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Trusting God Day by Day365 Daily Devotions
By Joyce Meyer
FaithWordsCopyright © 2012 Joyce Meyer
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Do Your Best with What You Have
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
How do you feel about your life? Do you like it, love it, and enjoy it, or do you hate it and wish you had a different one than you have? Do you look at other people and their lives and wish you were them and had their lives? Do you want to look the way they look, own what they own, have their career or their family? Or are you happy with the life God has given you?
In the Bible, wanting what others have is called coveting, and it is forbidden by God. He even included it in the Ten Commandments. You are never going to have anyone else’s life, so wanting it is a waste of time. You won’t look like them, either, so learn to do the best you can with what you have to work with.
I have adopted a new phrase lately, and it is helping me to deal with reality and not waste my time being upset about things I cannot do anything about. I have been saying, “It is what it is!” Somehow, that is a reality check for me, and I quickly realize I need to deal with things the way they are, not the way I wish they were.
Nobody has a perfect life, and it is entirely possible that if you want someone else’s life, they are busy wanting someone else’s, too; perhaps they even want your life. Unknown people want to be movie stars, and movie stars want privacy. The regular employee wants to be the boss, and the boss wishes he did not have so much responsibility. A single woman wants to be married, and sometimes a married woman wishes she were single. Contentment with life is not a feeling, but it is a decision we must make. Contentment does not mean that we never want to see change or improvement, but it does mean we can be happy where we are and will do the best we can with what we have. It also means we will maintain an attitude that allows us to enjoy the gift of life.
Trust in Him If God wants you to have what someone else has, you can trust Him to bring it to you, but first you must be happy with what you have and do the best you can with it.
Talk About the Good Stuff
But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak.
It seems to me that we talk about how we feel more than practically anything else. We feel good or bad, happy or sad, excited or discouraged, and a thousand other things. The inventory of the various ways we feel is almost endless. Feelings are ever-changing, usually without notification. These feelings don’t need our permission to fluctuate; they merely seem to do as they please for no specific reason we can identify. We have all experienced going to bed feeling just fine physically and emotionally, only to wake up the next morning feeling tired and irritable. “Why? Why do I feel this way?” we ask ourselves, and then we usually begin to tell anyone who will listen how we feel. It is interesting to note that we tend to talk a lot more about our negative feelings than we do our positive ones.
If I wake up feeling energetic and excited about the day, I rarely announce it to everyone I come in contact with; however, if I feel tired and discouraged, I want to tell everyone. It has taken me years to learn that talking about how I feel increases the intensity of those feelings. So it seems to me that we should keep quiet about the negative feelings and talk about the positive ones.
You can always tell God how you feel and ask for His help and strength, but talking about negative feelings just to be talking does no good at all. If negative feelings persist, asking for prayer or seeking advice based on biblical truth is a good thing, but once again I want to stress that talking just to be talking is useless.
If we have to wait to see how we feel before we know if we can enjoy the day, then we are giving feelings control over us. But if we are willing to make right choices regardless of how we feel, God will always be faithful to give us the strength to do so.
Trust in Him How are you feeling? If your feelings are positive, tell someone. If they are negative, tell God, and trust Him to work things out. Regardless of how you feel, choose to enjoy your day!
Success Starts with Your Thoughts
We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
2 CORINTHIANS 10:5 NLT
Nobody is successful in any venture just by wishing they would be. Successful people make a plan and talk to themselves about that plan constantly. You can think things on purpose, and if you make what you think about match what you actually want to do, your feelings may not like it, but they will go along.
I slept great last night, and when I woke up at 5:00 a.m., I didn’t feel like getting up. It was so cozy under the fluffy cover, and I felt like staying right there. But I had a plan. I had decided how many hours I would write today, and in order to do that I had to get up. I thought, I am going to get up now, and I got up!
Do you make an effort to choose your thoughts, or do you just meditate on whatever falls into your head, even if it is in total disagreement with what you have said you want out of life? When your thoughts are going in a wrong direction, do you capture them and submit them to Christ as the Bible instructs (see 2 Cor. 10:5)?
I want to encourage you today—the good news is you can change. As I have said for years, we are in a war and the mind is the battlefield. We either win or lose our battles based on winning or losing the war in our minds. Learn to think according to the Word of God, and your emotions will start lining up with your thoughts.
If you have had years of experiencing wrong thinking and letting your emotions lead you as I did, making the change may not be easy, and it will definitely require a commitment of study, time, and effort. But the results will be worth it. Don’t say, “I am just an emotional person, and I can’t help the way I feel.” Take control. You can do it!
Trust in Him Keep your thoughts in line with the plan God has for your life—a plan to prosper you, and not to harm you (see Jer. 29:11). Take control of your thoughts by trusting them to Him.
You’re Not Built for Guilt
Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
Making people feel guilty about anything is not God’s mode of operation. The source of guilt is the devil. He is the accuser of the brethren, according to the Bible (see Rev. 12:10). God will convict us of wrong choices and actions, but He never tries to make us feel guilty. Guilt presses us down, but godly conviction brings an opportunity to change and progress.
We are not built for guilt. God never intended His children to be loaded down with guilt, so our systems don’t handle it well at all. Had God wanted us to feel guilty, He would not have sent Jesus to redeem us from guilt. He bore, or paid for, our iniquities and the guilt they cause (see Isa. 53:6 and 1 Pet. 2:24–25). As believers in Jesus Christ and as sons and daughters of God, we have been set free from the power of sin (see Rom. 6:6–10). That doesn’t mean we’ll never sin, but it does mean that when we do, we can admit it, receive forgiveness, and be free from guilt. Our journey with God toward right behavior and holiness is progressive, and if we have to drag the guilt from past mistakes along with us, we’ll never make progress toward true freedom and joy. Perhaps this is the main reason why so few people actually enter into and enjoy the inheritance promised through relationship with Jesus Christ.
Your future has no room for your past. How much time do you waste feeling guilty? It is important that you think about this, because spending time dwelling on past mistakes is something God has told us not to do. No one is perfect. The good news is Jesus came for those who were sick (imperfect), not those who were well (perfect).
Trust in Him What triggers your struggle with guilt (when you make a mistake, or when you’re thinking about your past, when you see someone who was a part of your life during that period, etc.)? Pray specifically about that incident, and trust God to set you free.
Torn Between Right and Wrong
I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns].
We often feel like a war is going on within us. One part of us (the inner person) wants to do what we know to be right, and another part (the outer person) wants to do what is wrong. The wrong thing can feel right, while the right thing feels wrong. Remember, we cannot judge the moral value of any action by how we feel. Our feelings are unreliable and cannot be trusted to convey truth.
Frequently we find that we want to do right and wrong at the same time. Our renewed spirit craves holiness and righteousness, but the carnal (fleshly) soul still craves worldly things. Even the apostle Paul describes feeling the same way in Romans, chapter 7. Paul says that he has the intention and urge to do what is right, but he fails to carry it out. He fails to practice the good that he desires to do and instead does evil. Thankfully, by the end of the chapter, Paul has realized that only Christ can deliver him from the fleshly action, and as we continue to study his life, we learn that he developed an ability to say no to himself if what he wanted did not agree with God’s Word. He learned to lean on God for strength and then use his will to choose what was right no matter how he felt. Paul said he died daily, which meant that he died to his own fleshly desires in order to glorify God (see 1 Cor. 15:31).
