One time at church, I was talking to a college student. She was about to take a very important final exam. She asked, “Joel, would you pray that God will help me make a C on this test?” I kind of laughed and said, “Why wouldn’t we want to pray that God would help you make an A?” She said, “Oh, all I ever make in this subject are C’s.” She had conditioned her mind to strive for a certain level.
Well, I encouraged her to dream a little bit bigger, and we prayed that she would break through and make an A. So, she went home and studied. She prepared. She did her part. A few weeks later, she came back beaming with joy, holding her test results. For the first time ever, she made an A in that subject.
Now, this is just a simple example, but how often do we get conditioned in our minds to live at a certain level? You may think, “This is the way it’s always going to be. This is what I make. This is where I live. This is my level of talent.” But don’t just look at things in the natural. We have to remember that we serve a supernatural God!
Today, I encourage you to break out of the rut and start praying bolder prayers. It’s time for you to have some “first times” in your life. For the first time, you have an abundance; you’re not struggling. For the first time, your child is making good decisions. For the first time, there is somebody in your life to love. You’re not just talking about the dream. You’re living the dream. Take the limits off of God. Stop asking for a C and start asking for an A. Stretch your faith. God wants to do something new in your life. He wants to give you the secret petitions of your heart, the things that you dream about but never told anyone. You would love to start a business, love to take a mission’s trip, love to get married, love to own your own home, but it seems so unlikely, so far out of reach. If you told your friends, they would probably laugh. They wouldn’t understand it. That’s okay. You don’t need their approval. This is between you and Almighty God. In your quiet time when nobody else is around, you need to be bold and start asking for those hidden dreams, for the promises God has placed on the inside. As you pray those bold prayers according to His will, it won’t be long until you see every dream and every desire come to pass!
“…It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32, NKJV).
We all have times when things come against us. Times when we feel cheated, mistreated, wronged or taken advantage of. Maybe you’re facing a difficulty today and you’re not exactly sure how to handle it.
If we look to the Word, we see that Jesus set a powerful example for us to follow. Here He was the King of kings and the Lord of lords in human form.
He carried all the power of heaven and earth on the inside of Him. Yet, when He was about to go to the cross, when the people were mocking Him, ridiculing Him, persecuting Him and lying about Him, He didn’t try to defend Himself. He didn’t try to set the record straight. Do you know what He did? He restrained Himself and just rested in the place of peace. He found confidence in knowing who He was. He stood strong knowing that God, His Father, would deliver Him and He would have victory in the end.
When things aren’t going right or you feel like you’re being treated unfairly, do what Jesus did and stand strong in the place of peace. Find security knowing that you are a child of the Most High God, and He is faithful. He promises to deliver you. Remember this: Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” He said, “My peace I leave with you.” What an amazing treasure we have on this earth! Hold on to that peace because nothing can take it from you, unless you give it away. Don’t let offense creep in. Offense is a liar. It will steal from you and drag you down. It will erode your self-esteem and rob you of everything that Jesus has already done for you. Instead, find confidence in knowing who you are in Jesus Christ. Because He died, you can live in power. Because of what He bore, you get all the rewards—you get the peace, the power, the strength and the anointing to overcome every obstacle you will ever face!
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let you heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27, NASB).
If you’re like me, when you wake up in the morning, you start thinking about your day—where you’ll be going, who you’ll be seeing, and what the weather will be like. Then you go to your closet and choose something to wear that will work for all those different scenarios. But there’s one thing that the Bible tells us we need to “put on” if we are going to be fully equipped for everything we will face each day—and that is love.
Love is a one-size-fits-all solution to every situation you will ever encounter with your family, friends, coworkers, and even the grocery clerk. When you’re wearing love, you are setting yourself up for success because the Bible tells us that love never fails. And—love never goes out of style, either! It never gives up, wears out, or becomes old. It’s the perfect thing for every occasion.
So, how do you put on love? It’s interesting that with the principles of God, we always have to do something. Wouldn’t it be nice if God would just come and put love on us? You know, like when you’re in the middle of a heated discussion or someone cuts you off in traffic; it would be nice if He would just come and drop love right on us so that we would always do and say the right thing! But that’s not how it works. We have to choose love. We have to choose to be patient, kind, humble and giving. We have to choose His Word. In every circumstance, we have to decide between what our mind is screaming and what our heart is whispering.
I encourage you today, read what First Corinthians 13 says about love. When you choose to read and meditate on God’s Word, you are “putting on love” and empowering yourself to make the right choices. And, even if you’ve made some mistakes in the past, today is a new day. Receive God’s love and forgiveness. Put on His royal robe of righteousness so you can move forward. Put on love and be fully equipped for everything you will ever face!
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which ties everything together in unity.” (Colossians 3:14, ISV)
Right before Jesus was arrested and taken to the cross, He had a conversation with one of his disciples, Peter. He said, “Peter, you are going to deny me three times tonight.” But Peter loved Jesus and refused to believe it, “No way! I would never deny You. I’ll stand by You ’til the end!” Sure enough, the Bible talks about three accounts when Peter denied that he had any association with Jesus because he feared for his own life.
Do you know how Jesus responded? You would think He would start off with “I told you so!” But He didn’t. Here’s what happened…
After Jesus died and rose again, He appeared to Mary at His tomb and said to her, “I want you to go and tell everyone that I’ve risen.” Then He said, “And, go find Peter.” Now why do you think Jesus singled Peter out? He didn’t call him out to yell at him or condemn him. No, Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was still loved, valued and forgiven. Jesus didn’t hold a grudge. Instead, He extended mercy to Peter and restored him, and He extends that same mercy to us every single day!
Maybe you’ve been denied by someone. Maybe you’ve been hurt by someone. Maybe you are working through some pain right now. But remember, Jesus gave us an example of mercy. He shows us mercy so that we can show mercy to others. It’s easy to take offense. It’s easy to hold on to the hurt and pain of the past. But the best way to move forward is to give all that pain to God and show mercy and forgiveness. Start today by praying for those who have hurt you. If possible, do something nice for them. Ask God to help you learn to forgive and extend mercy to others. It’s not always easy, but it starts with a choice. You make the choice, and God makes the change in your heart.
The Bible tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment. That means when you choose to show mercy instead of judging and condemning others, you are choosing victory and staying on the winning side!
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2:12-13, NIV)