Be Optimistic

My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. – Psalm 23:5-6

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Are you an optimistic, hopeful, enthusiastic Christian? You should be. After all, as a believer, you have every reason to be optimistic about life here on earth and life eternal. As C. H. Spurgeon observed, “Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainstream of our joy.”  But sometimes, you may find yourself pulled down by the inevitable demands and worries of life here on earth. If you find yourself discouraged, stressed, or both, then it’s time to take your concerns to God. When you do, He will lift your spirits and renew your strength.

Today, make this promise to yourself and keep it: vow to be a hope-filled Christian. Think optimistically about your life, your profession, your family, and your future. Trust your hopes, not your fears. Take time to celebrate God’s glorious creation. And then, when you’ve filled your heart with hope and gladness, share your optimism with others. They’ll be better for it, and so will you.

– Steve Arterburn

Go forward confidently, energetically attacking problems, expecting favorable outcomes. – Norman Vincent Peale

The people whom I have seen succeed best in life have always been cheerful and hopeful people who went about their business with a smile on their faces. – Charles Kingsley

No Christian can be a pessimist, for Christianity is a system of radical optimism. – William Ralph Inge

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, I will look for the best in other people, I will expect the best from You, and I will try my best to do my best—today and every day. Amen

God is in Control

And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. – Isaiah 6:3

God is in Control

Did you know there is now a modern day version of the Golden Rule? It says that “He who has the gold sets the rules“.

Who sets the rules for you? Your supervisor? The company president? The government? Whoever sets the rules has great power. Sometimes we feel like that particular person has too much power and control over our lives. We long to be that person who has the gold and sets the rules.

On the highest level, God is the one who sets the rules and has the greatest power over us. We make choices in life, but He is the ultimate boss. Through the prophet Isaiah, God told us to “maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

It’s good to know that God is kind and just. In our daily decisions, we need to follow God’s rules that are found in the Bible. Hopefully, you follow those rules in grateful response to Christ and what He’s done for you, not in an effort to earn your way into heaven.

Sometimes when people around us are flaunting their power, it’s easy to forget who is ultimately in control. I challenge you today to obey God’s rules for your life. Turn your situation over to God. He is in control.

– Steve Arterburn

“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’ ” – C. S. Lewis

“Anything under God’s control is never out of control.” – Chuck Swindoll

Out Of Eden

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Can we return to the Garden of Eden? A German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, made this observation after studying the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve’s first sin: “So Adam must leave paradise. For every one of us it’s in the past. And only fools think that it can be re-established on this earth. As a rule, those who have promised men a heaven on earth have made it a life of hell. No, there is no road back.”

Out of Eden

 

This same German theologian suffered greatly under the Third Reich . . . all due to one man’s attempt to return to Eden . . . to find utopia.

Utopian dreams aren’t usually as brutal as the Third Reich’s. But they’re all around us, and ultimately, no less delusional. That’s because they point us back to Eden rather than forward to heaven, and they ignore the fact that mankind fell with Adam and desperately needs Jesus.

Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about. ~ N.T. Wright

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father God, whenever I think about my lost Eden, of when my life might have been “perfect”, remind me that
only you are perfect and as I travel this broken road towards Heaven I will learn of you, your nature and
immense love for me. Amen

Let Jesus Guide The Way

Let Jesus Guide The Way

I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me would not remain in darkness. – John 12:46 HCSB

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Is Jesus the cornerstone of your life . . . or have you relegated Him to a far corner of your life? The answer to this question will determine the quality, the direction, the tone, and the ultimate destination of your life here on earth and your life throughout eternity.

Thomas Brooks spoke for believers of every generation when he observed, “Christ is the sun, and all the watches of our lives should be set by the dial of His motion.” Christ, indeed, is the ultimate Savior of mankind and the personal Savior of those who believe in Him. As His servants, we should place Him at the very center of our lives. And every day that God gives us breath, we should share Christ’s love and His message with a world that needs both.

The dearest friend on earth is but a mere shadow compared with Jesus Christ. ~Oswald Chambers

When we are in a situation where Jesus is all we have, we soon discover He is all we really need.   ~Gigi Graham Tchividjian

Tell me the story of Jesus. Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard. ~Fanny Crosby

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, You are my Savior and my protector. Give me the courage to trust You completely. Today, I will praise You, I will honor You, and I will live according to Your commandments. Amen

Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men

God communicates His good will toward us through the gospel of Christ. In Luke 2:14 it is recorded that the angels announced, “Peace on earth, good will toward men”. In other words, the birth of Jesus was an expression of good will and “good faith” on God’s part.

Have you ever been in an environment or relationship where good will, or good faith, was lacking? Perhaps you’ve been through an ugly divorce; or you have some unsafe family members. Or perhaps you’ve found yourself in a hostile work environment. When good will is lacking, trust is undermined and there is a lack of emotional safety. It can be painful, or even lead to despair. It is difficult – unwise, even – to be fully at rest when you are dealing with someone who lacks good faith or good will toward you.

But God demonstrates His great love, and His good will, toward us in that, while we were yet sinners (and therefore lacking good will toward Him) Christ died for us. Romans 8:31-32 says, “If God is for us, who is against us? If God didn’t even spare His own son, can we not trust Him to have our best interests at heart and to maintain good will toward us?

The famous Christmas carol, “O Holy Night” says, “long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth”. Christmas cards which contain the words of this carol usually depict a peaceful and star-filled night in an ancient village. What is not visible in that village scene is the fear and bondage that comes from not knowing God’s mercy and redemption, not knowing that Jesus conquered all the forces of darkness, of sin and death, and not knowing that we can absolutely trust Him. What you cannot see is the absence of God’s presence. It has been said that “ignorance is not bliss – it’s hell”.

If there had been no Jesus, we would have no true awareness of God’s good will toward us. We would continue in darkness without awareness of who the true and living God is. We would not have any hope of redemption and therefore we would need to find a way to compensate for our guilt and shame. The birth of Jesus demonstrated to mankind how very much our souls are worth to the living and Holy God. The advent of Jesus was truly an act of good will,the magnitude of which had never been experienced before and which remains unrivaled.
This holiday season let’s take time to ponder the implications of God coming to us through the birth of Jesus. This is Emmanuel – God with us – because we are worth it to Him.

Peace and good will to you this season.

Refocusing

Stephen Arterburn

When Jesus walked the earth, He directed the focus off of the apparently ‘good’ people doing apparently ‘good’ things,’ and redirected people’s focus on to God. The religious leaders were pointing to the rules; Jesus pointed to Himself, through whom relationships are restored to God.

A healthy, growing faith is always focused on the person of God Himself, not on cheap substitutes. A healthy faith begins and ends in God, not in rules, regulations, and sheer duty. Jesus Christ, not religion, is at the core of a robust Christian faith.

Today Jesus Christ offers men like you and me the same opportunity He gave to those people in the early church. The choice is ours. We can insist on performing and conforming out of obligation and can try to feel good by chalking up good deeds.

Or we can choose Christ’s way. We can love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. We can experience His love and come to know Him intimately. We can stop hiding behind religious facades and meet Him right where we are. We can focus on Him and find sanity, rest, and peace when all hell seems to be breaking loose around us.

Men, it’s not about you. Surrender yourself to Christ’s love and acceptance. Grow closer to Him. Make Him’not your ‘good deeds’ or anyone or anything else’the focus of your life. You’ll never regret it.