Pastor's Corner

June 29, 2020

Getting Out Of Your Boat
 
‘Peter got down out of the boat.’ Matthew 14:29 NIV
 
Matthew records, ‘Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus.’ Today, ask yourself these three questions:
 
(1) What’s my boat? It’s whatever gives you your greatest sense of security. It’s what you’re tempted to put your trust in when life gets stormy. To know what your boat is, ask yourself, ‘What is it that produces the most fear in me, especially when I think of leaving it behind and stepping out in faith?’
 
(2) What’s keeping me from getting out of my boat? Fear. Fear of people, fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of lack. In order to grow, you must go into new territory, and each time you do, you’ll experience fear. It never goes away. But each time you get out of your boat, you become a little more able to do it the next time, and you begin to realise that fear doesn’t have the power to destroy you. So when Jesus says to you, ‘Come,’ start walking, He won’t let you drown.
 
(3) What will I forfeit by staying in my boat? Your destiny. To achieve what you have not yet achieved, you must attempt what you have not yet attempted. Will there be risks? Yes. Baseball’s greatest hitters fail two times out of every three. But they know that if they don’t step up to the plate, they’ll never experience the joy of hitting a home run. Understand this: if you stay in your boat, you’ll eventually die there, and end up wondering what your life might have been if only you’d been willing to get out of your boat.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 28, 2020

It’s Never Too Late For God
 
‘I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway!’ Isaiah 57:18 NLT
 
Are you asking, ‘Is it too late for God to do something with me?’ It’s never too late for God! In Scripture we read about broken people God raised up in marvellous ways.
 
He used Moses, a murderer, to deliver the Hebrew slaves.
 
He used Jacob, a liar and a trickster, to fulfil His promise to Abraham.
 
He even included Rahab, a prostitute, in the Messianic family line. And if God redeemed them, He can redeem you too. Brokenness should never keep you bound. Rather, it should release you into a life of freedom. A truly broken person understands the reality of Jesus’ words: ‘Apart from Me you can do nothing.’ (John 15:5 NLT)
 
A broken person who has learned to depend on God is a force to be reckoned with. When you’re looking at a past strewn with failures, it’s difficult to see a bright future, just as it’s difficult to drive when you’re looking in the rear-view mirror. You need to glance in your rear-view mirror occasionally, but if you keep focusing on it you’ll end up hurting yourself and others. That’s why the windscreen is so much bigger than the rear-view mirror—it shows you where you’re heading instead of where you’ve been!
 
When you turn to God He will forgive you, restore you, and use you for His purposes. He said, ‘I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips.’ (Isaiah 57:18–19 NLT) The word for today is—it’s never too late for God!
 
From The Word for Today.

June 27, 2020

God Is Training You
 
‘If He doesn’t correct you, then you don’t really belong to Him.’ Hebrews 12:8 CEV
 
One of the Hebrew words for test is ‘bachan’ and it is related to the word for watchtower. It is about keenly looking and scrutinising. Dismiss the notion that God does not see your struggle. On the contrary, He is fully engaged. He sees the needs of tomorrow and, accordingly, uses your circumstances to create the test of today. Does He not have the authority to do so?
 
He is the Potter; we are the clay. He is the Shepherd; we are the sheep. He is the Gardener; we are the branches. He is the Teacher; we are the students. Trust His training. You’ll get through this. And remember, all tests are temporary. They are limited in duration.
 
The Bible says, ‘In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.’ (1 Peter 1:6 NIV) And here’s something else to keep in mind: you can’t shorten your testing period, but you can definitely lengthen it by being proud and stubborn, resisting what God wants to teach you. God won’t deny you that choice, but neither will He protect you from the consequences of that choice. You wouldn’t be the first student who had to repeat a year in school, and you won’t be the last. You can go to church on Sunday and pay lip service to God’s Word; you can reject the principles of truth and seek the easy way out. But it doesn’t work.
 
‘Good understanding gains favour, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.’ (Proverbs 13:15 NKJV) Do it God’s way, for that’s the best way. Always!
 
From The Word for Today.

