Daily Archives: July 17, 2012
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NKJV)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria Osteen Sometimes, in order to embrace the destiny God has in store, you have to be willing to make some changes in your life. You have to be willing to examine where you are and what you need to move forward. This may mean that you need to change some friends that you’re spending time with. Maybe they were fine for a season in your life, but now you’ve outgrown them. This is a new season, and in order for you to rise higher, you have to break away from relationships that are limiting you. You have to develop some new relationships with people who are going to pull you up and inspire you to rise higher. And this doesn’t just mean separating yourself from people who are holding you back spiritually. I’ve found that if you’re the smartest one in your group, your group is too small. Find people who are smarter than you are, people who will challenge you to stretch to the next level and become everything God’s created you to be. Remember, he who walks with the wise becomes wise. Choose your friends wisely and don’t be deceived. Choose your friends wisely so you can walk and live in the destiny God has in store for you!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY Father God, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You for the good plan You have for my life. Help me choose my friends and companions wisely so that I can continue to move forward in the destiny You have for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen © 2012 Joel Osteen Ministries
© 2012 Joel Osteen Ministries
Miss the days when you and your spouse were dating? When you could decide at the spur-of-the-moment to spend Friday night enjoying dinner and a movie? Well, what’s stopping you?
“Children,” you grumble. Going out for a date now entails planning a week in advance, so that you can find a babysitter and figure out how long you’ll need her to stay. Throw in her roughly ten dollars an hour fee on top of that twelve dollar per person flick and twenty-five buck a plate meal, and you have a daunting financial issue. As a result, more and more parents are choosing to just stay home and save the money and effort. There’s nothing wrong with this decision…so long as you still have your date night!
Forget the extended planning, hunting down and retaining the sitter, and concentrate on arranging an evening of togetherness. After all, isn’t that the whole point? But don’t forget to make this night special, different from every other night of the week.
Here are a few tips on how to accomplish this:
- A bottle of wine. Take a trip to the liquor store and pick out something special. If you don’t know wine from grape juice, just ask the proprietor. He is usually quite knowledgeable about which wine is good and will suit your particular tastes.
- Specialty Foods. Have a light dinner with the kids, but save your appetite for after they go to bed. Then take out the Brie and water crackers, perhaps a little jar caviar, or a couple of shrimp cocktails. How about a couple of rich chocolate truffles for dessert? Whatever you choose, make sure it is extraordinary. These delicacies may cost more, but they’ll still be cheaper than what you were going to pay that sitter!
- A good movie. This is why there are videos and DVDs. Rent something sappy and romantic, or a laugh riot to blow off a week’s worth of steam. Maybe a good horror flick, to encourage ‘protective’ snuggling? Perhaps something a little racier from that back room of the rental store? It is all up to you tonight, and you aren’t at the whim of theater offerings or their start times.
- Music. Either after or instead of the movie, pop in your favorite CD, push the coffee table aside, and do a little dirty dancing. There’s nothing like a spin around the floor to warm the blood – even when that floor is covered with wall-to-wall carpeting!
- Talk, talk, talk. Have a real conversation! Instead of discussions about the kiddies and school, take this time to chat about grown-up topics. Discuss books, gossip about friends, commiserate about work, or just cuddle up and talk about your old college days. It is amazing how much even long-married spouses can still learn about each other when they get the chance.
- Make out. If you are confident that no little people will invade your space, try necking on the sofa like you were still a couple of teens. Too often, parents rush right into intercourse whenever they get the chance. Take the time to enjoy the kissing and caressing, without the pressure of calling it foreplay. Just snuggle and nibble, and if anything else should follow…well, hey, that’s the privilege of not actually being teenagers any more!
Remember, this is your night – include whatever you want! The important thing is not to give up dating because of time and budget constraints. When you can’t get out of the house for romance, simply bring the romance home to you.
There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.
We’ve never taken each other too seriously and maybe that’s why we get along so well. Not being uptight makes life more enjoyable and satisfying, and it also helps to combat those stressful days where things don’t seem to go right. Whether it’s work or home life, one of our main strategies for a healthy and happy relationship has been about putting the fun into everything we can.
Here are some of our tips for having more fun in your relationship that we have found have worked for us and might be something that could freshen up your romance:
LAUGH MORE, COMPLAIN LESS
Happy people create fun. Fun lightens relationships, and healthy relationships lead to more productive lives. It’s all intertwined. Whatever it takes to laugh — whether it is reminiscing about something funny, telling jokes or pulling faces with each other — is essential to happiness. You’ll be so busy laughing that you will forget what was stressing you out or causing you anxiety. It will also remind you why you fell in love with each other.