The truth is that we must die to ourselves if we want to genuinely and truly live the lives God has provided for us through Jesus Christ. When we are willing to live by biblical principles rather than emotion, we are dying to selfishness and will enjoy the abundant life of God. I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “No pain… no gain!” Every good thing in life requires an initial investment before we see the reward.
Trust in Him Pray and ask God to show you a specific area where you need to let go of selfishness. Once He shows you, don’t get discouraged or be afraid—trust God to change you!
There’s Great Value in Variety
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him—for this is his [allotted] part.
If we do the same thing over and over, sooner or later we’re going to get bored. We don’t have to wait for something nice to happen to us, we can be aggressive and do something nice for ourselves. For many of you, I know this is a new thought that may seem foreign and even unspiritual. But I can assure you that it is part of God’s plan. You can create variety, and it will keep your life more exciting.
I sat with my computer on my lap for about four hours this morning and then stopped for a while to do some other things I needed to do. When I went back to my writing, I decided to sit in a different part of the house just for variety. I chose a place that had plenty of light where I could look out the window. Simple little things like this cost nothing, but they are very valuable.
No day needs to be ordinary if we realize the gift God is giving us when He gives us another day to live and enjoy. An extraordinary attitude can quickly turn an ordinary day into an amazing adventure. Jesus said He came so that we might have and enjoy life (see John 10:10). If we refuse to enjoy it, then it’s no one’s fault but our own.
I would like to suggest that you take responsibility for your joy and never again give anyone else the job of keeping you happy. Add a little variety to your life—break up your routine, do something different, and so on. When you do, expect God to meet you and help make your ordinary… extraordinary!
Trust in Him What are two specific things you’re going to do differently today? Add some variety to your ordinary, daily routine, and trust that God is going to bless it.
Form New Habits
Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
God’s Word teaches us that when we receive Christ as our Savior and Lord, He gives us a new nature. He gives us His nature. He also gives us a spirit of discipline and self-control, which is vital in allowing us to choose the ways of our new nature. He gives us a sound mind (see 2 Tim. 1:7), and that means we can think about things properly without being controlled by emotion. The way we once were passes away, and we have all the equipment we need for a brand-new way of behaving. God gives us the ability and offers to help us, but we are not puppets and God will not manipulate us. We must choose spirit over flesh and right over wrong. Our renewed spirits will then control our souls and bodies or, to say it another way, the inner person will control the outer person.
Without God’s help we have difficulty doing things in moderation. We frequently eat too much, spend too much money, have too much entertainment, and talk too much. We are excessive in our actions because we behave emotionally. And after the thing is done and cannot be undone, we regret doing it. But we can choose to form new habits, not doing something just because we feel like it but instead doing what will produce the best result in the end.
We do not have to live in regret. God gives us His Spirit to enable us to make right and wise choices. He urges us, guides and leads us, but we still have to cast the deciding vote. If you have been casting the wrong vote, all you need to do is change your vote. Forming new habits will require making a decision to not do what you feel like doing unless it agrees with God’s will.
Trust in Him God wants you to live out of your new nature, not your old one. Every time you put your trust in Him and cast the deciding vote to obey, His Spirit transforms you and makes you more like Him.
Take Care of What God Has Given You
Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own…
1 CORINTHIANS 6:19
What if you went to a church and it was run-down? Peeling paint, broken doors, and smudged windows that didn’t let the light in? You’d wonder about the pastor, wouldn’t you? The church is his instrument for celebrating the glory of God, yet if he doesn’t respect the church enough to take the time to keep it in good condition, what does this say about his relationship with God?
The same question applies to your own body—taking care of the body God has given you is the most important kind of “home maintenance” you can do! Your body is the home of your spirit where God dwells. To do the work you were meant to do, you need to keep it in shape.
I still have to remind myself of this. Once I hurt my voice by speaking in a seminar with an extremely sore throat. That morning when I woke up, I knew I shouldn’t speak, but I thought about the disappointment of the audience if I didn’t. So I forced myself to speak, but the next day I could not make a sound. I couldn’t the next day, either, or the day after that. The condition continued, and I began to worry. I finally went to the doctor, who told me I had damaged my vocal cords. He said each time we push ourselves beyond reasonable limits, we do some damage, and if we do it too often, we get to a point where we can’t recover. He said it might reach a point where I could not teach at all if I did not respect my voice and take care of it.
I nearly jeopardized my entire public ministry! If I had permanently damaged my voice, I would have wound up helping far fewer people and derailing my life’s calling. Now I’m more careful about protecting the tools I need to do God’s work—my voice, my mind, my heart, my emotions, and my body. Please take care of yourself so you can glorify God and do all that He has intended for you to do.
Trust in Him How can you take better care of your body—the place where God dwells? Show God you love Him and trust Him by taking good care of your temple.
Making Right Choices Makes Life So Much Better
Strive to enter by the narrow door [force yourselves through it], for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.
Like most of us, you are probably tempted to take all the easy paths, but God’s path is rarely easy. The Bible describes those other paths—the ones that lead to destruction—as “broad” because not a lot of effort is required to remain on them. We are encouraged by God to take the narrow path, the more difficult one, which is also the one that leads to life.
We have to make a strong effort to push through the negativity in the world, but if we will do our part, God will always do His. Not everyone is willing to make the effort. They are addicted to ease and simply flow with their feelings. Jesus died for us so we could have a wonderful, abundant life that is filled with peace, joy, power, success, and every good thing. He was willing to go to the cross and pay for our sins even though physically, mentally, and emotionally it was very difficult. We, too, must be willing to do what is right, and our reward will surely come. God’s grace will always enable us to do the right thing if we are willing to do so.
Study the Word of God regularly, and then when trouble comes, you will already have your spiritual tank full of fuel that will enable you to make right choices. Don’t be the kind of person who prays or has time for God only when you feel like it or have a disaster. Seek God because you know you cannot navigate safely in this world without Him.
You and I can let our minds drift aimlessly day after day, and we can be controlled by our emotions, or we can strive to gird up our minds, choose our thoughts carefully, and manage our emotions. God has set before us life and death, good and evil, and has given us the responsibility of making the choice (see Deut. 30:19). Choose life!
Trust in Him What choice are you currently facing? What path will you choose? Remember, the right choice won’t always be easy, but you can trust God, Who gives you strength and rewards you, to help you do it.
Looking Nice Is Not a Sin
Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which… is very precious in the sight of God.
1 PETER 3:3–4
Many Christians misunderstand the challenge to value inner beauty over outer appearance, as stated in the above passage. They take the concept to an extreme, believing that any effort to look nice is a sin. What Peter is encouraging us to do, however, is to resist the temptation to confuse outer beauty for what is most important, which is a gentle and peaceful spirit. In other words, don’t be vain or put all your confidence in how you look, because God focuses on what is inside.
But Peter doesn’t say the only way to be virtuous is to wear a brown sack, stop bathing, and give away all your possessions! True, a few people have found God by renouncing all material possessions, but I think in general it is much harder to find anything if you suffer from the constant distractions of discomfort, or if you go out of your way to be as unattractive as possible and get mistreated by others because they think you are a religious fanatic. God cares most that you go forth clothed in righteousness. But righteousness plus a nice outfit never hurt anyone! If people see that you respect yourself, they’ll respect you, too.