June 25, 2020

Why Study The Bible? (2)
 
‘You have become dull of hearing.’ Hebrews 5:11 NASB
 
Paul writes: ‘You have become dull of hearing… by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles… you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk… is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.’ (Hebrews 5:11–14 NASB)
 
The key word in this passage is time. The people to whom these words were written had a learning disability: ‘You have become dull of hearing,’ meaning you are slow to learn. By the time you ought to be entering university, you’ve got to go back to primary school and learn your alphabet all over again. By the time you should be communicating the truth as teachers, you need to have someone communicate the truth to you.
 
Note the phrase ‘solid food is for the mature’. Who are the mature? You’re mature if you’ve trained yourself through constant use of Scripture. The mark of spiritual maturity isn’t how much you learn, it’s how much you put into practice. In the spiritual realm the opposite of ignorance isn’t knowledge, but obedience. Obeying the Scriptures is the key to spiritual maturity. In the long term, you retain about 10 per cent of what you hear, 50 per cent of what you see, and 90 per cent of what you do. So: ‘Don’t just listen to God’s word… do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves… if you do what it says… God will bless you for doing it.’ (James 1:22–25 NLT)
 
From The Word for Today.

June 24, 2020

Why Study The Bible? (1)

‘Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word.’ 1 Peter 2:2 NASB

Daily Bible study is essential to your spiritual growth. Professor Howard Hendricks writes: ‘When our kids were youngsters growing up, we set up a growth chart on the back of a closet door. As they grew, they begged us to measure how tall they’d gotten and record it on the chart. It didn’t matter how small the increments were, they bounced up and down with excitement to see their progress. One time after I measured one of my daughters, she asked me the sort of question you wish kids wouldn’t ask: “Daddy, why do big people stop growing?” How could I explain that big people don’t stop growing—we just grow in a different direction? I don’t know what I told her, but to this day the Lord is still asking me, “Hendricks, are you growing old, or are you growing up?”’

How about you? How long have you been a Christian? Nine months? Thirty-nine years? The real issue is how much have you grown up? Step up to God’s growth chart and measure your progress. That’s what the apostle Peter meant when he wrote, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” Just as a baby grabs for the bottle, you grab for the Bible. The baby has to have milk to sustain its life physically; and you have to have the Scriptures to sustain your life spiritually. So the first reason for studying the Scriptures is that it’s a means of spiritual growth. It is God’s primary tool to develop you as an individual.

From The Word for Today.

June 23, 2020

Rebuild Your Integrity
 
‘If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back.’ Luke 19:8 NIV
 
Zacchaeus got rich by taking more taxes from people than his Roman masters demanded, and pocketing the difference. But after he met Jesus, he said, ‘If I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ (Luke 19:8 NLT) Consequently, Jesus said, ‘Salvation has come to this home today.’ (Luke 19:9 NLT)
 
Integrity isn’t about regret, or seeking to minimise painful consequences, or attempting to do damage control. It’s about honest repentance, making amends, and living in a way that guarantees you’ll do things differently in the future. Writing about integrity, Greg Laurie says: ‘What is integrity? It’s really the same as having character. DL Moody defined integrity as what you are in the dark. In other words, integrity is who we are when there is no one around to impress. It’s the real us. Humourist Will Rogers once said, “So live that you would not mind selling your pet parrot to the town gossip.” That’s the idea of integrity.’
 
The Bible says, ‘The integrity of the upright shall guide them.’ (Proverbs 11:3 KJV) Rebuilding your integrity means humbly acknowledging that sometimes your thoughts aren’t fit to print, or that you’ve hurt someone and need to make things right or that you’re going to stop cheating your employer or on your taxes. Integrity is who you are when nobody’s looking. Job said, ‘Does He not see my ways… If I have walked with falsehood, or if my foot has hastened to deceit, let me be weighed on honest scales, that God may know my integrity.’ (Job 31:4–6 NKJV)
 
Starting today, rebuild your integrity.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 22, 2020

What’s Distracting You?

‘Don’t get sidetracked.’ Proverbs 4:27 NLT

Many of us fail, not because we aren’t talented, determined, or passionate, but because we get ‘sidetracked’. God told the prophet Habakkuk, ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.’ (Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV)

Unless you have a clearly defined goal and keep it before you at all times, you won’t run in the direction you should. As motivational speaker Sam Horn said: ‘It’s hard to stay on purpose, if we don’t know what our purpose is.’

