Displaying Christian Sermons by tag: Rick Warren Devotional
Make Your Time Count - Rick Warren Daily Devotional (February-23-2023). “Use your time in the best way you can.” Colossians 4:5 (ICB)
If you want to get ready to be used by God, there are a few steps you need to take. First, as we looked at yesterday, you need to get to know Jesus Christ. Then, you need to start using your time in view of eternity. Colossians 4:5 says, “Use your time in the best way you can” (ICB). Time is your most precious resource. It’s far more important than money. You can get more money, but you can’t get more time.
In this life, you only have a certain amount of time allotted to you. You can’t make time, you can’t borrow time, you can’t save time, and you can’t extend time. You can only use it. We all have the same amount of time every week: 168 hours. If you don’t learn to manage your time well, you cannot manage anything else in your life—because your time is your life.
How you use your time is one of the ways God tests you on Earth as you prepare for eternity. He’s watching to see how you manage your time now to determine what he’s going to have you do in eternity.
One of Satan’s strategies is to get you so busy doing unimportant things that you don’t have time for life’s important things, like preparing for eternity. Satan knows that he doesn’t have to get you to sin; if he can’t get you to be bad, he’ll just get you to be busy.
The Bible tells you exactly what you should be doing with your time in Acts 20:24: “My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus” (NLT).
God wants to use you—but he can only do that when you’re investing your time in the most important things. You’ve got to use your time in view of eternity. You’ve got to ask yourself, “How much of what I’m spending my time on is going to count five or 10 years from now? How much is going to count in eternity?” Then you’ve got to refocus.
Use your time in view of eternity so God can see that you are focused on the main thing—his purposes.
Talk It Over
- Take a look at your calendar or your schedule. How much of your time is spent on things that matter in light of eternity?
- What is the work that God has given you to do while you’re here on Earth?
- In what ways will you spend your time differently so that you can accomplish the work God has given you to do?
This Is How Much God Loves You - Rick Warren Daily Devotional (February-15-2023) Daily Hope. “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 (NLT)
Everything in life changes—relationships, jobs, health, finances. But there’s one thing in the universe that will never change: God’s love.
God loves you, no matter what. Your failures, your brokenness, and your sin can never diminish his love. Knowing you can count on God’s love provides a rock-solid foundation for your life.
The Bible’s most famous verse, John 3:16, says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (NIV).
Consider the small word “so” that goes before “loved” in that verse. “So” suggests the extravagance of God’s love. God loves you with a generous, extravagant love that can never be taken away. It’s beyond comprehension. He loves you on your good days and your bad days. He loves you when you sin and when you are faithful to him.
It’s important that you don’t just recognize this lavish love intellectually. You need to recognize it emotionally, to really understand it deep down in your spirit. Love is God’s nature. God created the universe and everything in it just so that he could love it. And God created you so he could love you.
In fact, in Jesus, God shows what real love, his love, looks like. The Bible says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9-10 NLT).
Many people say they love you. But God showed you how much he loves you. He loves you so much that it hurt. He sacrificed his Son. When Jesus died for you, he was saying he loved you so much he’d rather die than live without you.
The Bible says that’s what real love—the kind of love that you can build your life on—looks like. Real love makes sacrifices. Real love gives all. Real love endures for all eternity.
That’s the kind of love only God has for you. He’s waiting with open arms to show you his goodness, mercy, and love.
Talk It Over
- Why do you need to build your life on something that cannot be lost or taken away?
- When do you most often doubt God’s love?
- What does God’s love, demonstrated in Jesus, tell you about how you should love others?
Jesus reveals how much God loves you
When Jesus died on the cross, he paid for every wrong you’ve ever done or will do, making it possible for you to have a relationship with God the Father.
If you’re ready to surrender your life to Jesus Christ, start by praying 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 sin 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.”
God Is Working for Your Good - Rick Warren Daily Devotional (February-10-2023). “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.” Psalm 23:6 (NLT)
Even in the middle of your hurts, habits, and hang-ups, God is watching over you. King David says to God in Psalm 23:6, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life” (NLT).
When David says, “Surely your goodness will pursue me,” he’s not saying, “Surely only good things are going to happen to me.” David knew as well as anyone that bad things happen to good people. He had been abused and treated unfairly and was still a man who followed God’s heart. But he had also sinned terribly against people who had done no wrong to him.