THREATEN TO TICKLE YOUR PARTNER
Just the thought of this can start the laughter rolling. The anticipation can be hysterical. Many times you may need to follow through with the actual tickle threat to create an air of fun. So often, we forget to touch each other and be playful. This again is a way to show love and affection while lightening the mood.
PUT FUN TIME ON THE SCHEDULE
Whether it is happy hour and a snack after work or a tee time on the weekend or a day at the amusement park with the kids, plan ahead and put some fun activities on the calendar. This provides some relief from work because you can think about something fun coming up that you will be doing with your spouse or with the whole family. The anticipation goes a long way to helping alleviate the current stress you might have at work.
SURPRISE YOUR SPOUSE
Even if they tell you they don’t like surprises, they really do. It doesn’t have to be anything big like a new car with a bow on it. Think personal and be creative. Of course, if you need help, “just because” flowers delivered to work or a special homemade dinner consisting of your spouse’s favorite dishes are two ideas that always do the trick!
While it is important to schedule and plan for fun, there is a lot to be said for throwing out the plan and going with the moment. Think of a quick weekend road trip or last-minute seats to a concert. Even picking up and leaving work early for the day to spend time with the family is a great spontaneous way to show your love.
Being too serious leads to forgetting what is really important. And, that is the love and support you have in your partner and in your family. They are there to be enjoyed and for you to bring them joy. Have fun and save the seriousness for your next work meeting or conference call!
© Copyright 2003 – 2012, SheKnows LLC, A Division of AtomicOnline LLC, All Rights Reserved
The Glory of God Is Man … Fully Alive
“This is the story of how I found my way back to the path of living fully alive after years of wandering,” writes Ken Davis in his new book Fully Alive. “I’m not a stranger; I’m not an expert; I’m a fellow traveler. And I fall down a lot. I recently told a friend I was a little disappointed that it had taken me this long to follow the stakes and find the joy I experience today. I ended my whining diatribe with a sigh: “All those wasted years!” My friend leaned across the table and said, ‘Hey, you have today.’ What a profound wake-up call. That is all any of us have. Today.”
Davis continues: Discover the adventure hiding in the middle of the mundane! There’s a loud crunching sound as the sled gets under way, slowly at first. Then as it gains momentum, the crunch becomes sort of a swoosh. I blazed past my grandchildren. My heart was pounding, my face was numb, and endorphins raged through my bloodstream. Now at top speed, I screamed, “This absolutely rocks!” Then sky became ground and ground became sky. This repeated itself several times. Somehow I had lost control and cartwheeled at forty miles per hour into a snowbank. Snow was packed into every opening in my clothing. I was gasping for air, my wrist felt like it was broken, and a trickle of blood dripped from my nose. I remember shouting, “I’m alive!” As I wiped the blood from my nose and checked to see if my arms and legs were still attached, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy. I thought, Now this is more than just being alive. This is living fully alive, senses tingling, nothing held back!
Exchange the pain of unmet expectations for the joy of living with expectancy! I’ve been on this ride before. Many times I’ve stood kicking at one door, screaming because it wouldn’t open, while at the same time failing to see open doors of opportunity all around me—doors leading to thrilling new destinations and experiences. I’ve had tunnel vision. I have expected things to be the way they have always been and in doing so have put unnecessary limitations on what I could see and do. Your path to living fully alive may be at the back of the elevator, the side of the elevator, or even right through the roof. It may take more effort than you expect. You might even have to take the stairs. But it is never too late to open your eyes and look.
Take the first step that will lead to a new body, mind and spirit. You might be the one stuck and out of juice on the side of the road. You might be the one down in the dumps and ready to shift your life into neutral, or you could be the one who inspires the weary to keep on going. God says where two or more are gathered together, He comes to the meeting (Matt. 18:20, NIV). And if He’s there, the resources for creativity, spiritual growth, and physical endurance are also there in infinite abundance. We need each other. Start your physical program for health alone if you must, but quickly find like-minded friends to do it with you.
Experience real freedom. There is one piece of baggage that not only hinders but also kills: guilt. We could empty half the psychiatric wards in this country if we could eliminate guilt. Guilt is the byproduct of refusing to forget what is behind, allowing the past to stain our lives. I would rather be bedridden than guilt ridden. I have experienced both, and guilt is by far the worse pain. Hanging on to guilt is like staying in jail after you have been pardoned. Jesus took upon Himself all the guilt for every sin ever committed. He did it so that we might have a life better than we could ever imagine.
