God Will Wait on You 

From Pastor Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional 
Jesus waited until the disciples got concerned before He did anything in the situation. 

Maybe you’re having a problem in your marriage or your finances. God sees the problem and He recognizes it. But He waits on you to get concerned and accept responsibility for it before He does anything about it.  

 Like the disciples, there are three common reactions that people have toward problems:

We procrastinate — “By this time it was late in the day.” (verse 35) The disciples put off the problem until the end of the day. They did nothing and Jesus waited on them.  

We pass the buck — “Send the people away.” (verse 36) Basically the disciples were saying, “It’s not our problem. If they’re hungry, let them go find their own food.” 

We worry about it — “Lord, if we did that it’d cost eight months of a man’s wages. Are we going to go spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” (verse 38) The disciples’ anxiety went into overdrive and they started worrying. 

Worrying is the opposite of faith. It never solves anything. It only makes problems worse. 

I know this to be true but still, I was a worrier…definitely fell into that category.  Thank God for continual growth and the opportunity to change.  Sometimes challenges are allowed so we can grow and it’s only after the fact that we find an appreciation for what we’ve gone through.  Just as in the situation with the two loaves and five fishes to feed a whole bunch of folk, God ensures the need is met once we expose the need to Him.  The resolution is not always in our preferred timing but it is timely.  Go God!
Relevant scripture:

“And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, The place is desert, and the day is now far spent; send them away, that they may go into the country and villages round about, and buy themselves somewhat to eat.  But he answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred shillings’ worth of bread, and give them to eat? And he saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves; and he gave to the disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they all ate, and were filled. And they took up broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the fishes. And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men.”

Mark 6:35-36 ASV

Mark 6:37-44 ASV

A Perspective on “Giving It All”

From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional – originally entitled, “Will You Give It All?”

God will sometimes wait to see what we’re going to do with what we have before He steps in and turns a little into a lot. The Apostle John, in his account of the feeding of the 5,000, tells us that the hero of the story is a little boy. (John 6:9) 

There are three things to note about this little boy.  

He gave what he had – The boy didn’t have much, but he gave what he had. Never underestimate what God can do through ordinary people and limited resources given to him in faith. If you want to be used by God, just become available…with your time, your focus, your energies, and/or your money. Choose an area and progressively give it all to Him. As you grow, give more areas to Him until the whole of your life is focused on being instrumental for the pursuit of Christ; knowing Him and making Him known.  

The little boy gave God all he had, all five loaves and both fish. He didn’t hold anything back from God. If you want a miracle in your life, you cannot hold anything back from God.  

The little boy gave it immediately when it was asked for, he didn’t hesitate. As soon as he saw the opportunity to meet a need, as soon as he saw that Jesus needed it, the boy gave it to Him. 

Why don’t we give like that when we need a miracle? Either we don’t believe that God will take care of our needs if we give sacrificially to Him or we think, “What’s the use? How could my little bit help?”  Just remember, EVERY little bit helps.

The important thing is to be willing to give as much as we can, as often as we can. That is what God accepts.

#giving  #sacrifice

Suggestion Versus Requirement?

In life, we constantly have decisions to make:  What are we going to wear?  What are we going to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  How will I prioritize my busy schedule?  Will I go to church this Sunday?  Will I go to that party on Saturday night?  I have an X amount of “blow” money.  Do I want to spend it on this or that or put it in my rainy day fund?  Hmmm…decisions, decisions, decisions.

At what point do we decide, of those things that could be suggestions, to turn them into requirements?  Is it working out, doing community service, being a better employee or a more committed business owner or both, paying tithes, giving back in some manner, going to school or going back to school?  What in your life is currently on your suggestion list that needs to move to your requirement list?  Ponder…and then progress towards your next S.M.A.R.T. goal.

#Choices  #Life  #Change

Don’t Trade Life for Temporary Things

From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional – This particular devotional spoke to me because it is so terribly easy to get distracted for both the long term and the short term. However, the words below remind and encourage me to stay focused on the things, the people, the relationships, the projects, the expenses, the whatever(s), that matter most.  It is the only way to make marked progress.  If you are fortunate enough to know that you are near the end of your days, wouldn’t you want to be able to reflect and know that most of what you were focused on, mattered? 


So much of what we waste our energy on will not matter even a year from now, much less for eternity. Don’t trade your life for temporary things.  

 Jesus said, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 TLB) 

 Paul warned, “Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.” (1 Corinthians 7:31 MSG) 

 What are you allowing to stand in the way of your mission? Whatever it is, let it go. “Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back .” (Hebrews 12:1 TLB)

#Life  #Focus

Sowing Is Key

Sow an act, reap a habit.  Sow a habit, reap a character.  Sow a character, reap a destiny.”

-Charles Reade (attrib.)

I normally have additional thoughts to add, but I feel this quote is rather clear, so “nuff” said.  I will ask you to ponder:  What will people mostly remember about your character when you leave this earth?  What are you sowing?  This is not just about wealth of money, it is equally about wealth of character, of paying it forward, of sowing into people.  Welcome to the weekend!

