How to Take Courage

As night fell, the boat was in the middle of the lake and Jesus was alone on land. The wind was against the disciples and He could see that they were straining at the oars, trying to make headway. When it was almost morning, Jesus came to them . . . He said to them at once, “Don’t yield to fear. Have courage. It’s really me—I Am!” Mark 6:47-50 TPT

1. RECHARGE your spirit. Jesus’ words are spirit and life (John 6:63). We know that when life gets dry, the living waters of God can turn things around. Jesus often went away to pray and get with God. Take time to wait upon the Lord. Spend time with Him and watch yourself gain new strength!

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Be Assured

Remember this, and be assured . . . Remember the former things long past . . . I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning . . . saying “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” Isaiah 46:8-10

With all the variables in the world demanding our attention and time, we must choose what to focus on. Assurance is a settled trust in God’s faithfulness and a byproduct of biblical remembrance. When things are bewildering, we go to what is clarifying. Instead of obsessing about things we can’t figure out, we can go back to the Bible’s amazing ancient truths to build our faith.

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God Helps Us Walk in Love!

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

LOVE IS VALUE. The best definition I’ve found for love is “value.” In modern society we see a huge devaluation of
human life (Matthew 24:12). But if we just obey the Bible and value others in a meaningful, non-patronizing way, our lives will be a radical witness to the rest of the world.

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Words to Live By

Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. Luke 6:47-48

Building your life on the promises of God will get you through whatever you face. You can hold to it, live by it—it’s a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105).

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Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

1. GET BACK TO YOUR FIRST LOVE. Every day God offers us a fresh start; a new opportunity to push the reset button and turn our eyes to Him. He knows what to do when nobody else does.

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How to Be Ready in Every Season

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season. 2 Timothy 4:2a

1. PREPARE. God uses people who get ready. Preparation is a statement to your future that you are available. It’s
a statement that you trust God with your future. We are called to be poised – not wound up or nervous, but ready. And preparation will set you up to be at peace and available for opportunity.

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The Deliberate Life

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

STAY CLOSE TO JESUS. God sent Jesus to restore that close connection between God and humanity. When we humble ourselves and commit to following Jesus, He sets us free, gives us a new nature, and shows us His purpose for our lives!

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

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Set Your Mind on Jesus

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26

What we set our mind on matters. The prophet Isaiah told the people of Israel to lift up their eyes. Their spiritual imaginations had become starved because they had been looking at the faces of idols. They needed to remember their Creator.

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Obstacles and Opportunities

For a wide door for effective service has opened to me [Paul], and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9

1. WALK THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR. Opportunities are often disguised by obstacles. With every promise there will be inherent challenges and problems. Paul knew he was going to have challenges, but he kept forging ahead anyway. Instead of shrinking back or hesitating, we must seek God about what opportunity He has for us in the midst of difficulty.

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In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Mark 1:35

1. GET FOCUSED ON THE MISSION. The devil uses distraction to hinder our walk with God and to diminish our effectiveness in helping people. Real life can be hard, and our responsibilities often aren’t as appealing as hopping from one mind-numbing inconsequential thing to another. But when we remember we’re on a mission as “ambassadors for Christ,” we can look to Jesus to help us focus in on what really matters (2 Corinthians 5:20).

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My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day long. Psalm 71:8

1. FOCUS ON GOD. It’s easy to get busy or preoccupied and try to numb ourselves with entertainment. But God has called us to push past distractions and focus on Him. When we come before God in praise and worship, we’re reinforcing who He is, what He is capable of doing, and His faithfulness throughout the ages.

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Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a

1. FOCUS ON TODAY. When Jesus went to visit the house of two sisters Mary and Martha, Mary focused on Jesus, but Martha was bothered and distracted by the preparations for Jesus. We’ve all been guilty of this. But when we remember that we have only so many days on earth we can concentrate n on making the most of our time here. The highest and best thing we can do today – above all priorities – is focus on Jesus. Start your day in the Word and write down some goals that God gives you. He will keep you in perfect peace as you keep your mind fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).

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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, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13

1. MAKE GOD YOUR FOCUS. Focus means to have purposeful commitment to the goals that are primary; that God has set before us. God is calling us to focus, to center our interest on Him. The Psalmist said: “I have set the Lord continually before me” (Psalm 16:8a). We can follow the model of the Early Church who freely and purposely yielded to and leaned toward God (Acts 2).

