How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

By Dale Carnegie

Fundamental facts you should know about worry

1. If you want to avoid worry, do what Sir William Osler did: Live in "day-tight compartments." Don't stew about the futures. Just live each day u ntil bedtime.

2. The next time Trouble--with a Capital T--backs you up in a corner, try the magic formula of Willis H. Carrier:
  • Ask yourself, "What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can't solve my problem?
  • Prepare yourself mentally to accept the worst--if necessary.
  • Then calmly try to improve upon the worst--which you have already mentally agreed to accept.
3. Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health. "Those who do not know how to fight worry die young."

Basic techniques in analyzing worry

1. Get the facts. Remember that Dean Hawkes of Columbia University said that "half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision."

2. After carefully weighing all the facts, come to a decision.

3. Once a decision is carefully reached, act! Get busy carrying out your decision--and dismiss all anxiety about the outcome.

4. When you, or any of your associates, are tempted to worry about a problem, write out and answer the following questions:
  • What is the problem?
  • What is the cause of the problem?
  • What are all possible solutions?
  • What is the best solution?
How to break the worry habit before it breaks you

1. Crowd worry out of your mind by keeping busy. Plenty of action is one of the best therapies ever devised for curing "wibber gibbers."

2. Don't fuss about trifles. Don't permit little things--the mere termites of life--to ruin your happiness.

3. Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. Ask yourself: "What are the odds against this thing's happening at all?"

4. Co-operate with the inevitable. If you know a circumstance is beyond your power to change or revise, say to yourself: "It is so; it cannot be otherwise."

5. Put a "stop-less" order on your worries. Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth--and refuse to give it anymore.

6. Let the past bury its dead. Don't saw sawdust.

Seven ways to cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness

1. Let's fill our minds with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope, for "our life is what our thoughts make it."

2. Let's never try to get even with our enemies, because if we do we will hurt ourselves far more than we hurt them. Let's do as General Eisenhower does: let's never waste a minute thinking about people we don't like.

3. Gratitude
  • Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let's expect it. Let's remember that Jesus healed ten lepers in one day--and only one thanked Him. Why should we expect more gratitude than Jesus got?
  • Let's remember that the only way to find happiness is not to expect gratitude--but to give for the joy of giving.
  • Let's remember that gratitude is a "cultivated" trait; so if we want our children to be grateful, we must train them to be grateful.
4. Count your blessings--not your troubles!

5. Let's not imitate others. Let's find ourselves and be ourselves, for "envy is ignorance" and "imitation is suicide."

6. When fate hands us a lemon, let's try to make a lemonade.

7. Let's forget our own unhappiness--by trying to create a little happiness for others. "When you are good to others, you are best to yourself."

The perfect way to conquer worry
  • Prayer

How to keep from worrying about criticism

1. Unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. It often means that you have aroused jealousy and envy. Remember that no one ever kicks a dead dog.

2. Do the very best you can; and then put up your old umbrella and keep the rain of criticism from running down the back of your neck.

3. Let's keep a record of the fool things we have done and criticize ourselves. Since we can't hope to be perfect, let's do what E.H. Little did: let's ask for unbiased, helpful, constructive criticism.

Six ways to prevent fatigue and worry and keep your energy and spirits high

1. Rest before you get tired.

2. Learn to relax at your work.

3. Learn to relax at home.

4. Apply these four good workings habits:
  • a. Clear your desk of all papers except those relating to the immediate problem at hand.
  • b. Do things in the order of their importance.
  • c. When you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have the facts to make a decision.
  • d. Learn to organize, deputize, and supervise.

5. To prevent worry and fatigue, put enthusiasm into your work.

6. Remember, no one was ever killed by lack of sleep. It is worrying about insomnia that does the damage--not the insomnia.


Where Is God When Bad Things Happen?

By Luis Palau

We truly live in a tragic world. So how does the God of the Bible relate to war and tragedy? Where is He when they occur? Can we continue to believe in a loving God who would permit such terrible things to happen? These are important questions. God’s Word teaches:

1. Disasters, tragedies, and even mayhem are a part of life in a fallen world.

The moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, they brought sin into the world --and deadly accidents and murderous acts soon followed. Cain, the very first human baby, grew up to become the very first human murderer (see Genesis 4:1-8). And accidents have plagued human kind ever since the race was driven from Eden.

No one is exempt, not even the most godly. I doubt few would question that the apostle Paul was one of the most effective and dedicated Christian workers in history, yet his life was peppered with serious accidents until it finally ended under the blade of a Roman executioner.

Paul suffered through at least as many accidents and hardships as any of us ever will, and yet their painful occurrence never shook his confidence in a good, loving God. Why not?

Unlike us, Paul did not see tragedy as prima facie evidence against the existence of a compassionate heavenly Father. In fact, he could write, “for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Don’t misunderstand; Paul was no masochist. He didn’t delight in hardships and accidents because he enjoyed pain. No, he meant that when life overwhelmed him, he knew God would step in to help. Paul delighted in his own “weakness” because it was that weakness that gave God the opportunity to display to the world His own irresistible strength. And for that Paul was grateful.

Jesus, too, told us to expect pain and difficulties in this life. “In this world you will have trouble,” He warned His disciples in John 16:33. And to the public at large, He said this about the future: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). It isn’t a pleasant thought, but that’s the way life is sometimes in this fallen world. It may shock us, but it shouldn’t surprise us.

Tragedies are always agonizing and often senseless. But thank God, that is not where the story ends.

2. God is in control, even when it doesn’t seem as if He is.

Events never spiral out of God’s control, as if He somehow lacks the power or insight to direct the affairs of our little planet. That is why the apostle Paul, a man who knew intimately the pain of a fallen world, could tell the ancient Athenians, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth . . . .From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:24-27).

The Bible insists that God is sovereign, that “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. . . . He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34-35). Even when tragedies occur and innocent life is taken or maimed, God remains in ultimate control. Nothing happens that does not first pass through his loving hands.

We may not fully understand how this can be when we face painful tragedies, but our lack of understanding does not diminish or destroy its truth. Before we were born, God knew exactly how long we would live and how we would die. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” the psalmist said to God in Psalm 139:16. And that remains true whether those days are many or few.

3. God has a purpose in what He allows, even if we don’t know what it is.

From our perspective, tragedies look meaningless and senseless and chaotic, but God knows how to take even tragedies and bring good out of them. Although I do not believe that God causes all tragedies--the Bible says He is incapable of sin. I do believe He has a purpose in allowing painful events to occur. Nothing that happens is a mad, meaningless accident. We may not understand what His purposes are, but we can take comfort in the fact that they exist. God specializes in taking evil and bringing good out of it.

Does the Lord cause some to die so the lives of others could be spared and the souls of still others might be better? No. God is not a murderer. But He does know how to take tragedy and bring good out of it. When we get home to heaven, we will finally see His purposes even in the tragedies of life. Meanwhile, we must continue to believe that He does have a purpose in everything that happens--even if right now we are unable to see a shadow of what that might be.

4. Tragedy can serve as a wake-up call.

Oxford professor C.S. Lewis wrote years ago that “pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world.” In that way, some tragedies may serve as wake-up calls for spiritually sleeping people.

A stubborn, secular, and even blasphemous society sometimes will be stopped short only when a tragedy of national proportions takes place. In the flood of the media reports, sometimes redemptive truth gets out.

In a way, “tragedy” is a big reason why the cross and crucifixion of Christ still grip our imagination (even those who reject the Gospel). There is something so profound about Calvary that even people whose religion has nothing to do with Christianity, even people who reject Christ both intellectually and verbally, nevertheless are gripped by the story.

Thank God, perhaps, that He allows tragedy to so grab people. But what a shame that it takes such a horrendous wake-up call for us to open our sleepy eyes.

5. It is possible to embrace hope even in the midst of tragedy.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to endure a tragedy without the hope that God offers. Without Jesus Christ, there is no hope. There is simply an eternal, black, cold, and unrelenting void.

Just last week I came face to face with a cynical man who didn’t believe in anything. What a miserable way to end life. I think unbelievers must, from time to time, wish that they had the hope of eternal life and a home in heaven. But of course, they have no such thing. Instead they have cynicism.

Of course, we Christians grieve when those we love are taken from us, but we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We do not believe that people cease to exist (except as memories) when they die; the Bible tells us that we will again see all those loved ones who put their faith in Christ. As the apostle Paul writes, “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who die, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have died in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).

Thank God, some atheists come to recognize their hopelessness and turn from it. A distant relative of mine who for almost 70 years claimed to be an atheist came to me one day and said, “My dad was an atheist. I’ve always claimed to be an atheist. But now I’m reading the Bible and trying to get insights, and Luis, if there’s a God, I want to know Him. If there’s eternal life, I want to have it. Can you help me?” At least he was honest, but he waited far too long to find the hope he lacked.

Hope is readily available to all of us, even in the midst of tragedy. And not only hope for eternal life and hope of being reunited with those we love. Hope is available right now, square in the middle of tragedy, because God has promised to walk with us through any disaster that might overtake us.

6. This world is not our final home.

When loved ones die in tragic accidents or at the hands of wicked men, it is good to remember that this world is not our final home.

We were created for eternity, and tragedy can never change that. This is only a transition period, a prelude, to what God really has in mind for us. But because we usually look only at the present, we often consider someone’s death premature or untimely. Our perspective is enormously limited. We tend to look only at what could have been (and in our minds, should have been) down here on earth. But God looks at all of eternity. If we are to cope with tragedy, we must learn to look at it through eternity’s lens.


Use Your Creativity to Change the Culture

By Whitney Hopler

If you want to make a powerful and lasting impact on the culture, you’ve got to do more than just consume it, critique it, condemn it, or copy it. The only way to truly change the culture is to create something new for it – something that will inspire people enough to start to reshape their world.

Here’s how you can use your creativity to change the culture:

Engage the culture. Forget about trying to withdraw from the surrounding culture; that effort is ultimately futile because you can’t help but be influenced on some level by your culture. Instead, choose to participate in the culture. Rather than worrying about the culture influencing you in negative ways, do all you can to influence the culture in positive ways.

Don’t separate your faith from the rest of your life. Integrate your faith fully into your lifestyle by following God’s guidance in every part of your life. Remember that your faith isn’t just about what you do at any given time or place; it shapes who you are and who you’re becoming as a whole person. As you interact with the culture, your faith should naturally influence all of your decisions.

Embrace your calling. God has given you the desire you have to take what exists in the world and make something more of it. Take your calling to be creative seriously by pursuing it with passion. Pay attention to your interests and develop and use your talents to the fullest. Ask God to help you discover what contributions He wants you to make to the world. Then do your best to do so.

Cultivate culture. Take care of the good things that your culture has already given you. Preserve and nourish the best of what people before you have contributed to the culture.

Dare to take risks. Be willing to think and do things that have never been thought of or done before – things that make the world a better place. Ask God to help you overcome your fears so they won’t block you from using your creativity to the fullest.

Tap into the Gospel’s power to transform culture. The Gospel’s power can’t be contained in any particular culture; it reaches into every culture and changes it by changing the lives of the people within. It doesn’t just abandon the old and replace it with the new. Instead, it transforms it from the inside out. With God’s power at work to make even the impossible gloriously possible, every culture can be changed for the better. So make a daily habit of inviting God to work through your life to change the culture, rather than trying to change it yourself. Rely on God’s unlimited power instead of your own limited efforts.

Be specific. Instead of pursuing a vague and naïve general idea of changing the world, think and pray about the specific ways God wants to use you to do His redemptive work at particular times and in particular places. Remember that all it takes for you to change the world is to change the culture right around you. Be humble about the scale of your creative work, but be assured that even work on the smallest scale is hugely significant if God has called you to do it. Trust God to accomplish something great through your creative efforts.

Notice where God is already at work, and join Him there. Look for ways in which God is bringing about something new and better throughout your culture – at your company, school, church, stores, neighborhood, parks, and anywhere else you go. Ask yourself where the impossible is becoming possible, and realize that God is at work there. Consider how you can join God’s work. Think about specific ways in which you can empower people by helping to meet their spiritual and physical needs.

Use your power well. The awesome creative power you have at your disposal is a gift from God that you can either use for great good or abuse in ways that lead to destruction. Resist the temptation to engage your power in the wrong ways by humbling yourself to serve other people on a regular basis, genuinely listening to other people’s concerns, investing your resources into the lives of people who aren’t as powerful as you, and making it your goal to accomplish God’s purposes rather than your personal goals. Regularly check yourself to honestly evaluate whether or not you’re trusting in God’s power rather than your own.

Work with other people. Your contributions to the culture will have a greater impact if you work on them together with a group of other people than just by yourself. Look for people you know and trust; with whom you share passion and conviction and commitment; and whose gifts, talents, and needs complement yours. Work as a community toward common goals.

Discern the impact of your work. Regularly examine how much your creative work is impacting the culture, and in what ways it’s doing so. Where are you experiencing God’s grace at work to multiply your efforts? How can you focus your efforts on the most fruitful areas to produce the most positive change?

Stay closely connected to God through spiritual disciplines. Make sure you’re practicing spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible reading, meditation, and study on a regular basis to maintain the close connection with God that you need to rely on His power daily. Get a fresh dose of spiritual power every day to help you engage and change the culture around you.

Sustain hope when you fail and celebrate your successes. When your creative work fails, ask God to help you learn all He wants you to learn from the experience. Trust that, if you follow where He leads, He will ultimately bring about good results from your work somehow. When your creative work succeeds in changing the culture, thank God and celebrate the positive changes you’ve helped to bring about. Let the memories of your successes so far inspire you to keep giving your best effort to your work.

Source: Crosswalk.com


Five Ways God Uses Problems

By Rick Warren

The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you - depending on how you respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.

Here are five ways God wants to use the problems in your life:

1. God uses problems to DIRECT you. Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

2. God uses problems to INSPECT you. People are like tea bags... if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot ever water! Has God tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you?

"When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience." James 1:2-3

3. God uses problems to CORRECT you. Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It's likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something by losing it.

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes." Psalm 119:72

4. God uses problems to PROTECT you. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem - but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management's actions were eventually discovered.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good" Genesis 50:20

5. God uses problems to PERFECT you. Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you're going to take with you into eternity.

"We can rejoice when we run into problems... they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady." Romans 5:3-4

Here's the point: God is at work in your life - even when you don't recognize it or understand it. But it's so much easier when you surrender to his plan for your life.


Myths About Forgiving

By Charles F. Stanley
In Touch Ministries

In my years as a minister and counselor, I’ve talked with many people who have spent years in bondage to someone because they were either unable or unwilling to forgive that person. I have also seen them gain freedom when they finally understand and appreciate the idea of forgiveness. It involves far more than simply putting time between us and the event or saying some words in a prayer.

One stumbling block to forgiving others is wrong information that has entered our theology. Some of these ideas have crept in through the repeated use of clichés. Others have been passed on from generation to generation with no biblical basis whatsoever. Let’s take a look at some common misconceptions about forgiveness.

Myth #1: Justifying, understanding, or explaining away someone’s behavior is the same as forgiving him. I can certainly understand that “my brother” was under a lot of stress when he raised his voice to me in front of my customers, but does that mean I have forgiven him? Certainly not. Understanding someone’s situation is part of the forgiveness process, but only a part.

Myth #2: Time heals all wounds. This is one of the most misused (and damaging) clichés I’ve heard. How could the passage of time or the process of forgetting lead to forgiveness? How many times have we said this with good intentions?

Myth #3: Forgiving others means denying we have been hurt or pretending that the hurt was no big deal. We may try to convince ourselves (after forgiving others) that what they did really wasn’t so bad. This form of denial works against the forgiveness process. It refuses to acknowledge someone hurt us in a way that caused real physical, mental, or emotional pain. It is denying a real part of our personhood.

Myth #4: To forgive others, we must go to them personally and confess our forgiveness. To do so when the other person has not first solicited our forgiveness usually causes more problems than it solves. I will never forget the young man in our church who asked one of the women on our staff to forgive him for lusting after her. She had no idea he had a problem with lust, and his confession caused her to feel embarrassed and self-conscious around him from then on.

I rarely counsel someone to confess forgiveness if the one who caused the hurt hasn’t requested it. Once we begin to understand the nature of forgiveness, it becomes clear why this principle holds true. God forgave us long before we ever asked for it. As we have seen, He has forgiven us of sins for which we will never ask forgiveness. In the same way, we are free to forgive others of things they may never realize caused a problem.

I say rarely because there are some occasions when confession of this type is appropriate. Keep in mind that there is a difference between telling others you have forgiven them and actually forgiving them. The time to start forgiving others is when you are offended, whereas actually expressing your forgiveness may take place later. We need not wait until a person asks for forgiveness to do so. If that were true, many times we would wait forever.

Confessing our forgiveness is appropriate in two situations. First, we should do so if the one who hurt us requests it. This helps clear the other person’s conscience and offers the assurance that we are not holding a grudge.

Second, we should confess our forgiveness if we feel the Lord would have us confront others about their sin. Their wrongdoing may have been directed against us personally or against someone we love. It may be necessary in the course of conversation to assure them we have forgiven them and are coming more for their sake than our own. But when we confront others about their sin, the issue of forgiveness must first be settled in our own hearts. We must never confront in order to force someone to ask for our forgiveness.

Forgiveness is something that each of us deals with in one way or another. But each situation is unique—what might take you a short time to work through might be a process that takes someone else time, prayer, and godly counsel. Whatever the circumstance, forgiveness is a process we cannot ignore if we want to become the person God created us to be. Refusing to deal with the resentment that put us in bondage can make us miss out on the fellowship that we are supposed to have with our Father. Determine today to find the freedom of forgiving, no matter what the cost.

Adapted from “The Gift of Forgiveness” by Charles F. Stanley, 1991, p. 105-107.


Attitude Results in Performance

Columns - In and Out of Season
CBCP News Online

One of the important gadgets an airplane has is called “attitude indicator.” What is it? It is a unit that indicates or tells the pilot the position of the aircraft in relation to the horizon. When the nose or the front of the airplane is pointed above the horizon, it has a “nose-high attitude” and the airplane is said to be climbing up. When the front of the aircraft is ointed down, the aircraft has a “nose-down attitude” and it is said to be diving or going down. Pilots are oncerned about the “attitude” of the airplane because it indicates the performance of the airplane: going up or going down. And so we can say of the airplane: attitude results in performance. The attitude of the airplane determines the performance. Since performance depends on attitude, it is necessary to change attitude in order to change performance.