Like everything else in life, it is a question of balance. Keep the big picture in mind. Ask yourself, “What is the work that God has put me on earth to do?” Then decide what amount of attention you should pay to how you look and feel to get the maximum energy, health, and charisma you need to do that work as successfully as possible.
Trust in Him Do you spend an appropriate amount of time taking care of the body and spirit God has given you? He wants you to look your best, inside and out. Do your part to be a good steward of what He gave you, and trust Him to let you know if you are out of balance.
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever.
ISAIAH 9:1 NLT
I once read a book that was based entirely on the word nevertheless. It taught the reader to take every problem in his or her life, look at it honestly, and then say, “nevertheless,” and find some offsetting positive thing in the individual’s life that brought the problem into perspective.
It might sound something like this: “I have a lot of hard work to get accomplished in the next two weeks; nevertheless, after that my schedule is much more open, and I will be able to have some fun and get some extra rest.” All mothers get weary from time to time and might say, “My kids are driving me crazy; nevertheless, I’m so blessed to have these children in my life, and I know there are families who can’t have children at all.” A father who has to work two jobs to make ends meet might say, “I am so tired of working all the time; nevertheless, I am thankful that God has provided me with jobs.”
No matter who we are or what our challenge in life is, there is always a “nevertheless”—some positive thing we can look at or talk about that brings the rest of life into perspective. Why don’t you try it? The next time you are tempted to complain about your life in any way, go ahead and state your complaint, and then say, “nevertheless,” and find something positive about your life to offset the complaint.
Trust in Him No matter what you are going through in life, you can trust God to be with you. Think about your current situation and find your “nevertheless.” Say it out loud to encourage yourself by finding the positive in every situation.
When to Start and When to Stop
TO EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven…
We often study the steps of Jesus, but fail to study the stops of Jesus. We all need to learn when to stop. Jesus stopped what He was doing in order to listen to people and help them. He stopped to rest, to have dinner with friends, to make wine for a wedding, and to do lots of other simple but important things. One of my biggest problems for many years was that I simply did not know when to stop.
My chiropractor has told me to stop every forty-five minutes when I am writing, to get up and stretch out the muscles in my back so I don’t end up in pain. But when I am in a flow, it is so hard to stop! If we don’t know when to stop, we will end up with regrets later.
When Jesus visited Mary and Martha, Mary knew when to stop, but Martha didn’t. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet so she would not miss the moment, but Martha just kept working (see Luke 10:38–41). I wonder how many times in my life I missed the moment because I would not stop working. I know I missed moments with my children when they were small because I valued work over playing with them.
Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything, and that everything is beautiful in its time. Work is beautiful, but if we work when it is time to play, then work is no longer beautiful. It can create a stress that has the ability to destroy our health. Play is beautiful, but if we play when we should be working, then play becomes a lack of discipline that can destroy us. A good life is all about balance. We have to know when to start and when to stop.
Trust in Him Psalm 62:8 tells us we can trust God at all times because He is our refuge. A refuge is a safe place where we can rest from busyness and worry. Take time to stop and let Him be your refuge.
Look for a Reason to Laugh
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…
I believe we need to look for reasons to laugh every day. My daughters often call me to share funny things their kids did or things they are noticing about the children’s personalities as they are growing up. I am glad they take the time to share those things with me. We laugh, and then I tell Dave and he laughs, too. We could have missed the laughter if they would have been too busy to call or felt it was unimportant.
I just spent five days with my youngest grandson, and I laughed more in those five days than I normally do in two months. He has learned to laugh out loud, and so he does it for no reason at all. He just suddenly laughs out loud and then, when we laugh at him laughing, he laughs again and again. He does it as long as we will keep the game going. I can assure you that he is not worried, anxious, or thinking about all of his mistakes in life. No wonder Jesus told us to be like little children if we want to enter and enjoy His Kingdom.
Funny things probably happen to you every day; learn to look for them and realize how important it is to stop for laughter. I wasted too much of my life being mad and sad, and I have a lot of catching up to do. I am committed to taking every opportunity I can find to laugh; when I can’t find one, I am going to try to make one. Some of us are naturally more serious than others. You don’t have to feel bad if that is your personality. It is mine, too. But you don’t have to live without laughter. You can begin to intentionally look for reasons to laugh!
I think Jesus was playful and He looked for reasons to laugh. I can imagine Him teasing His disciples and playing pranks on them. I know that He was serious and sober minded, but He was always in perfect balance, so He had to have humor, too.
Trust in Him Have you laughed today? If not, come up with a reason and laugh right now! Trust that God wants you to enjoy life; lighten up and look for the humor in your circumstances today.
God Will Give You All the Wisdom and Power You Need
Fear and trembling have come upon me; horror and fright have overwhelmed me. And I say, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
David prayed that he could fly away from trouble and be at rest, but running from trouble is not always the answer. There are times we must face the enemy and defeat him in God’s power just as David defeated Goliath. God has given us “going through” power. It is not God’s will for us to run or hide from challenges, but to confront them head-on, knowing we can fight a battle and remain at rest. After all, the battle is not ours, but God’s!
God won’t let you run away from your troubles and keep going forward in His purpose for your life. He won’t force you to face them, but eventually you’ll realize that these same problems will keep showing up if you don’t face them. The good news is God gives us power and wisdom to deal with our situations.
Elijah tried to run and hide, but God made him go back to the place he ran from and continue the work he had been called to do. After God allowed him to rest, He confronted him about his attitude. He asked why he was hiding and what he thought he was doing. Elijah answered out of a bitter attitude and distorted thinking. He said he alone was left to serve God and people were seeking to kill him. He told God that all the Israelites had forsaken His covenant, destroyed His altars, and killed His prophets, and once again Elijah sounded as if he was filled with self-pity as He told God that he was the only one left who was faithful to God. (see 1 Kings 19:9–14). God told Elijah that, in actuality, He had seven thousand prophets left who had not bowed their knees to Baal, and He also told Elijah to get back to work.
When we are not well rested, our thinking gets distorted and we lose proper perspective. We want to run away from responsibility, but as we can see with Elijah, God will not allow us to do that because escape is never the answer to life’s challenges.
Trust in Him If you are going through a difficult time right now, don’t be discouraged and run away. Trust God to be with you, and He will give you the grace and the wisdom to get through it.
God’s Rest for You
For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.
Each day we have certain purposes we wish to accomplish, and at the end of the day it is proper to rest, not only physically, but our souls also need a rest. We need rest physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Faith allows us to rest spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Even our will gets a rest when we have trust in God. We don’t worry or reason, we are not upset or downcast, and we are not trying to make something happen that is not God’s will—we are at rest! Paul was singing in jail. Jesus was praying for others while being crucified. Joseph decided that if he was going to be a slave, he would be the best slave his owner ever had. And later Joseph decided that if he was going to be a prisoner (even though he did not commit a crime), he would be a prisoner with a good attitude.
We need to be honest about what the real cause of our stress is. Is it really our circumstances in life, or is it the way we respond to the circumstances? There is a rest available, and we must strive to enter it. Entering the rest of God should be our number one priority after receiving Jesus as our Savior. I ask you: Have you learned to sit and enter God’s rest? We may say that we are trusting God, but there is no evidence of trust unless we stay seated in Christ.
Trust in Him Are you upset, worrying, or trying to make something happen? You don’t have to be! God has a place of peace and rest for you, and all you have to do to enter His rest is put your trust in Him.
