= = = = = = =
Pastor Greg Laurie…Live wisely..."Teach us to realize the brevity of
life, so that we may grow in wisdom"— Psalm 90:12. Someone who
loves you very much puts 86,400 seconds into your bank of time every
day. The seconds cannot be carried over from one day to the next. You
are given 24 hours each day to use as you choose. And you can choose to
give that time to the Lord. The Bible tells us to redeem the time,
because the days are evil (see Ephesians 5:16). That means to make
sacred and wise use of every opportunity.
God sent word to King Hezekiah through the prophet
Isaiah, "Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die . . ."
(Isaiah 38:1). Is your house in order? That is something you need to
think about. There are important things to consider. Think about your
legacy. Think about your life. Think about what you live for. Think
about what you will be remembered for. Think about your effect on your
family and on your children and on your grandchildren. Moses prayed,
"Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in
wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).
Think about what kind of legacy you are leaving, because
you never know when this could be your last year, your last month, or
even your last day.
= = = = = = =
Rick Warren...Life on earth is just a temporary assignment. Knowing
that should radically alter our values and fix our attention on the
things that are eternally important. "What can be seen lasts only for a
time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever." (2 Corinthians 4:18b TEV)
As C. S. Lewis observed, "All that is not eternal is eternally useless."
It is a fatal mistake to assume that God's goal for your life is
material prosperity or popular success, as the world defines it. The
abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance, and
faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in a career or even in
ministry. Never focus on temporary crowns.
Paul was faithful, yet he ended up in prison. John the Baptist was
faithful, but he was beheaded. Millions of faithful people have been
martyred, have lost everything, or have come to the end of life with
nothing to show for it. But the end of life is not the end!
In God's eyes, the greatest heroes of faith are not those who achieve
prosperity, success, and power in this life, but those who treat this
life as a temporary assignment and serve faithfully, expecting their
promised reward in eternity.
The Bible says this about God's Hall of Fame: "All these people died
having faith. They didn't receive the things that God had promised
them, but they saw these things coming in the distant future and
rejoiced. They acknowledged that they were living as strangers with no
permanent home on earth ... That is why God is not ashamed to be called
their God." (Hebrews 11:13, 16b GW)
These great people died in faith, certain of a better home in heaven.
Your time on earth is not the complete story of your life. You must
wait until heaven for the rest of the chapters. It takes faith to live
on earth as a foreigner.
But, the truth is, you will not be in heaven two seconds before you cry
out, "Why did I place so much importance on things that were so
temporary? What was I thinking? Why did I waste so much time, energy,
and concern on what wasn't going to last?"
When life gets tough, when you're overwhelmed with doubt, or when you
wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are
not home yet. At death you won't leave home—you'll go home.
= = = = = = =
Rick Warren...Please God by Keeping Financial Records
Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your
herds, for riches don't last forever .... Proverbs 27:23-24a (NLT)
When you think of following Jesus, your probably don't think about
keeping good financial records, but God wants you to keep track of what
you spend, what you owe, and what you earn.
The Bible says we need to watch our financial interests closely. "Know
the state of your flocks ...". Today we might say, 'Know the state of
your stocks'. In other words, we need to know where our money is going.
People say money talks, but actually it just walks away quietly.
And you wonder where it went.
Not knowing where your money is going equals disaster. You get into
debt because you're not keeping good records that show you what is
happening with your finances. As the saying goes, you end up spending
money you don't have on things you don't need to impress people you
don't even like.
And this causes all kinds of problems in your life. When you
wonder where it all went, that is a warning sign. You are already in
trouble if you don't know where your money is going because ignorance
and easy credit equals trouble.
You need to know what you owe, own, and earn. If you want your next ten
years to be a decade of destiny, then you have to keep good records
because riches can disappear fast.
Think about this: if you spent as much time writing down your finances
as you do worrying about them, you'd probably have a lot less to worry
about. You need to keep good records if you want God's blessing on your
= = = = = = =
waste your life in a job that doesn't express your heart.
Remember, the greatest things in life are not things. Meaning is
far more important than money. The richest man in
the world once said, "A simple life in the fear-of-God is better than a
rich life with a ton of headaches" (Proverbs 15:16, Msg).
Don't settle for achieving "the good life," because the good life is
not good enough. Ultimately, it doesn't satisfy. You can have a lot to
live on, and still have nothing to live for. Aim instead for "the
better life" -- serving God in a way that expresses your heart.
Figure out what you love to do --
that which God gave you a heart for -- and then do it for his glory!
= = = = = = =
Rick Warren...Jesus teaches you can give him your worries by asking God
to provide for your needs and then trusting that he will provide. For
instance, we can ask God to give us the food we need each day...“Give
us this day our daily bread.”
What is “daily bread”? It’s the necessities of life—our physical and
material needs that we’re always worrying about. God wants you to ask
him to provide those things so you don’t have to worry about them. He’s
promised to provide all your needs: “My God shall supply all of your
needs” (Philippians 4:19 NASB).
What do you need today? Energy to make it through the day? Finances?
Wisdom? You have two alternatives: panic or pray. Philippians 4:6 says:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (NIV).
Do you really believe this verse? God says you can pray about
everything. Nothing is too great for God’s power. Nothing is too
insignificant for his care. Anything worth worrying about is worth
praying about. If we prayed as much as we worried, we’d have a lot less
to worry about! Give God your worries.
And when you talk to God about your needs, be specific. Otherwise, how
will you know when he’s answered your prayers?
