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Finding Your Blessings

Everyone goes through times when they feel excluded, alienated, or unloved. We all have our insecurities. Most kids fear they’ll be mocked because their noses are too big or their hair is too curly. Adults fear that they won’t be able to pay the bills or that they will fail to live up to expectations.

You will face moments of doubt and fear. We all do. Feeling down is natural; it is part of being perfectly human. Such feelings pose a danger only if you allow negative thoughts to stick around instead of just letting them wash over you.

When you trust that you have blessings—talents, knowledge, love—to share with others, you will begin the journey to self acceptance even if your gifts are not yet apparent. Once you begin that walk, others will find you and walk with you.

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Not Alone

You’re not alone. In fact, you’ve got Somebody on your side who’s taking more than His fair share of the load.

Look for a moment in the ninth chapter of John. Jesus is having a conversation with not only His disciples but also a man who had been blind from birth. “We must do the work of Him who sent Me.” Whom was Jesus talking to in verse 4? I can’t be sure, but I have a strong feeling He was looking directly at that disabled man.

I choose to think Jesus was reminding that blind man that he was not alone. He was not alone in his disability. He was not alone in his despair. The works of God were about to be displayed through him. The Lord wanted this man to know that God Himself was standing by [ … ]

Indicators of God’s Movement

We might never have known anything about David if God had not arranged for Goliath to arise between David and his kingship. It’s a compelling story—one day David was delivering cheese and biscuits and ended up killing a giant. The next day he was carried through downtown Jerusalem, with women hanging over balconies singing songs to his name. Would any of that have happened without a great enemy?

What would the nation Israel have been without Moses facing down Pharaoh before the great migration out of Egypt? Maybe those 450 years of slavery the Jews endured would have lasted much longer.

Even Jesus lived in anonymity until Satan determined that He was more than Joseph the carpenter’s oldest boy.

Here’s why I say an enemy is a necessity: There’s a Goliath, a Pharaoh, a Satan standing between you and [ … ]

The Root of Love

Some may argue, “But love is a feeling and you cannot command a feeling. I just don’t feel anything for him/her anymore.” But agape love is not primarily a feeling. God would not command a feeling. Love is primarily an action. Love is the giving of oneself to another. It’s a skill one can develop in the strength of God’s Spirit. “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). In other words, love insists we do something. Feelings for enemies are not developed by sitting in a dark room thinking, but by doing. Feelings follow action. Feelings are the fruit, not the root, of love.

Excerpted from The Joy of Encouragement by Dr. David Jeremiah

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The Way Things Ought To Be

The bottom line is that the Christian has a calling and a responsibility to think, work, and live in terms of how the world ought to be in contrast to reacting to how it really is. Christians who engage the world—like the many stories I’ve shared and the many more I could have—are consumed by this “way things ought to be” mind-set. They eat, drink, and breathe restoration. They see injustice and fight it. When confronted with evil they turn it for good. They are motivated to bring the love of Christ into every broken system they encounter. Instead of being cynical and hopeless, they bring optimism and expectation. For them, the entire world has been flipped on its head. Their focus has moved from self to others; from problems to solutions; from failure to redemption; from brokenness to restoration. [ … ]

A Cycle of Grace

… thinking about something, making a commitment to change, failing in the commitment, making a new commitment to change, failing again … On and on the cycle goes. Fortunately for all of us, God is very, very patient. He will continue calling to us, He will shout when He must, and He will always welcome us back with loving, nonjudgmental arms.

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection:

How have you experienced the cycle of God’s grace and unending love?

Hearing the Father’s Voice

The beauty and power of a Voice from Home—that’s what this book is about. You may or may not be aware that during Christ’s life on earth, He heard a Voice from Home three separate times. And it was not just any old heavenly voice; it was His Father’s voice. Now certainly Jesus was in constant communication with His Father in heaven. We get glimpses of this throughout the Gospels. We know that Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing (see John 5:19). We know Jesus knew that His Father was with Him: “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him” ( John 8:29).

But on three occasions God the Father did something unique: He spoke audibly to Jesus. Yes, Jesus actually heard His [ … ]

Forgiveness: God’s Litmus Test

[Jesus’] words on forgiveness are life giving, because as we forgive those who have hurt us, we enter into a deeper understanding of God’s love and mercy, and we develop a grateful spirit that leads to a more intimate fellowship with Christ. He gives us a “fountain of living water” that really does bring life and refreshment to the deepest part of our being. Our relationship with Him becomes the focal point of our heart, and a once-callous heart toward God and others becomes a tender heart that is easily moved by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Because our forgiveness of others is God’s litmus test of our spiritual birth and the reality of our faith in Christ, few subjects are more important to our walk with God than this one.

Excerpted from The Greatest Words Ever Spoken by [ … ]

Worship at the Cross

The cross was the Father’s determined end for His Son. The cross was God’s idea…God’s redemption plan. The cross was the way to open the door. The cross was the only way rebels could ever truly worship again.

Yes, it’s a bloodstained cross, but a wonderful cross. In fact, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

The cross of Christ is a cross of healing. A place of unconditional love. A place of sweet embrace. From His cross comes salvation’s song, declaring to all that redemption is here. From it flows forgiveness free. The cross of Christ is a place of peace.
It’s the place where true worship begins.

Excerpted from Wired: For a Life of Worship by Louie Giglio

Daily Reflection:

How can you worship differently because of the cross today?

Faithful in the Mundane

My God was a carpenter’s son with calluses to prove it. He swept sawdust from the floor at the end of the day. His feet were dirty most of his life. He wiped the sweat from his brow in his Nazareth existence, and for thirty years he waited. He obeyed. He was faithful in the mundane.

We don’t hear much about this part of Jesus’ life. There aren’t many verses dedicated to it, so we concentrate on the big events: the incarnation, the healings, his crucifixion and resurrection. But Jesus was not just biding time on his journey through the ordinary. God had an eternal purpose for the dust and troubles that prepared Jesus for the path of suffering ahead. I believe he has a purpose for the dust you and I encounter today.

Excerpted from At the Corner of [ … ]