REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS

“Too many people are not living their dreams because they are living their fears.”

From The Confident Woman Devotional by Joyce Meyers

This word hit my so strongly this morning. I realized that all I do is to please and make everyone around me happy and comfortable. I invest so much of myself to satisfy others and in the process lose sight on me. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with doing things for the benefit of others, in fact so much joy is derived from doing just that. Jesus our example tells us to bear each other’s burdens, to live at peace with All as much as lies within us. My point this morning is that in doing that we should not lose sight of who we are, we should not forget to be the men/women God created us to be, we should not please men and displease God!

In other words, instead of doing things out of our heart, we do them because we are afraid of what will happen if we don’t. “Someone will get angry! I will get left out! People will talk about me!” It is time that we started being the person we really want to be. The person God created us to be! The World Changers! The Overcomers! The Winners! It is time to reach for your dreams.

YOU ARE VALUABLE

“Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:4-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

You are special to God, it doesn’t matter how you feel, what people have told you, the unequivocal truth is that YOU ARE VALUABLE TO GOD! YOU ARE SPECIAL IN HIS EYES! GOD LOVES AND CHERISHES YOU!

VERSE OF THE DAY – DONT BE AFRAID

“But now, GOD ’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

5 THINGS TO PRAY FOR YOUR MARRIAGE

Culled from a message by Amelia Rhodes

“It feels like we’ve been here a lot lately,” I said as my husband dropped me off at the airport. “Oh wait. Maybe that’s because we have.”

He chuckled as he helped unload my suitcase from the back of the car. He hefted the suitcase over the curb and leaned over to kiss me goodbye. “Have a great trip. I’ll hold down the fort and see you in a couple days,” he said.

Between his work travel, my work travel, two tween children, and a fixer-upper house, sometimes it feels as though we are more like teammates than husband and wife. In fact, we often will fist bump each other as we pass in the hallway with a “go team,” chant.

Keeping a marriage strong in the midst of shuffling schedules and rigorous responsibilities takes intentional effort and a whole lot of prayer.

We can be cruising along for years, even decades, and suddenly realize we’ve created separate lives and a distance in our relationship that we never intended.

Here are five things to pray for our marriages in the midst of busy and stressful seasons of life.

1. To love each other as Christ loved us.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

Father, your greatest command was to love You and love each other (Matthew 22:36-40). You’ve given marriage as a holy relationship that reflects our relationship with You. Show us how to follow your example and set aside our selfishness and pride and humbly serve each other. Help us to be of one spirit and of one mind and value each other above ourselves, looking out for each other’s interests (Philippians 2:2-4). In the midst of our busy lives, help us take time to love each other deeply from the heart, as you have loved us (Ephesians 5:1-2). May the love we have for each other be an example to the world of how You love them and gave Your life for them.

2. To grow together in Christ.

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Father, help us not to just go to church on Sunday, but to recognize that your presence goes with us wherever we go. May we know a deep communion with you every day. May our marriage be a place where we grow together and lean on You in every situation. Help us to grow to be more like You every day, having a unity in Spirit, being patient, humble and gentle with each other, and bearing each other’s burdens with Your love and strength. Fill our marriage with Your peace. When a struggle or strife arises, may our first response be to come to You together for help. Help us make talking about You and Your Word a priority. We ask your Spirit to help us understand Your Word and grow together in our love and service to You.

3. To recognize things causing distance.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

Father, life gets so busy and things can creep into our marriage and cause distance. Help us be intentional in spending time together and reveal things that are creating a chasm in our relationship. Protect us from things that will divide us, whether it be time spent online or a recreational activity or a friendship that is taking away from our marriage. Help us know how to remedy the situation and bring a closeness back into our marriage with You at the center.

4. To forgive each other quickly.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

Father, enable us to forgive each other as You have forgiven us. Help us not to hold onto bitterness, keep records of wrong, or allow the enemy any foothold in our relationship. Keep our hearts sensitive to You and each other, and move us to the work of reconciliation quickly. When we are wounded, help us be honest with each other and not fear retaliation. Help us to work through our differences in a way that honors You and strengthens our relationship. Help us grow in humility and recognize when we have wounded each other. Give us Your strength to ask for and give forgiveness.