In his book One Big Thing, Phil Cooke writes: ‘I’ve never been a fan of the person who invented the “open door policy”. Sure, we want to be accessible to employees and co-workers, but at some point it’s time to shut the door and get to work. After your next interruption by a visitor, make a note of how long it takes to get back to your previous level of intensity and focus. You’ll be shocked at how much time that steals from your day… Too often other people’s needs come before our dream. Obviously we need to care for our children, honour our spouses, and deal with our primary responsibilities around our families or jobs. But the first step in achieving our dream is to take responsibility for it. That means scheduling it, and “unscheduling” the lesser needs of co-workers and friends. These daily commitments chip away at our time, and before long our dream gets lost in the shuffle. Stop doing what other people think is urgent, and start focusing on what matters to you.’

And more importantly, what matters to God!

From The Word for Today.

June 21, 2020

Turn to God—He will not disappoint you
 
‘I called on the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me.’ Psalm 118:5 NKJV
 
At age twenty-six, Thomas started a publishing company and founded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses in America. He worked with some of the greatest singers in the history of Gospel music, including Mahalia Jackson.
 
But one night after singing to a Saint Louis audience, he was handed a telegram that said, ‘Your wife just died.’ She had passed away in childbirth. Thomas hurried back home to Chicago, where his newborn son died the following day. He plunged into depression, avoided people, and grew angry with God. ‘I felt God had done me an injustice. I didn’t want to serve Him anymore or write Gospel songs.’
 
Then a friend took him to a neighbourhood music school. That evening Thomas sat down at a piano and began to play… and pray. He poured out his heart to God, and what wonderful words they were: ‘Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light: take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.’
 
Thomas A. Dorsey testified that the Lord healed him that night as he sat at the piano. He went on to pen more than a thousand songs and become one of the most influential Christian songwriters of all time. All because he reached out to God for help. The psalmist did that too: ‘I called on the Lord in distress, and the Lord answered me.’ So the word for today is—turn to God; He will not disappoint you.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 19, 2020

Learning The Hard Way (4)

‘The hair of his head began to grow again.’ Judges 16:22 NKJV

With regard to Samson, the Bible tells us, ‘The hair of his head began to grow again.’ The process of renewal was starting. Samson repented, God gave him back his strength, and he ended his life with an act of heroism.

Maybe you feel like you’ve messed up so badly that God will never love you and use you again—but remember Samson! God never gave up on him, and He hasn’t given up on you. He sees your potential and remembers why He made you: you were created for great things. It’s only as you move into the centre of God’s will that you discover why you were made. When you do, things will begin to fall back into place.

There is something very encouraging about Samson. He’s included in God’s hall of fame—the panorama of people of great faith detailed in Hebrews 11. Why? Because God can take a person who seems like a total failure and use them to accomplish great things. If He only used people who were perfect, nothing would ever get done. Instead, He uses ordinary people with weaknesses, who sometimes fail in big ways.

So what should you do if you’re a Samson? Turn your life over to the Lord. Give Him all the pieces and let Him put them together. He can give you the power to break loose from the things that are tying you down and preventing Him from working in your life. Only God knows your potential, and you will never bring it out on your own. He must do it in His strength— so let Him start today!

From The Word for Today.

June 18, 2020

Learning The Hard Way (3)
 
‘The child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ Judges 13:7 NKJV
 
You’re asking for trouble when you refuse to take God seriously. The angel who announced Samson’s birth said he was to ‘be a Nazirite’, indicating that he was to be dedicated to doing God’s will. But Samson was careless about his spiritual life. He prayed only when he was in trouble. He was impulsive; he did whatever he felt like doing.
 
The truth is, we’d save ourselves so many problems and spare ourselves so much pain if we’d just stop and ask God for direction. Samson turned to God only when he got into a jam. It’s what we call ‘foxhole Christianity’. We pray, ‘Lord, if You get me out of this dilemma, I promise I’ll live for You from now on.’
 
But here’s the question: is God just an afterthought, a convenience to you? When things get tough and you’re in a tight spot you turn to Him in desperation, but when everything’s alright you ignore Him? Only when Samson was captured by the Philistines, his eyes gouged out, and he was grinding grain at a mill like an ox, do we read that he genuinely turned to God in prayer. What kind of history might Samson have had if he’d prayed right from the beginning? Why did he wait until everything fell apart before turning to God?
 
