Daily Encouragement For The Journey

Day 9: Breakthrough In Unresolved Conflict

Ephesians 4:26-27
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.

My Breakthrough Thought:
Show me an angry person and I’ll show you a hurt person. And I guarantee you that person is hurt because something has been taken. Somebody owes them something.

We all know people whose anger could be verbalized in one of the following ways: “You took my reputation.” “You stole my family.” “You took the best years of my life.” “You stole my first marriage.” “You robbed me of my teenage years.” “You robbed me of my purity.” “You owe me a raise.” “You owe me an opportunity to try.” “You owe me a second chance.” “You owe me affection.”

The root of anger is the perception that something has been taken. Something is owed you. And now a debt-to-debtor relationship has been established.

How about you? What debt is causing the anger you feel?

How long are you going to allow the people who have hurt you to control your life? Another month? Another year? Another season of your life? How long? I’d like to propose that today should be the day when you quit holding on to the hurt!

While it’s true that you can’t undo what’s been done, it’s equally true that you don’t have to let the past control your future. In Ephesians 4, we’re commanded to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger.” We do that by “forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

The remedy for anger is forgiveness. If we hold out waiting to be paid back for the wrongs done to us, we will be the ones who pay. If, on the other hand, we cancel the debts owed to us, we will be set free.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus, I no longer can accept the unresolved conflict that has separated me from those that I love. Breakthrough today! Please help me to own any of the conflict I have created and let me forgive and move past any conflict that has come against me. Amen!”

Matthew 5:9, 38-39; Luke 17:3-4; Romans 12:17-18; Colossians 3:13; 1 John 1:9;

Day 8: Breakthrough In Broken Relationships

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

My Breakthrough Thought:
We seem to be on a cosmic quest to establish our value—to prove it, earn it, deserve it. And once we find what we’re looking for, we relax—but only momentarily. Eventually the people we are pleasing—whether a parent, a spouse, a friend, an advisory board, or an audience—quit sending us love messages. Ultimately we find ourselves back on our endless quest. And that unfulfilling quest makes it nearly impossible to love like Jesus. Why? Because we can’t give grace to others when we aren’t receiving it ourselves. When we’re busy earning acceptance from God, we start to think everyone else should earn it too. Judgmentalism creeps in. Self-righteousness appears.

If you want to be a better grace-giver, you’ve got to continually and consciously receive the grace God gives you. “Whoever has been forgiven only a little,” Jesus said, “loves only a little.” The more grace we receive, the more love we give. When we aren’t cognizant of God’s unconditional acceptance in our own lives, we can’t give it to others. Judgmentalism sees to that.

Here’s the truth: God’s grace is received, not achieved. Grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us. And continually receiving God’s grace—in the deepest and most central parts of our beings—is the only true and lasting remedy to ugly judgments and holier-than-thou attitudes. “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable,” said C. S. Lewis, “because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

Love is not the cause of grace. It’s the proof of it. When we are conscious of God’s grace in our own lives, we are automatically more loving and accepting of others. I’m not naive about our judgments. I don’t think it’s possible to live a life where we never judge anyone, ever. But once you embrace God’s grace, once you raise your consciousness around this gift you are continually given, you get immeasurably closer to loving like Jesus.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus, I come to you broken-hearted regarding broken relationships in my life. I desire that all relationships in my life would be healthy. Jesus, you are the one that breaks through. Break through the brokenness and heal my relationships today. Amen!”

Proverbs 17:17; Ephesians 4:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Peter 4:8;

Day 7: Break Free From Passivity & Procrastination

Proverbs 24:30-34
I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

My Breakthrough Thought:
We want our lives to matter. We want these few days we spend here to mean something. We want some sort of impact. Well, friend, if we really want impact, we’ve got to allow the amplifying power of the Holy Spirit to work through us—by being willing to act in faith. When we act alone (as we so often do), we do so with our own strength. But when we act in faith, our actions are amplified by the strength of a great and powerful God. Men and women acting in faith have “stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight” (Hebrews 11:33-34).

The surprising thing about acting in faith is that—unlike when we act alone—it’s not our skill, nor our cleverness, that determines the magnitude of impact. When the Apostle Paul worked to start the church in Corinth, he spoke “in weakness and in fear,” lacking “plausible words of wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:3-4). He must have doubted whether he’d had any impact at all. But the church was established nonetheless. “God’s Spirit and God’s power did it,” through Paul’s seemingly unimpressive actions, taken in faith (1 Corinthians 2:3-5 MSG).

