Displaying Christian Sermons by tag: Daily Hope
Rick Warren (April-03-2023) Daily Devotional: Mercy Could Be Your Greatest Witness
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” - Luke 6:36 (NIV)
In an increasingly unkind world, your greatest Christian witness is showing people mercy.
Have you noticed how unmerciful and unforgiving our world is? It seems the highest form of humor is the put-down. Even comedians get paid for their sarcastic and cynical jabs at others.
But when people see you showing mercy, especially considering how rude and mean society has become, they’ll say, “That’s what I expect a Christian to be like—like Jesus.”
Jesus says in Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (NIV).
There are four things you can do to build a lifestyle of mercy. We’ll look at two today and two tomorrow.
Start looking and listening for people’s needs. Whose needs? The needs of people in your neighborhood, at your work, and in your family. Mercy always begins with awareness. If you’re not aware, then you don’t care.
The Bible says, “Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own” (Philippians 2:4 GNT).
You don’t struggle to be merciful because you’re a bad person. It’s because you’re too busy. Busyness is the number one destroyer of mercy in your life. When you’re moving from event to event and task to task, it’s hard to pay attention to the people around you. And when you’re not looking and listening for people’s needs, it’s nearly impossible to be merciful.
Don’t be offended by the sins of others. You can’t say, “Go clean up your life, and then I will accept you.” No—mercy is unconditional! If you’re going to show mercy to people, you can’t be offended by them. You can’t minister to people if you’re looking down on them.
Jesus wasn’t offended by people’s sins. In fact, he hung out with the worst kinds of sinners. He was even accused of “guilt by association” because he spent time with people who were corrupt, unloving, and manipulative.
This doesn’t mean Jesus approved of everything they did. God doesn’t approve of everything you do, but he accepts you completely. Showing mercy doesn’t mean you say everything someone does is okay. Drug addiction and adultery, for example, are not okay.
But you can still show mercy. You can do for others what Christ has done for you.
“Most importantly, love each other deeply. Love has a way of not looking at others’ sins” (1 Peter 4:8 ICB).
Talk It Over
- Why is mercy so hard to find in the world today?
- Who has shown mercy to you, even when you didn’t deserve it? What were the circumstances?
- Have you ever withheld mercy from someone because you didn’t agree with their lifestyle? If so, how might you react to them differently today?
Rick Warren (March-17-2023) Daily Devotional: You’re Qualified to Serve God
“Give yourselves completely to God—every part of you—for you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for his good purposes.” Romans 6:13 (TLB)
There is no greater joy than to be used by God for a purpose bigger than yourself. Nothing compares to that feeling you get the moment you realize, “This is it! This is why I’m alive. I get it now.”
If you’ve never had this feeling, you’re missing out. The purpose of life isn’t to get an education, get a job, make money, and retire before you die. Your life is far more significant than your career. You were made for eternal purposes.
The Bible says, “Give yourselves completely to God—every part of you—for you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for his good purposes” (Romans 6:13 TLB).
The problem is, many people secretly fear that God could never use them. Some people feel disqualified because of their past sins and mistakes. Others feel unqualified because they don’t feel like they have the right education, talents, or background.
Maybe you feel one of those two ways—disqualified or unqualified. But you only have to look at the life of the Apostle Paul to know that God wants to use you in ways you can’t even imagine.
Nobody in history has been used by God more than Paul. Paul almost single-handedly spread Christianity all over the Roman Empire. He planted churches everywhere. He wrote about half of the New Testament. He lived with purpose to please God.
But do you know what Paul was doing before he became a preacher, a pastor, and a church planter? He was an anti-Christian crusader. He went from village to village persecuting Christians, having them thrown into prison. Paul was the exact opposite of someone you’d think God could use.
Paul wrote, “You know what I was like . . . how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace” (Galatians 1:13, 15 NLT).
Your past does not preclude your future. Your past is past. It doesn’t disqualify you from being used by God. The same is true with the kinds of opportunities you’ve had or didn’t have. They don’t make you unqualified. God chose you and called you, and he wants to use you today because of “his marvelous grace.”
Talk It Over
- What sins or mistakes from your past make you feel disqualified to be used by God? What aspects of yourself or your story make you feel unqualified?
