Pastor Rick Warren: Setbacks Can’t Derail God’s Purpose

By Rick Warren

“Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you” (Acts 27:24 NLT).

Sometimes a setback is rooted in your own actions or choices. You made a mistake. You did something that hurt another person. You disobeyed God.

And now you’re facing a storm because of it.
But often, the storms we face in life aren’t because of something we did. Instead, we suffer because of other people’s poor decisions—or even their sins.
Acts 27 gives us a dramatic example of suffering a setback because of the foolish choices of others. Paul had been unfairly put on trial for crimes he didn’t commit. He was a Roman citizen, so he had the opportunity to appeal to Caesar in capital-offense cases.
On the prison ship heading toward Rome, Paul told the others that they were headed toward disaster. But no one listened, and it didn’t take too long before they hit a terrible storm.
But that didn’t mean the storm sidetracked God’s purpose for Paul—and a storm doesn’t have to sidetrack God’s purpose for you, either.
God’s purpose for your life is greater than any setback you’ll ever go through. An angel told Paul this in Acts 27:24: “Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you”’ (NLT).
Despite the setback, the angel told Paul he’d one day stand before Caesar and share his testimony. God’s purpose wouldn’t be thwarted.
God doesn’t need a Plan B for your life. Hitting a setback—whether it’s your fault or someone else’s—doesn’t mean God won’t work through your life. When disaster hits, God just fits it into his plans.
When someone else’s decision turns your life upside down, God uses it for his glory.When someone else’s mistake puts you in a difficult situation, God works through it anyway.
When you feel like you’ve lost everything, God does the incredible so you can do the impossible.
You can’t sink God’s purpose. Neither can anyone else.
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

What are some examples from your own life of how someone else caused a setback for you?
How have you seen God work out his purposes in the midst of storms in your life?
Why is it sometimes tough to recognize how God is working in the midst of difficult times?

Illinois State Fair lowers daily admission prices for Sunday through Thursday

In an effort to attract more visitors, the Illinois State Fair has lowered this year’s admission prices.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

State government’s ongoing ‘tax massacre’

Another Illinois legislative session is winding down. So too is another fiscal year when state lawmakers refuse to do the difficult work necessary to right the state’s fiscal ship.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Editorial: Pritzker’s proposed tax and fee hikes on average Illinoisans total more than those on ‘the rich’

Illinoisans across the state have rightly been focused on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “fair tax” push. That’s the $3.4 billion income tax hike requiring a constitutional amendment to axe the state’s flat income tax protection.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Op-Ed: Seven years after viral rant, transparency remains elusive in Springfield

It’s the final week of May so it’s no wonder that the last-minute shenanigans that are commonplace at the Illinois Capitol this time of year are well underway.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Illinois News Network.

Democrats pivot from ‘war on poverty’ to ‘war on prosperity’

On April 24, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson strode up to a ramshackle house in Inez, Kentucky, and announced to the invited reporters that, “I have called for a national war on poverty. Our objective: total victory.” That war consumed well over $20 trillion, yet poverty rates (as measured by the government) barely budged. Even that shack in Inez, Kentucky, looks about the same now as it did 55 years ago.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Fox News.

Editorial: Illinois should take the slow road on marijuana

The late English journalist Auberon Waugh, a sardonic conservative, once wrote, “It is the kindest thing one can possibly say of a politician that he changed nothing.” We wouldn’t endorse that sentiment on all matters. But it certainly applies to the General Assembly’s current deliberations on legalizing recreational marijuana.

Here’s a link to the editorial at the Chicago Tribune.

Your Daily Prayer

A Prayer for True Love
By Marjorie Jackson
“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NASB)
God’s love for you and me is passionate, pure and beyond anything we’ve ever experienced, accepting us as we are. Our good, our sins, our past and our flaws are all bare before His eyes, yet being the perfect Gentleman and Father He is, He washes, changes, teaches and grows us tenderly. He reminds us of our worth and beauty as His daughters. He wants to forgive, bless and take care of us. He loves us with unconditional agape love.

Good news: His love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8) We can love like that, too — not in our own strength or willpower, but by the Holy Spirit perfecting God’s love in our hearts. (1 John 4:12) The deeper we know God and His arduous, purposeful love for us and for others, the easier we can love others as an act of loving obedience to God.
1 John 4:20 tells it like it is: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (NASB)

Of course. How can we defy God’s command to love the people He has placed in our lives and still claim to love Him? Our obedience to God’s Word comes from our love and reverence for Him who gave His all so we could keep on giving and loving like He has done for us.
It is only when we love God first and foremost that we can reach our full potential in loving others as friends, sisters, daughters, wives and mothers. As we grow in our love for God and in our knowledge of His love, we begin to change. We begin to see and love others differently.
In reality, true love happens when the stars don’t align, sparks dim and butterflies fly away. Love happens when we sacrifice, knowing we’ll get nothing in return. We are patient, kind, never envious or boastful, modeling 1 Corinthians 13 in our hearts and with our behavior without expecting payback or accolade. We lay down our lives in love.
Today’s key verse, 1 John 4:8 says, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” I hope you find true love. I hope you and I grow so close to God that we naturally begin to “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5b, NASB). May you and I so overflow with God’s love that it runs up and over onto everyone we meet. His love will never fail, because God Himself is true love, and God never fails.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for loving me long before I ever loved You. Affirm Your love to me so I may know it well and pour it out on those around me. You are good, and Your love is perfect. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Pastor Rick Warren: Three Things Fear Does to Relationships

By Rick Warren

“For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (2 Timothy 1:7 TLB).

If you want to connect with someone, you’ve got to be willing to take the first step. This often requires courage. Why? Because it’s fear that disconnects human beings. When we’re full of fear and anxiety, we don’t get close to others. In fact, we back off. We’re afraid of being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, used. All of these fears cause us to stay disconnected in life.

This fear is as old as humanity itself. When Adam and Eve sinned and God came looking for Adam, Adam said, “I was afraid, and I hid.” People have been doing that ever since. We’re afraid, so we hide. We hide our true selves. We don’t let people know what we’re really like, because if we do and they don’t like us, we face rejection. And so we pretend.
Fear does three terrible things to relationships:
Fear makes us defensive. When people point out weaknesses, we retaliate and defend ourselves.
Fear keeps us distant. We don’t let people get close to us. We withdraw. We hide our emotions.
Fear makes us demanding. The more insecure we are, the more we attempt to control things. We try to have the last word in a relationship. We seek to dominate.
So where do you get the courage to take the first step to connect with someone and go to a deeper level of intimacy?
You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. The Bible says, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (2 Timothy 1:7 TLB).
How do you know when you’re filled with God’s Spirit? You’re more courageous in your relationships. You love people. You enjoy being with them. You’re not afraid of them, because God’s Spirit is in your life. The Bible says that “God is love” and “Love casts out all fear.” The more of God you have in your life, the less fear you’re going to have.
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

What relationship in your life needs to go deeper? Pray, and ask God for the courage to take the first step toward growth with that person today.
What evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work do you see in your relationship?
What new habit could help you get closer to Jesus?

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.

Editorial: Trust hard to come by when promises broken in Springfield

Parents, teachers and other school choice advocates are roaming the halls of the state Capitol building during the final weeks of session, talking to any lawmaker who will listen about how the Invest in Kids scholarship program is helping put students in schools that allow them to thrive.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Illinois News Network.

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