Charles Stanley – Reaching Your Full Potential

 

The world may not recognize your potential, but the Lord does. He loves you unconditionally and wants you to discover His unique purpose for your life. God’s process of perfection has two facets:

  1. Teaching and Guiding

“Tutoring” is one aspect of the Father’s perfecting process. In many ways, the Holy Spirit is your teacher, and the Bible is His textbook.

Before Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, the law was in effect. God designed it to instruct mankind—to provide a moral boundary and to serve as a “tutor to lead us to Christ” (Gal. 3:24).

Our goal should be total reliance upon the Holy Spirit for guidance in our lives.

Furthermore, we were all given an additional gift: the conscience. Romans 2:14-15 tells us that the Lord created the conscience to teach each person what’s right and wrong. In this way, even those without access to God’s commands would be “a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.”

But after a person becomes a Christian and starts growing in faith and knowledge of the Word, God applies the law to his heart. The Holy Spirit will call to remembrance what the Bible says, or He will send people to teach or bring God’s commandments to mind. He also helps the believer understand scriptural principles and reveals the Father’s purpose and desires. You will never outgrow your need for the Spirit.

The law tells you that you must obey. And the Holy Spirit gives you the desire to do so. He works in your life continually to nudge you in the right direction. And like any good educator, He will test you to reveal areas of weakness and growth. The Spirit already knows your heart and how you will respond. The test is for your sake. God wants you to know yourself better.

  1. Discipline

Another way God leads us to our full potential is through failures and struggles. In allowing free will, the Lord gave you the freedom to fall short of His purpose for your life—to fail, make mistakes, or sin. But through these shortcomings, the Holy Spirit can mold you into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Many people set unrealistic goals and, when they fall short, have a sense of worthlessness. Others decide on objectives but then never put them into a workable plan. When their goals aren’t met, they can feel frustration and self-doubt. God, however, has no responsibility to help people reach man-made targets. If you and I don’t allow Him to help us set goals, the Holy Spirit may rebuke us so that we choose to be guided by His will rather than our own.

Through teaching and discipline, the Lord molds and perfects us for His purposes.

Mistakes are innocent wrongdoings. In making a blunder, we have not willfully chosen to do wrong, although our actions may have terrible consequences. This does not diminish the pain mistakes cause. The Lord allows these types of errors as part of the teaching process. Ultimately, our goal should be total reliance upon the Holy Spirit for guidance in our lives.

Sin, on the other hand, is a willful act of disobedience against the Father, and it separates us from fellowship with Him. The Holy Spirit will prick our conscience with an ever-sharp needle until we acknowledge our rebellion. He will convict us repeatedly and with increasing fervor so that we might turn from wrongdoing and back to the Father.

Falling short of our potential means missing God’s unique destiny for our lives. Perhaps we don’t recognize what the Lord has created us to be, or maybe we resist cooperating with His plan—through neglect, lack of effort, or outright rebellion. The Holy Spirit is never satisfied with human preference for the status quo. He draws us to the full perfection of Jesus Christ and the hope of a bright tomorrow.

Your True Destiny

So, how do you reach your full potential? The answer is simple—it must begin with handing your life over to Christ. Through teaching and discipline, the Lord molds and perfects us for His purposes. The Holy Spirit works in our lives, changing us so we will accept and follow God’s will.

When you truly grasp the Lord’s commitment to helping you fulfill your destiny, hope is inevitable. Rekindle your passion today by regaining sight of your God-given capacities, as well as His promise to develop them. Our heavenly Father is in charge of fulfilling the potential He has given you—trust Him to do exactly that.

Adapted from “Discover Your Destiny” (1997).

Our Daily Bread — The Blame Game

 

Read: Leviticus 16:5-22

Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 13-14; John 12:1-26

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! —John 1:29

I’ve been blamed for a lot of things, and rightly so. My sin, failure, and incompetence have caused grief, anxiety, and inconvenience for friends and family (and probably even for strangers). I’ve also been blamed for things that were not my fault, things I was powerless to change.

But I have stood on the other side of the fence hurling accusations at others. If they had just done something different, I tell myself, I would not be in the mess I’m in. Blame hurts. So whether guilty or not, we waste lots of time and mental energy trying to find someone else to carry it for us.