- Who in your life is like Paul—someone who made a lot of mistakes but eventually was used by God in great ways? How does that person’s story encourage you?
- Describe a time you knew God was using you for a purpose bigger than yourself. What characterized your life during that time? How can you make yourself available to be used by God in similar ways today?
No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, you’ve got a place in God’s forever family ready and waiting for you. The invitation is wide open. Just believe and receive.
Are you ready? Here’s a prayer you can start with: “Dear God, I know when I die, I’m going to give an account of my life to 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 toward you.
“Thank you for sending Jesus to die for all that I’ve done wrong so that I don’t have to pay the penalty. I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness. I know only your grace can save me, Lord. I could never be good enough to get into a perfect place.
“Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that you took all my guilt on yourself. You made me acceptable for heaven, and I humbly ask you to save me. I believe in you, Jesus. And I believe you will keep your promise to save me instantly, certainly, completely, and eternally. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Rick Warren (February-17-2023) Daily Devotional: Be Wise and Wait for the Whole Story
“What a shame—yes, how stupid!—to decide before knowing the facts!" - Proverbs 18:13 (TLB)
To be wise in today’s information saturated society, you need two vital qualities: sound judgment and discernment. That means you learn God’s wisdom from God’s Word and then apply it to everything. You filter information and make decisions through what God has told you to do in Scripture.
Too many gullible Christians are willing to believe anything they hear or read on social media—whether that’s a news story or gossip about a friend. They don’t stop and question; they just automatically accept anything that fits within their bias.
Don’t throw away your common sense. Don’t be gullible and believe everything you hear. That causes conflict.
Proverbs 3:21 says, ” Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion” (NIV).
Just like it’s important to get an accurate picture of things you see or hear online, you also need to get an accurate picture in your relationships. Without all the information you need, jumping to conclusions leads to quick tempers and arguments. To lower the anger factor and have harmony with other people, you must learn to reserve judgment until you know all the facts and understand the whole story.
Instead, choose to “preserve sound judgment.” Hold onto it. Don’t quickly throw it out or get rid of it. Keep a firm grip on it, as if the health of your relationships depends on it—because it does!
The Bible says, “What a shame—yes, how stupid!—to decide before knowing the facts!” (Proverbs 18:13 TLB)
Don’t be quick to condemn or criticize. Don’t assume you know people’s motivation, because you probably don’t. Don’t decide before knowing all the facts.
When you wait for the whole story, you develop the compassion to love well and become more like Jesus.
Talk It Over
- What do you need to commit to do to learn more wisdom from God’s Word?
- How does understanding someone’s motivation help you decide how you’re going to respond?
- To avoid conflict in relationships, why is it important to listen more than you talk?
Rick Warren (February-10-2023) Daily Devotional: God Turns Messes into Masterpieces
“God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life." Psalm 51:10 (The Message)
One day, God had a message for a prophet named Jeremiah. He told him to go to a potter’s house and watch the potter make clay pots.
As Jeremiah watched the potter molding and fixing the clay, he noticed something: “Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot” (Jeremiah 18:4 The Message).
After Jeremiah saw this object lesson, God gave him a message for Israel: “Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you” (Jeremiah 18:6 The Message).
You may have really made a mess of your life. Your “pot” is scarred from poor decisions that you made and things that were done to you. As a result, your life has not turned out as you intended.
But you are the clay; you’re not the potter. God is the potter, and he doesn’t discard clay that’s been misshapen by circumstances. He doesn’t waste the pain that you’ve been through.
God doesn’t throw out the personality and the essence of who he created you to be. Instead, he takes every part of you—the good, the bad, and the ugly. He puts it all in his gentle but strong hands. And then he starts over with shaping your life, applying pressure at just the right places to mold you and remake you into a beautiful, priceless piece of art.
That’s what happens when you surrender yourself completely to God’s loving hands.
God specializes in fresh starts. You can have a new beginning today, simply by starting with King David’s prayer in Psalm 51:10: “God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life” (The Message).
It’s never too late to start over. Bring whatever chaos is in your life to God, the Great Potter. Trust him to do a new work in your life.