#destiny #character #sowingandreaping

God Knows Your Frustrations

From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional

My brief thoughts on this devotional:  As you read, I hope something jumps out at you; these words remind us that Jesus is also a God of emotional healing…not just physical, spiritual, and financial, but emotional as well.  For me, the resonating sentence was the very last statement, which advises that we take our cares to Him and leave them there. Boy, is it hard to leave them there!   This was a very hard directive for me to abide by, for leaving them there implies multiple steps.  It means that you trust that He knows what to do next, that you agree to be “hands off” in your own situation until you are clear on what to do, it means that you trust Him, trust Him, trust Him….trust Him fully. I can promise you that you can cast your cares on Him and trust Him to provide the clarity, means, or resources to handle them. It may not be immediate but in my experience, it’s always been at the opportune time.  

“You may think, “Nobody knows what I’m going through, nobody feels the pain I’m experiencing.” 
But God knows! 

He knows your feelings and frustrations. He’s seen the crisis in your soul. There’s no hurt that goes unnoticed by God. Psalm 56:6 says, “You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears.” (Good News) 

Often when we’re hurting, we feel very isolated and lonely. Maybe there’s been a death in the family, a divorce, maybe we’ve gotten fired, and we start to think, “Nobody understands the way I feel; nobody can tell the way I feel; nobody feels the pain.”
But God knows, and “The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” (Psalms 103:13 NLT) 

God not only sees, He cares! 

He knows the causes, the reasons, the things that brought you to this point. He understands because he made you, and he sees the hurt in your heart like nobody else can. 

Because God knows our frustrations and despair, we can give those feelings to God: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT) Cast them all permanently on God, once and for all, and then, don’t take them back.”


The Audacity of Hope

A poem by Dr. Connie R. Shipman ©2017

From their homes, their place of safety, our ancestors were stolen.  Brought to a foreign land and forced to become less than who they were born to be, they survived, they fought, and they thrived, due to the audacity of hope.

For the rights that we have today, for the freedoms we enjoy to work and live and love alongside those not of African descent, freedoms that should not have had to be a fight, but were, all were brought to bear due to the audacity of hope.

The endurance of the water hoses, the dogs, the false accusations and wrongful imprisonments, inferior schooling and substandard housing, we had the nerve to survive and even thrive, due to the audacity of hope.

We rule, we teach, we organize, we preach, and we serve as activists, still due to the audacity of hope.

Why do we dare to hope, regardless of the challenges?  Because there is power, strength, viability, and endurance in not just the ideal, but the certain sincerity that exists in the audacity of hope.  Selah!


Your Work as Worship 

From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional 

“As you enter your Decade of Destiny, it is important that you understand your work can be an act of worship to God. In fact, if I want God to bless my finances, I must make my work an act of worship. 

What I’m saying is that no matter what you do – sweeping the streets, running a corporation or the work of a stay-at-home mom — your job is more than a job. The Bible says while you are here on earth, you should use your work as an act of worship. 
This means whatever you do, you are to do it with enthusiasm. If your heart is not in it, you are in the wrong job. If you are not working with all your heart, you are sinning. I didn’t say that, the Bible says it. 

Why work with all your heart? Because you are working “as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” No matter what I do, if it is to prepare a meal, if it is to sign an invoice, if it is to do an analysis, if it is to close a deal, if it is to make a sale, if it is to make delivery — whatever it is, I am to do it as if I’m doing it for God, and so it becomes an act of worship.”

Corresponding scripture reference:  Colossians 3:23


The Importance of Meditation 

From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional

What does it mean to meditate? Well, it doesn’t mean to put your mind in neutral and go “ohm.” That’s not meditation. Meditation means seriously thinking about something. 

Psalm 1 says, in part, that a person who meditates on God’s Word is “like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (v. 2-3). 

I want that to be true in your life. I want whatever you do to prosper, but the Bible says the premise for this promise is your commitment to study his Word. 
Today’s action point is this: I want you to get involved in Bible study. If you already are, that’s great! Keep it up! But if you aren’t, I would encourage you to find a Bible study group and join it. You will be amazed at how much studying God’s Word in a small group blesses your life.


Don’t Let Limitations Limit Vision 

I could not have expressed the below thoughts any better.  From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:

God will not only use your gifts to fulfill your destiny, He’ll also use your limitations. 

Consider Queen Esther:  She had several big limitations that made her perfect for the role God wanted her to fulfill. She was an orphan adopted by Mordecai; she was a minority, a Jew living in a Persian country; and she was a single woman. 

And God used all of these things, along with the gifts of her beauty, brains, and personality, to fulfill her destiny. Sometimes what looks like a disaster in your life is part of a much bigger plan, but you will never fulfill your destiny if you are having a pity party. 
Esther could have just said, “If only I hadn’t been chosen, if only I wasn’t Jewish, if only I was like someone else.” A lot of people do that. They live their lives in resentment, always looking at people and saying, “Well it must be nice to be them.” 
If you have that attitude you will never fulfill your destiny. You have to realize that the unpleasant obstacles in your life are often God-ordained opportunities to make a difference. 

You might be in a situation right now where everything is going wrong and you can’t figure it out. But God knows. Nothing in your life is accidental. The pleasures and pains, the opportunities and obstacles, God can use it all. There is nothing God cannot use for good in your life if you’ll hand it over to Him – and then trust him.
#dreams #goals #purpose