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You're the Most Influential Preacher in Your Life

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Nobody preaches to you more than you. Every single moment of the day you press a thought into your mind. You cram doctrine down your throat. Your heart is fed truths and untruths by you, mostly you. 

So, what are you preaching to yourself? Is it old material from the past? Are you borrowing the negative sentiment of an enemy and preaching her scathing words to your soul?

Listen, you need more grace when you talk to yourself. Your self-imposed sermons need to be seasoned with the understanding that you are favored as a son or daughter of the Living God. 

So, try adding these loving truths to your personal pulpit: 

Preach to Yourself That God is For You: Romans 8:31-36, What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword

Preach Grace to Yourself: In Christ, you're forgiven. You're totally forgiven. As human beings, we don’t always know how to see someone totally forgiven as God sees them as totally forgiven, and so we have to learn to, by faith, trust that God sees us in a way in which we don't always see ourselves. You are totally forgiven and God doesn't hold your sin against you any more. Here's a great verse: Isaiah 43:25, I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Preach Process: The Christian life is a process. It's a process of making progress. You're going to disappoint the Lord, yourself, and others some times. You know what, you're going to learn from it and God's able to forgive you. Move on. Be encouraged by this verse in Philippians 1:6, And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

The Bible is preaching grace to us. Learn from that. Be encouraged by it. Start talking to yourself in the way that God speaks to you. 

You Are Loved!

People's Opinions Matter So Much (Or Do They?)

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Someone has said, "If you live for the encouragement of people, you'll die by their discouragement." 
I love that quote. It's so revealing. 
Think about it, if we have to wait until someone praises us for our efforts before we feel good about what we've done, we're going to tire quickly and become unnecessarily enslaved. At the same time, if we're hoping that no one is waiting in the weeds to say something discouraging, we're going to find ourselves frequently paranoid and eventually disappointed. 
Feedback is great. But if we nervously pine after instant encouragement or guard ourselves against overly enthusiastic criticism from others, we're going to ride a very bumpy, emotional rollercoaster. 
Look, people matter. People matter in that they are to be loved and cared for and prayed over. But... people aren't meant to be the Simon Cowell's [think American Idol] of our lives. We're not to look to them to hold up a perfect "10" in regards to our parenting. Or a mediocre "4" in regards to our career choice. 
Be careful. Don't let the opinions of people ruin your joy. People aren't perfect, and neither are their opinions of you perfect. 
There's no way for them to totally understand all that God is accomplishing in your life. How could they perfectly tell if your parenting deserves a ridiculous "3" or an incredible "9?" They can't. And you know what? 
Neither can you. 
You can't even judge rightly your own life, let alone hand over the keys to let someone else judge you or rate you. 
So, don't hang on to every encouraging or discouraging opinion as if your personal worth depends on it. Accept encouragement, you could never have enough. But don't let it foolishly feed your joy. Prepare yourself for discouragement from others, but don't let it manhandle and destroy your confidence. 
Remember what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
God's working in you. He knows what He's doing. He has a plan. It's perfect. And only His opinion truly matters. His opinion will never change. He loves you as much today as He will 500 years from now. 
You Are Loved!