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14 Motivational Devotions for Success

Refresh and affirm your life goals with these inspiring devotions.

A woman leaping across a cliff; Getty Images

1 of 14 Building Self-Esteem

by Tricia Goyer

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

Growing up I never felt beautiful. We didn’t have much money and all my clothes—except one new outfit every year—came from yard sales. A few times my mom tried to cut my hair herself and my long locks ended up at my ears, and after my baby teeth came in, my adult teeth came in crooked.

The worst year was sixth grade. I weighed more than my stick-thin friends and it was determined I needed glasses. I picked out Jordache frames—a popular brand at the time—but I still got made fun of when I showed up wearing them at school….

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2 of 14 Are You a People Pleaser?


On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV)

I have realized a few things about myself: (1) I have a huge desire to please people; (2) people are changeable; (3) trying to please everyone all the time is impossible; (4) I still want to do it; and lastly, (5) this is a one-way ticket on the crazy train.

I have been known to make up scenarios and conversations in my head about what I believe people are thinking about me when I think I have disappointed them. I also like to reimagine conversations that I think have gone poorly. Conversation do-overs. Sadly, I am much more brilliant in my do-over conversations than I am in real-life conversations…

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3 of 14 Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown


But blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream….” Jeremiah 17:7–8

New ventures can be scary. Going on a trip somewhere new, or starting a new ministry at church, or starting on a new work project—it’s hard to take that first step. What if you get sick away from home? What if no one’s interested in the new ministry? What if you do a terrible job on the new project?

There are always too many fears and too many unknowns, and we like to be in control of our environments. But sometimes new ventures are exactly what we need…

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4 of 14 Need a Jolt of Energy?


“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I have officially relinquished my sanity and have started running for exercise. It started off as more of a shuffle-for-thirty-seconds-and-then-walk-for-five-minutes as opposed to running. As my knees began to protest less and actually feel rather good, I built up slowly until I ran those thirty seconds and shortened the walking to thirty seconds, and that’s where I still am today.

The first few times I exercised, I felt like my lungs were going to fly out of my mouth and my heart would follow in a sad heap on the sidewalk. My legs were jelly after only a few minutes, and I had to sit down to rest a couple times during my “run” so I wouldn’t pass out in the middle of the street…

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5 of 14 Start a Thankfulness Journal


“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (TNIV)

I remember to thank God for my food, or when He heals a friend, but I don’t meditate on the abundant blessings He’s given to me. “Abundant blessings” is certainly not a phrase I use every day, and I don’t often see the things in my life as “blessings.” I see them as their more mundane forms—car, house, friends, etc.

But a few months ago, I started a Thankfulness Journal. Each day, I listed five things that I was thankful for, and I tried not to repeat myself. It was amazing how many things I could list that I hadn’t thought of before. It made me realize that God has truly blessed me abundantly. I have everything I need, whether it’s material, spiritual or emotional…

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6 of 14 Get Real with Jesus


Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” Acts 16:16–17 (NIV)

When Paul and Silas told the people of Philippi about Jesus, they had a strange encounter with a woman who followed them and shouted affirmations. At first, it sounds like a little fan club of one. Yes, it may have been disruptive, but her intentions were good, right? When we look closer, we see a woman who was enslaved, not just by her human owners but by a demon. She said the right words, but she was eaten up inside. Paul responded with compassion, and in Jesus’s name, he cast the demon from her. She was freed to live in truth…

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7 of 14 How to Overcome Your Shortcomings


Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16 (ESV)

I regularly attend Al-Anon family meetings, a group dedicated to helping family members of alcoholics. At a recent meeting the topic was step 7, “Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.” My “Him” is Jesus who died, not only to take away my shortcomings but to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The woman leading the group read a passage out of an Al-Anon book called Courage to Change that struck me. “Sometimes the sign that I have actually gotten humble enough to ask my Higher Power to remove a shortcoming is that I can laugh about it.” Then the meeting was opened up to sharing…

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8 of 14 Jesus Gives You Joy in the Midst of Trouble


Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1–2 (NIV)

It’s been a particularly difficult week. I have some tough decisions looming, and even though I’ve prayed and sought direction, I haven’t found any peace yet. On top of that, I’m experiencing stress at home that can be described in one word: teenagers. And, of course, there is always a mountain of laundry to do and a pile of papers to grade. I know everyone has weeks like this, but the question is, How do we keep difficulties from stealing our joy? …

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9 of 14 Rediscover Your Childlike Wonder


Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. 1 Chronicles 16:12 (NIV)

As a new beekeeper, I am often awestruck because the bee-colony ecosystem is amazing! For example, one of my hives recently, unexplainably, lost its queen. Without a queen, the colony would die. Knowing this, the bees created queen cells, fed the larvae extra royal jelly and produced a new queen. Watching this phenomenal process ignited a dormant sense of wonder in me. It reminded me of the sense of wonder I had when I was a child…

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10 of 14 A Devotion for Good Health


They [our bodies] were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:13 (NLT)

Wrong thinking about my physical health landed me in dire straits. For too long, I allowed my schedule to override my body’s need for exercise. I don’t have time to take a walk now, I reasoned as I worked at my computer desk. I’ll walk later. But later never came. At the same time, I justified eating chocolate bars—big ones.

My brain’s tired from thinking so hard, so I’ll give it a little boost, I thought. One bite led to another and then another. Before long, I’d eaten the entire bar. Oh well, that’s no big deal. I’ll walk off the calories later. But later never came…

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11 of 14 Cure for Worry on a Morning Run


Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” —John 14:27 (CEB)

I headed out to the park for my morning run. I had such a passel of worries somersaulting through my brain that I could hardly take in the sun rising behind the clouds, flushing the sky with pink, nor the daffodils opening up in brave yellow flanks on the hillside. Not for nothing did Jesus say, “Consider now the lilies.”

I was on my first loop, dreading the hill, my steps slowing, my thoughts stuck on an absurd cycle of looming penury and decrepitude, when I saw a runner in a fluorescent-green jacket coming toward me. Was that Jim? Yes, it was. A history professor and writer, he’s always got something interesting to say…

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12 of 14 Plan a 'Worry Hour' to Help Ease Anxiety


“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” —Matthew 6:27 (NIV)

Worrying. I think I got it from my dad. “If I’m not worrying,” he used to say, “I don’t feel normal!” A few years ago, during an especially stressful time, I admitted to a friend that worry was robbing me of sleep, distracting me from important work, even invading my relationship with the Lord.

My friend told me about a technique her own father had developed to conquer worry. “Dad set up a daily ‘Worry Hour,”’ she explained. “When anxieties nagged at him during the day, he jotted them down and promised himself he’d deal with them at five P.M., when he’d set aside a full, focused hour to do nothing but worry…

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13 of 14 Devotion for an Active Prayer Life


Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire. Matthew 26:41 (MSG)

Sometimes I can be lazy when it comes to prayer. I know it is my time to commune with Jesus, to seek His face for direction and guidance, and to pray for loved ones, lost souls, and world matters. However, there are times I let the busyness of life take precedence over prayer. I don’t take the time to spend quiet time in prayer. Each time I renew my mission to be more consistent in prayer, I tell the Lord the same thing, “I’m going to make quiet prayer time with You a daily habit.” So this week I am starting over again. I am so thankful that Jesus knows my weaknesses and always gives me more chances…

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14 of 14 Riding Out the Storms of Life


“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:29–30 (NIV)

Like Peter, I worry when I am faced with the storms of life. Too often, when life gets wild, I forget to stay focused on Jesus. We all have storms in our lives, but Jesus is there for us. A day at the lake with my boys when they were small brought this truth home to me.

My husband, Clay, and I were enjoying a day of fishing with our six-year-old twin sons, Jeremy and Joshua. After a few hours, I noticed a little bit of water in the back of the boat and mentioned it to my husband. “Don’t worry,” he said, “the boat is fine. It’s just a small leak. It’ll be all right. We’ll be leaving soon.” …

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