All other fears bow down to “walking through the valley of the shadow of death.” In that valley it is difficult to stand, let alone press on. I have committed to read the Twenty-third Psalm every morning for the rest of my life. I want to read it before any fear can grab my attention. What confidence to know that my faith is in the only One who conquered death and gave me that same power to live my life.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 (NIV)
Tap into a power that will protect you whether you’re crawling through the valley or standing on the mountain top! In the song “I Wanna Feel Something,” Trace Adkins sings of a yearning for something “that moves me, that proves to me I’m still alive.” A powerful line in Switchfoot’s song “Awakening” says, “I wanna know that my heart’s still beating.” Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul weighed in on the matter of living fully alive. He expressed his desire to live to the greatest extreme possible. His words are an anchor of inspiration to me. He said, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Phil. 3:10, NIV). Whoa! What could be more out there, more exciting and fulfilling, than experiencing the same kind of power that raised Christ from the dead?
Don’t live a life of quiet desperation! If you look carefully, you will find people all around you who show few signs of life. They haven’t flat-lined yet, but they stopped singing long ago. Rarely do their hearts race in excitement over the possibilities held by a new day. They lurch through the darkness like zombies, clinging to memories of what life used to be. But deep inside they long to live again. Have you lost the joy of your salvation? Do you want to mount up like an eagle and soar once again? Today at age sixty-five my life is as fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding as any time I can remember.
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by Joyce Meyer
Do you ever just spend time with God because of who He is, not for what He can do for you? Have you spent time with Him to tell Him how much you appreciate Him and to thank Him for all that He’s done for you—not just to give Him a whole list of everything you need to be happy?
It’s easy to be busy all the time with an endless to-do list instead of stopping to spend time alone with God.
Whatever you’re doing—or not doing—the truth is, at this moment, each one of us is as close to God as we choose to be.
In Luke 10:38, there was a woman named Martha who made a choice. She kept herself so busy while Jesus was visiting her and her sister. Jesus took notice.
“…Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone?”
Martha was distracted and kept herself busy. She was distracted from Jesus by work! Do you ever find yourself saying, “I do all the work around here. Everybody else is always having a good time while I just work, work, work, work!”
Martha may have thought the same thing, because she pleaded with Jesus for Mary to help her. “But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only ONE thing and Mary has chosen the good part…” (verses 41 & 42).
What’s Really Important
Work is definitely important, but it wasn’t the most important thing for Martha to be doing at that particular time. You know, learning what to do and when to do it is a very key issue because when we do the right thing at the wrong time it becomes the wrong thing to do.
This was not the time for Martha to be working because Jesus was passing by. There was an opportunity for her to spend time with Him that she might not ever get again. What Martha needed was to make a better choice. She needed to make a wiser choice, and that choice was to spend time with Jesus.
Paul prayed that the Phillipian church would be able to make wise choices so that they would “surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences].” (Philippians 1:10)
We need to begin to discern the better choices in our lives, and we need to make those choices. And time is the number one thing we need to choose to invest for intimacy in any relationship, not just a relationship with God.
What Kind of Relationship Do You Want?
God loves you so much and He wants to have a personal, intimate relationship with you. If you want to have a closer walk with Him, you’ll need to make some changes and some of them will be challenging.
To make more time with God a priority, you may have to say “no” to some people that don’t want to hear “no,” and you may have to cut off some things that really aren’t bearing fruit in your life anymore. But the reward of growing closer to God will always be greater than the difficulties you experience to get there.
Make a determined decision today to get as close to God as you can be.
This article is taken from Joyce’s audio series, Be Still and Know That I Am God.
READ: Joshua 7:1-13
Be sure your sin will find you out. — Numbers 32:23
There was something wrong with my lawn. I couldn’t see what the trouble was, but I knew something was causing damage.
After investigating, I discovered the problem: moles. Those voracious little bug-eaters were crawling around just under the surface of my previously well-groomed lawn looking for food and wreaking havoc on my grass.
The children of Israel also had a problem with a hidden cause (Josh. 7). They were experiencing trouble, and they couldn’t figure out why. There was something hidden from their view that was causing serious damage.
The trouble became noticeable when Joshua sent 3,000 troops to attack Ai. Although that should have been a sufficient army to defeat Ai’s small force, the opposite happened. Ai routed the Israelites, killing 36 of them and chasing them back where they came from. Joshua had no idea why this trouble had come. Then God explained the hidden problem: One of his men, Achan, had violated a clear command and had stolen some “accursed things” from Jericho (Josh. 7:11). Only when that hidden sin was discovered and taken care of could Israel have victory.
Hidden sin does great damage. We need to bring it to the surface and deal with it—or face certain defeat. —Dave Branon
Dear Lord, I don’t want anything in my life to
hinder my fellowship with You. You know what’s
in my heart. Reveal any areas of my life that are
not pleasing to You and forgive me. Amen.
Confession to God ensures forgiveness.
Copyright © 2012, RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA