MASTERING SELF-CONTROL

MASTERING SELF-CONTROL

In Proverbs 25:28 (CEV), we read:  Losing self-control leaves you as helpless as a city without a wall. 

What a description we are left by Solomon in regards to self-control! Without restraint or self-control, we become helpless. We find ourselves vulnerable to attacks from opposing forces, otherwise known as unwanted actions, consequences and results. We have an adversary that is on the prowl to steal, kill and destroy our lives (John 10:10). So, if we do not practice self-control, it leaves us open to our adversary to do as he pleases in our lives. But thank God that we can overcome and withstand the adversary and his attacks by simply doing what Solomon is urging us to do… having SELF-CONTROL.

We can conclude, on the flip-side of what Solomon is stating, that by having SELF-CONTROL, we become a fortified fortress (a strong tower) that can stand firm in the midst of struggles and adversities. When we have self-control there is no room for the adversary to steal, kill and destroy.

So how is your “city”? Have you allowed your fortress to be open to the adversary? If so, it is time to build the walls in your life through practicing self-control. Saturate your life with God’s Word and allow it to become the final authority in your life. In doing so, your walls will be impenetrable. And you will become that city set upon a hill, built upon a rock, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 8

LOVE GOD FIRST

LOVE GOD FIRST

In Matthew 22:37-38 (NLT), we read:  Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

We all know people who are desperate to be in a relationship. In fact, you may be that person. And it’s not only singles that can feel this way. Those who are married can be just as desperate for real connection in their marriage. But desperation makes us do foolish things. The longing in our heart for connection has led many people down a dark and difficult road.

Singles who are desperate usually make bad choices. They’ll settle for the wrong person because they mistakenly believe that he or she is their last or only chance at love. Or they’ll put God’s work in their life on hold while they pursue a relationship – so instead of becoming the right person, they focus on hunting down the right person.

Married people are no different. When they feel that their marriage is not what they had hoped it would be, they’ll start looking elsewhere. They start entertaining the thought that they married the wrong person. They begin to compare their spouse with someone who is willing to give them the attention they’re craving. Covenants are discarded. Families are broken.

God created us. He knows the needs and desires of our hearts. And He knows that no person, no matter who they are, can complete you. Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” The only person who can complete us is our Creator. Love God first and with everything. Only then will we be whole enough to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with another person.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 7

THE YOU IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

THE YOU IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

Peter wrote, in 1 Peter 3:7 (AMP):  …you married men should live considerately with [your wives]…[realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered…

You will always bring you into your relationships. This is why for any of your relationships to be successful, you must change. What we think, how we reason and respond to various challenges, and the “stuff” we carry – all of it comes with us when we are in a relationship. The circumstances may be different, the scenery and location may have changed, and the people may be new…but none of those things change who we are. And until we change, we will continue to bring our baggage into our relationships.

Peter, speaking about marriages, says that husbands and wives are “heirs together in the grace of life.” Who you are will always affect the other person. If two people are together in a boat, and one of the them starts shooting holes into the hull, it affects both of them. Who you are will always affect those you are with.

Peter also says, “Live considerately…” In other words, consider your actions, your attitudes, your habits, and your history because all of it influences those you are with. Husbands, your attitude affects your wives. Fathers, your attitude affects your children. We heard of one family whose children told their dad, “When you come home from work you make everyone unhappy.” Is that the kind of family you want?

We mistakenly believe that if everyone else changes then we’ll be happy. But the truth is, even if everyone else changes, you will still be you. And it’s you that makes you unhappy, not others. So why not focus on changing yourself first?

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 6

FROM THE INSIDE OUT

FROM THE INSIDE OUT

In Romans 12:2 (TMB), the Apostle Paul wrote:  You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. 

Great relationships begin with changes in you…not with forcing others to change for you. Marriages don’t improve by working on the marriage; they improve by working on yourself. Our relationships change for the better when we allow God to change us first. We will always be disappointed when our relationship goal is to get the other person to change. That’s not love; it’s control. And if it’s control you want, get a pet.