David’s point is that, no matter how bad, evil, or difficult something seems—and no matter how much we mess things up—God will work it out for good. His goodness is pursuing us, no matter which way we turn. It’s one of God’s great promises that he’s given to believers: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
In everything that happens to us, God is working for our good—if we love God and are following his plans. This verse does not say that all things are good. But if you’re a believer, all things are working together for God’s plan and purposes, which are always good.
That means there is no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately turn toward his purpose.
When you believe that, it changes how you view everything in your life—your relationships with God and other people, your past, your future, and whatever you are facing today. As you trust in God’s good work in your life, you will be able to face even your toughest challenges with confidence.
Seven Characteristics of Mercy - Rick Warren Daily Devotional (February-09-2023). “The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy.” James 3:17 (NLT)
Mercy is like a diamond; it is multifaceted. Today we’re going to look at seven facets of mercy. And I guarantee that learning how to be an agent of mercy will transform your relationships.
1. Mercy means being patient with people’s quirks.
The Bible says in James 3:17, “The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy” (NLT). The wiser you become, the more patient and merciful you become.
2. Mercy means helping anyone around you who is hurting.
You cannot love your neighbor as yourself without being merciful. Proverbs 3:27 says, “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it” (GNT).
3. Mercy means giving people a second chance.
When somebody hurts you, you normally want to get even or write that person off. But the Bible says, “Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others . . . Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ” (Ephesians 4:31-32 CEV).
4. Mercy means doing good to those who hurt you.
Mercy is giving people what they need, not what they deserve. Why should you do that? Because that’s what God does with you: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back . . . Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36 NIV).
5. Mercy means being kind to those who offend you.
You need to be more interested in winning people to Christ than in winning an argument. Jude 1:23 says, “Show mercy to others, even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives” (GW).
6. Mercy means building bridges of love to the unpopular.
This is what I call premeditated mercy, because you intentionally build friendships with people who don’t have friends or who are not accepted at work or in society.
When the Pharisees questioned why Jesus ate with tax collectors and other unpopular people, Jesus said, “‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Matthew 9:13 NLT).
7. Mercy means valuing relationships over rules.
Romans 13:10 says, “Love fulfills the requirements of God’s law” (NLT). If you want to show mercy, put people before policies. Put their needs before procedures. Put relationships before regulations. Choose love over law.
Talk It Over
- Why is it often easier to be more interested in winning arguments than in winning people to Christ?
- If mercy means valuing relationships over rules, what do you need to change about the way you interact with your coworkers? What about with your family members?
- This week, how can you intentionally show mercy to people around you who are hurting?
How Gratitude Can Change Your Life - Rick Warren Daily Devotional (February-06-2023). “In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing.” Philippians 2:14 (TLB)
If you want to move from an overwhelmed life to an overflowing life, there are three things you need to start doing and three things you need to stop doing.
Today we’ll look at the first pair: Start being grateful, and stop complaining. Studies have shown that gratitude produces chemicals in your brain—dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin—that make you feel peaceful and happy. An attitude of gratitude is something you can start the moment you wake up. Before you get out of bed, make a list of things you’re grateful for. For example, your list might say, “God, I’m grateful for air; I’m grateful for this bed; I’m grateful I’m not in danger.” Even if you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, the simple act of trying to be grateful will change your brain chemistry.
The Bible says, “In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing” (Philippians 2:14 TLB).
When you complain about something, how does that help you? If you complain about the weather, does it change the weather? If you complain about the way you look, does it change the way you look? If you complain about your spouse, your children, or your job, does it change any of those things? Complaining is a total waste of time. It’s stewing without doing. It’s worthless. Complaining will never make you feel better. Instead, God wants your life to “overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done” (Colossians 2:7 TLB).
Sometimes people will say to me, “You know, Pastor Rick, I just want to know God’s will. What does God want me to do in my relationship? What does he want me to do in my career? What does he want me to do in school?” “Always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 TLB). Why would God teach you step two when you haven’t done step one? If you want to know God’s will on who to marry, God wants you to do step one—always be thankful—and then you can move on to step two, then step three, and so on. If you want to live an overflowing life rather than an overwhelmed life, stop complaining, and start being grateful.
Talk It Over
- What is one thing you wouldn’t change about today? Add it to your gratitude list.
