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- AUGUST 9 For we live by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7) A few weeks ago, I told you about one of the toughest seasons in my life. When I was in my midtwenties, I was rejected for ordination as a pastor. My first time before the board of overseers, they explained that my ideas were too radical, my approach too unorthodox, and my passion was simply “over the top.” So instead of ordaining me with my class of peers, they put me on a one-year probation. After another year of seminary, they would re-evaluate my potential to become an ordained pastor. I distinctly remember driving home, sobbing in my little red Geo Prism. Now, there is crying and there is ugly crying. I was unquestionably in ugly-snot-flinging-barely-breathing-ugly-crying mode. I felt like my whole life, everything I had lived for, was being stripped from me. That’s when I sensed the unmistakable presence of God. In that moment, I heard the words inside my heart, “You are not who others say you are. You are who I say you are. And I say you are called to serve me in ministry.” And that was all I needed. People’s opinions didn’t matter. God’s assurance was all I needed. Whenever you feel down or discouraged, remember, you are not who others say you are. You are not even what you think you are. You are who God says you are. And he says you belong to him. You have his Spirit. And you can do whatever he calls you to do by his power. Power Lift When others doubt me, God, it hurts, and sometimes I want to give up. But then I remember all that you have done for me and what you have called me to do. I am yours—use me, Lord, no matter what anyone else may say. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.
- AUGUST 8 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17:20) When the car breaks down, the kids need school clothes, and your boss demands more overtime without additional pay, it’s easy to struggle in our faith. Before long, we replay old and unproductive messages in our minds: You’ll never have all you need. You aren’t good enough. You don’t have what it takes. God doesn’t hear your prayer. God doesn’t really care about you. If you feel like your faith is fading, don’t freak out. Remember, Jesus said if you just have the faith of a mustard seed—think of how small that is, like a grain of sand—you can move a mountain. Surely it’s no coincidence that the mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds, probably the smallest known during the first century. Jesus must have known that we would often feel that our faith is stretched to the breaking point. Sometimes I’m like the man in Scripture who said, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NLT). If you are praying for a miracle, even one that feels small or unimportant to anyone else (remember that AC I told you about?), then keep the faith. If you are praying for someone to be saved, continue believing. If you are trusting God to restore your marriage, don’t stop. If you are begging God to help you change, wake up every day and continue to seek him. Don’t forget, it’s not the size of your faith that matters. It’s the size of your God. And with him, all things are possible. Power Lift Lord, I want to focus on the way you can do anything. Despite whatever obstacles I encounter today, I will believe and trust in you. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.
- AUGUST 7 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. (2 Cor. 10:5) It’s way too easy to live with a victim mindset. I know because I’ve been there. When our church was about eleven years old, we seemed to hit a massive wall. Whatever we tried, we couldn’t seem to make any real spiritual progress. Before long, I honestly felt like I had lost the church that I loved. Instead of leading with faith, I led with fear. I was consumed with the fear that our best days were behind us. If you are honest, you might occasionally (or often) recognize victim thinking in your own life. It’s easy to recognize because it usually starts with “I can’t,” “I won’t,” “I always,” “I never.” You know how it goes. I can’t lose weight. I’m always depressed. I just can’t change. I always struggle financially. I just can’t get ahead. The story I told myself during the tough season at church was, “I just don’t have what it takes to make the changes.” Thankfully, God got ahold of me. With his help, I realized that I was telling myself a lie. He was with me. He would empower me. He would help me lead the church to where he wanted it to be. Remember, you are more than a conqueror. So fight with a conquering attitude. Believe Jesus will help you change. Empower you to overcome. Give you the strength to win the battle. Faith-filled attitudes lead to faith-filled actions. Godly beliefs lead to godly behavior. You are not a victim. With Christ, you are a victor. Power Lift I am not a victim of my circumstances, Lord, but a victor through the power of Christ. Today help me live like a child of the King. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.
- AUGUST 6 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Rom 8:37) Today I played my thirteen-year-old son, Stephen, in checkers. Before I tell you how the game ended, you need to know that Stephen is two grades ahead in math, and that’s because it’s as far ahead as experts agree is wise to allow him to go. In other words, he’s crazy smart. Several moves into the game, I made a mistake. Just one, but it was crucial. Stephen pounced on my misstep and that was all she wrote. Although I put up the best fight I had, I never stood a chance. By the end of the game, I had only jumped him once as he beamed at me. I wouldn’t want him to know, but to say he crushed me would be an understatement. Sometimes in life it feels like we are being trampled by our Enemy. But the truth is, with Christ, we are “more than conquerors.” This threeword, power-packed phrase comes from the Greek word hupernikao. This word means to vanquish beyond recognition, to gain a decisive victory. It means exceedingly more than to conquer. It’s like David defeating Goliath. It’s like Gideon besting the Midianites. It’s like Jesus conquering the devil. And yes, it’s like what Stephen did to me in checkers. If you are facing something that is more than you can handle, remember, you are not alone. With Christ, you are more than a conqueror. Power Lift Even when I feel defeated and discouraged, Lord, I know that my victory remains strong in you. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.
- AUGUST 5 You are not your own; you were bought at a price. (1 Cor. 6:19–20) When my wife, Amy, was a teenager, her dad told her the same phrase again and again. Before going out on the weekends with friends, Amy’s dad knew there would be plenty of opportunities to do the wrong things. So before she would leave the house, her wise dad would always say, “Remember who you are.” Amy’s dad knew that Amy had a strong faith in Christ. Because of what Christ did for Amy, her life was not her own. She belonged to Christ. He was hers. And she was his. So many voices try to tell us otherwise. You aren’t worthy. You are a failure. You are pathetic. Whenever you find yourself battling against any kind of temptation, remember who you are. You are a child of God. You were purchased with the blood of Jesus. You are not your own. You belong to him. Because you are his, he will never leave you. You will never be alone. God is for you. God’s spirit dwells within you. Christ’s power is available to you. Don’t let anyone or anything steal your true identity in Christ. Remember who you are. Remember whose you are. Power Lift Jesus, I know you’ve defeated the power of sin in my life once and for all. I’m a new creation and am becoming more like you every day. When I’m tempted to slip back into sinful habits, remind me who I am in you. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.
