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Daily Readings from Next Level Thinking
90 Devotions for a Successful and Abundant Life
By Joel Osteen
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We all have things that are trying to hold us back: guilt from past mistakes, temptations that we can’t seem to overcome, or dysfunctions that have been passed down. It’s easy to learn to live with these problems and accept them as who we are. We can all find a reason to live like we’re at a disadvantage and become negative and bitter-we came down with an illness, somebody walked out of a relationship, our boss overlooked us. But we have to say, “I’m done making excuses. I’m not going to let the past keep me from moving forward and benefitting from the good things God has in store.” It is time to say, “It is finished.”
In Next Level Thinking, Joel Osteen writes that we weren’t created to go through life weighed down by addictions, dysfunction, guilt, or the past. God created us to be free. Joel encourages readers to leave behind the negative mindsets, the scarcity mentality, and the limitations others have put on us, and shows us how to step into new levels of victory, new levels of favor.
We can all find reasons to live negative, bitter, as though we’re at a disadvantage. Perhaps we came down with an illness, or somebody walked out of a relationship with us, or our boss overlooked us. Too often we focus on our past, our mistakes, our failures, limitations of how we grew up and what people think of us. It’s easy to get discouraged, give up on our dreams, and just settle.
That is why I wrote my book Next Level Thinking. God created us to be free from all the shame, the guilt, the condemnation, the addictions, the feelings of never being good enough, and the carrying of pain from past hurts. It’s interesting that before Jesus took His final breath on the cross, He declared, “It is finished.” More than just declaring that His assignment on earth was finished, Jesus was stating in no uncertain terms that everything His assignment pertained to was finished—that He had provided us with everything we need to become everything He created us to be. It’s done. Paid for. Finished!
Over the next ninety days, I want you to take a journey together with me and explore ten powerful thoughts for your life:
1. Be a Barrier Breaker
2. You Are Fully Loaded
3. The Odds Are for You
4. Move Up to the Next Level
5. Recognize Your Value
6. Live with the Boldness of a Son
7. Know You Are Loved
8. Approve Yourself
9. Get the Contaminants Out
10. Remove the Shame
This collection of ninety daily devotionals contains excerpts from my original book that will help you see that everything you need to live a successful and abundant life has already been provided. All you have to do is believe it, receive it, and walk in it. It offers the same positive, inspiring, and faith-building messages and encouragement of Next Level Thinking in daily doses supplemented by a wealth of supportive scriptures, selected stories, daily prayers, and daily thoughts for contemplation.
I hope this daily devotional will encourage you, will enhance your thinking, and will help you rise to the next level of living your best.
Daily Readings from Next Level Thinking is divided into ten sections. Each section covers one of the ten powerful thoughts to improving your thinking. The goal is for you to take just a brief time each day to read and reflect, to put the events and circumstances in your life in perspective, and to receive a mental, emotional, and spiritual lift.
Each of the daily readings was selected to emphasize the fact that when we think better, we will see breakthroughs on all that is keeping us back from God’s abundant life. We’ve added several other features to help you apply and live out the truth that God wants you to know. Each daily devotional includes:
A suggested Scripture reading: These passages will sometimes relate directly to the point being described or will provide necessary background for accurately understanding the truth for that day. Reading these selected passages will help you fully benefit from this book.
Key verse(s): A biblical verse that specifically expresses the theme of the devotional.
A devotional excerpt from Next Level Thinking: A brief lesson or story to encourage and uplift you.
Today’s Prayer: A daily prayer that can serve as a model to help you express your prayer requests, desires, gratitude, and fresh commitments to God. Feel free to adapt these prayers and make them your own. Have a personal conversation with your heavenly Father.
Today’s Thought: These are points meant for you to consider prayerfully after each daily reading. God’s Word tells us that our thinking patterns become our acting patterns. The way we talk to ourselves greatly influences our actions. The Today’s Thought sections are meant to encourage you to agree with what God thinks of you throughout each day.
By reading at a one-a-day rate, you’ll be able to go through these ninety readings in three months or so. As you put these ten key principles into action, your mind will be refreshed and renewed as you allow God’s Word to refresh and to reshape your thinking, speaking, and daily activities.
Your life can be transformed. Let today be the day you begin to uncover the keys to help you learn to keep moving forward to the next levels of the good things God has in store!