Jesus offers us a better way to deal with blame. Even though He was blameless, He took upon Himself the sin of the world and carried it away (John 1:29). We often refer to Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, but He was also the final scapegoat for everything that is wrong with the world (Lev. 16:10).

Once we acknowledge our sin and accept Christ’s offer to take it away, we no longer have to carry the weight of our guilt. We can stop looking for someone to blame for what’s wrong with us, and we can stop accepting blame from others trying to do the same.

Thanks to Jesus, we can stop playing the blame game. —Julie Ackerman Link

Help me, Lord, to be honest when I am at fault and to confess that to You—instead of looking for someone else to blame. Thank You for taking my blame on Yourself.

Honesty about our sin brings forgiveness.

Alistair Begg – Courage and Triumphs

 

And the king crossed the brook Kidron. 2 Samuel 15:23

David passed that gloomy brook when fleeing with his sorry company from his traitorous son. The man after God’s own heart was not exempt from trouble; in fact, his life was full of it. He was both the Lord’s Anointed and the Lord’s Afflicted. Why then should we expect to escape? At sorrow’s gates the noblest of our race have waited with ashes on their heads. Why then should we complain as though some strange thing had happened unto us?

The King of kings Himself was not favored with a more cheerful or royal road. He passed over the filthy ditch of Kidron, through which the filth of Jerusalem flowed. God had one Son without sin, but not a single child without the rod. It is a great joy to believe that Jesus has been tempted in all points just as we are.

What is our Kidron this morning? Is it a faithless friend, a sad bereavement, a slanderous reproach, a dark foreboding? The King has passed over all these. Is it bodily pain, poverty, persecution, or contempt? Over each of these Kidrons the King has gone before us. “In all their affliction he was afflicted.”1 The idea that trials are an unusual experience should be banished at once and forever, for He who is the Head of all saints knows by experience the grief that we consider so peculiar. All the citizens of Zion must be free of the Honorable Company of Mourners, of which the Prince Immanuel is Head and Captain.

Although David was abased, yet he returned in triumph to his city, and David’s Lord rose victorious from the grave; so let us then be of good courage, for we also shall win the day. We will joyfully draw water out of the wells of salvation, even though we are presently faced with the harmful streams of sin and sorrow. Courage, soldiers of the Cross, the King himself triumphed after going over Kidron, and so will you.

1) Isaiah 63:9

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon – Elijah’s appeal to the undecided

 

“How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

Suggested Further Reading: John 13:12-19

I insist that it is your bounden duty, if you believe in God, simply because he is God, to serve him and obey him. I do not tell you it is for your advantage—it may be, I believe it is—but that I put aside from the question; I demand of you that you follow God, if you believe him to be God. If you do not think he is God; if you really think that the devil is God, then follow him; his pretended godhead shall be your plea, and you shall be consistent; but if God be God, if he made you, I demand that you serve him; if it is he who puts the breath into your nostrils, I demand that you obey him. If God be really worthy of worship, and you really think so, I demand that you either follow him, or else deny that he is God at all. Now, professor, if thou sayest that Christ’s gospel is the only gospel, if thou believest in the divinity of the gospel, and puttest thy trust in Christ, I demand of thee to follow out the gospel, not merely because it will be to thy advantage, but because the gospel is divine. If thou makest a profession of being a child of God, if thou art a believer, and thinkest and believest religion is the best, the service of God most desirable, I do not come to plead with thee because of any advantage thou wouldst get by being holy; it is on this ground that I put it, that the Lord is God; and if he be God, it is thy business to serve him. If his gospel be true, and thou believest it to be true, it is thy duty to carry it out.

For meditation: Four things God will not accept—hypocrisy (Luke 6:46), half-heartedness (Luke 9:59-62), double-mindedness (James 1:6-8) and lukewarmness (Revelation 3:15,16).

Sermon no. 134
31 May (1857)

John MacArthur – Making Worthless Things Valuable

 

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:2-4).

In God’s hands you can be a precious and effective instrument.