- When you are tempted to complain this week, think about a specific way God has been good to you. What difference do you think it will make?
- Who in your life are you grateful for? What is one way you can show them how you feel?
You can have the security of God’s unwavering love and unbreakable promises by trusting yourself to the Good Shepherd’s care.
Start by praying 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 sin and that you raised him to life. I want to trust him as my Savior and follow him as Lord. Jesus, please come into my life and change my priorities, my values, my purpose, and my direction. Transform me into the person you want me to be. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Not Everything You Hear Is True - Rick Warren Daily Devotional (January-23-2023). “The gullible believe anything they're told; the prudent sift and weigh every word.” Proverbs 14:15 (The Message)
If you spend any time on your phone or watching TV these days, you’re going to get a lot of information from a lot of different sources. It’s important, now more than ever, to remember that not everything you hear is true.
The Bible says in Proverbs 14:15, “The gullible believe anything they’re told; the prudent sift and weigh every word” (The Message). Not everybody who speaks on the Internet, social media, TV, or radio knows what they’re talking about. Not everybody who’s talking is worth listening to. You need to be selective! Many people take advantage of any crisis and bring to it their own agenda. There will be some who try to use difficult days for their own political or financial advantage. They will scare people into making rash decisions. Don’t fall for it! Proverbs 14:8 says, “The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts” (TLB).
The Bible repeatedly says that, especially in a crisis, you should always base your decisions and actions on the facts—not faulty statistics, fads, fear, or feelings. God has given you everything you need to be wise and prudent in a crisis. You can test everything against his Word and have the confidence that it will always steer you in the way of wisdom. As a follower of Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit to give you discernment. And you’ve got good sense too! It is a gift from God, and it’s important to use your reason and caution in a crisis.
As disciples of Jesus, we should not just be people of faith. We should be people of facts.
“Get the facts at any price, and hold on tightly to all the good sense you can get” (Proverbs 23:23 TLB).
Talk It Over
- How do you test information you find on social media before sharing it with others?
- What would you tell someone who doesn’t trust anyone during a crisis?
- Why is it important for Jesus’ disciples to be known as people of facts?
How to Stop the Worry Habit - Rick Warren Daily Devotional | December-30-2022. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25 (NIV)
God is the source of everything you need to live. He is the Good Shepherd who feeds you, leads you, and meets your needs. You don’t have to look anywhere else. You don’t have to look to Wall Street. You don’t have to look to the government. You don’t have to look to your spouse, your retirement account, or your job.
If you’re going to put your security in something, you need to put it in something that can never be taken from you. You can lose your health. You can lose your job. You can lose your good looks. You can lose your family. You can lose your life. You can lose your mind. You can even lose your way.
But God is never lost. And there is nothing you need that God can’t supply. Philippians 4:19 says, “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (ESV). So why do people worry so much? Worry may be the most common sin on the planet. It is the direct result of forgetting that God is good all the time. When you forget God’s goodness, you panic instead of pray; you worry instead of worship.
The Bible says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25 NIV). Clearly, God doesn’t want you to worry about anything. Yet it’s hard to stop the worry habit. It’s part of human nature! So how do you stop worrying? First, recognize that worry keeps you from the goodness of God. Next, decide that you don’t want worry to get the best of you. Then, take your concerns to God in prayer instead of worrying about them.
Remember: The best way to stop worrying is to start praying.
Talk It Over
- How has worry affected you physically? What about emotionally? Spiritually?
- Why does worship help you not worry?
- Spend some time right now praying for the things you are worrying about and surrendering them to God’s care. Then reflect on the change you experienced in your heart as you prayed.
Are you certain of where you will go when you die?
Many people worry about death because they don’t know where they’ll go when they die. But Jesus came to save you from that fear of death. The Bible says that every person sins and that the penalty of sin is death. But God loves you so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for your sins, to bring you into the family of God, and to save you from the fear of death.
If you’re ready to join God’s family, here’s a prayer you can start with: “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 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 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.
“Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that you took all my guilt on yourself and made me acceptable for heaven. I ask you to save me from my sins and from my fear of death. I believe in you and trust that you will keep your promise to save me instantly, certainly, completely, and eternally. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
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?
