosity” in mind when he wrote, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

– Shirley M Dobson

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Expect Great Things from a Great Name – Alternative View – May 12

Expect Great Things from a Great Name

If you want to rise up spiritually, you need to hang out with people who will inspire you to higher expectations and help you reach them.  If you want a better job, you hang out with the experts in the field, not with unmotivated, unfocused people. If you want to see God move supernaturally in your life, you hang out with people who believe in God’s power.

Too many Christians have put a lid on God, expecting little from Him because they don’t know the power of His name. The apostles, Peter and John, gave the lame beggar at the gate, Beautiful, something more valuable than silver or gold.

The apostles offered the lame man the name above every other name with all authority: Jesus!   There’s power in that name, and you TOO can expect great things from that great name.

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14-20

Listen to Dr. Tony Evans Online Broadcasts at OnePlace.com.

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