Displaying Christian Sermons by tag: Daily Hope
Rick Warren (December-28-2022) Daily Devotional: Even in the Worst Times, God Is Good - Daily Hope.
“Protect me, God, because I trust in you. I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord. Every good thing I have comes from you.'” - Psalm 16:1-2 (NCV)
Not everything that happens in your life is good. But God is good—and he is pouring his goodness into your life.
Circumstances may be very difficult in your life right now, but God can take the bad and bring good out of it. Even in the worst times, you can trust this: God has a good purpose, a good plan, and a good reason.
Psalm 16:1-2 says, “Protect me, God, because I trust in you. I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord. Every good thing I have comes from you’” (NCV).
No matter where you are in life right now, you could use a reminder of God’s goodness. And sometimes the best way to remember something is to talk with God about it through prayer.
Would you stop now to pray and talk to God about his goodness? Say something like this:
“God, you are so good. I could never deserve your goodness. I’m sorry that I have often forgotten or doubted your goodness. Forgive me for my ungratefulness and prideful self-centeredness. I am nothing without you. Like King David in the Bible, I would despair if I didn’t know your goodness. Open my eyes to see how good you really are and let your goodness transform my life.
“God, my soul needs restoring. I don’t always think right. I don’t always choose right. I don’t always feel right. I need you to restore my damaged soul, my mind, my will, and my emotions. As I continue learning about your goodness, I trust that my sins have been forgiven because I’ve come to you and said I need a Savior. I’m going to release the people who have hurt me and pray a prayer of blessing over them. I’m going to team up with you and ask you to help me with the load I’m carrying. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
The greatest example of God’s goodness is Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. You won’t fully experience his goodness until you experience his salvation. If you don’t know Jesus as Savior, you can pray this right now:
“Jesus Christ, I want to get to know you. I want to learn to love you and trust you. Please forgive me for my sin. I ask you to accept me into your family, not because I deserve it but because, on the cross, you paid for all of my sins. Thank you for your gift of salvation. I receive it and ask for your help to follow you faithfully as my Lord. I pray this in your name. Amen.”
Talk It Over
- Why is it prideful not to acknowledge God’s goodness?
- How have you seen God turn the bad things that have happened to you into something good?
- When you look back and recognize God’s goodness in your life, how does it affect your perspective on your current circumstances?
Rick Warren (December-27-2022) Daily Devotional: What Do You Have That God Hasn’t Given You? - Daily Hope.
“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” - 1 Corinthians 4:7 (TLB)
We’ve talked about how trusting in God’s goodness helps you face life’s struggles.
But what happens when you start thinking you earned the good things in your life, forgetting goodness comes from God?
In Luke 12, Jesus tells the story of a rich man who was very successful but didn’t give God any of the credit for his prosperity. And so God tells the rich man, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?” Jesus finishes the story by saying, “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God” (Luke 12:20-21 NLT).
That’s a sober warning!
Prideful ingratitude is the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven, and it’s the source of all sins. When you stop being grateful to God, you get into trouble: “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused” (Romans 1:21 NLT).
The problem with some self-made people is that they end up worshipping themselves. They may think, “Wait a minute; I built this business with my bare hands.” But who gave you your hands? They say, “I thought up the business plan totally by myself.” But who gave you your mind? They claim, “I worked for where I am today by the sweat of my brow.” But who gave you the ability to work so hard?
The Bible asks it this way: “What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 TLB).
Everything you have in life—the ability to see, hear, and eat, your freedom and thoughts—you owe to God. You would not take your next breath if it weren’t for the goodness of God.
Ingratitude is one of the roots of atheism too; when you’re ungrateful, you start dismissing or even denying what God has done. And that’s just a short step from denying that God even exists.
Yet the truth is you can see the presence of God everywhere you look: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT).
If you start to doubt God’s goodness, just take a step outside your door and look around. You can see God’s goodness throughout his creation!
Talk It Over
- When you go deeper than the easy-to-recall things, like rain and trees, what do you notice about God’s goodness in the natural world?
- What good things in your life do you tend to take credit for rather than giving credit to God?
- How does a wrong understanding of God’s character skew your perspective on life? How does it make you “dark and confused,” as Romans 1:21 says?
Rick Warren (December-20-2022) Daily Devotional: Where Is God When You’re in Pain? - Daily Hope
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” - Psalm 34:18 (ESV)
God shares the pain of every single person—including you. When you’re hurting, he isn’t distant, aloof, or unfeeling. He is aware of your pain, and he cares. And he even shares the pain with you.
God the Father shares your pain so naturally because he created you. The Bible says, “The one who formed their hearts understands everything they do” (Psalm 33:15 GW). In other words, God is never shocked by your emotions or your thoughts. He understands why you do what you do better than even you understand. He is more than capable to share your pain.
Jesus, God’s Son, shares your pain because he suffered it on Earth. Hebrews 4:15 says: “Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are” (CEV).
He understands emotional pain, like abandonment, loneliness, criticism, discrimination, rejection, and betrayal. Jesus also understands physical pain. Can you imagine being on the cross and carrying the guilt of every evil thing done throughout history? His death on the cross was the worst kind of physical pain.
The Holy Spirit also shares your pain. How? When you don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit is praying for you. The Bible promises, “The moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans” (Romans 8:26 The Message).
Where is God when you’re in pain? He’s grieving with you. He’s standing by you. He knows what it’s like to suffer, and he has compassion for you.
He’s not some aloof God who says, “Oh, I’m sorry you’re hurt.” That’s sympathy. Empathy says, “I hurt with you.” But compassion says, “I’ll do anything I can to stop your hurt.” That’s what Jesus did. His compassion took him all the way to the cross.
If you are in pain this Christmas, remember Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (ESV).
You’re never closer to God than when you have a broken heart. He is there, he cares, and he shares your pain.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think Christmas holds an especially difficult pain for some people? How can you serve and help those people in your life during this season?
- When you are going through adversity, how does it help to remember that Jesus suffered and that he understands pain?
- Do you trust God more or less when you are in pain? Why?
Follow Jesus for all your days
This Christmas, it's time to flip the switch and let the light of Christ into your life—not just for your dark days but for all your days. Start with this this simple prayer:
"Dear God, I need your light in my life. I need your light to heal me, guide me, comfort me, and warm me. I confess that I have sinned against you, and I ask for your forgiveness. I need your light to help me grow. Jesus Christ, as much as I know how, I open my life to the light of your love. I want to accept you as God's Christmas gift to me. I want to learn to follow you and trust you. And I humbly ask you to accept me into your family by grace—not because I deserve it but because I put my faith in your love and your light. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Rick Warren (December-13-2022) Daily Devotional: How to Love Difficult People at Work - Daily Hope.
“Do all your work in love.” - 1 Corinthians 16:14 (GNT)
Why do you do what you do?
If you’re just working so you can survive, then you are wasting your life. There is more to life than working just to live!
The highest motivation for any kind of work is love. When you do anything in love, that pleases God. You can run through checklists all day and please God. You can pick up garbage and please God. You can look at a computer screen and please God. You can clean a hospital or hotel room and please God. How? By doing it in love.
You can do anything in love.
Sometimes you do the right thing but for the wrong motivation—and God says you don’t get any credit for that. God is more interested in why you do what you do than he is in what you do. The Bible says, “Do all your work in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14 GNT).
People ask me all the time, “Rick, how have you stayed motivated being a pastor for over 40 years?” The answer is simple: I do it out of love. I love God, and I love people.
Love is what keeps you going when you feel like giving up. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “We remember before our God and Father how you put your faith into practice, how your love made you work so hard” (GNT). Love is the ultimate motivation.
You may have to deal with all kinds of people at work, including people who are dishonest, disagreeable, defensive, and demeaning. You probably have to work with somebody you don’t like.
But God wants you to grow in love. So if you’re going to grow up spiritually, it means you’re going to have to learn to love those people.
How do you do that? The Bible says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:16-18 NIV).
Here are some practical ways to love difficult people at work: Treat everyone with kindness. Don’t become set in your own opinions. Work happily together. Respond with grace and forgiveness. Do all you can to live at peace with everyone.
Do everything in love.
Talk It Over
- How would you answer the question, “Why do you do what you do?” How do you think God feels about your motivation for work?
- What will you have to change in your work—and in yourself—so that you can be at peace with as many people as possible?
