Read: Luke 19:1-10
It was a perfect day for our garage sale—bright and warm. People rummaged through clothing, paperbacks, and mismatched dishes. I noticed a young woman looking at a string of white beads. A few minutes later, the necklace vanished along with its admirer. I spotted her in the street, jogged the length of my driveway, and discovered the missing jewelry nestled in her palm. As we faced each other with the knowledge of what had happened, she volunteered to pay for the stolen item.
Zacchaeus, the tree-climbing tax collector, met Jesus and was changed. He vowed to repay four times the amount of money he had dishonestly taken from others (Luke 19:8). In those days, tax collectors frequently overcharged citizens and then pocketed the extra funds. Zacchaeus’ eagerness to pay back the money and to donate half of what he owned to the poor showed a significant change of heart. He had once been a taker, but after meeting Jesus he was determined to make restoration and be a giver.
Zacchaeus’ example can inspire us to make the same kind of change. When God reminds us about items we have taken, taxes left unpaid, or ways we have wronged others, we can honor Him by making it right.
In all that I say and all that I do;
Give me the courage to do what is right
To bring to the world a glimpse of Your light. —Fasick
by Joyce Meyer – posted January 09, 2013
Like most of us, you are probably tempted to take all the easy paths, but God’s path is rarely easy. The Bible describes those other paths—the ones that lead to destructions—as “broad” because not a lot of effort is required to remain on them. We are encouraged by God to take the narrow path, the more difficult one, which is also the one that leads to life.
We have to make a strong effort to push through the negativity in the world, but if we will do our part, God will always do His. Not everyone is willing to make the effort. They are addicted to ease and simply flow with their feelings. Jesus died for us so we could have a wonderful, abundant life that is filled with peace, joy, power, success, and every good thing. He was willing to go to the cross and pay for our sins even though physically, mentally, and emotionally it was very difficult. We, too, must be willing to do what is right, and our reward will surely come. God’s grace will always enable us to do the right thing if we are willing to do so.
Study the Word of God regularly, and then when trouble comes, you will already have your spiritual tank full of fuel that will enable you to make right choices. Don’t be the kind of person who prays or has time for God only when you feel like it or have a disaster. Seek God because you know you cannot navigate safely in this world without Him.
You and I can let our minds drift aimlessly day after day, and we can be controlled by our emotions, or we can strive to gird up our minds, choose our thoughts carefully, and manage our emotions. God has set before us life and death, good and evil, and has given us the responsibility of making the choice (see Deut. 30:19). Choose life!
Trust in Him: What choice are you currently facing? What path will you choose? Remember, the right choice won’t always be easy, but you can trust God, Who gives you strength and rewards you, to help you do it.
From the book Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2012 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
by Joyce Meyer – posted January 08, 2013
I once read a story in a church newsletter that I want to share with you.
In 1949, Time magazine called him “one of the most extraordinary men of modern times.” He won the Nobel Peace Prize. One afternoon, reporters and city officials gathered at a Chicago railroad station to greet him. As passengers disembarked the train, among them was this giant of a man—six-foot-four with a bushy mustache and thick, unruly hair. Cameras flashed. City officials approached him with hands outstretched.
The man greeted them politely and then, looking over their heads, asked to be excused for a moment. He quickly walked through the crowd until he reached the side of an elderly woman who was struggling with two large suitcases. He picked up the bags with a smile and escorted the woman to a bus. After helping her aboard, he wished her a safe journey. As he returned to the greeting party he apologized: “Sorry to have kept you waiting.”
The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary doctor who spent his life helping the poor in Africa. In response to Schweitzer’s action, one member of the reception committee said, “That’s the first time I ever saw a sermon walking.”
You and I have many opportunities each week to be “sermons walking.” All we have to do is look to Jesus as our example. According to today’s scripture, Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. If we will follow Jesus’ example, we can also be like sermons walking.
Love Others Today: Take every chance you get to be a sermon walking today.
From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2011 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
Read: Romans 5:6-15
My friend was having a conversation with a man who didn’t have much good to say about the Christian faith. My friend knew that if he were to sound too “religious,” he would jeopardize any chance to witness. So, in the middle of their discussion, he said, “Hey, Bob, do you know where sinners go?”