When it comes to change, to becoming a better person, we should all say, “Me first”, not “You first.” When you become the best person you can be, you’ll change the relationship for the better. Don’t wait for the other person to change. Stop thinking that it’s “unfair” for you to change until they change. Relationships aren’t about what’s “fair.” They’re about what’s right.

The right thing to do in any relationship is to, “Readily recognize what [God] wants from you, and quickly respond to it.” No excuses. No pointing fingers. No blaming others. No feeling sorry for yourself. Recognize what God wants for you and respond. It’s the only thing that will bring out the best in you.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 5

GET UNSTUCK

GET UNSTUCK

In Exodus 14:22-25 (TMB), we read: The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea… God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud. The Egyptians said, “Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!”

Great marriages and great relationships are possible! We don’t have to get stuck in relationship ruts. God led His people through the Red Sea. It was those who were not following His lead that got stuck. Ruts are habits or behavior patterns that cause our relationships to lose value. Every relationship can get better!

One of the myths that contribute to the ruts our relationships get stuck in is that to be happy, we need to find the right person. The question isn’t have you found the right person, the question is if you are becoming the right person. If you’re looking for Mr. Right, ask yourself if you’re Mrs. Right. because Mr. Right isn’t looking for Mrs. Wrong.

Have you ever said to yourself, “I need to find the right person to fulfill me and make my life complete”? Sometimes, we’re not in love, we’re just in love with being in love. So we rush into a relationship, feelings are powerful and romance is passionate, but when those feelings wear off, it leaves a void in our heart. Then we jump into another relationship to fill that void and the cycle continues. If this is you, it’s time to break the cycle. It’s time to get unstuck.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 4

STUCK IN A RUT

STUCK IN A RUT

Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 (TMB):  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. 

Have your relationships been stuck in a rut? Whether you are married or single, and for both your personal and professional friendships, God designed relationships to be fulfilling. But when we build our relationships on the standards and values of the world, we can’t expect them to live up to God’s design. This is why Paul wrote, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.” 

It’s amazing that people have higher standards about the food they eat than how they treat one another. The culture we live in no longer understands that covenants are sacred. If someone benefits their life, they are loved. When they become a drain, they are thrown away. Marriage is no longer honored and some are even trying to redefine it. Our society defines love as a feeling and when those feelings are gone, married or not, covenant or not, it’s okay to move on or find someone else.

In the middle of all of this, we can hear Paul rallying the church, saying, “Fix your attention on God!” When it comes to your relationships, what’s got your attention? Are you focused on blame? Are you paying attention to people’s faults? Are you looking at another man’s wife or another woman’s husband? Until God has your attention, He cannot work in your relationships.

If we want our relationships to work, if we want them to get unstuck, then we need to stop taking our cue from Hollywood and start listening to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John instead.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 3

GOD CAN HEAL THE SOUL

GOD CAN HEAL THE SOUL

In Jeremiah 30:17 (NLT), we read:  I will give you back your health and heal your wounds,” says the Lord. “For you are called an outcast—‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.’”

Have you ever said to yourself, or others, “I’m dealing with it”? It usually means that we’re in some type of limbo or standstill. We don’t want to go back but we can’t seem to move on. We keep rehearsing what happened to us over and over again in our mind. Instead of “dealing with it” how about just getting rid of it?

You know that you’re stuck “dealing with it” when someone says or does something that reminds you of a past hurt and you explode. Although they weren’t the one who hurt you, you treat them as if they had because they touched a wound in your soul that never healed. For some wounds, talk therapy, medication, and counseling sessions just don’t work. They may help but they won’t heal.

Jeremiah preached for forty years. And for forty years his own people rejected him. He was called an outcast and wanted to quit. Seeing his pain, the Lord told him, “Jeremiah, I will heal your wounds.” God makes the same promise to us today. Go to Him. Let him heal your heart. Stop dealing with it and just get rid of it!

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our first 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Matthew 2