Okay, so what do we do?

Just do something. Choose something practical, something that fits within the great commandments (Matthew 22:36-39), and something that’s too big. Go ahead and get in over-your-head. Tackle the problem that’s been on your heart. Tell someone about your faith. Help that person who’s hard to love. Things might not turn out as you expect, of course—or with the timing you’d like. Trust, though, if you do act, you’ll begin to have the impact for which you’re meant.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus grant me the strength to move forward in the journey you have set before me. Break off the tendencies to procrastinate. I no longer choose to be passive, uncertain or unstable in my ways. In your name, I breakthrough today and toward all that you have in store for me. Amen!”

Joshua 1:9, 23:6; Psalm 27:14; Proverbs 6:6-8; Proverbs 20:4; Hebrews 4:16, 13:16;

 

Day 6: Break Free From Sexual Impurities

1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

My Breakthrough Thought:
It’s always a good idea to pray that the Lord will protect us from temptation (Matthew 6:13). But prayer by itself is often not enough. At least not where sexual purity and marital fidelity are concerned. Once we’ve made our request known to our Father in heaven, we also have to make up our minds to stay vigilant and keep up our guard.

If we don’t, we can easily be thrown off balance and taken by surprise. We can be led astray by the schemes of the devil or seduced by our own subconscious lusts and desires (James 1:14). Why? Because “the flesh is weak.”

If you really want to avoid sexual impurities, you have to embrace every aspect of the defense system the Lord has placed at your disposal. Ask for His protection. Make up your mind to stand firm in faith but flee from the sin (literally). And keep your eyes peeled for unexpected traps and snares.

This is particularly important if you are unusually prone to sexual temptation. Were you promiscuous as a teen or young adult? Is there something in your family background that might make you especially vulnerable – a divorce, for example, or an affair, or abuse or neglect of some kind? Do you struggle with feelings of insecurity or low self-esteem?

Do you and your spouse find it hard to talk about your deepest thoughts and emotions? In marriage, the bottom line is always communication. Couples who can learn to be open, honest, and caring in the way they express their wants, needs, desires, and concerns to one another are the ones who have the best chance of safeguarding their relationship. These are the couples who usually end up going the distance in marriage.

If you’re battling temptation, it can also be helpful to seek the guidance and support of a larger community. Find a way to make yourself accountable to others who can hold you to a high standard of morality and sexual purity.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus today I rely on the power of your name to break off any lustful or immoral thoughts or behaviors that have plagued me. I rebuke lust, perversion, promiscuity, pornography, fornication, adultery, fantasy, and all sexual impurities from my life. Help me to glorify you! Amen!”

Genesis 39:12-14; Proverbs 2:16-19; Proverbs 5:3-15; Romans 6:12-14; Philippians 4:8; 2 Timothy 2:22

 

Day 5: Break Free from A Painful Past

Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

My Breakthrough Thought:
Our tears and pain were never part of God’s original plan for us, nor will they be part of eternity. However, we live in a sort of parenthesis in the timeline of the universe, a “present age” (see Mark 10:30) between the garden (see Genesis 2:8) and the new heaven and new earth (see Revelation 21:1).

At the end of time, God will wipe away every tear (see Revelation 21:4). We will not experience this suffering forever. But during these present times, we see the results of sin’s contamination of the world: death, mourning and pain. We fail and let ourselves and others down. Others do the same. Instead of denying these negative aspects of our present life, we need to accept and deal with them in preparation for the time when God ends all the suffering. The Bible teaches us three keys that can help: forgiveness (see Ephesians 4:32), grief (see James 4:9) and healing (see Psalm 30:2). We must arm ourselves with these three things. They will help us grow, recover and move past the difficult times. The good news is that the pain is not the end of the story. God will give us current healing and future paradise. Our job is to be involved in the journey with him.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus I am grateful that you are the one that can erase the pains of my past. Help me to break through the painful memories of yesteryear and press on toward all you have in store for me on the journey ahead. My best days are yet to come. Amen!”

Genesis 50:4; Songs 2:11-12; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Peter 2:10;

Day 4: Break Free From Cycles Of Failure &  Defeat

Galatians 3:13-14
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

My Breakthrough Thought:
Failure can be the result of others’ actions, circumstances beyond our control, our own actions, or a combination of all three. While failure is no fun, it can benefit us in the long run. When mourning our mistakes compels us to make ourselves right with God and others, God comforts us and our relationships improve.

