Devotional: When to move fast and when to move slow

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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Today’s devotional came from Daily Hope – messages taken from Pastor Rick Warren‘s sermons at our Saddleback Church. It’s how I get my daily bread when I can’t wake up to read at my leisure, have to be on the road somewhere, and still want to start my day with God.

Here is the message, and below are my takeaways.

* Don’t move fast if you are angry, stressed, or depressed; it almost never is an optimal result. Move slowly when you feel this way – because feelings lie and are temporary at best; and doing so creates time to ask God for His direction. And His wisdom is always better than ours.
* Whatever you aspire to do, consult with people who have done it before you. You are not meant to go at anything alone; it will save from critical, avoidable, and stupid mistakes; and God speaks through other people as well – use this valuable resource.
* The Bible says to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19). Most of us do the exact opposite of these principles and that’s why there are so many relational rifts on all levels – in business, in the work environment, in politics, family, etc.
* When you are slow to speak you have a better understanding; you are thoughtful; and you give God a chance to enter and say the right things through you.
* What is happening in my life right now right need to slow down?
* Proverbs 4:26 says: “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet…” If you carefully consider your decision, you have a better chance at success. Ask yourself what you need to do today in order to achieve what you want tomorrow. Ask if what you’re doing right now is honoring your goals.
* After you’ve planted that seed, be patient and trust God. Know that the season in which you sow is different from the season you reap. Don’t constantly dig up the seed to see if it is growing. Know that whatever you plant you will always get back more than what you put in – be it negative or positive.
* On the flip side, know what needs to happen immediately, like following your purpose or keeping God’s commands. Partial or delayed obedience is still disobedience, and a blockade for God’s blessing.

Throwback: Book of promises & blessings

This is part of a series called “Throwback” – where I revive journal entries and blog posts written/posted on this very day, years ago.

Written on June 8th, 2014 (three years ago), Saddleback Church sent me a list of promises in the Bible that God has made to us. Pastor Rick Warren reminds us that we can’t enjoy all of the benefits of something unless we read the instruction manual; and to read this list gives me so much comfort, protection, and love for my Heavenly Father.

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We don’t deserve God’s blessings.

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:16 (NIV)

But God enjoys blessing his children and wants to bless you!

“I will enjoy blessing them. With all my heart and soul I will faithfully plant them in this land.” Jer. 32:41 (GW)

“My blessings are for Gentiles, too, when they accept the Lord; don’t let them think that I will make them second-class citizens. They can be as much mine as anyone.” Isaiah 56:3 (LB)

God promises to bless you IF you follow his instructions. Every promise has a premise. There’s a condition attached.

“You will experience all these blessings IF you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in your towns and in the country. You will be blessed with many children and productive fields. You will be blessed with fertile herds and flocks. You will be blessed with baskets overflowing with fruit, and with kneading bowls filled with bread. You will be blessed wherever you go, both in coming and in going. The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you… And the Lord will bless everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain.” Deuteronomy 28:2-8 (NLT)

God wants to bless you visibly in front of others as a testimony.

*“Lord, you have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You do much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.”* Psalm 31:19 (NLT)

God blesses you so you can be a blessing to others!

“I will cause my people and their homes around my holy hill to BE a blessing. And I will send showers, showers of blessings, which will come just when they are needed.” Ezekiel 34:26 (NLT)

God’s blessing can be passed on to generations. You can create a legacy.

“After Abraham’s death, God poured out rich blessings on Isaac.” Gen. 25:11 (NLT)

It’s never too late to start living a God-blessed life!

“The Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the first half of his life.” Job 42:12

God promises to bless my life IF I meet with him daily.

“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching DAILY at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” Prov. 8:34

God promises to bless my life IF I study and do his Word.

“Blessed is the man… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his word he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Ps. 1:1-3

“The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

God promises to bless my life IF I tithe my income.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10

God promises to bless my life IF I help others in need, especially the poor.

“God blesses those who are kind to the poor and helpless. He helps them out of their own troubles. He protects them and keeps them alive; he publicly honors them and destroys the power of their enemies.” Psalm 41:1-2

“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Prov. 22:9

God promises to bless my life IF I share the Good News.

“I pray you will be active in sharing your faith, so that you will fully understand every blessing we have in Christ.” Philemon 1:6

“The man who PLANTS and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” 1 Cor. 3:8

Good people bless and build up their city.” Prov.11:11

God promises to bless my life IF I participate in fellowship with other believers.