- AUGUST 4 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10) I’ve seen a bumper sticker on several cars that makes me chuckle every time. It simply says, “God don’t make no junk!” (Ironically, it seems like every time I see this bumper sticker, it’s always on an old clunker.) But it’s true: when you’re in Christ, God don’t make no junk! You are the masterpiece of God, created for the Master’s purpose. The reason it’s important for you to believe this is because when you know who you are, you’ll know what to do. Otherwise, you might be tempted to accept the labels others stick on you and settle for much less. You are special in Christ, the Master’s creation, created for the Master’s purpose. The Greek word translated as “masterpiece” here in Ephesians 2:10 is poiema (POY-ay-muh). To be “God’s poiema” literally means to be “a work made by God.” Because we derive our English word “poem” from this word, I like to think of us as his beautiful poems. In Christ, your life should be a poetic statement of God’s glory. The master artisan designs each of our lives to join and interlock to create a big picture, a giant living tapestry, woven of people. Sometimes, from where you’re standing, you might not be able to see where you fit. But if you can take a step back and look at it from his perspective, you can see the overall masterpiece, the perfect workmanship of God. Power Lift God, help me to remember that I’m your masterpiece, as unique and beautiful as a poem. I am not who others say I am but who you say I am. My identity rests in you. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.
- AUGUST 3 The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot. (Prov. 10:7 NASB) When I was in the fourth grade, I had a crush on my older neighbor, Missy. Every time she came over to the house, my heart would beat faster, I’d try to stand a bit taller, and I’d do my best not to say something stupid and embarrassing. So you can only imagine the horror I felt when she picked up my dad’s athletic cup that he’d left lying out after his big softball game the night before. If you aren’t familiar with sports protective gear, a “cup” is a triangular piece of plastic that fits around a guy’s . . . well, you can figure it out. It’s also got small holes situated evenly apart, likely to “let things breathe.” I guess you could say it looks a bit like an oxygen mask. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what Missy thought when she innocently picked it up. “What’s this?” she asked. Then it dawned on her, or so she thought. “Oh, I know what this is!” she said enthusiastically, raising the cup rapidly toward her nose. N-o-o-o-o-o! Time stood still. There was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. She inhaled deeply and exhaled completely into my dad’s cup. Then she put it down and continued in small-talk conversation. Obviously, I never told her what happened. When I remember that moment, I can only conclude that if you don’t know the purpose of a thing, all you can do is misuse it. Always remember, you exist to glorify God. In whatever you do today, do it for his glory. Power Lift Today I will remember that I’m created in your image, God, and created for your glory. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.
- AUGUST 2 Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot; There let us rejoice in Him! (Ps. 66:5–6 NASB) Over a quarter of a century ago, Amy and I returned early from our honeymoon. We had planned a full seven-day trip to San Antonio. However, when we ran out of money on day five, we simply got in our car and drove home. Even though it was shorter than we hoped, it was still more than we could have dreamed. Unfortunately, our dream melted when we arrived home. On a 100-plus-degree day, we arrived at our house to discover the air conditioning was not working. With no money to fix it until payday, we felt desperate and cornered, not to mention sweaty and hot. That’s when Amy asked me if I thought I should pray for our AC. Pray? For an air conditioner? Well, with no money and no better options, I decided it was worth a try. To this day, I remember looking over my shoulder to make sure no neighbors were watching when I laid hands on our broken window unit. In the Bible we’re told in James to “lay hands on the sick,” so this seemed reasonable to me. In the middle of the prayer—I’m not kidding—the AC suddenly clicked on and cool air shot out the vents! We were almost too shocked to remember to thank God, which I know was a big problem with the people of Israel. It only took them three days to start grumbling after God parted the Red Sea and delivered them from slavery in Egypt. Don’t forget to remember what God has done for you. Power Lift Lord, I never want to forget your faithfulness and goodness. Thank you for the times you have provided, healed, and blessed my life. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.
- AUGUST 1 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25) My wife and I often remember our wedding anniversaries in different ways. What I recall as an awesome, romantic time to celebrate how long we’ve been together, she sees as a milestone of God’s faithfulness in keeping us together another year. We do agree, however, that anniversaries are important times of remembrance. “We remember” is also a phrase I see frequently with pictures posted by people on the anniversary of 9/11 or on 4/19 here in Oklahoma. It’s a way to honor those loved ones we lost, the first responders who served fearlessly, and those who gave to help rebuild. Many are tempted to focus on remembering the negative—the senseless violence of such attacks. But others, with a different filter, are able to find the good in their memories of those events. They recall the selfless sacrifices made by numerous men and women, the unity and faith of our nation, and the generosity of support and resources to facilitate healing. From my experience, how you remember something usually depends on what you believe about God. While we’re tempted to allow our fear, confusion, and anger to consume us, if we focus on God’s sovereignty, then we know that there’s more than what we experienced or what we remember. Our God redeems even our greatest losses and most painful disappointments. Power Lift Thank you, Lord, for the way you transform the trials in my life into your trophies. Even though I can’t always understand, I know that you are at work for my good. Groeschel, Craig. Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. Print.