1/2/06

Encouragement for Today

(Principle #1)

 

“A Fresh Start”

Micca Monda Campbell, Director of Outreach, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (NAS)

 

Devotion:

With every New Year comes the opportunity for a new beginning. Most people make a fresh start by setting a “New Year’s Resolution.” Through this tradition, we can recommit to a healthier lifestyle, put away bad habits, turn over a new leaf and reorganize our lives. Whatever the need, it can be done by putting the past year behind us and beginning anew. Or so we believe.

 

We usually start out with grand visions, impressive goals and pure determination. Only to realize a short time later how difficult it is to carry out such extensive goals when our motivation is squashed by all the other duties of life. Instead of moving forward we remain as we are—unchanged.

 

With each passing day, week, and month, we become less convicted, less motivated, and less excited about our desire to be all that we should and long to be. While these results can greatly affect all areas of our lives, they mostly affect us spiritually.

 

Good health and a balanced life are important, but temporal. How we grow and improve spiritually will last for all eternity and should be our highest priority. However, while some people spend hours planning for a vacation or spend years of education planning for a career, most don’t spend five minutes planning for eternity.

 

How does looking to the future help us accomplish our goals for today? Because the secret to success in everything we do lies in the depth of our relationship to God. Temporal failures occur in our lives because we are not first spiritually equipped.

 

I once heard a story about a woman who asked her pastor to pray for her to have enough will power to give up a bad habit. The pastor answered, “No, I won’t pray for you.” The woman was astounded. “Why not?” she asked.

 

“It wouldn’t do any good,” the pastor replied. “You’ll only give up the bad habit when you love God and your relationship with Him more than your habit.”

 

Where do we find the power to overcome bad habits? We are set free when we love God more than our sin.

 

Whether our goal this year is to lose weight, quit smoking or better organize our lives, we will only succeed if we are first spiritually strong. That is because every problem we have is ultimately a spiritual problem. Once dealt with by the power and grace of God, victory will be ours. Do you need a fresh start? You’ll find it by making God and your relationship with Him your first goal.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, help me die to all things that I put in place of You. Create in me a love and passion for You alone that will help me let go of temporary pleasures. I believe that You want to fill my every empty place with Your presence. I’m ready for You to fill me now. I believe that You are enough for me. Make this truth a reality in my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

I love my family and I wouldn’t do anything to hinder our relationship. The same is true for my relationship with God. When I’m struggling to rid myself of a bad habit, I remind myself of how it not only affects my life, but my relationship with God and others. Then, I decide, who do I love more…myself and this habit, or God and my family? Love is a powerful tool. Give it a try. Ask God to help you.

 

Reflections Points:

Do you say you that you love God, but allow your actions prove otherwise?

 

How have you tried and failed to conquer this habit on your own?

 

Are you ready to give it completely over to God?

 

Do you struggle with genuinely loving God? Then ask God to give you a passion for Him.

 

Power Verses:

Deuteronomy 6:5, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (NAS)

 

Exodus 20:3, "You shall have no other gods before Me.” (NAS)

 

Deuteronomy 10:12, “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (NAS)

 

Deuteronomy 4:39, “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” (NAS)

 

Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” (NAS)

 

Additional Resources:

A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_secretBalanced.htm

 

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whoHoldsKey.htm

 

The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_ultimateMakeover.htm