“I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.” Rom 1:12

“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed IF you DO them.” John 13:17

SOME OF THE MANY VERSES ON BLESSING IN THE BIBLE

“The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.” Proverbs 10:22 (NIV)

“For those who are always generous and lend freely, their children will be blessed.” Psalm 37:26 (NIV)

“If you return to the Almighty, you will be blessed again. So remove evil from your house.” Job 22:23 (NCV)

“Even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” Luke 11:28 (NLT)

“(Help the unfortunate…) and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:14 (NIV)

“Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures.” Deut. 15:10 (Mes)

“Worship the Lord your God and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.” Exodus 23:25 (NIV)

“‘Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

“Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” Deut. 15:10 (NIV)

“Happy are those who respect the Lord and obey him. You will enjoy what you work for, and you will be blessed with good things.” Psalm 128:1-2 (NCV)

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 (NIV)

“If they listen and obey God, then they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives. All their years will be pleasant.” Job 36:11 (NLT)

“Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” Job 5:17 (NIV)

“Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers.” Psalm 1:1 (GW)

“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.” Psalm 40:4 (NIV)

“Blessed are those who dwell in your house to worship; they are ever praising you.” Psalm 84:4 (NIV)

“Give freely to the poor person, and do not wish that you didn’t have to give. The Lord your God will bless your work and everything you touch.” Deut. 15:10 (NCV)

“Blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12 (NIV)

“If the place of worship is too far from your home for you to carry there the tithe of the produce that the Lord has blessed you with, then do this: Sell your produce and take the money with you to the one place of worship.” Deut. 14:24-25 (TEV)

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” Psalm 89:15 (NIV)

“Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.” Psalm 106:3 (NIV)

“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways.” Psalm 128:1 (NIV)

“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.” Psalm 41:1-2 (NIV)

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” Psalm 112:1-2 (NIV)

“Blessed are those who keep my ways.” Proverbs 8:32 (NIV)

“Each of these blessings depends on your not turning aside in any way from the laws I have given you; and you must never worship other gods.” Deut. 28:14 (Living)

“Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law.” Psalm 94:12 (NIV)

“It is sin to despise one’s neighbors; blessed are those who help the poor.” Proverbs 14:21 (NLT)

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 (NIV)

“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Prov. 22:9 (NIV)

“Good people will be generous to others and will be blessed for all they do.” Isaiah 32:8 (NLT)

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom and gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:13 (NIV)

“A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”
Proverbs 28:20 (NIV)

“The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” Proverbs 3:33 (NIV)

“People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.”
Proverbs 11:26 (NIV)

“He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” Proverbs 14:21 (NIV)

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.”
Proverbs 16:20 (NIV)

“An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning will not be blessed at the end.” Proverbs 20:21 (NIV)

“It will go well with those who convict the guilty and rich blessing will come upon them.” Proverbs 24:25 (NIV)

“Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.” Proverbs 28:14 (NIV)

“The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV)

“The best of all the first fruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household.” Ezekiel 44:30 (NIV)

“Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” Deut. 16:17 (NIV)

“Blessed is the man… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on is word he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”’ Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:3-11 (NIV)

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28 (NIV)

“Jesus said, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed.”’ John 20:29 (NIV)

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35 (NIV)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephes. 1:3 (NIV)

“The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 (NIV)

“Even if you should suffer for what is right, you will be blessed.” 1 Peter 3:14

“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” 1 Peter 4:14 (NIV)

“If you can’t carry that ten percent of your harvest to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped; if you live too far away, or if the Lord gives you a big harvest, then sell this part and take the money there instead.” Deut. 14:24-25 (CEV)

“You should be happy to give the poor what they need, because then the Lord will make you successful in everything you do.” Deut. 15:10 (CEV)

“… Each man is to bring a gift as he is able, in proportion to the blessings that the Lord your God has given him.” Deut. 16:16-17 (TEV)

“Obey the Lord your God so that all these blessings will come and stay with you: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. Your children will be blessed, as well as your crops; your herds will be blessed with calves and your flocks with lambs. Your basket and your kitchen will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and when you go out. The Lord will help you defeat the enemies that come to fight you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will run from you in seven directions. The Lord will bless you with full barns, and he will bless everything you do.” Deut. 28:2-8 (NCV)

“I will also bless the Gentiles who commit themselves to the Lord and serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who have accepted his covenant.” Isaiah 56:6 (NLT)

“A beautiful palace does not make a great king! Why did your father, Josiah, reign so long? Because he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him.” Jeremiah 22:15 (NLT)

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Good will comes to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.” Psalm 112:1-9 (NIV)

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.” Proverbs 3:13-18 (NIV)

“The memory of the righteous will be a blessing.” Proverbs 10:7 (NIV)

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20 (NIV)