A basketball team can lose the game because while the players’ abilities say “win,” their attitude say “lose.” A student’s aptitude tests may show that he is intellectually capable, but because he has a bad attitude, he fails the test. A person’s attitude, like that of an airplane, determines his performance. It could mean the difference between success or failure, win or lose, promotion or demotion. A positive attitude leads to positive performance; a negative attitude leads to negative performance.

The shepherd boy David knows how to play the harp (guitar!) and to sing joyful songs. His music comes from within his joyful spirit. When King Saul is in bad mood or under some evil spirit, David is called in to play the harp and sing happy songs. David’s music and presence, his dancing or body language refresh Saul’s feelings and the evil spirit departs from him (1 Sam. 16 14, 21-23). In this way David has found favor before King Saul. The happy attitude of David expressed by his body language and surely by the happy look on his face, is contagious. The inner feeling of David determines David’s performance before King Saul, and they in turn change the attitude of King Saul and his performance. Attitude is an inward feeling expressed by behavior. It can be seen, it can be felt without a word being said. Attitude may be hidden, but body language shows it.

“God sees not as man sees, because man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16/7). The heart or the mind which God directly sees cannot hide from God man’s true intentions or plans. On the 0ther hand, man who looks at the outward appearance can sometimes be deceived or misled. While it is true that we should not all the time judge people by their appearance, yet oftentimes a man’s actions betray his real attitude. His actions become the “window of the soul” through which we see the inner feeling expressed by his behavior.

An attitude can sometimes be masked outwardly. A person an live a “masked life” putting on different masks to it the occasion, to hide his real self. People who see his outward appearance are deceived. But usually cover ups do not last long. The performance, the deceit, the lie or dishonesty will soon betray the attitude. And the real attitude, which has a way of struggling its way out,will explain the performance

“An attitude,” writes John C. Maxwell in his book “The Winning Attitude,” is “the advance-man of our true elves; it is our best friend or our worst enemies; … an outward look based on past experience … it draws people to us or repels them from us … an attitude is never content until it is expressed … an attitude is the librarian of the past, the speaker of the present, the
prophet of the future.”

John C. Maxwell also writes, “Do you feel the world is treating you well? If your attitude towards the world is excellent, you will receive excellent results. If you feel soso about the world, your response from the world will be average. Feel badly about your world and you will seem to have only negative feedback from life.”

We are each responsible for our view of life. Our attitude and action towards life help determine what happens to us. As St. Paul writes: “A man will reap only what he sows” (Gal. 6/7). Two salesmen of shoes were sent to an island to sell shoes. The first salesman was shocked to find that no one in the island wore shoes. So he called the home-office: “I will return home tomorrow. No one here wears shoes.” The second salesman however was excited by the same situation. And so he wired the home office: “Please send me 10,000 pairs of shoes. Everyone here needs shoes.” A person’s attitude, his view of the situation, determines his performance.

[Recommended reading: John C. Maxwell, The Winning Attitude. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1993]


Overcome Confusion to Find True Belief

By Whitney Hopler
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

So many contradictory worldviews swirl around you in our culture today that it’s easy to become confused. Yet you continue to search for truth, because you want to believe – in something or someone.

Here’s how you can overcome confusion to find true belief:

Recognize that God wants you to believe. God has created you with an inherent desire to believe. He did so out of love, because He enjoys you and wants to have an eternal relationship with you. God cares deeply about you as part of His creation. He sees the potential in your life when you’re in a close relationship with Him. Believing is the only way for you to become what you were created to be – the image and likeness of God. God cares about your pain and wants to help you in the midst of it. See your desire to believe as the good gift that it is, and let it lead you to pursue faith. Rest assured that, if you can’t honestly say “I do believe,” God is pleased if you tell Him “I want to believe” and then take whatever steps of faith you can toward Him. He will meet you where you are.

Go beyond wishful thinking. The desire to believe is a real and powerful drive that can carry you either into a genuine relationship with God or dangerous fantasies and delusions that you invent. Instead of just believing whatever you want to believe, get serious about discovering the truth of who God is and how to best relate to Him. Pray for the discernment you need to explore faith, trusting that God will reveal Himself to you if you’re truly seeking Him.

See the spiritual working with the physical. God has set eternity in your heart, giving you the ability to connect with the spiritual realm while living in the physical one. Live with your eyes wide open to the ways these two realities work together in your everyday life. Make a point of looking for God at work, and you’ll notice Him all around you.

Deal with uncertainty. Expect to encounter uncertainty as you search for real faith. Instead of ignoring the uncertainty you feel, let it motivate you to explore faith in fresh ways. Be honest about your struggles and humble about what you already know so you can move toward an authentic faith. Invite God to meet you in the midst of your uncertainty and help you learn more and more.

Deal with doubts. Don’t be afraid to honestly face your doubts. If you let your doubts motivate you to ask questions, they will ultimately lead you closer to God. God isn’t offended by sincere questioning; in fact, He welcomes it. Remember that you don’t have to have all of life’s questions figured out today. You just need to take whatever steps of faith you can take, and as you do, you’ll discover more faith. God will give you everything you need, whenever you need it.

Recognize that there’s only one right way to God. As politically correct as it may be to think of all religions leading to God in their own ways, the truth remains that there’s only one way that actually connects to Him – through Christ. Get to know the tenets of other religions like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and pagan and new age beliefs. But be sure to note that, while some principles overlap with biblical ones, each religion is significantly different. It makes no sense to try to blend different religions because they ultimately contradict each other. Trust in Jesus’ revelation that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. Discover and study the abundant evidence for His divinity. Then give your allegiance wholeheartedly to Him. It’s not arrogant to say you’re certain about what you believe, as long as you’re motivated by a search for truth rather than a desire to gain power over others.

Look beyond yourself. Atheism says that the self is the highest and holiest reality, but if you ask God to you the perspective you need to see beyond your own life into the bigger reality of which you’re a part, you’ll start to notice Him at work all around you.

Move from changed behavior to inner transformation. God wants to do much more in your life than just get you to conform to good moral behavior. He wants to transform your whole soul from the inside out so you’ll grow to become more like Jesus.

Move from religion to relationship. Faith isn’t just a matter of believing the right doctrines or performing the right rituals or service. Faith is about connecting to the living God in a dynamic relationship, which is only possible through Jesus. Real faith flows across the boundaries of time and space, uniting people to God from every generation and every culture on earth. Focus on what matters most in developing a relationship with God: the question of who Jesus really is.

