Three Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking God’s Will

http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/full-post/three-mistakes-to-avoid-when-seeking-god-s-will

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord …. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” (Psalm 37:23a-24 NASB) 

Three Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking God’s Will

You may be at what you think is a dead end in your life. “We’re never going to get out of debt! I’m never going to have a baby. My dream is never going to come true. How is it ever going to work out?” 

Right now it may look dark and you may feel defeated and it may seem like a mystery to you. But one day you’re going to see in the light of eternity how it all fits together in God’s plan. Until then, there are three errors you need to avoid as you seek God’s will that will help you trust in him, even when you don’t understand. 

Don’t be fatalistic. The idea of fatalism — that everything that happens is God’s will — leads to self-pity. It causes us to blame God for everything bad in our lives rather than accepting responsibility that we caused the problem. And, fatalism leads to passivity. It makes us think, “I’m waiting on God to bring me a wife” or “I’m waiting on God to get me a job. ” God’s saying, “I gave you a brain! I gave you two feet! Get out and do something about it!”

Don’t be frustrated. If you try to figure out everything in your life, you’re going to be very frustrated. Sometimes you’re going to do what you think is God’s will, and it’s going to fail. “I thought God was leading me to start this business, but it failed. ” 

What do you do when there are no answers? You keep trusting God, knowing that he’s working on your character through all of your circumstances and that he has good plans for you. 

Don’t be fearful. What is behind the fear of God’s will? The root problem is that you doubt God’s love. The Bible says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18a). We always get into trouble when we doubt God’s love, because when we don’t trust him, we don’t obey him. 

Psalm 37:23-24 says, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord …. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand” (NASB). 

God’s will is an expression of his love. When you don’t understand what God is doing, have patience. God knows what’s best for you. You can’t see the end result, but he can. God’s path may be a path of pain, but all those delays and difficulties and problems are building character in your life. 

 

Talk It Over

How would you respond to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

What have you been waiting on God to do in or bring into your life? What do you think he wants you to do about it?

What do you think this statement means: “God’s will is an expression of his love”?

Prayer

“Judge not, that you be not judged. -Matthew 7:1

Dear God, please forgive me for being unfairly harsh and critical in my assessment of others. Thank you for being so rich and free with your mercy and grace lavished on me in Jesus. Please help me to be more gracious and merciful in the way I assess the intent and motivation of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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You Can Become an Expert at Relationships

http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/full-post/you-can-become-an-expert-at-relationships

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7 NLT, second edition) 
You Can Become an Expert at Relationships

Love is a skill that can be learned. In other words, it’s something you can get good at, and that means you get better at love by practicing love. 

You may think you’re a good lover, but God wants you to become a great lover, a skilled lover, a master lover. Yet most people never learn how to love. 

You can become an expert at relationships. Wouldn’t you like to become known as a person of extraordinary love? When people speak of you they might say: “He doesn’t care who you are or what you look like” or “She doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done or where you’re from. ”

The only way you get skilled at something is to practice. You do it over and over. The first time you do it, it feels awkward, but the more you do it, the better you become. 

The same is true with love. The Bible says, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7 NLT, second edition). Let’s practice loving each other. 

“Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:15 HCSB). 

 

Talk It Over

How might the world’s perception of the Church change if every believer practiced loving others?

What is something you can commit to that would help you practice showing love to others on a regular basis?

Who is it hardest for you to show love to? Take some time to pray, and ask God to give you courage and his love to show to that person. 

PRAYER

O Lord, forgive me for my limited vision of Jesus’ glory. Enable my heart’s ability to find wonder, joy, grace, exhilaration, glory, and awe in his power, his grace, his sacrifice, his victory, and his love. To you, Father, and to the Christ, be all the glory and honor that my heart can muster and my voice can proclaim. In Jesus’ name I offer you my praise! Amen.

Why Satan Loves Detached Believers

http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/full-post/why-satan-loves-detached-believers

“Encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)

Why Satan Loves Detached Believers

A church family will help keep you from backsliding. 

None of us are immune to temptation. Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin. God knows this, so he has assigned us as individuals the responsibility of keeping each other on track. 

The Bible says, “Encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13 NIV). “Mind your own business” is not a Christian phrase! 

We are called and commanded to be involved in each other’s lives. If you know someone who is wavering spiritually right now, it is your responsibility to go after him and bring him back into the fellowship. 

James tells us, “If you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back” (James 5:19 MSG). 

A local church also provides the spiritual protection of godly leaders. God gives the shepherd leader the responsibility to guard, protect, defend, and care for the spiritual welfare of his flock (Acts 20:28-29; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:7). 

We are told, “Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God” (Hebrews 13:17b NLT, second edition). 

Satan loves detached believers, unplugged from the life of the Body, isolated from God’s family, and unaccountable to spiritual leaders, because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his tactics. 

Don’t let him get a foothold in your life! Stay connected to your church family. 

 

Talk It Over

What kind of relationships will you have to develop if you want accountability with people in the Body of Christ?

How should you pray for your church leaders?

What do you need to do to reconnect with your church family? Who do you know that needs to be brought back into your church family?

PRAYER

Father, I want to be more of a parent like you  a holy and loving parent to my own children and a tender parent to the forgotten children of today. Help me not only to be aroused by the neglect and abuse children suffer in my world, but to be moved to act in ways that bless them. In the name of Jesus, the great lover of all children I pray. Amen.