It doesn’t have to be that way in your life! The psalmist said, ‘Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him. You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours.’ (Psalm 128:1–2 NIV)
 
From The Word for Today.

June 17, 2020

Learning The Hard Way (2)

‘If sinners entice you, do not consent.’ Proverbs 1:10 NKJV

You’re asking for trouble when you choose the wrong friends. Somebody wisely said, ‘If you want to soar with eagles, you can’t run around with turkeys.’ Eventually you become like the people you spend the most time with; that’s why it’s so important to choose your friends wisely.

The psalmist said, ‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take.’ (Psalm 1:1 NIV)

Samson developed unhealthy relationships and they led him astray. So here’s the question: are your friends keeping you from living 100% for God? Do they tear you down or build you up? When you’re with them, do you find yourself conforming to things that violate your convictions and your conscience—things you don’t feel good about doing? The book of Proverbs warns us repeatedly about negative associations: ‘If sinners entice you, do not consent.’ Constant exposure to wrong attitudes and values will eventually take its toll on your life. It is always easier to pull someone down than it is to lift them up.

So, what kind of friends should you keep? The kind who bring out the best in you, who lift you up, who encourage you, and make you a better person. ‘But aren’t we supposed to love everybody?’ you ask. Yes, but you’re not supposed to lean on them, listen to them, learn their wrong ways, and become like them.

When it comes to choosing your friends, here’s the Scriptural rule you should live by: Lord, ‘I am a friend to anyone who fears [respects] You—anyone who obeys Your commandments.’ (Psalm 119:63 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

June 16, 2020

Learning The Hard Way (1)

‘For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson.’ Hebrews 11:32 ESV

Samson had incredible potential, but he threw it all away. Why? For several reasons.

He failed to control his impulses. He was physically strong, but morally weak. He deliberately ignored God’s principles, and his life became a pathetic cycle of failures. He never learned; he kept making the same mistakes over and over. For him it was a kind of game: ‘How close can I get to the fire without getting burned?’

Delilah, a Philistine woman, kept nagging him about the source of his strength, and each time she got a little closer to the truth. Samson was playing with temptation by toying with her, and eventually he fell into the trap. And we do the same thing when we say things like: ‘It can’t hurt… just this one time.’

The truth is, not one of us plans to be a failure. It comes naturally—and gradually. It’s a step-by-step process, as little by little we become weakened. Our whole lives don’t fall apart in one day. Problems build up over a period of time, because we refuse to learn from our mistakes.

Maybe you’re thinking, ‘But this is an area of my life I have no control over. It’s just the way I am.’ That’s the wrong answer.

Here’s the right one: ‘He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.’ (Isaiah 40:29 NKJV)

When Samson finally faced the truth, God broke his cycle of failure and gave him the power to do what he should do, and made him victorious. And God will do the same for you when you turn to Him!

From The Word for Today.

June 15, 2020

Get Serious About Helping Needy People

‘Then He will answer them, saying, “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”’ Matthew 25:45 NKJV

The Bible teaches that one day God will evaluate and reward each of us according to how we treat those around us who are hurting and needy. And that’s why you need to get serious about helping them.

Thomas Barnardo believed that, and he became one of the great Christian heroes of the 1800s. During his work among the poor and homeless in London’s East End, he built a home for destitute children that housed four hundred boys and girls. He turned the Edinburgh Castle Gin Palace and Music Hall into the Coffee Palace, a centre for evangelistic and Christian activities. He built a village for girls that served more than nine thousand of them during his lifetime. In all, more than sixty thousand children benefited from the vocational training centres and homes he built.

In extreme cases where he found children in the hands of cruel people, he would ‘abduct’ them—a policy which, where parents were involved, was against the law. But he felt bound by a higher law—God’s law. This made him vulnerable to criminal charges and bitter custody battles, but eventually the law of the land was changed, not Barnardo.

His successful ‘graduates’ included lawyers, doctors, musicians, naval commanders, businessmen, and colonial ministers of state, all of whom had once been destitute and were rescued. How do you change the world? Starting today, you can do it—one life at a time.

From The Word for Today.

June 14, 2020

Impartiality Should Be A ‘House Rule’
 
‘Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.’ Genesis 25:28 NIV
 
Sibling rivalry in a family is normal, and handling it calls for sensitivity and wisdom. Unfortunately Isaac and Rebekah lacked those two qualities. ‘Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.’ (Genesis 25:28 NKJV) Joseph’s troubles began with these words: ‘Now [Jacob] loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.’ (Genesis 37:3 KJV)
 
But it doesn’t have to be that way in your family. It’s neither necessary nor healthy to allow your children to attack each other and make life miserable for those around them. You may not be able to harmonise their relationship entirely but, by practising impartiality, at least you can avoid making it worse. Don’t inflame the natural jealousies between your children. Ever since time began, siblings have resented each other’s successes and competed for their parents’ attention.
 
So you must be careful to avoid casual comments that favour one child over another, especially in these three areas:
 
(1) Physical attractiveness
 
(2) Intelligence
 
(3) Skills and athletic abilities
 
Those are the three raw nerves on which self-esteem hangs. Referring to a girl as ‘my pretty daughter’ or to a son as ‘the smart one’ can set off raging emotions in other children, who perceive themselves to be ugly or dumb. Sensitivity in those areas will reduce the antagonism between your children and create a more harmonious tone for every member of the family. Paul told Timothy, ‘Obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favouritism to anyone.’ (1 Timothy 5:21 NLT)
 
That was a ‘church rule’, but it should also be a ‘house rule’!
 
From The Word for Today.

June 13, 2020

Start Exercising

‘Bodily exercise profits.’ 1 Timothy 4:8 NKJV

As you move into your forties, fifties, and sixties, you’ll tend to become more sedentary. One woman made a lifelong commitment not to sweat. Another one joked that the only reason for jogging was to look better at her funeral. A driver put this bumper sticker on his car: ‘I’m pushing fifty, and that’s enough exercise.’

The Bible says, ‘Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.’ Does that mean taking care of your body isn’t important? No, it means you must stay in balance! What’s the point of working to develop the virtues of a saint if you die before your time with blocked arteries? You say, ‘But I don’t like jogging or lifting weights.’

Then here’s some good news. A medical study found if you spend forty-five minutes a day doing household chores such as mowing the lawn, you’ll enjoy greater longevity than those who are inactive. It’s even better if you do some push-ups and sit-ups, but it’s not necessary. If you fail to maintain your car, you have no right to blame the manufacturer. And if you fail to maintain your body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, you have no right to blame God.

You say, ‘But I believe in divine healing.’ And God promises it to you in His Word (see James 5:14–15). But He expects you to use faith—and wisdom. So put down the remote, get off the sofa, and do a little home clean-up or repair. Not only will your house look better, but you’re likely to live longer.

From The Word for Today.

June 12, 2020

Everything You Need For Living
 
‘Everything we need.’ 2 Peter 1:3 NIV
 
Peter writes, ‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life.’ (2 Peter 1:3 NIV) Living life to the fullest requires three things:
 
(1) A little extra. This is the extra-mile principle Jesus taught (see Matthew 5:41), and it calls for two things:
 
(a) Extra effort. Life coach Art Williams said, ‘You beat 50% of the people by working hard… 40% by being a person of honesty and integrity and standing for something… the last 10% is a dogfight.’ If you want to win, make up your mind to always do ‘a little extra’.
 
(b) Extra time. ‘The vision awaits its appointed time… If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come.’ (Habakkuk 2:3 NIV) Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who created the Mount Rushmore memorial to America’s presidents, was asked if he considered his work to be perfect. He replied, ‘Not today. The nose of President Washington is an inch too long. It’s better that way, though. It will erode and be exactly right in ten thousand years.’
 
(2) Your best effort. Andrew Carnegie said, ‘There’s no use trying to help people who won’t help themselves. You can’t push anyone up a ladder unless he or she is first willing to climb it.’
 
(3) The right mentor. Paul writes, ‘Pattern your lives after mine.’ (Philippians 3:17 NLT) Good mentors lead by example; they know that to be followed, they must first be respected. They know whether you learn visually or verbally. They know whether you need a pat on the back or a kick in your rear. If you have such a mentor, you’re blessed. If not, ask God to send one into your life today.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 11, 2020

Get Your Approval From God

‘Our eyes look to the Lord our God.’ Psalm 123:2 NKJV

It’s always nice to be appreciated for the work you do, and when that doesn’t happen, it can affect your sense of self-worth. That’s why the Bible says, ‘As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters… our eyes look to the Lord our God.’