Be a Barrier Breaker
Set a New Standard
Scripture Reading: John 17
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Romans 12:2 NLT
So often we let our environment, how we were raised, and other people’s expectations of us set the limits for our life. We adapt to what’s around us. If you take an oak tree seed and plant it in a two-foot pot, that oak tree will never become what it was created to be if you leave it in the pot—not because there’s something wrong with the seed, but because of the environment that it’s in. It’s so easy to just fit in and be like everyone else. But God didn’t create you to be average. He created you to stand out, to go beyond the norm, to leave your mark on this generation. You have seeds of greatness on the inside. You’re supposed to go further than the people who raised you and set a new standard. You may be in an environment where people have addictions, low self-esteem, depression, and poverty. You can’t stop that. But here’s the key: don’t let that become normal in your thinking. If you accept that as who you are, it will keep you from your destiny.
The Scripture speaks of how we are in the world, but we are not of the world. You may be in a limited environment, but you don’t have to be of it. Don’t let that environment get in you. If you see struggle, lack, and poverty long enough, your mind can become conditioned to thinking, This is who I am. I’ll never have enough. No, that’s where you are, that’s not who you are. That may be what’s been normal. The good news is, you’re a barrier breaker. You have the power, the favor, the talent, and the ability to break out and go further.
Sometimes people will try to put us in a box. They’ll tell us such things as, “You can’t start that business. You’ll never afford a nice place to live, never get well, never meet the right person.” Because their thinking is limited, they’ll try to put their limitations on you. You have to put your foot down and say, “I refuse to be mediocre because people around me are mediocre. I know that I’m a barrier breaker. I’m going to set a new standard.”
Father in heaven, thank You that You didn’t create me to be average or to live a mediocre life. Thank You that You’ve given me the power, the favor, and the talent to break out and go further than the limitations around me. I believe that I am a barrier breaker and I will set a new standard. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
God breathed His life into you. He calls you the head and not the tail. Don’t let your mind become conditioned for mediocrity. Don’t let that change who you really are.
Take the Limits Off
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
Ephesians 1:18 NLT
Becoming a barrier breaker starts in your thinking. Nothing will change until you make up your mind that you are not going to accept mediocrity. Why don’t you take the limitations off yourself? You have so much potential. Break out of that box and try something new. The enemy would love to keep that potential from ever coming out. He’ll use bad breaks, negative comments, people, and circumstances to try to keep you from believing in yourself, from believing that you can rise to the next level. Many people have let their mind become conditioned to thinking they’ve reached their limits. What’s happened? Instead of breaking out, they’ve adapted to their environment.
I saw a study that was done with fleas. Researchers put fleas in a container and then put a lid on the top. The fleas immediately tried to jump out, but they hit the lid again and again. Before long they realized they were stuck. At one point the researchers removed the lid, but, much to their surprise, the fleas didn’t try to jump out anymore. They had hit that lid so many times that they had become conditioned to thinking they couldn’t get out. Even though the lid was off, they didn’t even try.
Sometimes, as with these fleas, because of the environment we’re in, the times we’ve tried and failed, and what people have told us, we’ve become conditioned to thinking, I can’t do anything great. I’ll never accomplish my dream. I’ll never get back in shape. It might not have happened in the past, you might have tried and hit that lid a few times, but can I tell you the lid is coming off? It’s time to try again. You were not created to live contained, to get stuck. Recondition your mind.
You have to be bold and get rid of the thoughts that are holding you back. You may not see how you can do it in your own ability, but you’re not on your own. You have the most powerful force in the universe breathing in your direction. God created you to rise higher, to break barriers of the past, and to overcome bad habits.
Father, thank You that I am not on my own in this life and that I am not limited by the times I’ve tried and failed. Because You are with me, I know that I can rise higher and break through the barriers of the past and overcome the things that have held me back. I believe and declare that I will rise to the next level. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
People may have labeled you average, less than, but God labels you well able, equipped, anointed, creative, a masterpiece. The good news is that the environment you’re in now cannot keep you from your purpose. People don’t determine your destiny; God does.