“That’s easy,” he replied. “You’re going to tell me they go to hell.”
“No,” my friend responded. “They go to church.”
Bob was speechless. That wasn’t what he expected. He wasn’t ready to hear from a Christian who realized he wasn’t perfect. My friend had a chance to share that Christians understand their sinfulness and their need for continual spiritual restoration. He was able to explain grace—the unmerited favor we have with God despite our sinfulness (Rom. 5:8-9; Eph. 2:8-9).
Perhaps we don’t give those outside the church a clear picture of what’s happening inside. They may not understand that we’re there to praise our Savior for providing “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14).
Yes, sinners go to church. And sinners—forgiven ones—go to heaven because of God’s grace.
For Christ is our righteousness, Lord, and our Savior;
No justification for sin can we offer,
Yet sanctified fully, we’re now His forever. —Lee
…the goodness of God leads you to repentance. ~ Romans 2:4, NKJV.
In the natural, when we’ve wronged someone, sometimes it’s easier to avoid them than to face the discomfort or potential rejection. It isn’t surprising that people sometimes have this same approach to God. Have you ever heard someone say, “If I walk into a church, the roof will cave in?” They think they should keep their distance because of what they’ve done. But nothing could be further from the truth! God’s not mad at you; He’s madly in love with you! He’s waiting for you with open arms. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done; know that His goodness is what’s drawing you to Him.
Today, don’t let condemnation keep you from turning to God. Trust His kindness. Trust that He wants you to experience His goodness. He wants to show you His faithfulness. He’s promised He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. Turn to Him today and let Him pour His loving kindness on you and empower you to walk in victory all the days of your life!
Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me. Thank You for Your kindness that draws me. I come to You today giving You all that I am. Make me new in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright © 2013 Joel Osteen Ministries
by Joyce Meyer – posted January 07, 2013
Country singer Wynonna Judd knows what can happen when you don’t think about yourself. At seventeen, she had accepted Christ, but the whirlwind years of fame and fortune had created a deep sense of insecurity for her. She felt like she had to take care of everyone. She worked through two pregnancies so she could ensure that the thirty families of her crew would continue to have an income; she ate when she felt empty inside, and she spent enormous amounts of money on her family and friends.
The need to please everyone eventually caught up with her, and in 2004, Wynonna found herself overweight, out of money, guilt-stricken, and close to losing her 525-acre farm. She had to surrender to God and start taking care of herself again. She’s now twenty pounds lighter, she’s cut back her excessive spending, and she’s learned to say no.
Women in particular want to please people, especially their family, but they need to be very aggressive in standing against getting out of balance in this area.
Lord, it’s confusing to know when I need to pull back and restore my own self. Help me to serve and give while keeping it all in balance. Amen.
From the book The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2011 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
Read: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Karl Elsener, a Swiss designer of surgical equipment in the 19th century, worked for years on perfecting a military knife. Today his Swiss Army Knife is associated with excellence in blades and a variety of utilities. One model includes knife blades, a saw, scissors, a magnifying glass, a can opener, a screwdriver, a ruler, a toothpick, a writing pen, and more—all in one knife! If you are out camping in the wild, this one item can certainly make you feel equipped for survival.
We need something to equip us to survive spiritually in this sinful world. God has given us His Word, a kind of spiritual knife for the soul. Paul writes: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The word translated equipped means to “furnish or fit completely.” How does the Bible equip us for life’s journey? It provides spiritual truth in doctrine; reproof in showing our imperfections; correction by revealing our sinful failures; and instruction in living a righteous life. There’s not a more valuable tool than God’s Word to make us fully equipped for spiritual survival and personal growth.
inspired Word. You’ve given us the tools we
need to live for You. Help us to take time to read
it and to follow what You tell us. Amen.
And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts–gold and frankincense and myrrh. ~ Matthew 2:11 AMP.
Can you imagine what it must have been like for the Wise Men when they saw Jesus? He was just a child in a stable surrounded by animals, but these Wise Men recognized that He was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords; the Savior of the world. Immediately, they fell on their faces to worship Him, but notice what they did next—they presented Him gifts as part of their worship. And they didn’t just give any old thing they had; they gave Him their absolute best—costly gold, frankincense and myrrh.