- What one person at your workplace is particularly hard for you to love? How will you show kindness to them this week?
Rick Warren (December-09-2022) Daily Devotional: Why Do You Need a Mentor? Daily Hope.
“You have heard me teach . . . Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” - 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT)
Even superstars need coaches. The top singers in the world have voice coaches, and the top Olympic athletes have coaches. The top CEOs have business coaches. Coaches help you maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
This principle of coaching or mentorship is found throughout the Bible. Joshua was mentored by Moses. Elisha was coached by Elijah. Solomon was mentored and coached by David, and David was mentored by Samuel.
The Apostle Paul mentored and coached Timothy and many other people. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:2, “You have heard me teach . . . Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (NLT). Paul mentored Timothy, and then he expected Timothy to go and mentor faithful men who would then mentor and coach other faithful men.
God expects the same of faithful men and women today, because that’s how you grow in discipleship. In fact, you’re benefiting right now from the spiritual coaches that have mentored me over my lifetime, who helped me grow in different areas of my life.
The Bible says that God has given five different kinds of “coaches” for his church. All of those coaches are working toward a specific purpose: “Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him” (Ephesians 4:11-13 CEV).
Did you catch the purpose that these different coaches are working towards? They’re working “so his people would learn . . . and . . . grow strong.” If you want to learn, grow, and be strong, then you need a mentor.
A mentor is a spiritually mature friend and accountability partner who gets real with you and points out sin and weakness, while also encouraging your strengths and growth. They help you stay on the path of God’s purpose for you.
If you’re serious about making the most of your life, then you need to get a coach or mentor to help you fulfill your purpose. They don’t have to be perfect. They only have to be one step ahead of you. And, as you grow spiritually, you can be a mentor to someone else!
Talk It Over
- Do you find it difficult to think of someone who could be a mentor to you? How can you surround yourself more with people who are at least one step ahead of you in faith?
- What are some of your fears about having a mentor? What do you think God wants you to do with those fears?
- Spend one minute in prayer right now. Ask God to help you take the next step in finding a mentor. Then ask him to give you more faith and wisdom so you can be an effective mentor to someone else.
Rick Warren (November-24-2022) Daily Devotional: Why Do You Get Discouraged? Daily Hope
“Come, Lord, and show me your mercy, for I am helpless, overwhelmed, in deep distress.” - Psalm 25:16 (TLB)
Have you noticed how discouragement sets in at the midpoint of almost anything you do? It’s true in parenting, marriage, school, and in your career. But God has called you to finish the race he has prepared for you—and to finish it well.
When God put it on Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild Jerusalem after the Israelites’ returned from captivity, they began the work of rebuilding the city’s walls. But when “the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city” (Nehemiah 4:6 NLT), the people became discouraged.
The story of Nehemiah describes four common reasons people get discouraged. Today we’ll look at the first two.
The first cause of discouragement is fatigue. Nehemiah 4:10 says, “Then the people of Judah began to complain, ‘The workers are getting tired’” (NLT). Rebuilding anything, of course, is exhausting. They had worked hard on the first half of the project, but they soon grew weary and worn down. They were more vulnerable to attacks from their enemies, physically and spiritually.
Nehemiah’s workers offer an important lesson for you today: Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to bed. Why? Because discouragement is often the result of being tired. Circumstances always look better after you’ve had a good night’s sleep. When you’ve had plenty of rest, you’re less vulnerable to self-pity, temptation, and attack from others.
The second cause of discouragement is frustration. Not only were the Israelites fatigued; they were frustrated: “There is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves” (Nehemiah 4:10 NLT). The project was more complex than they thought it was going to be. The ruin and rubble of their destroyed city was almost too much to handle.
What’s the rubble in your life? It’s whatever you keep tripping over. It’s not just physical rubble. It could be emotional, relational, or financial rubble. Or maybe it’s rubble from making bad decisions.
The thing about rubble is you will always have it in your life. You live on a broken planet, so there’s no way avoid it. But you can learn how to manage rubble to minimize frustration. How do you do that? By continually cleaning it out of your life. You can start by praying Psalm 25:16: “Come, Lord, and show me your mercy, for I am helpless, overwhelmed, in deep distress” (TLB).