Live with an At-Possibility Mind-set
Scripture Reading: Joshua 1
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
A friend of mine grew up in the projects, was very poor, and had almost no guidance. His father wasn’t in his life, and his mother had her own struggles. Because of this poor home situation, he was labeled by the state as a “child at risk.” From the time he was a little boy, that phrase had played over and over in his mind and became ingrained in his thinking: There’s no future for me. I’m a child at risk. He continued to fit right in with the rest of the crowd. Everyone around him was defeated, depressed, and addicted. He adapted to his environment. Your life is going to follow your thoughts. He believed he was at risk, and he became at risk. If you believe you’ve reached your limits, you have. Because your mind has become conditioned with limitations, it will keep you from your highest potential.
One day this young man got into trouble at school and was sent to the school counselor. She tried to reason with him, but he wouldn’t listen. However, she kept on trying and trying. Finally he said to her, “Why are you even bothering with me? I’ll never do anything great. I’ve been told my whole life I’m a child at risk.” She looked him in the eyes and said, “Listen to me: you are not a child at risk, you are a child at possibility.” When he heard that, something ignited on the inside. He asked her, “What do you mean at possibility?” She said, “You are full of potential. You are smart, you are talented. There’s so much you can become.” His whole life, he’d heard just the opposite. That day a stronghold was broken in his thinking. He reconditioned his mind.
Today, this young man owns his own business and is very successful. Plus, he goes around to schools and speaks to other students who are considered to be at risk. He tells them what that counselor told him, “You’re not at risk, you’re at possibility.” As it was with my friend, people around you may be fine with being average, having little goals, working at an “okay” job. But don’t let that spirit rub off on you. That’s not who you are. You’re the exception.
Heavenly Father, thank You that my life will follow my thoughts and that I can recondition my mind to think the thoughts that will bring me to my highest potential. Thank You that I can live as an at-possibility person. I believe that strongholds of limitations are being broken in my mind right now. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
You’re a barrier breaker. You are not limited by your education, by how you were raised, by that environment. God has destined you to rise higher. He’s destined you to go to the next level.
You Were Made for More
Scripture Reading: Psalm 65
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:20 NLT
My father grew up in a very poor family on a cotton farm during the Great Depression. At Christmastime, his family was the one that received the Christmas basket that went to the poorest family in the school. He was never allowed to drink a full glass of milk, because they couldn’t afford it. They could only have a fourth of a glass, and they’d pour water in it to make it last longer. But when he was seventeen years old, my dad was the first one in the family to give his life to Christ, and he also made another major decision about his future. He told me, “Joel, I decided on that day that my children would never be raised in the poverty and lack that I was raised in.” He changed his mind. The people around him were good people, but they were limited. Their minds had become conditioned to accept not having enough, to always struggle and lack. The problem is that if you accept it as your way of life, you won’t do anything about it. It’s easy to get comfortable with mediocrity and just adapt to your environment.
My father felt something stirring on the inside. It was those seeds of greatness. All the circumstances of his life said he was stuck on the farm. But instead of adapting to that environment, his attitude was, This is not my destiny. I can rise above this. I refuse to live in mediocrity, wearing hand-me-downs. I have potential. I have creativity. The Most High God breathed life into me. As a teenager, he left the farm and went out and started ministering in the jails, in senior citizens homes, and in schools, making a difference wherever he went. He broke the curse of poverty in our family and took us to a new level. He was a barrier breaker. He knew he was made for more.
Are you accepting things that are less than God’s best? Don’t settle there. Break out of that mold. Nothing will be sadder than to come to the end of life and realize what we could have become if we had just lived with an at-possibility mind-set instead of an at-risk mentality.
Father in heaven, thank You for the seeds of greatness that are stirring inside me today. Thank You for all the potential and creativity that You have breathed into me. I believe and declare that I was made for more and that I can break out of the mold and become a barrier breaker. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
God has already taken into account every detail of your life—every bad break, how you were raised, what somebody did or didn’t do. He knows how to take what was meant for your harm and use it to your advantage.
Don’t Settle There
Scripture Reading: Genesis 50
But Joseph said to [his brothers who had sold him into slavery], “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
A couple of years before my dad went to be with the Lord, we drove back to his hometown. Daddy wanted to reminisce and show me where he had grown up. We went out onto the land where his farm used to be. He showed me where he used to pick cotton, where he went to school. Before we left the town, we drove around to see if we could find any of his friends. We pulled up to a very run-down house that didn’t even look livable. There was an older gentleman sitting on the front porch, not wearing a shirt, just killing time. My father went up and said, “I’m John Osteen. Are you So-and-so?” Yes, it was his friend. They hadn’t seen each other in over sixty years. This man invited us inside, and the place was very dilapidated. There were buckets on the floor to catch the water leaks from the ceiling, and the broken windows were boarded up. Later we went around and found several of my father’s other friends. They were all in the same situation—extreme poverty, defeat, mediocrity.