Talk It Over
- What mistakes and messes in your life do you think God cannot redeem and use for good? What do you think he would say about them?
- How have you seen God create a good out of a mess, either in your own life or in someone else’s?
- What does it mean for God to turn your chaos into a “Genesis week,” as Psalm 51:10 (The Message) says?
Rick Warren (February-07-2023) Daily Devotional: God Has Prepared You for a Fresh Start
“You have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power.” - Colossians 2:10 (TLB)
If you’re ready to make a fresh start, you need to take a personal inventory. That means you take stock of and evaluate what you’ve got to work with. When you do a personal inventory, ask yourself these three questions:
What are your assets?
Look at your physical assets, your educational assets, and your financial assets. And remember your spiritual assets as a child of God. Colossians 2:10 says, “You have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power” (TLB).
What have you learned?
Take time to write down lessons you’ve learned about life, yourself, family, God—whatever you can think of. Galatians 3:4 says, “Did all your experience mean nothing at all?” (GNT) You won’t waste your experiences if you learn from them.
Especially pay attention to your painful experiences—because God never wastes a hurt. Instead of having a pity party, learn from your pain. Write down the lessons. Stop regretting and rehearsing your mistakes and start learning from them. Why? Because innovation is always built on failure. It’s how you recognize what doesn’t work.
You can also review what Bible teaching has taught you. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:14, “You must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you” (NLT).
Who can help you in your fresh start?
Proverbs 15:22 says, “Get all the advice you can, and you will succeed; without it you will fail” (GNT).
Pride often keeps people from reaching their dreams and goals. Instead of asking for advice, people insist on figuring things out themselves.
The Bible says pride leads to destruction. It also says that God gives grace to the humble. Why? Because the humble are teachable. You’re never going to have a fresh start if you act like you’ve already arrived. You need other people to speak truth, point out your blind spots, encourage you, and help you remember God’s promises.
When you take a thorough, honest inventory of your life, you’ll see how God has prepared you to make a fresh start.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think you often learn more from your failures than from your victories?
- Would you call yourself a teachable person? Why or why not?
- What are some of your spiritual assets? What makes them assets?
Rick Warren (February-03-2023) Daily Devotional: Four Signs Fear Is Affecting Your Vision
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
Have you noticed that fear makes you miserable? Looking at your life and the future with eyes of fear will never produce joy.
After the spies gave their reports of the Promised Land to Moses—most of them negative—here’s how the Israelites responded: “Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. ‘If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!’ they complained” (Numbers 14:1-2 NLT).
Now, that’s what you call a full-blown pity party. The Israelites were so afraid of what was going to happen, that they just wanted to die in the desert rather than trust whatever God had in store for them.
These verses from Numbers 14 include four warning signs. When these warnings show up in your life, you will know that you’re looking at the future with eyes of fear.
Your sadness increases. Depression can be caused by a lot of things, and it robs you of joy. If you feel sadness pushing out your joy, consider whether you’re allowing fear to skew your perspective.
Your complaining increases. When you’re afraid, you want others to share in your misery. If you don’t think you’ve been complaining more lately, check with your spouse or your friends. Sometimes they can see how your fear is manifesting itself better than you can.
You start second-guessing. The Israelites all complained about the very people who had led them out of slavery. Fear always sows seeds of doubt.
You want to go backwards. Because their perspective was so skewed by fear, the Israelites thought it would be better to die in slavery in Egypt. Of course, they didn’t really want that. But when you’re living with a vision of fear instead of faith, you can’t look at the future with hope.
You don’t want to be someone who complains and is always looking back. That’s why God wants you to see the future through eyes of faith, not fear. Start growing your faith today by reserving intentional time with God and in his Word, which says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).
The more you get to know God and his promises, the more purposefully and joyfully you will move toward your future.
Talk It Over
- How does knowing God’s promises help you look toward the future with purpose and joy?
- If misery loves company, then what kind of effect does joy have on you and the way you interact with others?
- What do you need to sacrifice to spend more time studying God’s Word so your life will be guided by faith rather than fear?
Rick Warren (February-01-2023) Daily Devotional: Why You Need God’s Vision
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” - Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Why does the Bible say vision is so important in your life?
