Only God’s Approval Matters

“Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others.” (Galatians 6:4 CEV)

The Bible warns us never to compare ourselves with others (Galatians 6:4 CEV). There are two reasons why you should never compare yourself with anyone else:

You will find someone who seems to be doing a better job than you, and you will become discouraged, or
You will find someone who doesn’t seem as effective as you, and you will become full of pride.

Either attitude will take you out of service and rob you of your job.

Paul said it is foolish to compare ourselves with others. He said, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV).

The Message paraphrase says, “In all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point” (2 Corinthians 10:12b MSG).

You will find that people who do not understand your shape for ministry will criticize you and try to get you to conform to what they think you should be doing. Ignore them!

Paul often had to deal with critics who misunderstood and maligned his service. His response was always the same: Avoid comparisons, resist exaggerations, and seek only God’s commendation.

Talk About It

Are you doing the things God has called you to do? If you keep comparing yourself to others in ministry or in the workplace, what do you think that says about your perspective on your calling?

John Bunyan, the author of “Pilgrims Progress,” said, “If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.” Evaluate your life and the fruit you have or have not produced, and then apply this quote to your life.

.

Plug In!

20120810-101756.jpg

Today’s Scripture:

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
Isaiah 40:29, NKJV.

Today’s Word:

Everyone goes through seasons in life that seem overwhelming; times when you’ve felt drained of strength and power. But, you haven’t been left without hope. You haven’t been left without an answer. The God of heaven and earth is near you, and He promises to give you strength and might to overcome.

Where does this strength and power come from? It comes directly from Him. When you connect with Him, you are connecting to your power source. It’s like plugging a lamp into a light socket. You “plug in” through prayer, reading the Word and worshipping Him. You “turn on” the switch by the words of your mouth—by declaring what God says.

Remember, you don’t have to let the difficult times overwhelm you. Rise up and connect with Him because He is your source of strength! He promises to equip and empower you for victory in every area of your life!

Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your favor, strength and grace at work in my life. I turn my focus on You today. I turn my thoughts on You. I set my heart and love upon You because You are good. Thank You for filling me with might and power to overcome in Jesus’ name! Amen.

Don’t Miss the Season of Grace

Today’s Scripture:

For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.
Proverbs 1:32, NKJV.

Today’s Word:

God will never ask you to do something without giving you the ability to do it. You may get passive or complacent and think, “Yes, I know I need to do that. Maybe next week.” Well, next week turns into next month. Next month turns into next year. When we put off what God has told us to do, we miss that season of grace. But, if you’ll deal with things as soon as God brings them to light, you’ll have a special grace, a special empowerment. You’ll feel God’s enabling power helping you to do it.

Today, is there something you’re putting off? Something you know in heart that you are supposed to do? Don’t let the season of grace pass. Don’t let complacency destroy you. Your destiny stands before you. God has something amazing in your future. Be bold, be strong. Step out in faith, be obedient, and embrace the good things God has in store for you!

Prayer for Today:

Father, thank You for the grace to do exactly what You’ve called me to do. I choose to step out in faith; I choose to follow Your commands. I choose to be faithful because I know that You are faithful. I love You and bless You today and always in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Foxes in Your Finances

Today’s Scripture:

Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.
Song of Solomon 2:15, ESV.

Today’s Word:

Oftentimes, it’s not big things that hold us back; it’s small things — especially in your finances. A few dollars a day on coffee quickly turns into hundreds. Too many credit cards become overwhelming to keep up with. That person who hasn’t balanced their checkbook in two years probably hears a little voice every time they go to write a check, “Get your finances in order.” We have to realize that if we’re not faithful with what we have, God won’t entrust us with more. One lady told me how she hadn’t balanced her checkbook in so long she just closed the account and opened up a brand new one. At least she took action!

I have people tell me all the time, “Joel, I’m going to start giving. I’m going to start tithing my income as soon as I make more money.” No, don’t wait until you have $1,000. Tithe on the $10 you have right now. Don’t let the little foxes spoil your finances. Don’t let another day go by without obeying God. When you set your finances in order, when you put God first in all you do, you are opening the door for His blessing. He says when we are faithful with the little, God will make us ruler over much!

Prayer for Today:

Father God, today I choose to be obedient. I don’t want to let little foxes affect my finances. I dedicate my resources to You. Speak to my heart and show me where to give. I choose to be a faithful sower and expect to reap an abundant harvest by Your Word in Jesus’ name! Amen.

Get on God’s Timetable

“You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” (John 7:8 NIV)

We fly through our weeks at an Internet-access, call-me-on-my-cell pace, with barely enough time to breathe between the persistent beeps coming from the PDA.

Even in the church, we over-schedule meetings, ministry, and meals. In our efforts to become like Jesus, we’re developing a very un-Jesus-like characteristic: busyness!

You never think of Jesus as a hurried person. He never seemed stressed over getting more things done.

Can you hear the efficiency experts?

“Jesus, you’d get a lot more done if you had more assistants than just the 12.”

“You really need to attend that council meeting in Capernaum if you want to make headway with the Pharisees!”

“Why are you still here in Galilee? Your ministry would be so much bigger if you’d move to Jerusalem. Such talent going to waste!”

Jesus’ brothers said, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea . . . . No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world” (John 7:3-4 NIV).

Jesus simply told them the timing wasn’t right because he was on the father’s timetable.

Now, as it was, Jesus followed almost immediately on the heels of his brothers. But he did it low-key, because he did not want to be swept into events that might distract him from his purpose or that might push him off God’s timetable.

Time after time, as Jesus walks through the gospels, we hear him referring to the Father’s will. He knew he’d been sent by God for a purpose, and he stuck to that purpose.

What’s the best way to manage your time? Figure out who God created you to be and what he created you to do, and then resolutely set out to accomplish God’s purpose (Luke 9:51).

Talk About It

Think through a typical day, and write down all your activities. Which of those activities were in pursuit of God’s purpose for you?

What steps can you take to reduce the busy-ness in your life?

Press Past the Small Things

Today’s Scripture:

…One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
Philippians 3:13, NIV.

Today’s Word:

Are you allowing the small things in life to keep you from God’s best? Today is the day to press past the small things and run toward your destiny! Unforgiveness is a small thing. Forgive and move on to the greater thing. Fear is small. It’s not from God. Don’t let it hold you back. An addiction is small. You have the power to overcome anything through Christ Jesus. Being undisciplined is small. If you are a believer today, you have the seed of Almighty God inside of you. There is no challenge that’s too difficult for you!

I think about Joshua and Caleb. When they came back from spying out the Promised Land they said, “Moses, we are well able to take the land. Let us go in at once.” Not next week. Not next year. They were “now” people. But if you over-analyze your situation and think about all the “what if’s” and try to get approval from all your family and friends, you’ll never move off of dead center. You’ll be stuck in the small things.

Today, make the decision to press forward. Be like Joshua and Caleb. Don’t look at your circumstances; look at your God because He is the one who is empowering you to take hold of the good things He has for your future!

Prayer for Today:

Father, today I make the decision to press past small things. I let go of small thinking and small doing and choose to open my heart and mind to You. Lead me in the way I should go. Thank You for Your everlasting love in Jesus’ name. Amen!