Give God Your All
Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…
PSALM 103:1–3 NIV
The tiny word “all” is used 5,675 times in the Bible, give or take a few depending on which translation you are reading. It is a small word that means a great deal, and yet we pay so little attention to it. If we read a Scripture that has the word all in it and ignore the “all,” it changes the entire context of the Scripture. The word all takes us into infinity. Where does “all” stop? How far does it go and what does it include?
Jesus is the Lord of all. Our Al-mighty God, all-sufficient Savior, all blessings flow from Him, and He is all that we need. We frequently say that God is our all, but have we ever stopped to truly understand the impact of that one little word? “All” leaves nothing outside of God’s control.
God knows all things (see John 21:17)! Don’t miss the “all” in that statement. He knows the end from the beginning, so He must know everything in the middle. He also has all power, all authority; all things are under His feet, and He fills everything everywhere with Himself (see Matt. 28:18 and Eph. 1:21–23). He sees all, hears all, and is everywhere all the time. If these things are true, then why do we still worry and become anxious? Why do we get emotionally upset when we have a problem or things are not going our way? It must be because we truly don’t believe He has all power, knows all things, and loves us with all of the love that exists in the universe.
How many of our sins does He forgive? Does He forgive some, most, or all? The Bible says that He forgives them all and continually cleanses us from all unrighteousness. It is one of those “all and forever-now” things. God did not put our sins off to the side so He could glance over at them occasionally; He has removed them completely (see Ps. 103:12).
Trust in Him “All” leaves nothing outside of God’s control, so turn all your problems and worries over to Him. Give Him your all, and you can trust that He will be your all in all.
There Is Nothing God Can’t Handle
… With men [it is] impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.
If there are no impossibilities, then we can live in constant victory and nothing can threaten us or make us feel afraid of the future. Everything that is in the will of God will be accomplished in His way and timing.
Is life too much for us? Is there anything that we just cannot handle? Not according to God, for He says through the apostle Paul that we can do all things through Christ Who is our Strength. We are ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infused inner strength into us (see Phil. 4:13).
Before we let go and let God be our all in all, we usually have to find out the hard way that we cannot do it all on our own. The hard way means we keep trying and failing over and over until we admit total dependence on God. It can be a long and painful journey and some never reach the end of themselves, but for those who do, it is the beginning of living with their soul at rest. They know they can’t do it all—but they also know that God can, and they decide that watching Him do what needs to be done, as only He can do, will be entertaining. I love to watch God work. It is one of my greatest pleasures in life.
Since we know that God is keeping the universe running properly every second of every day, why would we doubt that He can take care of us? He has all power, all authority, all wisdom, and He loves us with a perfect love that is promised to us unconditionally and forever. Are you leaning on Him in every situation? Do you believe God is good, and that He wants to be good to you? Put your faith in Him and enter His rest.
Trust in Him Do you believe God has the power to help you, and that since He has all wisdom, He knows exactly what to do and when to do it? Lean on Him completely and trust Him to give you the strength to do what you need to do, while you wait on Him to do what only He can do.
You Have Nothing to Worry About
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
1 PETER 5:7
Worrying is totally useless. I was a worrier, so I know what a stronghold it can become in our lives. I also know that it is a bad habit that is not easily broken, but since all things are possible with God, then it is possible for us to live free from worry, anxiety, and fear. If you are willing to give up worrying, then you will be able to enter into an attitude of celebration. You can trust God and enjoy life while He solves your problems.
Nothing is outside of God’s control, so in reality there is nothing to worry about. When we begin to look at worry in a realistic manner, we see how totally useless it is. Our minds revolve endlessly around and around a problem, searching for answers that only God has. We may ponder a thing and ask God for wisdom, but we do not have God’s permission to worry. Pondering a thing in God is peaceful, but worrying can be torment. When we worry, we torment ourselves! We can pray and ask God to help us not to worry, but ultimately we must choose to put our thoughts on something other than our problems. A refusal to worry is proof that we trust God and it releases Him to go to work on our behalf.
I wonder how much of our mental time is spent worrying, reasoning, and fearing—possibly more than is spent on anything else. Instead of meditating on our problems, let’s choose to meditate on the “alls” of God. He says you can cast “… [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you…” (1 Pet. 5:7). Let us realize how unlimited His power is and trust Him to do what we cannot do.
Trust in Him What are you worried about? Do you believe God will take care of you, do what you can’t do, and work every situation out for good? Then give yourself permission to stop worrying. Make your trust in Him more powerful than your worries!
How to Find Rest in Your Soul
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
COLOSSIANS 1:17–18 NIV
When we give God our all, we are actually saying to Him, “God, Your will be done and not mine.” It is the only way we can live with our soul at rest. Otherwise, we are always wrestling with something that is not working out the way we want.
The apostle Paul begged those he taught to dedicate all of their members and faculties to God for His will and use (see Rom. 12:1). If we refuse to do that, God will find a submitted vessel (someone else) to work through, and we will miss out on God’s best for us.
Think about Noah. Why did God choose Noah and his family to be saved in the ark during the flood? What was so special about this one man? The Bible says that Noah did according to all God commanded him. Maybe Noah wasn’t the first person God asked to build the ark, but he was the one willing to give God his all. And Noah was richly blessed because of his trust in God. I doubt that Noah understood what God was asking him to do when He required him to build an ark for an upcoming flood. Noah must have been the laughingstock of his region. I am sure that his obedience hurt his reputation with men. Are you willing to obey God if your obedience is likely to hurt your reputation?
God is not necessarily looking for people with amazing abilities, but He searches for availability and a person who is willing to simply do whatever He asks them to do. If we will lift our hands to God and say, “I am available to do whatever You want me to do,” we will have peace and joy as we journey through life.
Trust in Him Has God asked you to do something but you are hesitating to give Him your all? Don’t worry about what others think, and don’t worry if it seems beyond your ability. Do all you can do and trust God to do the rest.
Let Joy into Your Life
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Part of disciplining ourselves to celebrate life is refusing to live in mourning. There is a time to mourn, but we dare not let it become a way of life. The Bible says that weeping (mourning) endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning. There are things that happen in life that rightfully need to be mourned over, but joy always returns to balance things out. We must let the joy back into our lives after times of sadness and not feel guilty about enjoying life after disappointment or even tragedy has struck. There is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice, but we must not live in the state of mourning.
Part of life is dealing properly with sadness and disappointment. We cannot avoid them—and we should not deny the emotions that go with loss of any kind—but we can recover! I was saddened when I learned that a trusted employee had been stealing from our ministry, but I rejoiced that God brought the wrongdoing to light and it was discovered. I have a time of mourning when people I love die, but I can also rejoice that they knew Jesus and are spending eternity with Him. I am sad when I realize I have let an area of my life get out of balance through lack of discipline, but I can rejoice that I now see the truth and am back on track. For all mourning there is an offsetting reason to celebrate. And although mourning is proper and is even part of our healing, it cannot last forever.
We cannot live in a state of mourning over things that have happened that we cannot change. In Christ there is always a place of new beginnings, and that is good news worth celebrating.
Trust in Him If you are in a time of mourning, allow yourself to feel those feelings. But don’t get stuck there. Trust that God has a plan for you and wants you to have joy in the morning.
Enjoy Your Everyday Life
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him—for this is his [allotted] part. Also, every man to whom God has given riches and possessions, and the power to enjoy them and to accept his appointed lot and to rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God [to him].