Because “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). Here are three reasons it’s essential to have a clear vision of God’s purpose for your life.
Without God’s vision, there’s indecision. James 1:8 says, “A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything” (GW).
Without God’s vision for your future, you drift and wander through life. You don’t have goals, purpose, or meaning. When you just let life happen to you, you’re not really living!
With no vision, you waste time and you miss opportunities. You don’t make the most of what you’ve been given, and that makes you a poor steward of your life. You end up just coasting. And when you’re coasting, you’re always heading downhill.
Without God’s vision, there’s division. If you don’t understand God’s vision for your life, how can you expect others to support you in your purpose? In fact, the lack of vision makes you vulnerable to others steering you toward what they think or assume your purpose is.
Only God can tell you your purpose because he created you specifically and uniquely to live it out. And only following his vision will allow you to live the abundant life God intends for you. If you aren’t sure where you’re headed, then don’t expect anybody else to go with you.
Proverbs 28:2 says, “When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it—But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out” (The Message). Vision is the antidote to division.
Without God’s vision, there’s collision. For many people, life is just a series of relational confrontations, financial crashes, and personal crises. It’s like a bumper car ride, where you just keep getting hit from all sides. Without God’s clear direction for your life, you will inevitably hit a dead end.
The Bible warns of the consequences of not following God’s vision for your life: “Some have refused to let their faith guide their conscience and their faith has been destroyed like a wrecked ship” (1 Timothy 1:19 GW).
Getting God’s vision for your life requires prayer, careful thought, and a continual effort to hear God’s voice. It’s the result of seeing things clearly, with eyes of faith rather than eyes of fear. When your faith guides your conscience, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of how to move forward with purpose.
Talk It Over
- What do you think God’s vision is for your life?
- If you saw your current situation through eyes of faith rather than fear, what would you change?
- What does it mean for faith to guide your conscience, as 1 Timothy 1:19 says?
If you've never invited Christ into your life, you can pray this simple prayer today: "God, I realize I need you. I want to be born again. I confess I have sinned against you, and I ask that you forgive all my sins. Jesus, I receive you into my life as Lord and Savior. Today, I’m turning every part of my life over to you. I want to follow you and do what you tell me to do. And I want to see your vision, purpose, and plan for my life. Please accept me into your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen."
If you’ve already accepted Christ into your life, then you can pray, "Father, help me to see life through the eyes of faith. I want to follow your vision for the things you want me to do. I’m going to trust you and expect great things from you as I step forward in faith to attempt great things for you. I’m committed to your plan for my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."
Rick Warren (January-17-2023) Daily Devotional: Three Questions to Ask About Your Feelings
“From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires." - 1 Peter 4:2 (GNT)
What are human desires? They’re your emotions and your affections. And once you become a Christ-follower, your life should be controlled by God’s will, not by how you feel.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:2, “From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires” (GNT).
When you’re angry or upset or frustrated—whatever you’re feeling—ask yourself these three questions:
“What’s the real reason I’m feeling this?” Maybe the answer is fear or worry. Maybe it relates to something a parent said to you years ago. And then when someone else says something similar, that person becomes the target of all your pent-up anger.
“Is it true?” Is what you’re feeling at that moment true? There’s a point in the Bible where Elijah gets so discouraged that he goes to God and complains, “God, I’m the only one in the entire nation of Israel left serving you.” And God challenges him, saying, “Are you kidding me? I’ve got all these people who are still serving me! You’re acting like you’re the only one trying to do the right thing in the whole world! No, that’s not true.”
“Is what I’m feeling helping me or hurting me?” Will you get what you want by continuing to feel this way? Many feelings seem beneficial, but they’re actually self-defeating.
For example, let’s say you go to a restaurant, and the service is extremely slow. You wait a long time to be served. Then a couple comes in 15 minutes after you and gets their meals before you do. You become increasingly irritated until you feel something welling up inside you. You can ask yourself today’s three questions:
- What’s the real reason you’re feeling this? You’re hungry!
- Is it true? Yes, you’re frustrated because the service is slow.
- Is what you’re feeling helping you or hurting you? It’s hurting you. Getting angry with the server won’t get you better service. Does nagging ever work? When somebody tells you all the things you’re doing wrong, does it make you want to change? No, all it does is make you defensive.