Discover the truth about Jesus. Face the reality that you (like every other human being) will have to decide who you believe Jesus is. Realize that He can’t possibly be just a great moral teacher who once lived, because – unlike other major religious figures like Muhammad and Buddha – He claimed to be God. So only three possibilities exist for who He is: Either He’s an evil spirit who lied, He’s a dead man who was crazy while He was alive, or He really is God incarnate.

Consider the creed. Think and pray about the Christian faith’s core beliefs as expressed in the Apostle’s Creed: God is our Father. He made heaven and earth. Jesus Christ is His only Son and our Lord. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered, died on the cross, was buried, descended into hell, and rose to life again. Now He lives in heaven with God, ready to judge humanity. The faithful believe in the Holy Spirit, the universal church, the eternal bond between saints both living and dead, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of believer’s bodies, and everlasting life. Considering the creed shifts your focus from yourself to God and helps you sharpen your beliefs.

Get rid of excuses. Whatever excuses are keeping you from committing to true faith, admit them to God and pray for His help to overcome them. Don’t hold back from God any longer. Be willing to act on your desire to believe, even if you still have doubt or unanswered questions. Trust God enough to move toward Him as much as you can, and expect Him to meet you there.

Keep growing. As your faith increases and deepens, keep your eyes open, your mind calculating, your conscience soft, and your spirit alert for all the new things God wants to teach you every day.

Adapted from I Want to Believe: Finding Your Way in an Age of Many Faiths, copyright 2007 by Mel Lawrenz. Published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com.

Mel Lawrenz (M. Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Ph.D., historical theology, Marquette University) has been a pastor at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin for the past 25 years and is currently the senior pastor. Mel has a passion for the ministry of the Word in writing for effective outreach both nationally and internationally, is author or coauthor of seven books and has been developing a multidimensional media ministry network, which includes his radio interview program, Faith Conversations.


The Landmine of Compromise

InTouch Ministries

Most of the time, compromise is acceptable. When it comes to our spiritual principles, however, such flexibility becomes sin. Dictionary.com defines this sort of compromise as “a dishonorable or shameful concession.”

King Saul made a seemingly minor adjustment to one of God’s commands and ended up forfeiting his divine right to be ruler. His story can teach us several truths about this kind of disobedience. Begin by reading 1 Samuel 15.

A. Compromise starts when we think we know better than God does.

God commanded the Israelites to completely destroy the Amalekites — men, women, children and livestock (v. 2-3).

  • What had the Amalekites done that deserved punishment? (Deut. 25:17-19)
  • Dr. Stanley often says, “Partial obedience is disobedience.” Why do you think Saul compromised God’s instructions?
B. Compromise goes hand-in-hand with a refusal to take responsibility.

  • What does Saul do when Samuel asks him about the sounds of sheep and oxen? (v. 13-15, 21)
  • Are you currently blaming a compromise or shortcoming of yours on another person? If so, what is it?
  • In order for you to find freedom, you must first admit that the root of the problem has to do with you. Take a moment to do that in prayer.
C. Compromise can masquerade as righteousness.

Read verses 17-19. Samuel says it is God who made Saul great.

  • What do you think is Samuel’s point?
  • Saul says he saved the choicest sheep and oxen to sacrifice to God (v. 21). What’s wrong with his reasoning?
Notice that Saul’s disobedience must have looked religious to his people. Modern believers in God have the same temptation. For instance, a man might agree to take on a leadership role at church, even though he senses that God wants him to focus on his family for a season instead. Or, a woman might listen sympathetically — time after time — to a friend who is making bad choices, rather than confronting her in love.

  • Have you ever done something that appeared spiritual but was, in reality, disobeying what you sensed God wanted you to do? If so, describe it. Why do you think you compromised your principles?
D. Compromise is as serious as the sin of witchcraft.

"To obey is better than sacrifice" (v. 22). The Ryrie Study Bible states that the ritual sacrifices were an essential part of a righteous Israelite’s life, but Samuel told Saul that this religious practice was meaningless unless it was accompanied by an obedient heart.

  • Why do you think Christians have a difficult time accepting that wholehearted obedience to God is more important than following conventional religious practices?
Samuel makes the startling statement that rebellion is similar to divination (v. 23), something the Israelites were forbidden to practice (Deut. 18:10-12). According to dictionary.com, divination means “the practice of attempting to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means.”

  • What similarity do you see between disobedience to God and divination?
  • Why is insubordination to the Lord similar to the sin of idolatry (v. 23)?
  • Think of a time when you were openly or secretly rebellious against God or against human authority. How was 1 Samuel 15:23 true in your situation?
E. Compromise blocks our spiritual potential.

David, Saul’s successor, also sinned against God.

  • Describe how David responded when the prophet Nathan confronted him (Psalm 51).
  • Contrast that with Saul’s reaction when he’s confronted (1 Sam. 15: 24-25). Do you think his repentance and sorrow were sincere?
The Ryrie Study Bible says that though Saul had many attributes of a capable leader, his strong self-will prevented the fulfillment of his potential, and God rejected him as king (v. 26). God refused to tolerate disobedience in a leader.

As Christians, we always have the chance to repent and return to serving God. However, the Lord limits our usefulness when we refuse to cleanse ourselves from sin (2 Tim. 2:19-21).

  • How does compromise hinder you from becoming all God wants you to be?
When it was clear to Saul that God wasn’t going to change His mind, the king asked Samuel to honor him in front of the people by staying for the sacrifice (v. 30).

  • What do you think motivated Saul’s request?
  • Why is it appropriate that Samuel was the one to execute Agag (v. 32-33)?
Closing: Saul’s compromise cost him and his descendants the throne of Israel. Our disobedience is no less dangerous, preventing us from reaching our full potential in God’s kingdom.

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me for thinking I can improve Your commands or instructions. I repent of my disobedience. Give me the grace to make choices that honor You and are true to Your Word. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Experience God’s Love Closer than Your Skin

By Whitney Hopler

You know the Bible says that God is love, and you believe it. You agree with the idea that He loves you personally, too. But do you experience His loving touch in your life every day? Or does He often seem far away?