5. To know when to seek outside help.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:20)

Father, grant us the humility and wisdom to know when our marriage needs outside help. Provide wise counsel in the form of friends, pastors, and professionals who will guide us back to You and show us how to rebuild trust and unity in a way that honors You. Help us not be afraid of the work of rebuilding our marriage or making it stronger, but instead help us each be humble and gentle and willing to grow and accept counsel.

Whether you pray individually or together as a couple, or with a group of friends who support each other by praying for your marriages, may you know the power and peace that comes from laying your burdens at the Father’s feet.

Amelia Rhodes lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. As a recovering perfectionist who has been freed, by God’s grace, from the grip of perpetual anxiety, Amelia encourages women to discover who they are in Christ and to deepen their relationships with each other. Her latest book is Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community. Learn more about Amelia and her writing at http://www.ameliarhodes.com.

DOUBTSTORMS

The following is excerpted from Chapter 13 of In the Eye of the Storm.

On Sundays I stand before a church with a three-point outline in my hand, thirty minutes on the clock, and a prayer on my lips. I do my best to say something that will convince a stranger that an unseen God still hears.

And I sometimes wonder why so many hearts have to hurt.

Do you ever get doubtstorms? Some of you don’t, I know. I’ve talked to you.

I think you are gifted. You are gifted with faith. You can see the rainbow before the clouds part. If you have this gift, then I won’t say anything you need to hear.

But others of you wonder…

You wonder if it is a blessing or a curse to have a mind that never rests. But you would rather be a cynic than a hypocrite, so you continue to pray with one eye open and wonder:

– about starving children

– about the power of prayer

– about the depths of grace

– about Christians in cancer wards

– about who you are to ask such questions anyway.

Tough questions. Throw-in-the-towel questions. Questions the disciples must have asked in the storm.

The light came for the disciples. A figure came to them walking on the water. It wasn’t what they expected. Perhaps they were looking for angels to descend or heaven to open. Maybe they were listening for a divine proclamation to still the storm. We don’t know what they were looking for. But one thing is for sure, they weren’t looking for

Jesus to come walking on the water.

“‘It’s a ghost,’ they said and cried out in fear” (Matthew 14:26).

And since Jesus came in a way they didn’t expect, they almost missed seeing the answer to their prayers.

And unless we look and listen closely, we risk making the same mistake. God’s lights in our dark nights are as numerous as the stars, if only we’ll look for them.

When the disciples saw Jesus in the middle of their stormy night, they called him a ghost. A phantom. A hallucination. To them, the glow was anything but God.

When we see gentle lights on the horizon, we often have the same reaction. We dismiss occasional kindness as apparitions, accidents, or anomalies. Anything but God.

“When Jesus comes,” the disciples in the boat may have thought, “he’ll split the sky. The sea will be calm. The clouds will disperse.”

“When God comes,” we doubters think, “all pain will flee. Life will be tranquil. No questions will remain.”

And because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper.

From In the Eye of the Storm

Copyright 1991, Max Lucado

Envy

From liking Jesus Devotional by Craig Groeschel

As long as you keep searching, comparing, and envying what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough. Only when you rely on God and practice gratitude for all he provides will you be able to overcome the dissatisfaction that comes from envy. Envy causes you to resent God’s goodness in other people’s lives and to ignore God’s goodness in your own.

For people always comparing themselves to others—you know, checking their status and updating their profile—every single day brings more trouble. There’s no way for them to see their blessings because the glass is always half-empty. But people who trust God as the source of their happiness have no desire to compare themselves to anyone else. They know that he loves them and remains in charge of their lives, through pleasant circumstances as well as painful ones.

So enjoy what God has given you, instead of longing for what you don’t have. Be thankful for what God has given you, instead of creeping on someone else’s Instagram: “Oh, I wish I had their life!” Guess what? They’re longing for your life in ways you don’t even know about!

Enjoy what you do have rather than desiring what you don’t have.

With Christ’s help, you can win the battle of constantly comparing yourself and envying others. Social media should be a place to see what’s happening in the lives of those you love—not the place to make you envy. Let’s rejoice with those who rejoice. Let’s cultivate gratitude.

Let’s worship our God, not because he gives us everything we want, but because he is worthy of our praise. Let’s worship him because we’ve learned the secret of being content, whether we’re living in plenty or living in want. That secret is that we can do all things through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who gives us strength.

Because he is all we need, let’s pursue him with our whole hearts.

Only in him will we find true joy and true contentment.

Because only he is life, and only he truly satisfies.

““So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:31-33‬ ‭NLT‬‬