So you can conclude that managing your emotions—choosing calm over anger—is the best path.
When you stop to ask yourself these three questions, you’ll get a better grip on why you feel the way you do and what you need to do to help the situation.
Don’t let your feelings control you. Choose to deal with how you feel—to manage your emotions—today.
Talk It Over
- When have your emotions made you believe something that wasn’t true?
- Think of a recent experience where you felt angry or frustrated. How do you think asking yourself these three questions would have changed the outcome of the situation?
- What do you think it means to be controlled by God’s will?
Rick Warren (January-15-2023) Daily Devotional: God Is Real, No Matter How You Feel | Daily Hope by Rick Warren
“The LORD has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him." Isaiah 8:17 (GNT)
It’s easy to worship God when things are going great in your life—when he’s provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. So, how do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?
The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.
The writer Philip Yancey once noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.”
That’s when worship gets difficult.
To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation—times when it seems as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness and doubt as “the dark night of the soul.”
King David understood days like these. Even though God called him “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22 NIV), David sometimes complained about God’s apparent absence:
“Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?” (Psalm 10:1 TLB).
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?” (Psalm 22:1 NLT).
“Why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 43:2 GNT).
Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and he’ll never leave you. God has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5 GNT).
Talk It Over
- What practical steps can you take to help you worship God even when you’re in pain or in a difficult season?
- What do you think God might want you to learn during these times?
- What are some of God’s promises that can give you hope and encouragement?
Have you trusted God’s promise of salvation through Jesus Christ?
If you’re ready to commit your life to Jesus, then pray this prayer:
“Dear Jesus, you have promised that if I believe in you, everything I’ve ever done wrong will be forgiven, I will learn the purpose of my life, and you will accept me into your eternal home in heaven one day.
“I confess my sin, and I receive you into my life as my Lord and Savior. You have promised that if I confess my sin and trust you, I will be saved. I trust you when you say salvation comes by grace, through faith, and not by anything I do. Today I’m turning over every part of my life to your management.
“I’m grateful for your unconditional love. I want to use the rest of my life to love and serve you instead of serving myself. I commit my life to you and ask you to save me and accept me into your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Rick Warren (January-14-2023) Daily Devotional: Not Everything You Feel Is True
“To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace . . . Those who obey their human nature cannot please God.” Romans 8:6, 8 (GNT)
Learning to manage your emotions is the key to peace of mind. In other words, you need to learn to deal with what you feel!
Here are four important reasons why you need to manage your emotions:
Emotions are often unreliable. Your gut is often wrong. Your intuition is often flawed. Your emotions often lead you down a blind alley. You can’t depend on everything you feel!
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (NIV). You don’t have to accept everything you feel, because not everything you feel is right or authentic or will lead you in the right direction.
You don’t want to be manipulated. If you don’t control your emotions, they will control you, and you will be manipulated by your moods. And if you’re always guided by your feelings, other people will take advantage of you. Worst of all, negative emotions are Satan’s favorite tool. He will use fear, resentment, and worry to wreak havoc in your life.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV).
You want to please God. God cannot rule your life if emotions rule your life. If you make your decisions based on how you feel, then you’ve made your feelings your god, and then God can’t be God in your life.
Romans 8 says, “To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace . . . Those who obey their human nature cannot please God” (Romans 8:6, 8 GNT).
You want to succeed in life. Study after study has shown that your emotional quotient is far more important than your IQ when it comes to success. How many people do you know who ruined their reputation because of something said in anger? Or missed a job opportunity because of their lack of self-control?
The Bible says in Proverbs 5:23, “[People] get lost and die because of their foolishness and lack of self-control” (CEV).
When you choose to follow Jesus, that decision includes your emotions. Jesus wants to be Lord of how you feel, not just what you think and do. He wants to be Lord of your emotions.
The Bible says, “From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires” (1 Peter 4:2 GNT).
Talk It Over
- How much do you base your decisions on your feelings? How do you know if a “feeling” is right or wrong?
- Why is it important to learn to listen to the Holy Spirit? How do you do that?
- What about your emotions do you need to surrender to God today?