Today I am reading day 152 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
‘Lord, I Cannot, But You Can!’
Philippians 2:13 13for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Have you ever tried to break a bad habit on your own? You probably found that when you tried to stop it by sheer willpower, you saw improvement for a while, and then bounced back to square one. Worse, you found yourself binging on the very thing that you were trying not to do. And your condition is worse than before you started your “I’m going to quit” program!
The changes were temporary because it was you doing it.
A church member who had been a chain-smoker used to believe that with willpower, he could quit smoking. He would tell himself, “If there is a will, there is a way!” But he discovered that with willpower, he could stop smoking for a week or two, and then he would succumb to the pull of nicotine again.
When he turned his life over to God and learnt about God’s grace, he told God, “I realize that I cannot stop smoking. I cannot, but You can break my habit, Lord.” And every time he lit up, he would say, “Lord, I am trying to stop smoking, but I cannot. I am trusting You.” He would even say, “I am still righteous because of Jesus’ blood.”
Well, in the very same year, all his cravings to smoke vanished! When asked how he succeeded, he would say, “It is entirely God and none of me! It is all by His grace.” This man lost all the desire to smoke. That is true transformation.
When you receive the grace of God to do for you what you cannot do, you will experience effortless and permanent change on the inside, which in turn changes your actions on the outside. The Bible tells us that God works in us to give us both the will and ability to perform what He desires. It is God who removes the old want tos and gives us new ones. And He even gives us the power to carry them out!
Beloved, look to His grace to do what you cannot do. Say, “Lord, I cannot, but You can!” Then, what you experience will not merely be behavior modification, but true and lasting inward transformation!
Thought For The Day
It is God who removes your old want tos and gives you new ones.
Today I am reading day 207 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
The Practice of Surrender
Paul’s moment of surrender occurred on the road to Damascus after he was knocked down by blinding light. For others, less drastic methods are needed to get our attention. Regardless, surrendering is never just a one-time event. Paul said, “I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31 NASB)
There is a moment of surrender and there is the practice of surrender.
The practice of surrender requires perseverance. It is moment-by-moment and lifelong. You may have to re-surrender your life fifty times a day: “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives daily to follow me.” (Matthew 16:24 NCV)
I once asked Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, “Why did God use and bless your life so much?” He said, “When I was a young man I made a contract with God. I literally wrote it out and signed my name at the bottom. It said “From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ.'”
Have you signed a contract like that with God? Or, are you still arguing and struggling with God over his right to do with your life as he pleases?
It is time to surrender – to God’s grace, love, and wisdom.
Today I am reading day 206 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Everybody Surrenders to Something
Everybody surrenders to something or someone in life. If not to God, you’ll surrender to popular opinion, to money, to resentment or fear, or to your own pride, lust, and ego.
We were designed to worship something, and when we fail to worship God, we create gods (idols) to surrender ourselves to. E. Stanley Jones said, “If you don’t surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos.”
You’re free to choose what you surrender to, but you’re not free from the consequences of that choice: “So give yourselves completely to God.” (James 4:7 NCV)
Surrender is not the best way to live; it is the only way to live. Nothing else works. All other approaches lead to frustration, disappointment, and self-destruction.
Surrendering your life is not a foolish emotional impulse but a rational, intelligent act, the most responsible and sensible thing you can do with your life. Your wisest moments will be those when you say yes to God: “So we make it our goal to please him .” (2 Corinthians 5:9 NIV)
Today I am reading day 205 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Surrender Strengthens You
The paradox of surrender is that it produces power and victory. Stubborn temptations and overwhelming problems can be defeated by Christ when handed over to him.
As Joshua approached the biggest battle of his life, he encountered God, fell in worship before him, and surrendered his plans. That surrender led to a stunning victory at Jericho.
Surrender doesn’t weaken you, it strengthens you.
Because you belong to your Creator — God has a right to direct your life: “We are not our own bosses to live or die as we ourselves might choose.” (Romans 14:7 LB)
Because Christ bought you with his sacrifice — The Bible says, “And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:15 HCSB)
When you surrender to Christ, you fulfill the very purpose he died for – not just to save you from hell, but also to save you from self-centeredness!
Today I am reading day 204 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
The Freedom of Surrender
The Bible is very clear about how we benefit when we worship God through surrender. In surrender, you begin to really live the life God intended: “Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.” (Mark 8:35 LB)
You are set free, liberated from self-preoccupation: “But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!” (Romans 6:16-18 MSG)
God is able to use you in great ways.
Why did God choose Mary, of all women, to be the mother of Jesus? It was because she was totally surrendered to God. When the angel explained God’s improbable plan, she humbly responded, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” (Luke 1:38 CEV)
Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God.
Today I am reading day 103 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Admitting Your Mistakes
Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Romans 3:23-24 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
We’ve all been irresponsible. But God doesn’t want you going around with a heavy guilt trip about all the irresponsibility in your life. He wants you to go around with a sense of promise and hope. He will help you overcome your sins, he can even bring good out of the stupid decisions that you’ve made in your life, if you’ll give them to Him.
Sometimes we feel so guilty and ashamed of irresponsible actions we’ve taken that the guilt and shame actually perpetuate the problem and we keep doing it. “I blew it so I’m bad. Since I’m bad, I’m going to blow it again.” It’s a cycle that you can’t seem to get out of. The guilt and the shame actually keep you locked in a lifestyle of irresponsibility. You make one dumb decision after another.
What you need is a power beyond yourself. What you need is a savior who can forgive your sins, clear your conscience and break out of that cycle. Here’s the good news: “All of us have fallen short, yet now God declares us not guilty if we trust in Jesus Christ who freely takes away our sins.” (Romans 3:23-24)