= = = = = = =
Max Lucato: Success is not
defined by position or pay scale but by doing the most of what you do
= = = = = = =
Rick Warren...James reminds
us, "you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your
life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then
vanishes" (James 4:14). The good news is that our Father in
heaven knows us better than we know ourselves. His angels are
surrounding us this very moment.
= = = = = = =
Rick Warren...How Can I Know My
Destiny? "Each of us, as a good manager
of God's different gifts, must use for the good of others the special
gift we have received from God." 1 Peter 4:10 (TEV)
Do you know what God created you for? Do you know what your destiny is?
There are four things you need to do in order to fulfill your destiny.
I want to take you through those things over the next few days using
illustrations from the book of Esther.
God gives you gifts
The first thing you must do is recognize the gifts God has given you to
use. These are the cards you are dealt in life. They include the things
you can't control - your parents, your nationality, your race, your
language. They also include your SHAPE - your spiritual gifts, heart,
abilities, personality and experiences. These are the things that make
you uniquely you. You are not responsible for the gifts God
didn't give you.
When you get to heaven, God isn't going to compare you with anyone
else, but he will compare you with yourself. What did you do with what
you were given? What could you have done if you had trusted God a
little bit more? Romans 14:12 (NIV) says, "Each of us will have to give
personal account to God."
God has given you gifts for a purpose. You have a responsibility to be
a good steward of those gifts - not for selfish uses, but for the good
To know your destiny, you have to know your talents and decide how to
use them. What has God given you for good to use for good?
God will not only use your gifts to fulfill your destiny, he'll also
use your limitations. Sometimes what looks like a disaster in
your life is part of a much bigger plan. But you will never fulfill
your destiny if you are having a pity party. You have to realize
that the unpleasant obstacles in your life are often God-ordained
opportunities to make a difference.
It's hard to see that when you're in pain. Look at Job. He was the
wealthiest man in the world and then God allowed everything to be taken
from him - his family, his wealth, his health. Then, when Job starting
asking God why, he was silent. Job said, "I do not see him in the
north, for he is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find him.
But he knows where I am going ... His mind concerning me remains
unchanged ... Whatever he wants to do, he does. So he will do for me
all he has planned. He controls my destiny" (Job 23:9-10, 13-14 NLT).
You might be in a situation right now where everything is going wrong
and you can't figure it out. But God knows. Nothing in your life is
accidental. The pleasures and pains, the opportunities and obstacles,
God can use it all. There is nothing God cannot use for good in your
life if you'll give it to him.
The second key to discovering your destiny is to identify the needs
that stir your heart. What is it that upsets you? What causes you to
think, "Somebody ought to do something about that"?
Does anything disturb you or is your life so insulated that nothing
makes you say, "Somebody ought to do something about that"?
Isaiah 58:6-11 gives ten amazing promises to those who act on
injustice. Take a moment to read it. God promises that - his favor will
shine on you, your wounds will be healed, he will always be with you,
he will save you and protect you, he will answer your prayers, he will
turn darkness to light, he will guide you, satisfy you with good
things, and keep you strong and well.
= = = = = = =
Sometimes God has a
better idea by Rick Warren
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that
prevails." Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) Have you noticed that things don't
always turn out the way you want them to? That sometimes God has a
The Bible says in Proverbs 27:1, "Don't boast about tomorrow. You don't
know what tomorrow's going to bring." (ESV) It's okay to make your
plans, but remember that life is unpredictable and God says we
shouldn't presume on it. On the other hand, we shouldn't worry about it
because God is in control.
James 4 tells us the proper attitude to have: "Now listen you who say
'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there,
carry on business, and make money.' Why, you don't even know what will
happen tomorrow. ... Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's
will, we will live and do this or that.'" (vv. 13-15, NIV)
James is saying it's OK to make plans, but just realize that ultimately
God has the final word. The right attitude is to always keep your plans
submitted to God. Make your plans but say, "God, if this is what You
want, this is the direction I'm going to go. I'm doing this with
Proverbs 16:9 says, "We should make our plans counting on God to direct
us." How do you do that? By praying. When you get up in the morning and
have your quiet time, say, "God, what do You want to do with this day?"
Then when interruptions come, you'll remember God is in control. It
will dramatically lower the frustration level in your life as you
remember it is not all up to you.
= = = = = = =
Greg Laurie...It has been said that you
can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails. I cannot control
the world. Nor can I control the circumstances that come my way. But I
can control my reaction to them. I can redirect my sails and adapt.
We all will face storms, difficulties, and even shipwrecks. So it is
time for us to develop our sea legs and not focus so much on how to
avoid storms, but on how to get through them, how to survive them, and
how to learn the lessons that we can only learn in such places.
= = = = = = =
Rick Warren...When God puts someone in need right in front of you, he
is giving you the opportunity to grow in servanthood.
God determines your greatness by how many people you
serve, not how many people serve you.
Faithfulness has always been a rare quality (Psalm
12:1; Proverbs 20:6; Philippians 2:19-22).
Most people don't know the meaning of commitment. They make commitments
casually, then break them for the slightest reason without any
hesitation, remorse, or regret. Every week, churches and other
organizations must improvise because volunteers didn't prepare, didn't
show up, or didn't even call to say they weren't coming.
God has promised to reward your faithfulness in eternity. Imagine what
it will feel like one day to have God say to you, "Well done, my good
and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small
amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's
celebrate together!" (Matthew 25:23 NLT).
By the way, faithful servants never retire. They serve faithfully as
long as they're alive. You can retire from your career, but you will
never retire from serving God.