Do you feel discouraged in your plans? Don’t give up! Tomorrow we’ll look at two more ways you can overcome discouragement.
Talk It Over
- Describe a time you felt like giving up at the midpoint of a project. What caused you to feel overwhelmed?
- Do you give yourself the same grace you give someone else when they need to rest? Why or why not?
- How do you practically “clean out” the rubble in your life—the frustrations that keep you discouraged and stuck in your progress?
Rick Warren (November-05-2022) Daily Devotional: Why Change Doesn’t Happen Instantly | Daily Hope
“People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit.” - Isaiah 26:3 (The Message)
As God moves you toward the better life, you may want change to happen fast. You want instant transformation—a total makeover in an hour. But God is not in a hurry because he’s more interested in growing your character.
A man once told me, “Rick, I feel like my life is flooded with problems, and I’m about to drown in the flood.” When he said that, the first verse that came to my mind was about Noah and the flood: “The floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days . . . the boat came to rest” (Genesis 8:3-4 NLT). The flood didn’t disappear instantly, and I knew this man’s problems wouldn’t either. Lasting change takes time.
The truth is, growth happens little by little over your lifetime. Growth doesn’t happen in a single step or a single leap. It doesn’t even come from a single decision. It happens through incremental change. It happens through sanctification—the process by which God grows you up.
The Apostle Paul said, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6 NLT).
God’s good work within you starts with a conscious commitment, that moment you say, “Okay, I’m in. I don’t want to be stuck in a good life; I want the better life. I want all God has for me. I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life.”
Isaiah 26:3-4 talks about that commitment: “People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing” (Isaiah 26:3-4 The Message).
Do you want to be whole and steady? Set your mind on God, and “keep at it and don’t quit.”
When you understand that God “will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns,” you’ll be much more patient in the long process of moving from a good life to the better life.
Talk It Over
- Whether you participated in a lose-weight-fast or get-rich-quick scheme, what quick change have you tried making yourself? What was the outcome?
- What advice would you give to a friend who hopes to see instant improvement in their current circumstances?
- After reading this devotional, in what areas do you think God is calling you to patiently wait on him to bring about change?
Will you follow Jesus today?
The Bible says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 CSB).
Will you trust God to fulfill his promise? Pray this simple prayer: "Dear God, I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I confess I have sinned, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus died to take away my sins and that you raised him to life. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen."
Rick Warren (November-04-2022) Daily Devotional: Embrace What God Is Doing - Daily Hope
“Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now!” - Isaiah 43:18-19 (GNT)
You can’t go backward in life. You can only go forward. That means you have only two choices: You can long for the way things used to be, and not change a single thing about today, or you can trust in God to do something new.
The Bible says, “His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV).
God is a God of newness. He doesn’t do the same old things all the time. And so, to live a better life, you need to cooperate with the new things God wants to do in your family, in your career, in your friendships, in his church, and in the world around you.
But people aren’t always interested in the new things God is doing. Sometimes you’ll dream about the past and say, “I wish I lived during that era,” or “I wish I could go back to that period of my life.” But wishing for the past is like looking in the rear-view mirror while driving and never looking out the windshield. If you keep that up, you’re going to crash.
God says in Isaiah 43:18-19: “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now!” (GNT).
Before you can embrace the new things God is going to do in your life and in the world, you have to be looking for them. If you’re always looking backward, you can’t “watch for the new thing” God is going to do.
I chose the word “embrace” intentionally. Why? Because “embrace” means more than to just agree with something or to grudgingly accept it. Embrace means to be content with it—or even love it! You don’t embrace things you don’t love. God wants you to embrace the new things he does.
How do you show God that you’re focused on the new things he’s doing? You pray, “God, help me to do what you’re blessing,” instead of “God, bless what I’m doing.” And when you do, you’ll be able to embrace the incredible things he is going to do next.
Talk It Over
- Why doesn’t God want you to constantly dwell on the past?
- What new thing might God be doing in your current attitude or perspectives?
- In what areas do you find it difficult to embrace new things?
Rick Warren (October-30-2022) Daily Devotional: When You Fear Death.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” - 1 John 4:18 (NIV)
God is a God of radical freedom. In fact, the Bible says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1 NIV).