Christmas Shows God’s Extravagant Love - Rick Warren Daily Devotional (December-19-2022). “Each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me.” Psalm 42:8 (NLT)
Even though I know conserving water is important, it doesn’t make me dislike water-saving showerheads any less. They’re so stingy! You cannot call the meager amount of water they disperse a shower. It’s more like a dribble. Unlike my water-saving showerhead, God is not stingy with his love. He doesn’t dribble it out. He showers it extravagantly on all people! The Bible says it like this: “Each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me” (Psalm 42:8 NLT).
God has never created anybody he doesn’t love. He pays attention to every detail of your life. Love is attention. When you pay attention to what’s important to somebody else, you are showing them love. God sees every tear that falls from your eyes. He’s heard every laugh you’ve laughed. He knows every hair on your head and which ones fell out in the sink or turned gray today. The Bible says, “God knows every step I take” (Job 23:10 GNT). He is concerned about your steps, and he pays attention to them.
God is never too busy for you; he could never forget you. The Bible says, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? . . . But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NLT). The nail marks that Jesus has from dying on the cross for you are God’s tattoo of you.
You may feel forgotten, but God has never stopped paying attention to you. You can know that he loves you not only because he’s paying attention but also because he took the initiative to save you. Love is not just merely words; it is acting on behalf of others. It is making someone else’s problem your own—and that’s exactly what God did at Christmas. Jesus coming at Christmas to die for you on the cross is the greatest example of love. Luke 2:11 says, “Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord” (NCV).
When Jesus came to Earth, God was showing his love in the most amazing way. It’s as if he was saying, “I see you, and I’m going to take on your problems as my own. I’m sending my beloved Son to live a perfect life and die in your place. This is how much I love you.” God didn’t hold anything back at Christmas. Through Jesus, he showered his love on all people!
Talk It Over
- How do your Christmas traditions and celebrations focus on God’s love? What is one way you want to focus more on God’s love this Christmas?
- What can you do to remember God’s love when you feel forgotten by him?
- Does it comfort you to know that God is paying attention to every detail of your life? Why or why not?
Will you accept God’s gift of salvation?
The Bible says, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). If you’re ready to accept God’s love and commit your life to him, then pray this 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 sin and that you raised him to life. Jesus, I want to trust you as my Savior and follow you as Lord from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Why Opposition and Opportunity Go Together - Rick Warren Daily Devotional (November-21-2022). “There is a real opportunity here for great and worthwhile work, even though there are many opponents.” 1 Corinthians 16:9 (GNT)
If you’re going to make something of your life, not everyone is going to like it. You’re always going to find people who feel it’s their job to criticize every dream or project God puts on your heart. Their favorite word is “no,” and their favorite phrase is, “You can’t do that.” One tactic people use to try to stop you from doing God’s will is ridicule. Nehemiah 4 shows three ways people might use ridicule to oppose you.
People will attack your character and identity. In Nehemiah 4:1-2, one of Nehemiah’s critics, Sanballat, heard the wall was being rebuilt. He “flew into a rage, became indignant, and mocked the Jews . . . saying, ‘What are these pathetic Jews doing?’” (Nehemiah 4:1-2 ISV)
When someone attacks you, it’s typically with their emotions, not their logic. In fact, by the time they’re attacking you, they’ve stopped thinking clearly. When people are angry or afraid, they resort to name-calling and even lies. Their words can hurt, but those words do not change your identity or purpose.
People will accuse you of having wrong motives. Nehemiah’s critics questioned his motives. Sanballat, one of his critics, said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves?” (Nehemiah 4:2 ESV) Sanballat suggested that they were rebuilding the wall for their own glory and selfish purposes.
The truth is, no one ever really knows another person’s motivation for doing something. We all have mixed motivations. We often can’t even figure out our own motivation for doing something! Only God knows “the hearts of all mankind” (1 Kings 8:39 NASB).
People will predict your failure. One person after another predicted that Nehemiah would fail. One guy even said of the wall Nehemiah was rebuilding, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!” (Nehemiah 4:3 NLT)
If you set a goal, announce a vision, or begin a business, many will be quick to forecast your failure. But you always have the choice to give a godly response. Tomorrow we will learn three ways to do that.
Talk It Over
- In what ways are opposition and opportunity coexisting in your life right now? What does the opposition look like?
- Think of someone who is facing opposition. What can you do to encourage them this week?
- Instead of predicting someone’s failure, how can you predict someone’s success?