For those who struggle with perfectionism, grieving humbles us and puts us in touch with our humanity. Anxiety-driven striving alienates us from our emotions. Allowing ourselves to feel unadulterated sadness dispels this anxiety and the stress that comes with it.

Feeling sadness is uncomfortable. Without the emotional blessing of sadness, however, we would probably never muster the guts to admit our mistakes. But when we do admit mistakes, we may be surprised how often people are ready to forgive us. If we make a mistake with a colleague, student, customer, employee, or other person, we can admit it, ask their pardon, and commit to learning from our mistakes.

Of course, we must also deal with our failures in prayer. We can ask for forgiveness first, and then for the wisdom, courage, and perseverance to meet future challenges. Failure teaches us that we must depend on God’s living power. Faith in Christ enables us to do through God’s power what we could not otherwise.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus, I am in need of you today to help me from living a cycle of failure and defeat. You have paid the price, once and for all for all my past sins and mistakes and I choose today to stand firm in my faith that my journey ahead will be filled with victory. Amen!”

Ezekiel 34:26; Psalm 65:4; Joel 2:22-23; Matthew 12:29; Romans 4:7; 2 Corinthians 6:15;

Day 3: Break Free From Unbelief & Doubt

Matthew 13:58
And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

My Breakthrough Thought:
Throughout the teaching of Jesus, and the whole Bible for that matter, we are encouraged to believe not just in our heads but also in our hearts.

We are invited to believe these powerful truths not only as the right answers but also as a way of life. When we do, everything is possible.

The journey of belief actually begins with the confession of unbelief. As you turn the page and peer into the key beliefs, practices, and virtues of the Christian faith, turn to God with a willingness to be honest with him. Like the man in Mark 9, tell him where you are in the form of a prayer request: “I do believe some things, Lord, but would you help me overcome what I am struggling to believe?” If you do, he will.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus forgive me for my doubt and unbelief. I will no longer allow my circumstances, others, or the enemy to derail me from believing in your promises. Jesus help me breakthrough today. Amen!”

Matthew 8:10, 9:29; Romans 4:20, 10:17; 2 Corinthians 1:21; Hebrews 11:27-30; James 1:6

Day 2: Break Free From Sinful Behaviors Or Addictions

Galatians 5:19-24
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

My Breakthrough Thought:
Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God took care of the big issue where sin is concerned. Thanks to Him, those who put their faith in Jesus don’t have to be afraid of dying because we know that we will spend eternity with our Heavenly Father.

It’s the daily stuff that we have to concern ourselves with. While spiritual rebirth is instant the moment that we put our faith in Jesus for salvation, transformation into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit takes a lifetime and requires our cooperation.

Salvation is about rescue, but Christianity is about obedience, a daily—sometimes momentary—choice to live the kind of life that God intended for us to live by the power of Jesus’ Holy Spirit inside us, walking away from the sin that once enslaved us and embracing the freedom His death and resurrection afforded us.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus, today I confess my need of you. It is only in you, that I can breakthrough  the sinful behaviors and addictions that have held me back. Today, I breakthrough by your power, and choose to never look back. Amen!”

Proverbs 23:21; Luke 21:34; Romans 13:13;

 

Day 1: Break Free From Any Strongholds

Matthew 17:20-21
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

My Breakthrough Thought:
Wow! What an incredible verse! God’s promise to us that nothing will be impossible for those who engage their faith. I don’t know about you, but there are few things more discouraging than being stuck. Something blocking our path and preventing us from stepping in to all God has for us. Well, take heart, there is one beautiful phrase we read in Matthew 17:20-21. “…and it will move,”. YES! It will move. In other words. We can be free from whatever mountain, barrier, or stronghold blocking our path.

Our part is simple – have faith – and say to the mountain. Step into the measure of faith you have right right now, in this season, and break free from your struggle and your stronghold.

My Breakthrough Prayer Today:
“Jesus, I come to you as the Breaker of all strongholds and ask you to remove any strongholds that hold me back and command them to yield to the power of God, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!”

Exodus 14:13; Deuteronomy 20:19; 2 Samuel 5:7;  Judges 1:19; Matthew 19:26; 2 Corinthians 6:2;