The story is told of a great concert violinist who wanted to prove a point, so he rented a music hall and announced that he would play a concert on a $20,000 violin. On concert night the music hall was filled to capacity with music lovers anxious to hear such an expensive instrument played. The violinist stepped onto the stage, gave an exquisite performance, and received a thunderous standing ovation. When the applause subsided, he suddenly threw the violin to the ground, stomped it to pieces, and walked off the stage. The audience gasped, then sat in stunned silence.

Within seconds the stage manager approached the microphone and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, to put you at ease, the violin that was just destroyed was a $20 violin. The master will now return to play the remainder of his concert on the $20,000 instrument.” At the conclusion of his concert he received another standing ovation. Few people could tell the difference between the two violins. His point was obvious: it isn’t the violin that makes the music; it’s the violinist.

The disciples were like $20 violins that Jesus transformed into priceless instruments for His glory. I trust you’ve been encouraged to see how God used them despite their weakness, and I pray you’ve been challenged by their strengths. You may not be dynamic like Peter or zealous like James and Simon, but you can be faithful like Andrew and courageous like Thaddaeus. Remember, God will take the raw material of your life and expose you to the experiences and teachings that will shape you into the servant He wants you to be.

Trust Him to complete what He has begun in you, and commit each day to the goal of becoming a more qualified and effective disciple.

Suggestions for Prayer

Make a list of the character traits you most admire in the disciples. Ask the Lord to increase those traits in your own life.

For Further Study

Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17, noting Paul’s perspective on his own calling.

Joyce Meyer – Letting Go of Offenses

 

[You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, so that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Understand that every time you are tempted to be offended and upset, your faith is being tried. Peter was saying, “Don’t be amazed at the fiery trials that you go through, because they are taking place to test your quality.” Every relationship test is an opportunity to glorify the work of God in you as a testimony to those watching you endure the offense.

There is a right and a wrong way to handle the storms of life. But until I was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to learn about the power that is available to me as a believer to do the right thing, I never handled offenses right.

Jesus’ economy is upside down from what the world teaches us. He says that we can have peace in the midst of the storm. Now just think about how awesome that would be, if no matter what happened, you could remain full of peace.

Jesus said that He gives us power even “to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses].” (Luke 10:19) He promised that nothing will harm us in any way. If we have the power over the enemy, surely we can overlook the offenses of others. He gives us the energy we need to treat people right.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Stay Pure

 

“How can a young man stay pure? By reading Your Word and following its rules” (Psalm 119:9).

I can live a pure life if I follow God’s Word. That seems to be the clear import of the psalmist’s message in this verse. And if that is true – and I have no doubt it is – then certain things surely should follow.

I will begin today by determining to know His Word and to obey it. Simple logic would dictate that I cannot and will not obey His Word if I am not familiar with it.

In a day when immorality is rampant and divorce is becoming commonplace even among Christians, how important it is that I seek to keep my life pure. Surely I cannot expect to be used of God in a supernatural way to help fulfill the Great Commission unless I am pure. And there seems to be no better way to accomplish that desired end than by reading, studying – even memorizing – His Word, and then, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, by claiming God’s promises and obeying His commandments.

Earlier (Day 18) we mentioned the importance of hiding God’s Word in our hearts, that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). Again I would emphasize the value of committing to memory many verses – and even chapters – from the Word of God. In that way, we will have them stored in our minds so that God can bring them to our minds in time of special need and can use them to enable us to live supernaturally.

Basic to living the supernatural life is this matter of spending time in God’s Word, which is quick and powerful.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:10-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will spend quality time in the Word of God and begin to memorize favorite passages, especially Psalm 119.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – God of the Big Picture

 

It’s easy to get in a dither thinking about all of the bad things happening in the world. People do unspeakable things to other people. As a parent it takes faith just to let your children walk out the door.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.

Genesis 50:20

Jacob’s heart was grieved to lose his son Joseph. He thought he was devoured by an animal. That may have actually been easier to handle than the truth; his own sons sold him into slavery to a foreign land. Of course, you know it worked out in the end, with Joseph saving many people from his high position in Egypt. Joseph forgave his brothers by speaking today’s verse, one of the most memorable in Scripture.

There’s a similar promise in the New Testament. “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) No matter what is going on in your life, trust God. He hears your prayers, sees the big picture, and works all things out for the best. Pray, too, that He will move in this nation to turn hearts to Him.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 6:25-34