Edward doing a 360, No worry
Worry Simply Doesn't Work
by Rick Warren “Don’t worry about anything …”
Philippians 4:6a (LB) "Worry works on us; it doesn't work for us." Today’s devotional is by Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and author of ‘The Relationship Principles of Jesus.’
This is the time of year when reality hits. It’s a month into the New Year and you had all these goals for change in your health, your job, your relationships, and so far things look the same as they did in December.
If this is where you are today, if you have real problems and things aren’t working out the way you would like, you have a choice to make. You can either worry and wonder if it’s all going to fall apart, or you can choose to have faith and trust God.
We all struggle with worry in different ways. Some people sweat, some people yell, some people get really quiet. Do you tend to dwell on problems? Do you feel insecure about the future? Do you feel out of touch with God? Do you have physical symptoms of headaches, backaches, or a nervous stomach? Do you find it hard to accept defeat? Do you feel burned out? Do you find loose ends difficult? Do you constantly rehash events? These are all signs of worry and anxiety.
We like to think that worry works for us. It reminds us what needs to get done or it motivates us to get to the next step. But the truth of the matter is this: worry works on us; it doesn’t work for us. It will steal life and create relational difficulties. Until we get something that works better than worry, we are going to keep worrying.
How do you let go of anxiety? This week I want to look at the story in Matthew 8 where Jesus addresses the issue of anxiety and how to deal with it. And we’ll see how to address reality with faith.
Port Elizabeth - North End
The Principle of Motivation: Nurture Your Enthusiasm
by Rick Warren “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Romans 12:11-12 (NIV)
"When you make other people's problems your problems, God will take care of yours in turn."
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great is ever accomplished in life without enthusiasm.” You have to have a passion to see something great happen. That’s why you need to nurture your enthusiasm if you want to change.
If you say, “Well, I kind of, sort of, maybe want to change” it isn’t going to happen. If you say, “Well, I’d like to change in my spare time” it isn’t going to happen. But if you are passionate about your goal it will become reality.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose your enthusiasm. So how do you maintain it? Speaking from personal experience, it takes more than positive thinking or psycho cybernetics. It takes God in your life.
The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words. The word en
which means “in” and the word theos
which is Greek for “God.” To be enthusiastic means to be “in God.” When you get in God, you have enthusiasm deep in your heart.
The Apostle Paul tells us how to be enthusiastic in Romans 12:11-12, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” “Joyful in hope”
– even when things go wrong, hang on to your hope in God and it will give you joy. “Patient in affliction”
– Remain patient because you know God will use whatever you’re going through for good. “Faithful in prayer”
– When tough times come, you have a choice: you can either pray continually or you can panic. You can either be on your knees giving it to God, or you can give up.
What makes wise men wise? by Rick Warren Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT) "
The Bible says if we seek Jesus with all our hearts, we will find him."
If you want to be wise this year, you must do the same things the wise men did.
First, they were seekers of the truth. The wise men really, really wanted to know the truth. They weren't going to put off finding out the truth about God.
You see how they asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” The only way they could know this truth is that they had studied the Scriptures. That’s the only way they could know about the prediction that a Messiah, a Savior, the Christ would be born.
You know the saying, ‘Wise men still seek Jesus today.’ Are you seeking Jesus? Wise men and wise women still seek him. In fact, there are generally two kinds of people in life when it comes to truth: speculatirs and seekers.
Speculators say, “Yeah, I want the truth,” but then they don't really put out any effort to learn it. They won't search for it; instead, they make assumptions. Speculators say things like, “You know, I like to think of God as …” or, “I imagine God in my mind as …” or, “It really helps me to think of God as ….”
But it doesn't even matter what they think. For instance, a speculator may think of God as a snow bunny, or Elvis, or the man on the moon – whatever – but the only thing that really matters is who God really is – what matters is the truth
Seekers, on the other hand, take the time and the trouble to discover the truth. The Bible says if we seek Jesus with all our hearts, we will find him. If you focus on finding him, you cannot miss him. God will not let you miss him if you are that serious about seeking him.
The wise men were willing to go to any length to find the truth. You will become wise if you do the same this year.
Letting Go of the Eternally Useless by Rick Warren "For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever."
2 Corinthians 4:18 (TEV) As C. S. Lewis observed, "All that is not eternal is eternally useless."
As we prepare for our Decade of Destiny, it is important to remember that 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.
Your Destiny is to Develop Christ's Character by Rick Warren "God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son .... We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him."
Romans 8:29 (Msg) "
God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development."
From the very beginning, God's plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny. God announced this intention at Creation: "Then God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image and likeness."
(Gen 1:26 NCV)
In all of creation, only human beings, are made "in God's image."
This is a great privilege and gives us dignity. We don't know all this phrase covers, but we do know some of the aspects it includes: Like God, we are spiritual beings
—our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual
—we can think, reason, and solve problems; like God, we are relational
—we can give and receive real love; and we have a moral consciousness
—we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God.
But we have been damaged and distorted by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost. What does the full "image and likeness"
of God look like? It looks like Jesus Christ! The Bible says Jesus is "the exact likeness of God," "the visible image of the invisible God,"
and "the exact representation of his being."
(2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT; Colossians 1:15 NLT; Hebrews 1:3 NIV.)
As creatures, we will never be the Creator. God doesn't want you to become a god; he wants you to become godly—taking on his values, attitudes, and character. We are meant to "take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you."
(Ephesians 4:22 Msg)
God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn't want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality.