January 1, 2004
Encouragement for Today
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
When I look at my three little boys, I'm in awe of the potential they have.
Joshua, my oldest, has been musically inclined since he could make sounds. His voice is beautiful and he plays the electric bass with ease. Dylan's mind has always amazed me. Strategy just comes naturally to this child. (Much to my dismay when it's directed at trying to get his way) And Robert, the youngest, breezes through math. These are just a few of the strengths that speak of their potential.
Although their behavior at times is childish, such as with all children, it doesn't diminish their potential. In spite of mistakes or occasional disobedience, I can see their futures shining brightly. Every day they have the chance to push forward, develop their God-given talents, and become the men that God has planned.
This is how God looks at you and me. He sees our potential. He sees what we can become. The problem is that when we look at ourselves, we see our past failures. And Satan is only too ready to remind us of those mistakes every chance he gets.
While sin can slow down our forward progress, it doesn't change the fact that God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Liberty Savard, in her book "Shattering Your Strongholds" says this about God's plan for us:
"Only with God can you start over more than once with an unblemished, untarnished, 100 percent, still-intact potential ... the same potential He has always intended you to fulfill."
Others may think you don't have a bright future, you may even believe it yourself. But not God! He sees your past, He forgives your past and He never holds it against you. Even if your past mistakes include something you did or said this morning. The key is confessing your sin and disobedience and then moving forward in the freedom that forgiveness brings.
It's also important to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you so that you learn from your past. An unteachable spirit harbors pride and pride will hinder your potential, causing you to stumble. Proverbs 29:23 warns, "A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor."
As we begin a new year, I encourage you to look to God to renew your purpose and potential. No matter what last year or yesterday looked like, today is brand new. God still has a plan and a purpose for your life and He promises to bring good things your way and do mighty things through you if you let Him.
My prayer for today:
Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are faithful and good. Thank you for loving me and creating me with potential. I confess any sin that has hindered Your work in my life. I give you my life to fulfill your purpose and plan. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Ask the Lord to reveal any hidden sin. Confess that sin and any other sin that may be limiting God's work in your life. Ask the Lord to reveal His purpose for your life right now.
Do you have any bad habits that you know the Lord would like to change?
Is there anything in your past that is holding you back from becoming the woman God designed you to be? What steps can you take to deal with this issue?
Has God ever brought something good out of something bad in your life? Write it down.
If you knew you couldn't fail, what would you do for God?
Are there any talents that God has given you, which are going unused right now? Name them. Pray and ask God if He wants you to develop those gifts.
Lamentations 3:21-24 This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him." (NAS)
Proverbs 31:30-31 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (NIV)
Psalm 38:15 For I hope in You, O LORD; You will answer, O Lord my God. (NAS)
Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who He has given us. (NIV)
Psalm 139:12-14 Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.
Seven Life Principles for Every Woman Set (Hardcover Book and Bible Study) by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst
A Woman's High Calling - 10 Essentials for Godly Living by Elizabeth George
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Originally published Thursday, 01 January 2004.