It is said that in the heat of a battle during World War II, Winston Churchill gave a speech that consisted of one sentence. He said, "Never, never, never, never give up!" I don't know if that's really the only thing he said, but I do believe the Holy Spirit is speaking that one thing to many of us today.
Over the years, I have met countless people who believe God is angry with them because they haven't "arrived" at the place of perfection. As a result, they live in a state of perpetual frustration — continually rejecting themselves and feeling bad every time they make a mistake.
When we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, something wonderful happens: God begins to change our desires, and we want to be more like Him. That is good news! However, there's one important lesson we need to learn — we cannot change ourselves.
In today's society, insecurity is an epidemic. Too many people — including many Christians — walk around timid, afraid, lacking confidence and feeling bad about themselves.
God loves boldness and He wants us to be confident of His love for us. He wants us to know without a doubt that we are made right with Him through the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross — especially on those days when we feel unworthy of His love.
Faith in God is an amazing gift. It starts the moment your heart says: I believe Jesus is God's Son and that He came to rescue me. That alone is an incredible truth. But I wonder how many Christians decide that's where their faith ends, when the truth is, there's so much more to believe for in this life!
Once when I was doing a study of the 23rd Psalm, I read a book about shepherds. In it I learned a lot about the special relationship between a shepherd and his sheep. A shepherd is a manager and a caretaker. He is the owner of his sheep…and he loves them.
Did you ever hear a child proudly proclaim, "That's my daddy"? That child probably really put some emphasis on the word "my." Children have a way of saying it that leaves no doubt they believe their daddy is bigger, smarter and stronger than anyone else's dad. I believe that's the way David expressed himself in Psalm 23 when he said, "The Lord is MY Shepherd…."
A humble person is also a happy person. They can take joy in their life and what God has called them to do, regardless of what the world thinks about it.
Mercy is not fair, but it's godly. Not fair, but powerful. Not fair, but Christ-like. And when we do what God leads us to do, He always brings justice into our life. To honor God in this area, we need to learn to trust Him more fully. Every single one of us has opportunities to do that each day…with friends and family, coworkers and even the clerk at the grocery store.
At one time or another, all of us have experienced a setback or endured a significant loss. Maybe that's where you are today; perhaps you've lost a job, a relationship, or even someone or something you love.
Words are wonderful when they are used in a good way. They can encourage, edify and give confidence to the hearer. A right word spoken at the right time can actually be life-changing (Proverbs 15:23). However, they can also keep us from experiencing God's plans for our lives. Proverbs 18:21 (AMP) says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue…."
So whether we murmur and complain or give thanks and keep a positive attitude, we are feeding our body, mind and spirit. So if you're not enjoying your life, the best thing you can do is think about what you've been talking about.
One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh, which means "the Lord our provider" or "the Lord will provide." It's so wonderful to know that God is our source for everything we need and He cares about everything we care about. There's no need so small that He doesn't know about it, and nothing too big that He can't provide for us.
I've found that we can learn so much about the Lord by examining His many names found in the Bible. Each one reveals a unique aspect of His character along with a very specific promise for our lives.
Do you want to be happy — I mean, really happy? I believe that deep down we all want to be happy and enjoy our lives. We can spend a lot of time and energy trying to do things that will make us happy, but our own efforts will never truly satisfy us. That's because God doesn't want our minds to be on ourselves all the time. He wants us to look past the things that are happening in our own lives and reach out to others and bless them. Because when our focus is on ourselves, we can end up feeling sorry for ourselves and face the danger of self-pity.
Do you need more confidence in your life? In the world, we often get the message that we need more self-confidence, but God tells us in His Word that being confident in ourselves is actually a dangerous way to live. Instead, we need to be confident in Him. And as born-again Christians, we have everything in us – through Christ – that we need so we can do everything we need to do.
We all have a deep need to feel all right. And we can spend a lot of time and energy trying to do things that make us feel like we're okay – okay with ourselves, with others and even God. But we don't need to wear ourselves out trying to be right with God through our own effort. The truth is we can't make our lives right on our own, but we can receive the righteousness of God by putting our faith in Christ.
We all have areas where we would like to see growth and change. And we all have weaknesses just as we all have strengths. But if we're trying to change in our own strength, we're just going to have frustration.
If there's one thing I've realized in life, it's that we can never ask God for too much grace. And we all need it – every day, for everything we need to do in life. Because God loves us so much, He gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins so we can receive His grace, both for our salvation and then to help us walk out our life in Christ with His power.
We all go through times of frustration in our lives. Frustration happens when we're trying to do something in our own strength – something that only God can do through His grace in us. My personal definition of grace is "God's power made available to us free of charge, enabling us to do with ease what we could never do on our own with any amount of struggle or effort." The truth is, our human effort can never bring the changes that God's amazing grace can bring.
I once heard a story about a little boy named Johnny who was visiting his grandparents. Johnny had just received his first slingshot and practiced in the woods nearby, but just couldn't hit a target. When he came back to his grandma's backyard, he noticed her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and shot a rock. The stone hit – and killed – the duck. Of course, he panicked. His sister saw the whole thing, but said nothing.
God's grace is amazing! We're saved by grace – God's undeserved favor – and we live by grace, which is also God's power in our lives to do what we could never do in our own strength. And it's all because God is love, and He loves us unconditionally, constantly and completely.
I grew up in an angry, unstable home. My father was very angry most of the time, and I didn't always understand what he was angry about. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I took this experience with my father into my relationship with God. I believed God loved me and forgave me of my sin, but I still had this vague feeling that He wasn't pleased with me and He was just a little bit angry with me most of the time. I lived this way for years until I finally realized the truth: God is not mad at me!
When we are expecting something great for our future, we are essentially "pregnant" with potential to see what we hope for come to pass. Just like a natural pregnancy, there is a gestation period – a time period when your vision is shaped, structured and developed.