When we give Jesus our absolute best—our time, talent and resources, it is truly an act of worship. We are saying with our actions, “God, You mean more to me than anything. Because You are so awesome, I want to give You everything that I am.” It pleases Him when we come to Him with this attitude. When we draw near to Him with an open and humble heart, He draws near to us. Remember to always give Him your best and watch Him open doors of blessing in every area of your life!
Prayer for Today:
Father, I come humbly to You today giving You all that I am. I honor You as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I bless You because You are worthy of my absolute best in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright © 2013 Joel Osteen Ministries
Read: Psalm 146
Recently, I saw a television ad for a restaurant chain that made a dramatic claim. At those restaurants, the ad said you could “Help Yourself to Happiness.” Wouldn’t it be nice if a helping of potatoes or meat or pasta or dessert would be all that was needed to provide happiness? Unfortunately, no restaurant can fulfill that promise.
Happiness is an elusive thing—as we can see in almost every area of life. Our pursuit of happiness may involve food or a host of other things, but, in the end, happiness continues to escape our grasp.
Why? In large measure it’s because the things we tend to pursue do not touch the deepest needs of our hearts. Our pursuits may provide moments of enjoyment, distraction, or pleasure, but the cry of our hearts goes unheard—the cry for help and hope. That is why the psalmist points us to a better way when he says, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Ps. 146:5).
Help yourself? Yes—if we are seeking the happiness found in the Lord. It is only when we entrust ourselves to God and His care that we can find the happiness we seek. Our hope and help are found only in trusting Him.
in You will I know the real joy and satisfaction that
my heart longs for. Help me to look beyond the
surface things of life to what really matters.
Posted by Joel Osteen on 1/4/2013
In Second Kings, there is the story about a widow who doesn’t have money to pay her bills. In those days, if you couldn’t pay your bills, your family was taken and sold as slaves, and that’s exactly what was about to happen. The creditors were coming to take her sons as payment. The only thing she had of any value was a small pot of oil to cook with. The prophet Elisha showed up at her house and told her to do something that seemed strange. He said, “Go out to the neighbors and borrow as many big, empty pots to hold oil as you can possibly find.” He said specifically, “Borrow not a few. Get as many as you can.” He was saying in effect, “Don’t shortchange yourself; make room for abundance.”
The widow went out and borrowed some pots. I can imagine she found five or six of these big, empty pots. When she came home, Elisha told her to pour her oil into one of the empty containers. It appeared as though she would just transfer it from one container to the other, but the scripture says, “Her oil never ran out.” She kept pouring and pouring. God supernaturally multiplied it until all of those containers were completely filled. Here’s my point: She was the one who determined how much oil she would have. If she would have borrowed one container, she would have one full. If she would have borrowed ten, she would’ve had ten full. If she would have borrowed 50, she would’ve had 50 full. It wasn’t up to God how much she increased, it was up to her. God has unlimited supplies. That’s why the prophet said, “Borrow not a few.”
My question today is, “How many containers are you borrowing?” What kind of vision do you have for this new year? Some people have a barely-get-by container. They think, “Oh, man, business is so slow. I’m hoping to just make it through this year.” They’ve got a tiny little container. God says, “Alright, I’ll fill your ‘barely-get-by’ container.” Some of you, like this lady, have five or six containers. You’re
believing to pay your bills, feed your family, and have a little bit left over. That’s good. God will fill those containers. No matter what you’ve been expecting, believe that this year is the year for increase! Know that God can do exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond. He is El Shaddai—the God of more than enough. Make room for His far-and-beyond favor because God is saying, “You need to get ready. I’m going to fill your containers!”
It may not have happened in the past, but God has favor in your future. He has new opportunities, good breaks, blessings that will chase you down. You may not see how this could happen, but God has a thousand ways to increase you that you’ve never thought of. God has explosive blessings, blessings that can thrust you years ahead.
Like this woman, God wants to bless you beyond your normal income, beyond your salary, beyond your retirement. God can give you one good break, one promotion, one idea or one inheritance, and all those containers are filled to overflowing. Now make sure you don’t shortchange yourself. God is saying, “Borrow not a few.” Get ready, get your hopes up, get your faith up, and make room for abundance because that’s what God has waiting for you!
Copyright © 2013 Joel Osteen Ministries