Your true worth comes from God, not your boss. And when you forget that, you set yourself up for frustration in the workplace. Taken to the extreme, you become less effective on the job because you’re not willing to make decisions and take risks in case it negatively affects what others think about you. In essence, you become a ‘yes’ man or woman who nods and agrees with everyone just to please them and have them like you. Consequently, your value to the company plummets because you’re not utilising your God-given gifts to the fullest.

Whatever your position, it’s only a small part of who you are, a spoke radiating from the centre of your identity as a son or daughter of the King of kings. You’re not the hub turning the wheel. Knowing who you are, apart from what you do, is as essential to your success in the workplace as your credentials and your skill set. When others know that you constantly need approval, it empowers them to manipulate you, define you, and influence your self-worth. That’s too much power to give anybody! It doesn’t matter what your job entails, remember: ‘Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

June 10, 2020

Recall God’s Lovingkindness To You
 
‘Your lovingkindness is before my eyes.’ Psalm 26:3 NKJV
 
The story’s told of a little boy who was asked, ‘Do you say your prayers every night?’
 
He replied, ‘No, some nights I don’t need anything!’
 
We may smile, but the point is painfully obvious. If the only time your husband or wife communicated with you was when they were in trouble or had a need they couldn’t meet, how long do you think your relationship would last? There must be a balance between your praises and your petitions.
 
You say, ‘If the Lord is big enough to create and run the universe, I doubt He’s bothered when somebody as insignificant as me fails to say thanks.’ Not so! When Jesus healed ten lepers and only one returned to give thanks, He asked, ‘Where are the other nine?’ (Luke 17:17 NIV) If God dealt with you solely on the basis of His righteousness and your tendency towards unrighteousness, you’d be sunk! But He doesn’t.
 
He says, ‘I have loved you… with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.’ (Jeremiah 31:3 NLT)
 
Realising this, the psalmist wrote, ‘Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live.’ (Psalm 63:3–4 NKJV)
 
Again he writes: ‘I will… praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your Word above all Your name. In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.’ (Psalm 138:2–3 NKJV)
 
Someone quipped, ‘God doesn’t mind getting invoiced as long as He gets thanked!’ So, take a moment and recall God’s lovingkindness to you.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 9, 2020

Don’t Look Back
 
‘His wife looked back behind him and she became a pillar of salt.’ Genesis 19:26 NKJV
 
Before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, angels of the Lord rescued Lot and his family from the city. Then they said: ‘Run for your lives! Don’t look behind you, and don’t stop on the plain. Run for the hills, or you’ll be swept away.’ (Genesis 19:17 GWT)
 
But the record reads: ‘His wife looked back behind him and she became a pillar of salt.’
 
There’s an important lesson here for each of us: resist the temptation to linger in the quicksand of past mistakes—either your own or other people’s. It can be hard to see ahead when horrendous things have happened to you in the past. But when you get bogged down in the past, you miss what God has for you in the present, and fail to see its connection to your future. The good news is that it’s not too late to allow God to use you and move you forward on your journey. He can heal the wounds others have inflicted on you. He can make you wiser as a result of the poor decisions you made in the past.
 
It’s not too late to become who you might have been. God delights in transforming our weakness into strength. He can create treasure from what you’ve discarded as rubbish. Even if you’ve backslidden and detoured from the path you know He wants you to follow, now is the time to return to His road.
 
‘“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT) So move forward—and don’t look back.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 8, 2020

Soak Your Mind In God’s Word
 
‘I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.’ Psalm 119:11 NLT
 
Are you discouraged because you keep committing the same sins over and over again? Here’s your answer: soak your mind in God’s Word! Just like you soak a sponge in water and it comes out dripping and filled to capacity, soak your mind in Scripture until it’s filled to the brim with God’s Word. That way, when you’re tempted to do wrong, your first recourse will be a ‘Spirit and Word’ empowered response.
 