I want you to notice the words allotted part and appointed lot in the above passage. What King Solomon is basically communicating here is this message: enjoy your life. Take your “appointed lot” in life and enjoy it. In other words, embrace the life—the personality, the strengths and weaknesses, the family, the resources, the opportunities, the physical qualities, the abilities, the gifts, and the uniqueness—God has given you.
The only life you can enjoy is your own. That statement may seem so obvious that it’s unnecessary, but think about it. One of the primary reasons many people do not enjoy their lives is because they are not happy with the lives they have. When I speak to them about enjoying their lives, the first thought they often have is, I would enjoy my life if I had your life, Joyce! Instead of embracing the realities of their lives, these people spend their time thinking, I wish I looked like So-and-So. I wish I had So-and-So’s job. I wish I were married. I wish my marriage weren’t so difficult. I wish I had children. I wish my children would grow up. I wish I had a new house. I wish I didn’t have such a big house to clean. I wish I had a big ministry…
The truth of the matter is, the first step to enjoying our everyday lives is to be grateful for the lives we’ve been given. We must not allow jealousy to cause us to be absent from our own lives because we want what someone else has. You have to take what you have and decide you are going to do the best you can with it. What are you doing with what you have been given?
Trust in Him God is asking you to be faithful with your life, not with someone else’s. Trust that God knew what He was doing when He gave your life to you.
The Best Advice I Can Give You
Hear instruction and be wise, and do not refuse or neglect it.
The best advice I could ever give you is to live your life according to the truth of God’s Word, which is found in the Bible. I believe we should honor God’s Word in our lives and give it a place of priority every day. We do this by reading and studying God’s Word and following it to the best of our ability. From a personal perspective, I can honestly say I love God’s Word. Nothing on earth has changed me the way it has—not just as a teacher or a minister, but as a follower of Christ.
The Bible has the wisdom you need for every issue you will ever face. It will not tell you specifically where to go on vacation next year or what color to paint your house, but it will impart to you principles of right living, right thinking, wisdom, and faith. It will instruct you through stories of men and women who lived long ago but faced many of the same human challenges and relational struggles you and I face today. The Scriptures will encourage you to persevere, inspire you to overcome, help you make good decisions, and teach you to hear and obey God’s voice.
I am always saddened when I encounter people who view the Bible as an outdated, irrelevant religious book. Yes, its words are centuries old, but instead of being old-fashioned or obsolete, they are ancient truths that have stood the test of time and been proven over and over and over again. The words of Scripture are alive; they are saturated with the power of God. They are as real and applicable today as they have ever been—and in our world today, we desperately need to be grounded in this kind of godly truth. The Bible is not only meant for preachers and “church people”; it is a book for everyone in every walk of life. It is spiritual, but it is also extremely practical.
Trust in Him Are you trusting God to change you by spending time in His Word? Name one specific thought/habit/attitude that has changed in the past thirty days because of what God has shown you in His Word.
Pray Your Way Through the Day
Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty.
Talking with God about everything gives us a sense of belonging, of being cared for by Someone Who is on our side and Who is powerful. One of the phrases I like to use when teaching about prayer is: “Pray your way through the day.” This is certainly good advice to follow if we want to enjoy our lives each day. We need to remember we can pray anytime, anywhere. First Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “be unceasing in prayer.” In other words, we need to keep the lines of communication with God open. We need to stay in constant fellowship with Him through prayer, all day, every day.
While there are times when we need to be very diligent, focused, and set apart as we pray, we do not have to wait until we are in church or some other designated place, or until we have a specific amount of time, before we pray. The best way I know to be “unceasing in prayer” is to live as though God is constantly paying attention to us, because He is. For example, we can pray quick, simple, effective prayers aloud or silently. We can say silently while sitting in a business meeting: “Oh, God, help me make a good decision here. Give me Your wisdom to speak wisely and be a blessing to my company.” We can whisper a prayer as we drop off our children at school: “God, protect them today. Help them learn everything they need to know. Give them favor with their teachers and their friends.”
We can also pray prayers of praise and thanksgiving as we go about our daily lives, saying things like: “Thank You, Lord, for helping me through this day” or, “I worship You, God, for Your goodness this afternoon.” These types of prayers take only a few seconds, but they keep us focused on God, aware of His presence, and in continual communication with Him.
Trust in Him Starting today, form a habit of talking to God as your constant companion and helper. If you aren’t used to this it will take practice, but before you know it, you won’t have to remind yourself—you’ll just do it!
Who You Are Is More Than What You Do
There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
How would you respond if I asked, “Who are you?” Would your first inclination be to list the things you do and the roles you play in life? Would you say, “I am a flight attendant,” “I am a brain surgeon,” “I am a banker,” “I am a minister,” “I am a wife and a mother,” or “I am a high school student”? These answers would describe what you do, but none of them would tell me who you are.
As a believer, one of the most important realities for you to understand is who you are in Christ, your identity in Him. When I first heard the phrase “who you are in Christ,” I did not know what it meant. But understanding these powerful words is vitally important. When people receive Jesus Christ by faith as their personal Savior, God sees them as made right with Him and as being “in” Jesus. Being in Christ provides you with certain rights and privileges, the rights and privileges that belong to the children of God.
If the daughter of the queen of England visited the United States, I doubt anyone would ask for a list of what she could do. She would have immediate access and favor because of who she is. If this dynamic works with a human being, just imagine how much more valuable it is to be a child of God. However, if the princess did not know who she was, she would not use her identity to her advantage. The same principle applies to anyone who does not know who they are in Christ.
The difference between who we are in Christ and what we do is huge. We are so much more than our jobs, our accomplishments, or our failures. Our identity comes from Jesus. In and of ourselves, we are nothing, we have nothing, and we can do nothing of eternal value. But in Christ, we can be, do, and have everything God promises us in His Word.
Trust in Him Who are you? Trust the Truth in God’s Word to know who you are in Christ. The next time someone asks who you are, answer, “I am a child of God. I am in Christ.”
From Faith to Faith
For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.
This verse reminds us that we need to learn how to live from faith to faith. It means we approach everything we face, every challenge we meet, every decision we make, and everything we do with faith.
I certainly need faith in my everyday life and in my ministry. When I travel to conferences, I go in faith that I will arrive safely at my destination. When I begin teaching, I do so in faith that God has given me the right message for the audience. I have faith that I am anointed to teach God’s Word, to help people, and to speak the right words. When I walk off the platform, I have faith that God has used my ministry to change lives. When I leave to go home, I have faith that I will arrive safely.
After many years of being doubtful and fearful, I have definitely decided faith is much better. Faith enables us to enjoy our lives and to do amazing things. Living by faith is not a feeling we have; it is a conscious decision we must make.
Faith is simply the conscious, deliberate choice to put our trust in God. It’s at the heart of everything great we’ll ever do. It becomes more natural and we get better at it the more we do it.
If you will begin by exercising faith for simple things, eventually you will have no difficulty trusting God for great things. I remember going to a garage sale and trusting God to help me find a pair of tennis shoes for one of my children for two dollars because that was all I had. I saw God’s faithfulness, and eventually I was able to trust God to cover the needs we have for an international ministry.
Trust in Him Where is God asking you to trust Him today? Start there and continue to go from faith to faith, step by step with God, as you pursue the great things He has prepared for you.