They were good people, but it hit me how little they had accomplished in their lives. They had made the mistake of accepting the limitations they were born into and then adapting to their environment. One man told how he’d worked a little here and there at odd jobs, barely making it through the years. Another man had been laid off his job twenty-eight years earlier and said he was not able to find any more work, so he lived off handouts, with no goals, no dreams, no resources. Now they were at the end of their lives, having never tapped into their potential.
My father was raised in the same environment, the same Depression, the same poverty, the same school, but Daddy went on to touch the world and pastored great churches. He made a difference with his life. I saw firsthand what would have happened if my father had not put his foot down and said, “I might have been born into mediocrity, but I am not settling here,” if he had not reconditioned his mind.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I don’t have to settle into the limitations of what I was born into and adapt to my environment. Thank You that I can tap into the potential You’ve put inside me and make a difference in this world. I declare that I will not settle into mediocrity. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Don’t go through life and miss your destiny. Get rid of low expectations. You weren’t created to get stuck, to settle and stay at the same place year after year. You were created to excel.
Get Rid of the Excuses
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
I read about an eight-year-old boy who grew up in Kansas in the early 1900s. During the winter, he and his brother would go to school early to light the wood fire in the large pot belly stove in the classroom so that it would be warm when the rest of the students arrived. But one day someone accidentally put gasoline in the kerosene container he used to start the wood on fire. The next morning, when he lit the match, there was a huge explosion. His brother was killed instantly. The teacher found this little boy unconscious but alive, with the lower half of his body severely burned. He’d lost all the flesh on his knees and shins and all the toes on his left foot. His mother was told that if he did make it, he would never able to walk again, and the doctors recommended amputating his legs. But this little boy was a fighter. Against all odds, he survived. He made up his mind he was not only going to walk again, but he told everyone that one day he would run again. His favorite Scripture was the key verse for today. As an eight-year-old boy, he believed that he could defy the odds.
Months later he was sent home from the hospital with no movement in his legs. The doctors advised his parents to massage his legs to stretch the muscles and try to restore some suppleness to his lower limbs. Every day his mother would take him outside in the wheelchair so he could get some sunshine. One afternoon when she wasn’t watching, he grabbed on to the picket fence and pulled himself up. Stake by stake, he began to drag himself along. He did this day after day, teaching himself how to walk again. Two years after the accident, he stood up for the first time. Not long after that, he was not only walking, he began to run and became extremely fast. In college, on the track team, he won so many medals he became known as the Kansas Flyer. In 1934, Glenn Cunningham, the young man who had been told he’d never walk again, broke the world record in the mile run.
Father, thank You for Your promise that I can wait upon You to renew my strength and to enable me to rise up with wings like eagles, to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint. I believe that You have given me everything I need to run my race and overcome the odds that are against me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
If you’re going to be a barrier breaker, you have to get rid of excuses. Quit thinking about what you didn’t get, what you can’t do, how the odds are against you. You and God are a majority. You have what you need.
Recondition Your Mind
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:19 NLT
Have you adapted to a limited environment? You have big dreams in your heart. You know there’s a new business in you, a management position, a book, a better house, but you’re doing as well as your friends. You’ve gone as far as your family has gone in the past. No, don’t settle there.
There is potential in you right now just waiting to come out. You have gifts that will cause new doors to open, talent that will bring new opportunities. Quit making excuses to settle where you are. You may be in a limited environment that includes dysfunction, addictions, and depression. The good news is, you don’t have to stay there. That’s not your destiny. Somebody may have labeled you “at risk,” but the Creator of the universe labels you “at possibility.” Don’t settle when you’ve gone as far as your family and your friends—that’s good, but you’re the exception. You’re supposed to go further. Dare to take some steps of faith. Life is flying by. You don’t have ten years to wait around.
- On Sale
- Jun 4, 2019
- Page Count
- 224 pages