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The Lift of Love

“By this all men will know that you are My [Jesus’] disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

1. LOVE ENRICHES LIFE. The greatest thing we can do in our life expression is to walk in love. A man in the Bible asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was and He replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mark 12:30-31a). When life is dominated by love inspired by Jesus, it will grow and develop and make all of life’s relations sweeter.

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Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:6-7 TPT

1. FROM ISOLATION TO CONNECTION. You are not alone. Even on the days you’ve felt most lonely – God is with you. If you’ve felt the tendency to pull away and isolate yourself, follow the pattern of the Early Church. They continually came together to hear the Word, connect and fellowship together, have meal time, and pray (Acts 2:42).

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Start Your Day With God

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” Mark 1:35-38

BE FRUITFUL NOT BUSY. Jesus only did what He saw His Father do. How did He know what God did? Jesus spent time with Him. Sometimes you can get distracted by too many opportunities and give your attention to the loudest or most urgent thing. But because Jesus took time to seek God, He received direction to know what He was supposed to do instead of what others thought He should do.

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The Battle For Your Focus

The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 Philips Translation

1. USE GOD’S WEAPONS. Instead of focusing on circumstances, Paul tells us in Ephesians that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12). We are to fight our battles with the tools and armor God has given us: the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit which is the Bible, the power of prayer, and the name of Jesus – which gives us authority over every evil (Ephesians 6: 13-18, Mark 16:1718).

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Focused On Jesus

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

1. TURN YOUR HEART TO JESUS. As a young couple, Patsy and I had to learn to prioritize going on dates where we focused and loved on each other. Just as that is essential in a marriage, we must intentionally spend time with God. In the Bible, God commended the Ephesian church for their good deeds and perseverance, but He said, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4). Let’s remember the why of what we do – Jesus – and turn our hearts to Him.

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The Love Atmosphere

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7.

SET THE THERMOSTAT. Just like you can change the temperature to heat or cool your home, if you walk in love, you will set the thermostat of the world you live in. When you walk into a room and sense strife or conflict, you can bring change to the environment by simply operating in love. Every person you encounter is someone for whom Christ died. Even if you disagree with someone, ask yourself: “How can I genuinely value that person without compromising the truth?”

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Three Keys to Breakthrough

Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan [river] on dry ground.’” Joshua 4:21-22

1. REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE. There is a continuum of God’s faithfulness through generations. In the Bible, when the Jewish people would experience breakthrough they would name the place where it happened or mark it with memorial stones so future generations would know that God had come through.

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Let There Be Light!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:2 NKJV

1. LET JESUS BE YOUR LIGHT. The Bible is not just a snapshot of antiquity – it’s where we see the pattern that God set into effect at Creation when He first said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). Then when Adam and Eve forfeited God’s plan through disobedience, God sent Jesus to be our light and He came to seek and save that which is lost.

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3 Gifts God Has for You

Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me. Hold me close to you with a willing spirit that obeys whatever you say. Psalm 51:12 TPT

1. PASSION FOR LIFE RESTORED. God loves you. I am the result of a Vietnam veteran who gave me a ride to my house and feebly shared the Gospel with me. He had been through a great deal of heartache – a lot of it self-inflicted. He got addicted to drugs, was dishonorably discharged from the military, and his marriage fell apart. He wasn’t eloquent, but he was real when he shared how God rescued him. Much of it went over my head at the time, but something grabbed my heart and forever my life was changed.

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For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

1. WE ARE SAVED. God is able to make all grace abound to you in every area of your life (2 Corinthians 9:8). As a Bible student, I was told that grace is God’s willingness to use His power to work on our behalf even though we don’t deserve it. The older I get the more I rely on God’s grace for every aspect of my life. Not only are we saved from sin by grace, but then we are sustained through life by that same grace.

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Three Steps To A Healthy Heart

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

1. KEEP IT SIMPLE. A true genius doesn’t use intelligence to impress and intimidate but instead clarifies things into layman’s terms so others can understand a complex thought. God made Christianity simple enough that a child can grasp it. How much more does He want to help you approach life the same way? When we let Him, God will take what seems super complicated in our lives and simplify it. Then He equips us to do the same for others (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

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