Faith Is Trusting God
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast.
I like to define faith in a very basic, easy-to-understand way: living with a positive attitude that comes from a deep trust in God. Living by faith is looking at everything in a positive way and trusting in the power of God, Who loves us and wants the best for us. When we have faith, we can say with confidence in our hearts:
“I don’t know what to do, but God does.”
“I don’t understand what’s going on in my life, but God will make a way for me.”
“I don’t know how I can pay my bills this month, but God will provide.”
“This trial I have doesn’t feel good; I don’t like it, but I believe God works all things out for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (see Rom. 8:28).
“I don’t like the situation I’m going through, but what Satan means for my harm, God intends for my good” (see Gen. 50:20).
These statements and the attitudes they represent demonstrate faith. Having faith means always trusting in God’s love and looking beyond where you are to see the end result. Having faith means always being hopeful and refusing to accept defeat. People who live by faith can enjoy every day of their lives.
Trust in Him What are you currently facing that is uncomfortable or that you don’t understand? Choose to have a positive attitude about your situation and trust God to work it out for good.
Invite God into Every Area of Your Life
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.
God wants to help us with the things that seem big to us and with the things that seem less significant. He wants to help us when we feel desperate and when we don’t. I figured out years ago that everything in life is over my head; it’s all too much for me to handle alone. I used to run to God only when I thought I was desperate, but then one day I finally realized I was desperate all the time; I just didn’t know it.
The same is true for you. You are desperate for God all the time, whether you realize it or not. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (ESV, emphasis added). As we abide in Him through faith, we can do everything, but apart from Him, we can do nothing that will have any real lasting value.
Our desperate need for God and His desire for us to abide in Him do not mean we have to sit around being “super spiritual” all the time. We do not need to feel obligated to read our Bibles or confine ourselves to a prayer closet for hours each day. It should be part of our lives, but we don’t need to feel as if we are being “spiritual” when we do it and “unspiritual” when we do other things. When we really love God and He is first in our lives, everything we do becomes spiritual in a way because we are doing it with Him, in Him, through Him, by Him, for Him, and to His glory.
Let me encourage you to invite God into every area of your life through faith. Jesus died so we could enjoy our lives—every part of them.
Trust in Him Are there “other” things in your life that don’t feel particularly “spiritual”? Trust God with every area of your life so that you can enjoy all things—the “big” and the “insignificant”—because you are doing them with Him.
Trust God Through the Hard Times
Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me…
Often when we think of trusting God, we think of trusting Him for things we need or want—financial provision, physical healing, the restoration of a relationship, or a promotion at work. A true relationship of trust in God extends beyond trusting Him for something and includes trusting Him through a situation. We need to learn to not simply look to Him for the results we desire; we need to learn to trust Him through the process of attaining them.
There was a time in my life when I focused intensely on trusting God for things, saying, “I want this, God,” “I want that, God,” and “I need such-and-such, God.” In the midst of my requests, He began to show me that getting all those things was not what was most important. Those things would come later, but back then He needed to teach me first how to trust Him while I was going through situations. He wanted me to learn that He may not always rescue us when we want out of circumstances, but He is always with us as we walk through them. Because He is with us, we can go through trials in our lives with stable, positive attitudes, trusting God completely, even against seemingly impossible odds.
Remember, your attitude in every situation is yours to command. No one can force you to have a bad attitude or a good one; it is entirely up to you. Maintain an attitude of faith, praise, thanksgiving, and positive expectation, and you will definitely come out of your situation victoriously at just the right time.
Trust in Him Is it easier for you to trust God for or through? Whatever situation you are in, maintain a positive attitude and trust God to be with you through it. He will reward you on the other side.
Trusting When We Don’t Understand
[… though He slay me, yet will I wait for and trust Him…]
One of the great mysteries and facts about our walk with God is that we rarely understand everything He is doing in our lives. If we always understood, we would have no need to trust Him. As believers we often find ourselves in places of not knowing, and we catch ourselves questioning God: “What does my future hold?” “Will I ever get married?” “What will my children be when they grow up?” “Will I have the provision I need in my old age?”
We have to learn to trust God when we do not understand what is happening in our lives, and we need to become comfortable with unanswered questions. You and I may never have every answer we want when we want it, so we need to relax and get comfortable knowing and trusting God, the One Who does know. Without trust, it is impossible to enjoy today and be ready to face tomorrow with expectancy.
Job, who had many reasons to question God as he faced a staggering series of crises and losses, did not understand what was going on in his life, but he made the decision to trust God anyway. I believe that was the only way he could find peace in the midst of his terrible circumstances. Similarly, you and I will never have peace in our lives until we learn how to stop trying to figure everything out and how to start trusting God more.
If you are the kind of person who has to have everything figured out in order to settle down, let me encourage you today to accept the fact you are not likely to receive all the answers you want in this lifetime. Choose to stop demanding explanations and to begin practicing trust. Instead of asking God why, tell Him you trust Him. There have been many times in my life when I wanted with all my heart to know why something was or was not happening, but I knew God wanted my trust, not my questions.
Trust in Him Is there something in your life you don’t understand, no matter how long and hard you think about it? Give it to God and put your trust in Him. Whether or not He ever explains it to you, you can trust Him to bless you and bring you through any crisis.
God Will Meet You in the Fire
We believe God is going to deliver us, but even if He does not, we are not conforming to your image of what you think we ought to be. We are going to do what God is telling us to do. You can do what you want to with your furnace. But whatever happens to us, we will have peace.
DANIEL 3:17–18 (PARAPHRASED)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the golden idol that King Nebuchadnezzar constructed and as a result were thrown into the fiery furnace (see Dan. 3). These three young men had no idea what would happen to them, but they were willing to put their lives on the line instead of disobeying God. We need people today who will take a stand for righteousness, for what is right according to God’s Word. If this does not happen, our world will be in serious trouble.
Many times, people fail to stand up for righteousness because they are afraid of what will happen when they do. Will they lose their jobs? Will they lose their friends? Will God abandon them? In situations such as these, when we do not know what the outcome or result of a situation will be, we need to trust God and press forward to do what we believe is right. Even if we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, God’s Word says we are blessed (see Matt. 5:10). Those three Hebrew boys would’ve never experienced their incredible miracle if they weren’t willing to trust God as they stood in that fire.
The world desperately needs men and women who will trust God even in the midst of the fires of persecution and outside pressure. God can put us in better places than people could ever put us if we trust in Him and if we are people of integrity and excellence. We need people who will put everything on the line and say, “Even if I lose what I want, I will not compromise and do what I know in my heart to be wrong.” We need to fear the Lord above all else, and to trust Him at all times, in every situation, every day of our lives.
Trust in Him Trust God to meet you in the fire. Don’t be afraid to stand up for righteousness because you know He’ll never leave you or forsake you.
Give Your Brain a Break
For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.
How do we learn to “rest” in God? I can tell you to wait on the Lord and rest in Him all day long, but that does no good if you do not know how to enter His rest. To enter His rest you have to trust Him. I believe the simplest, easiest way to trust Him is to get your mind off your problems. You may think you could never do that, but you can. You do it by choosing to think about something else.
Sometimes, one of the best things you can do when you have a problem and seem to be unable to get it off your mind is to simply go do something. Call a friend; go to the grocery store; take a walk; change the oil in your car; watch a funny movie; read a book; or tackle a project you have been putting off doing.