God wants you to encounter Him right there with you – closer than your skin. Here’s how you can experience the intimate relationship God wants you to enjoy with Him:

Pursue God. God has promised that if you seek Him with all your heart, you’ll find Him. He’s available, knowable, and responsive. Decide to make a relationship with Him your top priority, building everything else in your life around it. Expect to discover God pursuing you as you pursue Him. He understands everything about you and knows where to find you. God wants you to find Him, too, rather than just playing a game of hide and seek. As you reach out to Him, He will reach out to you.

Commit. Don’t settle for just casual contact with God, as if you’re dating Him. Move beyond a casual relationship to a fully committed one. Passionately devote yourself to God. Instead of just believing in Him, live for Him. Do your best to live out your faith in every part of your life, all the time.

Trade religion for relationship. Your faith isn’t defined by the religious activities in which you engage; it’s defined by the quality of your relationship to God. Rather than focusing on the rituals you perform, the programs you attend, or the service you undertake, focus on the reason behind doing all of those things – your love for God. Let go of activities that keep you too busy to invest the time and energy you need to invest in your actual relationship with God. Don’t become so busy that you don’t leave room in your life for God to do something new; expect Him to constantly be doing something fresh in your life. Ask God to help you avoid pride and self-reliance from doing too much while also avoiding guilt from doing too little. Rely on God’s unlimited strength rather than your own limited abilities, and make sure your motivation for any religious activity is to express your love for Him.

Overcome condemnation. If you feel like God is disappointed in you because of what you’ve done, or even because of who you are, the resulting guilt and shame will alienate you from Him because you’ll be insecure about approaching Him. Ask God to heal your soul from whatever is causing your sense of condemnation. Confess your sins, repent of them, and embrace the grace that God freely offers you. Instead of working for God’s love, work from it as a foundation of security. Remember that, although you’ll always be a work in progress, your standing with God and your future are secure, because God is the author and finisher of your faith. He is always willing to meet you where you are and help you grow. Rather than worrying about how perfectly you’re living the Christian life, focus on how often you’re turning to God, and trust that His love will prove more than enough in transforming you into the person He wants you to become.

Stop overdoing it. Although it’s noble to try to live a good, selfless, and productive life, if you’re too driven and busy, you’ll end up actually moving farther away from the life God wants you to lead. Take an honest look at how you’re using the limited time and energy you have. Make whatever changes you need to make to ensure that your activities don’t eat up the time you need to develop and maintain healthy relationships – especially with God.

Deal with your pain. The pain you experience in this fallen world can create bitterness in your soul if you don’t deal with it, and that bitterness can block your intimacy with God. Admit to God that you’re sometimes angry at Him for the bad things He allows to happen, even though you know He doesn’t cause them. Freely express your frustration to Him, knowing that He cares and understands. Then decide to trust Him to do what’s best, no matter what the circumstances look like from your perspective.

Listen for God’s voice. Ask God to help you notice Him speaking to you in everyday life. Pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and empower you to recognize God when He communicates with you. Turn down the noise in your life that’s keeping you too distracted to hear from God. Expect that, if you give God an open heart and a listening ear, He will speak to you regularly in specific and personally significant ways.

Be grateful. Negative attitudes like self pity are dangerous to your soul, because they hold you back from growing spiritually. But gratitude gives you the freedom you need to move closer to God. Make a daily habit of noticing the many ways God has blessed you, and thanking Him for them. Ask Him to help you stay focused on your blessings no matter what your current circumstances. If you place your trust in God even during tough times, He’ll honor your faith by drawing you closer to Him.

Join God where He’s already at work. Stop trying to make good things happen on your own, and instead notice what God is doing around you and decide to join Him. Each day, surrender your own agenda and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your decisions, so you can accomplish what God wants you to accomplish. Remember that it’s the work God does through you that counts, not the work you do for Him.

Fulfill your purpose. Pay attention to the talents and passions God has given you, and decide to use the limited time you have here on earth to use your talents passionately to fulfill His purpose for your life. Check in with God regularly for guidance. Then act on what He tells you, trusting that He will help you every step of the way.

Trust God with your marriage and family. God understands all the joys, sorrows, and risks you’re facing as you strive to be a good spouse and parent. Pray about every family situation, and rely on the strength He’ll give you. Remember that He is right there with you, your spouse, and your children – ready to help with anything you face together. Trust the future of your family and everyone in it to God.

Forgive. Realize that you can’t truly be close to God if you’re at odds with people. Be willing to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration with every broken relationship you have. God expects you to forgive others because He has forgiven you, and you can count on Him to help you through the process.

Pray often. Keep in close contact with God through frequent prayer. Be assured that God accepts every sincere prayer, whether you’re uttering a few brief phrases on the run or pouring your heart out to Him in an extended prayer vigil. But when you pray, don’t just talk to God; be sure to listen to Him, too. Write down important insights He gives you. Obey what He tells you to do. Expect that as you listen more to God and respond more to what He says, it will become easier for you to recognize His voice.

Intercede for others. If you sense God leading you to pray for others, do so in humility. Never presume that you know what’s best for them, but be willing to help them by presenting their needs to God in prayer, trusting that He will answer according to what’s best.

Guard against deception. Discern whether or not messages you hear spiritually are truly from God by: judging the fruit of those messages (they should move you closer to God and more loving toward people, rather than leading to self-aggrandizement, manipulating others, or actions that harm or deceive), staying under spiritual authority and in fellowship (such as by respecting a pastor you trust and being accountable to other mature Christians), making sure the messages are consistent with the Bible as a whole (God-given messages never contradict His Word), remembering that God often confirms His thoughts in more than one way, and learning to recognize counterfeit messages.

Invite God to pour His love through you. Trust God’s love to fill up every empty space inside your soul, overcoming every longing, unmet need, and loss. Welcome His love into your life fully, so that it transforms you and flows through you out into the lives of other people, transforming them as well.

Adapted from Closer Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with God, copyright 2008 by Susan D. Hill. Published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co., www.randomhouse.com/waterbrook/.

Susan Hill is an award-winning feature writer and a leader of interdenominational women’s groups, where she frequently hears of the common longing for authentic Christian faith. She also serves on the board of the Uganda Orphans Fund, a non-profit Christian relief organization. Susan and her husband, Duncan, have three children and live in Montana.