“He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” Proverbs 21:21 (NIV)

“Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'” Luke 14:12-14 (NIV)

“You will be blessed in every way, and you will be able to keep on being generous. Then many people will thank God when we deliver your gift.” 2 Cor. 9:11 (CEV)

“The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 (NIV)

“If the place of worship is too far from your home for you to carry there the tithe of the produce that the Lord has blessed you with, then do this: Sell your produce and take the money with you to the one place of worship.” Deut. 14:24-25 (TEV)

“Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” Deut. 16:17 (NIV)

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” Psalm 112:1-2 (NIV)

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:13 (NIV)

“Blessed are those who keep my ways.” Proverbs 8:32 (NIV)

“They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.” Psalm 37:26 (NIV)

“The best of all the first fruits will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household.” Ezekiel 44:30 (NIV)

“Give freely without begrudging it, and the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some among you who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share your resources freely with the poor and with others in need.” Deut. 15:10-11 (NLT)

“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in his times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.” Psalm 41:1-2 (NIV)

“Good people will be generous to others and will be blessed for all they do.” Isaiah 32:8 (NLT)

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28 (NIV)

“I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.” Romans 1:12 (NLT)

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”’ Mal. 3:10 (NIV)

“The best of all the first fruits will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household.” Ezekiel 44:30 (NIV)

“You will be blessed in every way, and you will be able to keep on being generous. Then many people will thank God when we deliver your gift.” 2 Cor. 9:11 (CEV)

“If the place of worship is too far from your home for you to carry there the tithe of the produce that the Lord has blessed you with, then do his: Sell your produce and take the money with you to the one place of worship.” Deut. 14:24-25 (TEV)

“God blesses those who are kind to the poor and helpless. He helps them out of their own troubles. He protects them and keeps them alive; he publicly honors them and destroys the power of their enemies.” Psalm 41:1-2 (LB)

“Give freely without begrudging it, and the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some among you who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share your resources freely with the poor and with others in need.” Deut. 15:10-11 (NLT)

“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed IF you DO them.” John 13:17

Throwback: Tidbits of wisdom from Pastor Rick Warren

This is part of a series called “Throwback” – where I revive journal entries and blog posts written/posted on this very day, years ago.

Written on June 3rd, 2014 (three years ago), after listening to an audio devotional called “Daily Hope”. Pastor Rick Warren’s wisdom is so relevant and powerful for my life. 
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  • When you’re thinking about other people over yourself, you’re expressing true humility.
  • Humility is not denying your strengths; it’s being honest about your weaknesses.
  • Degrading yourself is not humility. There is a clear difference. 
  • You can’t serve The Lord on earth directly – you can’t even see Him. The only way to do it is through other people. 
  • Marriage is not a 50/50 relationship; it’s a 110/110, where both sides outdo each other in giving honor.

Rest, recharge & redirection 

Good morning to the my audience of three (the blog reader who stumbled on this by accident, my dog Sugar who was sitting on my lap when I wrote this, and myself when I was editing lol!) #sosad

Pastor Rick Warren at my Saddleback Church has always reminded me that in order to know how something works and what the function of something is, you need to consult the Owners Manual. And with that logic, if God is my Creator, then it’d be wise to look to the Bible to see what I was built for and how to use me correctly so that I don’t miss my purpose or harm myself or others.

It’s a combination of being young, immature, and too proud; being seduced to get my guidance elsewhere; and needing to hear it 1,000 times before it seeps in (I’m quite stubborn)…but I never really tried to read the Bible, interpret it, and apply it until recently.

And just like meditation, exercising, etc…it’s been life-changing.

Here’s a Bible verse that I’m going to try and memorize, keep it in my heart, and use it to drive everything I do this week and beyond. Hoping it does wonders for your soul as well, and inspires you to open the Bible so that God can open His mouth.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me besides still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the right paths for His name’s sake” (Psalm 21:1-3).

How can I not be comforted and secured by this passage? Not “most” or “some” of my needs are met – ALL of them are…so I can stop looking in all sorts of unhelpful, unhealthy, and unusual places.

We are a product of our environment, and if our surroundings are beautiful (green pastures) and nourishing (still waters) – then we can truly relax.

Many things can recharge my body and mind i.e. Nutritious foods, meditation, exercise – but they are only temporary, and God isn’t about short-term leases. He goes past the physical, mental, and emotional layers of my my being and makes sure my soul revving at 100%. That’s more sustainable and powerful.

And most importantly, he eliminates stress, uncertainty, and lost time and energy by putting me in the right direction.

I truly don’t need to look anywhere else for provision. You can’t get a better deal than this.