Invest your mental energy in something other than your problem. You will find it difficult to trust God if you talk about your problems excessively, because the more you talk about them, the more upset you will be. Turn your thoughts elsewhere. Give your brain a break and you’ll find yourself better able to rest in God.
Growing in the ability to trust God and to walk in faith is a lifetime journey; it does not happen quickly. As we grow spiritually, we have to remind ourselves over and over again to: cast our cares on God; be anxious for nothing; trust Him in every situation. As we are diligent to do these things, we find ourselves resting in the Lord more and more, and that is where we find peace, clarity, wisdom, and the strength to face each day.
Trust in Him If you are worrying about your problems, give your brain a break! Go do something and get yourself off your mind. Show God that you trust Him by turning your problems over to Him so that He can care for you and you can enter His rest.
One Good Choice After Another
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
PROVERBS 4:25 NIV
Are you enjoying the life and blessings of God in your everyday life? Or have you made a series of choices resulting in disappointment, pain, or feeling that everything you do requires great effort and produces little reward? Don’t spend your time and energy mourning all the bad decisions you have made; just start making good ones. There is hope for you!
The way to overcome the results of a series of bad choices is through a series of right choices. The only way to walk out of trouble is to do the opposite of whatever you did to get into trouble—one choice at a time. Maybe the circumstances of your life right now are the direct result of a series of bad choices you have made. You may be in debt because you have made a lot of bad choices with money. You may be lonely because of a series of bad choices in relationships or in the way you treat people. You may be sick because of a series of unhealthy choices: eating junk food, not getting enough rest, or abusing your body through working too much and not having enough balance in your life.
You cannot make a series of bad choices that result in significant problems and then make one good choice and expect all the results of all those bad choices to go away. You did not get into deep trouble through one bad choice; you got into trouble through a series of bad choices. If you really want your life to change for the better, you will need to make one good choice after another, over a period of time, just as consistently as you made the negative choices that produced negative results.
No matter what kind of trouble or difficulty you find yourself in, you can still have a blessed life. You cannot do anything about what is behind you, but you can do a great deal about what lies ahead of you. God is a redeemer, and He will always give you another chance.
Trust in Him If you have a situation that is too big for you to solve, then you are material for a miracle. Invite God to get involved, trust in and follow His directions, make one good choice after another, and you will see amazing results.
God Will Lead You into His Wisdom
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the markets…
God wants us to use wisdom to make right choices, and the Holy Spirit will lead us into wisdom if we will simply ask Him to do so.
Have you ever needed to make a decision and had your head (your intellectual abilities) try to lead you one way while your heart was leading you in another direction? Have you ever had a situation in which your flesh (your natural thoughts and feelings) seemed to be guiding you down one path, but something inside you kept nagging you to go another way? For example, have there been times when you stayed up late at night watching television, even though you knew you needed a good night’s sleep to be strong and alert for an important meeting the next day—and you kept resisting the knowledge in your heart that you really should go to bed? Have you purchased something you were excited about on an emotional level, but knew in your heart you could not really afford and didn’t even need it?
What is happening in the kinds of circumstances I have just described? Chances are, wisdom is crying out to you. Many times, it cries out in the form of the things you find yourself thinking you should or should not do—you should eat healthily; you should be kind to other people; you should not spend money you do not have. These are all practical examples of using wisdom in everyday life. When you sense such leadings, the Holy Spirit, Who speaks to your heart, is trying to help you make a wise decision, even though it may not be the choice you want to make or it may not seem to make much sense in your present circumstances.
When we know the wise choice to make and don’t make it, the reason is often because we are allowing our flesh to lead us and to see if we can get away with unwise decisions—which is also known as “foolishness.” The flesh leads us to foolishness, but God wants us to walk in wisdom and make choices now that we will be happy with later.
Trust in Him What decision are you wrestling with? Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to the wise choice. It may take some time to learn to hear the Holy Spirit over your flesh, but God is patient and will continue to provide you with opportunities to listen for His leading.
Go to God First
Does not skillful and godly Wisdom cry out, and understanding raise her voice [in contrast to the loose woman]? On the top of the heights beside the way, where the paths meet, stands Wisdom [skillful and godly]; at the gates at the entrance of the town, at the coming in at the doors, she cries out…
Almost everywhere you travel, you are likely to come to a point where two roads intersect and you must choose whether to turn or to go straight. We all face intersections in our lives. They are our turning points, the places where we must make decisions.
If you are standing at a point of decision in your life right now, let me urge you to follow wisdom. Go to God and His Word first; don’t automatically turn to the people and resources around you and ask them what you ought to do. God may answer your prayer by speaking through someone, but it is best to honor Him by seeking Him first.
Recently, I was with a friend who suffered from serious back problems. After an unsuccessful surgery, she continued to have terrible pain. Her doctor released her, saying there was nothing more anyone could do, and suggested she go to a pain-management clinic and learn to live with the pain. She began to seriously seek God about what she should do. I have an expert chiropractor who has helped me over the years. I told my distraught friend I really thought he could help her, too. After one visit, her pain diminished greatly. The chiropractor put her on a rehabilitation strength program, and after she returned to him a few more times she was soon completely pain free. Wow!
She did not run to me and ignore God; rather, in seeking God, He gave her advice through me. As I said, God may use a person to speak words of wisdom to us, but it is important that we seek Him because all true wisdom comes from Him. He deserves the credit, no matter what vessel He uses.
Trust in Him Are you at an intersection, faced with an important decision? Seek God first, obey His leading, and trust His wisdom. Be ready for Him to speak to you through His Word, prayer, or through a trusted friend.
Simplify Your Decisions, Simplify Your Life
But above all [things], my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath; but let your yes be [a simple] yes, and your no be [a simple] no, so that you may not sin and fall under condemnation.
Life can become complicated when people do not know how to make decisions and stick with them. In the verse above, James is basically saying, “Make a decision. Just say yes or no, and don’t keep changing your mind.”
We often labor over the choices and options before us when, actually, we just need to make a decision and let it stand. For example, when you stand in front of your closet in the morning looking at all of your clothes, just choose something and put it on. Don’t go back and forth until you make yourself late for work!
When you get ready to go out to eat, pick a restaurant and go. Don’t become so confused that you feel there is no one place that will satisfy you. Sometimes I would like the coffee from restaurant A, the salad from restaurant B, my favorite chicken dish from restaurant C, and dessert from restaurant D. Obviously, I cannot have everything I want at the same time, so I need to pick one of those places and eat there. I can go to the others later.
Let me encourage you to start making decisions without second-guessing yourself or worrying about the choices you make. Don’t be double-minded. Doubting your decisions after you make them will steal the enjoyment from everything you do. Make the best decisions you can, and trust God with the results. Don’t be anxious or afraid of being wrong. If your heart is right and you make a decision not in accordance with God’s will, He will forgive you and help you move on.
Trust in Him Be decisive. Whatever you need to do in life, just do it. Keep it simple and trust God with the results.
You Can Trust God’s Timing
My times are in Your hands…
One of the biggest mistakes we make as believers is failing to remember that God’s timing rarely matches our timing. We think and plan in temporal terms, and God thinks and plans in eternal terms. What this means is we want what feels good right now, what produces immediate results, but God is willing to be patient and deliberate as He invests in us over a period of time to produce results far better and longer lasting than we can imagine.