How to Speak About God When He Hurts Us

By John Piper

The book of Lamentations is the heart-cry of Jeremiah when he and his people were being hurt by God, and by their enemies, and by their own sin. How he speaks of this divine hurting shows us some of the various ways we may speak about God in our own pain. If we affirm them all, then not one of them will be taken amiss.

The Lord directly does the hurting (2:1-4).

“The Lord in his anger has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud! . . . The Lord has swallowed up without mercy all the habitations of Jacob; . . . He has cut down in fierce anger all the might of Israel; . . . he has burned like a flaming fire in Jacob, consuming all around. . . . 4 He has killed all who were delightful in our eyes in the tent of the daughter of Zion.”

The enemies have done the hurting and God has exalted their might (2:16-17).

“All your enemies rail against you; they hiss, they gnash their teeth, they cry. . . . The Lord has done what he purposed; . . . he has made the enemy rejoice over you and exalted the might of your foes.”

The enemy has done the hurting, as if the Lord were not watching! (1:9-11; 3:49-50).

Her fall is terrible; she has no comforter. ‘O Lord , behold my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed! . . . Look, O Lord, and see, for I am despised.' . . . My eyes will flow without ceasing, without respite, until the Lord from heaven looks down and sees.”

The hurting happens as if by God's “forgetting” and “forsaking” them (5:20).

“Why do you forget us forever, why do you forsake us for so many days?”

The Lord will repay the enemies who did the hurting on earth (3:64).

“You will repay them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands.”

The Lord will follow his hurting with compassion (3:32).

“Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”

God's hurting us is not “from his heart”—not his deepest delight (3:33).

“He does not willingly [literally “from his heart” millibboi] afflict or grieve the children of men.”

In his hurting the Lord shows mercy every morning (3:22-23).

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

God's decisive mercy is his causing the erring people to repent; he removes the cause of his own wrath (5:21).

“Cause us to return (hasibenu) to yourself, O Lord, and we will return (wunasub)! Renew our days as of old.”

When God is hurting us, wait patiently for the salvation of the Lord (3:26).

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him.”

In and after God's hurting us, he is our only hope and portion (3:24).

“‘The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'”


How To Win The War Over Worry

By Adrian Rogers
Love Worth Finding

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalm 37:1-7)

Years ago there was a song entitled, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” It had a catchy tune, but do you know the problem with this phrase? It’s missing a “how to” in between “Don’t worry” and “Be happy.”

It’s like telling an alcoholic, “Don’t drink. Be sober.” Or a person trying to lose weight – “Don’t overeat. Get healthy.” There’s a missing link. And it’s the “How does a person stop worrying and be happy?” Let me share with you four ways you can win the war over worry:

Trust In The Lord
God wants to prove Himself to you. Let me ask you, “How do you know that the Lord is the joy of your life?” You don’t know, until He takes away your automobile or your health or your home or your family. When you say, “Jesus is all I need” make sure you can prove it. You’ll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.

Do Good
One of the signs that you’re not trusting God is that you drop out of your usual activities. They get down. You say, “I lost my job!” Well, what are you doing about it? “Well, I’m just sitting around the house!” Well, quit it! Get out there and do something because you’re trusting God to provide!

Delight Yourself In The Lord
Do you want to have a life of joy? Then, put your faith in something, or should I say Someone, who cannot be touched – the Lord! God isn’t finished with you until you find your greatest joy in Him alone. Now take the sentence very slowly – God is going to keep giving you this test until you pass it. He doesn’t flunk anybody out. And so, if you don’t pass this time, He’ll just run you through again.

Commit Your Way To The Lord
“Commit” literally means “to roll.” It means to roll your burden on the Lord. Whatever that burden is, you are to give it to God. His shoulders are broad enough. Matthew 11:30 says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Is someone critical of you today? Give it to Jesus. Has someone hurt you? Give it to Jesus. Are you unsure about your future? Give it to Jesus.

Rest In The Lord
This word “rest” means “to be silent.” We want our answers yesterday. And God is saying, “Hush! Rest in Me!” Friend, God isn’t interested in time. He’s interested in timing. He’s never in a hurry. And He’s never late. Waiting on the Lord is like waiting for the sun to rise. You can’t hurry it. And you can’t stop it.

Trust. Do Good. Delight. Commit. Rest. What is the key to all of this? Jesus. When He is your focus, you can win the war over worry.


The Struggle Within

By Mother M. Angelica

Man is capable of heroic sacrifice and he accomplishes these feats of endurance best when he wants to do them with all his heart. Sacrifices that are imposed against his Will, rob him of the spirit so necessary to do great things. A mother thinks nothing of caring for a sick child day and night. A stranger would feel it a great sacrifice. He would not manifest those tender acts of thoughtfulness that make nursing so Christlike.

Love moves the Will in whatever direction love takes. If our love is self-oriented, our actions will be geared toward self-satisfaction only. Unless our Will is directed toward a higher good, we shall not reach our potential. No matter what great things we accomplish in the world it will be as nothing if our motive for good and great works is selfish.

St. Paul reminded us of this when he said that if we gave everything we possessed to the poor without love it would be nothing. It is disheartening to realize it is possible to deprive ourselves of our most prized possessions and it is as nothing before God. Certainly our Will is determined and strong when we accomplish good works. How then could it be nothing in the Eyes of God? (I Cor. 13:3)

The struggle within does not lie in the strength of our Will but in the prime mover of that Will. What is our motive for doing what we do?

Jesus told us that if we do good works to be seen by men we have received our reward. (Matt. 6:1-2) What were Jesus and Paul telling us when they pulled the rug from under our complacent attitudes?

They were both saying the same thing and we need to see why it is possible to be kind and generous and not be doing the Will of God. Certainly kindness and generosity are fruits of the Spirit, but they can also be natural fruits-fruits of our own desire for praise and glory.

The guiding force of all our actions should be to please God, manifest our love for Him and aid our neighbor.

Whatever self-gratification there may be in our works it is secondary—a fringe benefit enjoyed but not sought after. The determining factor is the love of God, not personal glory. This is difficult to attain and only His grace can make us rise above ourselves and seek only Him.

When our Will is directed to the honor and glory of God above our own, we have peace of mind. The constant friction between our Will and God's leads to most of the unhappiness in our lives. We can understand this better if we draw a verbal picture of ourselves alienated from His Will.


