Read an ExcerptNew Day, New You
By Joyce Meyer Faithwords Copyright © 2007 Joyce Meyer
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Chapter One January 1
God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness. -genesis 1:26
When God said, "Let Us make man in Our image," this image refers to character likeness. He meant that we were going to take on His nature, His character, as reflected in His Son Jesus. In Colossians 1:15, Paul tells us that Jesus is "the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation." As believers, we are to be transformed into His image and likeness.
The greatest goal of every believer, and certainly those of us who want to be used by God in positions of leadership, should be Christlikeness. We should want to handle situations and treat people the way Jesus would. That should be our goal. Jesus is to be our example.
In John 13:15 He said to His disciples, after washing their feet like a servant, "For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do [in your turn] what I have done to you." And Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:21, "For even to this were you called [it is inseparable from your vocation]. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps." The vocation, the high calling of every believer, is to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
God is going to keep working with each of us until we get to the place where we act the way Jesus would act in every situation of life, until we manifest the same kind of fruit of the Spirit that He manifested.
Give God Your Best, Part 1
I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands. -psalm 31:14-15
I've trained myself now to start each day by giving God the first fruits of my time. I've realized that I'm not going to get through the day peacefully if I don't spend time with God. So, each morning, I get coffee, and usually while still in my pajamas, I just spend as much time with God as I need to in order to feel I can behave properly and walk in the fruit of the Spirit throughout the day.
I learned to use the best part of my day to give God the best part of my heart. Giving God the first moments of the morning helps keep my priorities straight for the rest of the day. Don't use this gift of time with God to meditate on your problems. During this time with God, set your heart as the psalmist did, who wrote, "But I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands." (psalm 31:14-15, emphasis mine)
The Bible says to "lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes." (proverbs 3:5-7)
God wants to hear us say, "Lord, I don't know how You're going to do this. I don't care how You do it. I know it's going to be right. I trust all my circumstances to You. My times are in Your hands. Trusting You is my first priority in life."
Give God Your Best, Part 2
For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel, says the Lord God, ... There will I require your offerings and the firstfruits and the choicest of your contributions, with all your sacred things. -ezekiel 20:40
Ezekiel 20:40 says that we should bring the Lord our first fruits, the choicest selections of all our offerings. To stay in perfect peace, we should give God the best of our time and our goods. We must be honest with ourselves about what our priorities really are and start making changes to keep God in first place. Don't give God your leftovers; don't give Him the part of your day when you're worn out and you can't think straight or hardly keep your eyes open. Give God the first fruits of your attention. Give Him the best part of your day. That's where your real priorities will be found.
God needs to be your priority in everything you do. From getting dressed to setting your schedule, you can ask God for wisdom to make choices that will glorify Him. You can intermingle your time with God into everything you do to such a degree that you can pray without ceasing (pray your way through the day). As you become aware of His presence, it will not be possible to compartmentalize God or separate secular activities from sacred ones. Even ordinary events will become sacred because He is involved in them.
Talk to God as you go about your day, asking Him to direct you in the choices you are making and to empower you for the jobs you need to get done. As you acknowledge that God is always with you, you will keep Him first in everything you set out to do, and He will show you a direct path that will lead you to peace. Following the moment-by-moment leading of the Holy Spirit will cause you to enjoy every day of your life.
Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem ... He did right in the Lord's sight, but not with a perfect or blameless heart. -2 chronicles 25:1-2
When God asks for our heart, He is asking for our entire life, which includes our personality, character, body, mind, emotions. The heart is the real person, not the person everybody sees. The church and the world are looking for someone who is real. In 2 Chronicles 25:1-2 we read about a king who had a negative condition of the heart. In this passage King Amaziah did all the right things, but his heart was not right. Therefore, God was not pleased with him.
That's a scary thing. We can do the right thing, and still not be acceptable to God because we do it with a wrong heart. Let's take giving, for example. In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we are told that God loves a cheerful giver, one who does not give out of compulsion or with a bad attitude but out of a willing heart. In fact, it says that God loves a cheerful giver so much that He is absolutely unwilling to do without one. He will take our gift even if we are stingy and unwilling. He may take our money, and He may use it for His kingdom, but that is not the heart attitude He wants us to have when we give. There is a physical heart and a spiritual heart, and the two are parallel.
Physically speaking, the heart is the most important bodily organ. Spiritually speaking, I believe the heart is the most important aspect of the spiritual body. And it is the most important thing the believer or the leader can give to God. That is why the condition of our heart is so important. It is not lack of ability or potential that prevents most people from making progress and enjoying fulfillment in life; I believe it is wrong heart attitudes.
The Master Builder
For [of course] every house is built and furnished by someone, but the Builder of all things and the Furnisher [of the entire equipment of all things] is God. -hebrews 3:4
God is the Master Builder. Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone. God is the one who has to build us and equip us for the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Philippians 1:6 the apostle Paul writes to assure us, "He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you." What he was saying to us is simply this: "It was God who started this work in you, and it is God who will finish it!" That means we should leave God alone to do His work. We need to stay out of His business and mind our own.
There are certain things only God can do. We are to do our part and let Him do His. We are to handle our responsibility but cast our care on Him. We are to confess our sins and failures to the Lord, confident that He will forgive us of those sins and failures and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, as He has promised in His Word (see 1 john 1:9). We are to trust to Him the job of perfecting us for the work He has for us to do in this life. That takes the pressure off of us, which relieves us of the worry and anxiety we feel so often as we try to perfect ourselves.
Start with What You Have
Do not say to your neighbor, Go, and come again; and tomorrow I will give it. -proverbs 3:28
We can have good intentions and still be disobedient. Procrastination is very deceptive. We don't see it as disobedience because we intend to obey God; it is just that we are going to do it when-when we have more money, when we are not so busy, as soon as Christmas is over, after we get the kids in school this year, as soon as vacation is over, etc.
There is no point in praying for God to give you more money so you can be a blessing to others if you are not being a blessing with what you already have. Don't believe Satan's lies that you have nothing to give. Even if it is only a pack of gum or a ballpoint pen, start using what you have to bless others.
January 7 Change the Course of Your Day
I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. -john 15:5
If you get up in the morning in a terrible mood, the best thing you can do is find a place and spend some time with the Lord. Being in His presence transforms us. We can change the course of a day that Satan has negative plans for by learning to seek God quickly when we sense any attitude or behavior that is not Christlike. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (john 15:5), but with and through Him, we can do all things (philippians 4:13). I have learned that I will always have feelings, but I don't have to let them rule me. I can't override them on my own; but if I seek God for help, He will strengthen me to walk in His Spirit, not in my emotions.
What if someone offends us or hurts our feelings? The Bible says we are not to be easily offended or touchy. We are all commanded to quickly forgive those who hurt us. We may want to do what is right but find the doing of it difficult. That is when we need to take time to pray, spend some time with God, go to His Word and let our hearts meditate on a few scriptures that deal with what we are going through. As a result, you and I will find strength to do the right thing. Remember, we are in a war; we are soldiers in God's army, and we must be ready at any time to use our weapons. Some of those weapons are prayer, worship, praise, and the Word of God.
Excerpted from New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer Copyright © 2007 by Joyce Meyer. Excerpted by permission.
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