Just as our children try to talk us into giving them what they want right away, we often try to talk God into immediately giving us what we want. He loves us even more than we love our children, and He loves us too much to give in to our pleadings. He knows something born prematurely might struggle to survive, so He waits until He knows everything is properly prepared for the arrival of our dreams.
God sees and understands what we do not see and understand. He asks us to put aside our natural tendencies to want to figure out what should happen in our lives and when it should happen. He also desires us to stop being frustrated because things do not go according to our plan, and instead to relax, enjoy the ride, and trust He is working everything out according to His timing and the wisdom of His plan.
Without trusting God, we will never experience satisfaction and enjoyment in life; we will always be striving to “make things happen” within our timeline. We must remember God not only has plans for our lives, He also knows the perfect timing for each aspect of those plans. Fighting and resisting the timing of God is equivalent to fighting and resisting His will for our lives. God is working, often in ways we cannot see, to bring His plans to pass in our lives in the best possible ways. We simply need to trust Him as we wait for the arrival of our dreams.
Trust in Him You can trust that God is working on His plan for your life; He is preparing it for you and you for it. His plan may not come on your timetable, but the arrival of your dream is coming. Just have a seat (trust in Him, enter His rest), and when the time is precisely right, He’ll call your name.
Love Covers Mistakes
… love covers all transgressions.
Sometimes, the best way to deal with an offense or with something that gets on our nerves is simply to overlook it. If we insist upon calling every little mistake to people’s attention (this is called “nit-picking”), we are not being gracious and merciful.
Every member of every household on earth has some annoying habits. Nobody’s perfect. In our home, I have habits Dave wishes I didn’t have and he has habits I wish he didn’t have. For instance, Dave does not always close his closet door. In our closets, the lights stay on if the doors are open. For years, I had a hard time simply closing the closet door for him; I always wanted to make sure Dave knew he left the door open and I had to close it again!
Our fleshly natures really enjoy telling people what they have done wrong and how we have fixed it. The best way for me to handle Dave’s open closet door is to close it and go on about my day, not to say, “You left your light on again” every time he does it. There are similar things Dave needs to do for me. There are plenty of times when I am not perfect and I want him to cover my mistakes.
In adult relationships, both in marriage and in other relationships, we need to cover one another’s mistakes. Although there are times when situations need to be confronted and resolved, there are other times when people are busy or rushed and they simply need us to step in and cover them without reminding them over and over of what we’ve done for them.
People do not want to hear about every little mistake they make. I really appreciate the times people cover my mistakes; I believe you do, too. I encourage you to apply Proverbs 10:12 to your everyday life. Before you point out what someone has done wrong, remember that love covers transgressions.
Trust in Him What is a habit that one of your family members has that annoys you? Have you tried covering it? Trusting God means obeying His Word, and His Word tells us to cover transgressions. Sow a little loving mercy into someone’s life today by covering their mistakes.
Let Go and Let God Work
We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
My husband is a very happy man; he is consistently joyful and peaceful. Over the years we have been married, he has enjoyed his life much more than I have enjoyed mine, and he has not spent (wasted) nearly as much time as I have being angry, upset, and frustrated.
When certain problems arise, Dave says, “If you can do something about this, do it. If you can’t, go on about your business, trust God, and let Him take care of it.” That always sounded good to me, but it used to take me longer to “let go and let God work” than it did him, but now I am catching up.
Recently, we were riding in the car together and Dave received a phone call about a change in one of our television air times. This happened to be on one of our best stations, and he did not like the change. He started getting upset, and I heard myself say, “Don’t let it bug you. God will make it work out for the best if we pray.” I didn’t even have to try to be positive; it was my first response. I am continually amazed at how much God can change us if we continue praying and letting Him work in our lives. Here I was actually encouraging Mr. Positive, when most of my life it had been the other way around. That felt good!
If we really love God and want to do His will, then we must believe—no matter what happens in our lives—that God is in control and He will take everything that happens and make it work out for our good. Certain circumstances may not always feel good or appear to be good, but God will cause them to work together with other things in your life to bring about good. God is a good God, and He can take even the worst situations and bring something positive out of them.
Trust in Him Think about a situation in your life you can’t do anything about. Say from your heart, “I trust God and believe this will work out for my good.” Now let it go and let God work.
Learning to Deal with Criticism
And whoever will not receive and accept and welcome you nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or town, shake the dust [of it] from your feet.
Everyone who is truly successful in life has to deal with criticism. Sometimes criticism comes from people who do not understand what we are doing, cannot see the vision we see, or are jealous of our success. Sometimes criticism is legitimate but isn’t delivered in a helpful way. Learning to deal with it in a godly way is always a great testimony to the people around us.
In Matthew 10:10–14, Jesus tells His disciples how to deal with criticism or with people who will not receive their message. His advice: “Shake it off.” Jesus Himself was criticized frequently, and He usually ignored it (see Matt. 27:11–12). Often, the best way to respond to criticism is to say nothing at all. But when you must respond, here are a few suggestions for handling criticism in a godly way:
Don’t get defensive. Remember, God is your defense; He is your vindicator.
Don’t get angry or upset. Keep your peace, because peace brings power.
Don’t retaliate with criticism toward your critic.
Don’t assume your critic is wrong without being willing to examine yourself.
Don’t assume your critic is right and start feeling guilty without consulting God.
Thank your critics, because they help you see things others wouldn’t.
The Bible says only a fool hates correction (see Prov. 12:1), and although I believe that is true, I must say that in my life I have only known one person who I can honestly say appreciated it—and it wasn’t me, although I wish I could say it was. Probably like most of you, I am somewhere between hating correction and loving it, but I am striving to have a positive attitude toward correction as well as everything else in life.
Trust in Him How have you handled criticism? God wants you to be successful, and a big step in the process is realizing you can trust Him with your reputation. You will be criticized—that is life—but God is with you, so you can handle it with a godly attitude.
Pay Attention to Your Heart
Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them.
HOSEA 14:9 NLT
There’s more to life than meets the eye—especially the natural eye. Things are not always what they appear to be, so we must learn to be discerning. Simply defined, discernment is spiritual understanding, and developing it takes practice. As we grow in our understanding of God’s Word and in our relationships with Him, we also grow in our ability to discern.
To live by discernment, we have to pay attention to our hearts. We have to know when we do not feel right about something. For example, let’s say a businessman has been looking for a certain kind of business deal for quite some time and an opportunity for such a deal finally presents itself. As he reviews the paperwork, the deal appears to be sound. But when he begins to pray about entering into the deal, he senses he should not do it. Even though everything appears to be in order, he just does not have peace about the deal. The more he prays, the more he feels he should not do business with the people involved in the deal. This man is looking beyond the natural elements of the deal and using his discernment.
The best way for me to help you learn to live by discernment is to offer this simple advice: if you don’t feel right about something in your heart, do not do it. You may discover later why you didn’t feel good about it, but you may not. Either way, you can be at peace knowing you used your discernment instead of making decisions based on your mind, your emotions, or natural circumstances. Discernment is a precious gift from God that will help you avoid a lot of trouble in life if you pay attention to it.
Trust in Him When was the last time something didn’t feel right to you? Pray and ask God to develop and increase your discernment as you study His Word. When something doesn’t feel right in your heart, you can trust that it is God telling you it is not His will for your life.
Excerpted from Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer Copyright © 2012 by Joyce Meyer. Excerpted by permission.
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