The Weapons Of Christian Warfare

By Adrian Rogers

People are continually discussing what is happening in this country, the Middle East, and in every corner of the globe. What many may not realize is that we are already at war, an invisible and unseen war between light and darkness, good and evil. And Satan is our adversary.

In Ephesians 6:10-17a, we learn about the defensive weapons of our warfare – the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace and the helmet of salvation. These pieces of armor are to defend us from Satan’s fiery arsenal. But, we also need offensive weapons to defeat the enemy – the sword of the Spirit – the Word of God and the prayer of the Spirit.

The Sharpness of your Sword
"The Word Of God"

Hebrews 4:12 teaches: “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The trouble with many of us is that we are not using the one weapon that God has given us to grant us a sure victory. Many of us study the Bible, but it’s not enough just to study the Bible, we must learn how to employ it.

Years ago, when young men went into the service, the military issued them an M1 rifle. They were taught how to take it apart and reassemble it. But they had to do more than just learn about their weapon; they had to learn to use it. The Word of God is a sword and it is meant to be used.

How do we use this sword? Let’s look at how our Lord Jesus Christ used the Word when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness after forty days and nights of fasting (see Luke 4:1-13).

First, Satan tempted Jesus with the lust of the flesh (“command that these stones be made bread”), then the lust of the eyes (“if Thou therefore will worship me, all shall be Thine”), and finally the pride of life (“if Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from [the pinnacle of the temple]”).

How did Jesus deal with the devil? He took the sword of the Word of God – that sharp two-edged sword and ran Satan through. Jesus said, “It is written, it is written, it is written…” Jesus overcame every temptation by one weapon – the Word of God.

The Word of God is all-powerful. Satan fears the Word of God. He knows its overcoming power.

The Source of Your Supply

Some Christians fail to understand that prayer is the second offensive weapon in our warfare. They get all dressed up in their armor, pick up their sword, and think they are ready to fight. But Ephesians 6:18 tells us that there’s one more weapon – prayer: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

A soldier needs to stay in contact with headquarters and have at his disposal a constant source of supply. Without a constant source of supply and a system of communications, a soldier is destined for defeat. Thank God we have the Holy Spirit who gives us constant communication with our Commander-in-Chief.

Before we go to the battlefield, we must get on our knees. The battle is not won in the pulpit or in the Sunday school class. The battle is won in the prayer closet. Prayer is warfare.

You probably have never thought of yourself as a soldier. But, when you are sitting in your bedroom or in your den, you can wage a mighty battle of intercessory prayer. Isn’t it wonderful that those who are sick or shut-in, on a hospital bed or in a wheelchair can fight because they can pray? What an awesome weapon is prayer!

I challenge you today to take the mighty weapons God has given you and get into the battle! Begin today to offer lingering, loving, laboring prayer on behalf of others. for when you use the weapons of the Word of God and prayer.

John 15:7 says, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” You can have the victory you long for, when you use the weapons of the Word of God and prayer.


The Armor Of Christian Warfare

Ephesians 6:10-17
By Adrian Rogers
Life Worth Finding

Whether you realize it or not, you are a part of a deadly war between light and darkness. You cannot afford to be ignorant and you cannot be neutral. If you try to be neutral you’re going to find yourself in the most dangerous place of all.

Ephesians 6:10-17 is not just a call to arms, but also a declaration of victory. If you are going to gain this victory, you must be armed and you must put on “the whole armor” not just the pieces that are the most comfortable.

The Girdle Of Truth – The Believer’s Integrity

A soldier in Paul’s day had a leather girdle that he tightened about his waist to protect his loins and carry his weapons of warfare, such as a dagger or sword. The belt also held his tunic together so it wouldn’t be snagged.

In Christian armor, it is integrity that holds everything else together. If you do not have integrity in the big and small things of your life, you are going to lose the battle. Without truth everything falls apart. Satan will come against you with lies and bring a lack of integrity into your life. Jesus is the Truth and will strengthen you with His integrity. Would people say that you are a woman or man of integrity? If not, then you cannot win the battle.

The Breastplate Of Righteousness – The Believer’s Purity

The breastplate of a soldier was sometimes made of woven chain. Whatever the material, the purpose was the same – to cover the soldier’s vital organs. For the Christian, the breastplate is righteousness.

The enemy wants to attack you not only with lies, but also with impurity. He wants you to read filthy magazines, watch immoral movies, and engage in all temptations of the flesh. The bottom line is that Satan wants to get into your heart and mind. He’s looking for a crack in your armor. And don’t be fooled. Satan knows where that crack is. Is your heart pure before God? If not, then you cannot win the battle.

The Shoes Of Peace – The Believer’s Tranquility

A Roman soldier needed good shoes in order to be victorious on the battlefield. Oftentimes, his shoes would have hobnails on the sole, very much like football cleats because when they were fighting they needed solid footing from which to move.

Jesus gives peace and unless you have peace, you can never make war. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? But you’ve got to have the peace of God in your heart first. When Satan comes against your tranquility, he throws out stones and briars of doubts and discouragement to cause you to stumble. Do you have peace right now? If not, then you cannot win the battle.

The Shield Of Faith – The Believer’s Certainty

The Roman soldier’s shield measured approximately two by four feet and was made of wood covered with leather. In that day, soldiers dipped arrows in oil, then lit them and shot them at the enemy. These shields were vital to protect the solider from getting burned.

Satan is going to fire flaming arrows of doubt at you. He wants to place subtle doubts in your mind about God and His Truth. He knows a spark can ignite a big fire. You will need to feed your faith and starve your doubts.

Are there any seeds of doubt in your mind today? If there are, then you cannot win the battle.

The Helmet Of Salvation – The Believer’s Sanity

A soldier used a helmet to protect his head because if his head was wounded, he wouldn’t be able to think. Every believer needs to have the mind of Christ under the control of Almighty God.

When a person is saved, for the first time he has his right mind. A person without the Lord Jesus Christ has a form of insanity. They do not operate with the mind that God made them to have. The most important thing for you to have at all times is an assurance of your salvation.

Do you know that you are saved?

Each of these pieces of armor represents Jesus. Friend, do you want to fight with the armor of a Christian solider and live a victorious, abundant life? Then, prayerfully put on Jesus. He is Truth, He is Purity, He is Peace, He is Sure. He is the One who bought your redemption with His blood.