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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Trust in Him Be decisive. Whatever you need
to do in life, just do it. Keep it simple and trust God with the
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
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
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
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
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
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
Don’t get defensive. Remember, God is your defense; He is your
Don’t get angry or upset. Keep your peace, because peace brings
Don’t retaliate with criticism toward your critic.
Don’t assume your critic is wrong without being willing to examine
Don’t assume your critic is right and start feeling guilty without
Thank your critics, because they help you see things others
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: 365 Daily Devotions" by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 0 by Joyce Meyer. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.