What does God’s freedom give you? Over the last few days, we’ve learned that it gives you a clear conscience, direct access to God, and the power to do what’s right. It also gives you freedom from the fear of death.
Death is a universal fear, yet it’s a fear that few people want to face. It may be tempting to go through life pretending you’re not going to die. But only a fool would go through life unprepared for what they know is inevitable.
Here’s the good news: Jesus came to set you free from the fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14-16 says, “For only as a human being could he die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could he deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread” (TLB).
I can say, in all honesty, that I am totally free from the fear of dying. Why? Because I know God, and I’m not afraid of him. I’ve been his friend for more than 60 years. The only people who are afraid of God are people who don’t know him. The better you get to know him, the less you’re afraid of him, because God is love.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18 NIV).
How could you fear someone who loves you unconditionally? How could you fear someone who thinks about you more than you do? God knows every detail of your life. He even knows how many hairs you have on your head! So why would you be afraid to go be with him forever?
If you know the Lord when you die, you’re not leaving home—you’re going home! You’re going where you were meant to be for all eternity, to “the kingdom [God] prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34 NIV).
Praise God, you can live free! You can live without guilt, able to talk to God anytime and anywhere, free to do what is right, and confident there’s no need to fear death—all because you belong to Jesus.
Talk It Over
- How has this devotional given you a new perspective on dying?
- In what areas do you live as though this life is all there is?
- What is one small or big way you can prepare your heart today for the inevitability of death?
Freedom from the Fear of Death
Many people fear death—but Jesus can give you freedom from that fear.
If you want that freedom, and the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die, here’s a prayer to get you started: “Dear God, I know that when I die, I’m going to give an account of my life to you directly. I confess I have ignored you. I know I have sinned against you, and I have lived by my plan, not yours. I want that to change, starting right now. I want to turn away from my sins and start following you.
“Thank you for sending Jesus to die for all I’ve done wrong so that I can have eternal life with you. I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness. I know only your grace can save me.
“Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that you took all my guilt on yourself. I ask you to save me from my sins and from judgment. I believe in you, and because of you, I no longer need to fear death. I believe you will keep your promise to bring me to heaven for eternity. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Rick Warren (May-03-2023) Daily Devotional: Choose to Live Your Dreams | Daily Hope
“We are each responsible for our own conduct." - Galatians 6:5 (NLT)
People deal with their dreams in one of three ways: They accuse, they excuse, or they choose.
Accusers spend their entire lives blaming others for why they haven’t achieved their dreams. Excusers make excuses for why they are not living their dreams.
Choosers do what it takes to live their dreams.
The Bible says that you were created in the image of God. The ability to choose is the quintessential characteristic that separates people from animals. It’s one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. But since free choice means you’re equally able to make bad choices, it’s also your greatest curse.
Choosers take the responsibility for their choices and the direction of their lives. They don’t blame others or make excuses. The Bible says in Galatians 6:5, “We are each responsible for our own conduct” (NLT).
Instead of complaining that you haven’t achieved your dreams, take the responsibility for what hasn’t been done. Your good and bad choices have a far greater impact on your ability to achieve your dreams than any other factor.
I’ve met people who were given nothing in life but achieved far beyond their dreams. I’ve also met people who were given everything they needed and wanted on a silver platter and yet wasted their lives.
You can’t control your circumstances. But you can control how you respond to those circumstances.
Proverbs 22:13 says, “The lazy man is full of excuses” (TLB). Don’t be that person. Stop making excuses for your unrealized dreams.
Make the choice today to do something about the dreams God has given you.
Talk It Over
- Are you more tempted to be an “accuser” or an “excuser” when it comes to your unrealized dreams? Why?
- How do you discern whether a dream is from God?
- What one step can you take today to move closer to a long-held dream in your life?
Make a Choice for Christ
No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, God offers you a second chance. He knows everything you’ve ever done wrong, every failure you’ve experienced, and he still loves you and cares for you.
He doesn’t expect you to earn your way into his good graces; you are saved by God’s gift of grace when you place your faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. If you are ready to accept God’s grace through Jesus, then pray this simple prayer:
"Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe that he died for my sins and that you raised him to life. I want to trust him as my Savior and follow him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”