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting the same results. So if you are sick and tired of living in defeat, here’s a time-tested prescription from God’s Word for making you whole:
 
‘How can a young person [or an older one] stay pure? By obeying Your Word.’ (Psalm 119:9 NLT)
 
‘You are already clean because of the Word… I have spoken to you.’ (John 15:3 NKJV)
 
‘That He might sanctify and cleanse [you] with the washing of water by the Word.’ (Ephesians 5:26 NKJV)
 
‘The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit… joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)
 
‘Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name.’ (Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV)
 
These Scriptures all lead to one conclusion: if you’re serious about wanting to walk in victory, you must get into God’s Word and get God’s Word into you. There is no other way.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 7, 2020

When Your Child Seems Out Of Control
 
‘Great shall be the peace of your children.’ Isaiah 54:13 NKJV
 
Few things in life can break your heart like a child on drugs, or realising they’re hanging out with the wrong crowd and are involved in activities that can destroy their lives. As a parent, what can you do?
 
First and foremost, pray for them and speak God’s promises over them. You may not be able to change them, but God can. His Word says, ‘All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.’
 
What if your child is out of control and living at home? Then you have a big challenge that requires God’s help. Sometimes your ‘problem child’ is a child of destiny with a great future, and Satan knows that. God has a calling on their life, and that’s what the battle is all about!
 
As a parent, you need God’s wisdom when it comes to:
 
(1) Setting clear boundaries with appropriate and consistent consequences. The Bible says, ‘All children are foolish, but firm correction will make them change.’ (Proverbs 22:15 CEV)
 
(2) Overcoming the fear that your child will reject you when you make an unpopular, but wise decision. Satan will try to convince you that you’ll lose them if you discipline them. The truth is that you’ll lose them if you don’t! Remember: ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’ (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
 
Prayer and standing firmly on His Word are two of the greatest weapons God has provided when it comes to engaging Satan over your child’s future. And if you stay true to God—you’ll win.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 6, 2020

Arrested Development (4)

‘He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.’ Proverbs 13:20 NKJV

Let’s look at arrested relational development. God’s plan for your life requires connecting with the right people—and disconnecting from the wrong ones. Sitting beside Jesus at the Last Supper were John, who loved Him, and Judas, who betrayed Him.

It’s imperative to know who is sitting at your table! So to that end pray: ‘Lord, I pray for the people You’ve brought into my life and placed on my heart. Bless the healthy relationships, and give me wisdom to handle the difficult ones in a way that pleases You. If there are friendships I need to walk away from, ones that will be harmful no matter what I do, show me what to do and give me the grace and courage to do it. If there are relationships that are draining and distracting me from Your plan and purpose, I trust You to bring them to an end or change them for the better. And when I’m the one who needs to change, show me, and work in my life by Your amazing power. I need Your wisdom to recognise the friends and acquaintances I should choose. Help me to steer clear of relationships that lead me away from the path You’ve laid out for me. Send people into my life who are godly and wise, and help us to bless, encourage and contribute to the quality of each other’s lives. Show me the friendships that are worth fighting for, and I’ll gladly do it. Be Lord of all my relationships so that they will be what You want them to be. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.’

From The Word for Today.

June 5, 2020

Arrested Development (3)
 
‘Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser.’ Proverbs 9:9 NKJV
 
Let’s look at arrested intellectual development. Sometimes we use verses like ‘God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put shame to the wise’ (1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV) as excuses for not developing our minds and growing intellectually. God said, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’ (Hosea 4:6 KJV)
 
A sense of fulfilment accompanies intellectual growth—one that doesn’t come any other way. When you know you’re growing in knowledge and understanding, you become less vulnerable to criticism, neglect, and slights. Your sense of worth is no longer tied to other people’s approval because you measure yourself by a different standard—personal growth!
 
The writer of Proverbs says, ‘The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.’ (Proverbs 18:15 NKJV) ‘The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.’ (Proverbs 20:12 NKJV)
 
Notice, you learn by listening and observing! And we’re not talking about hours spent watching television that dulls your brain and stunts your powers of conversation. The Bible says, ‘As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.’ (Proverbs 27:17 NLT) To grow and become sharp, you need people in your life who sharpen you. Three key activities in determining your future are
 
(a) the time you spend with God;
 
(b) the relationships you form; and
 
(c) the books you read.
 
And the book you should spend the most time reading is your Bible. Just one more thought: any time you’re reading and get a good thought, or experience an ‘aha’ moment, write it down—otherwise you’ll lose it.
 
From The Word for Today.

June 4, 2020

Arrested Development (2)

‘You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away.’ Job 11:16 NLT

Let’s talk about arrested emotional development. When you don’t get help for your past emotional hurts, you’ll find yourself ‘acting out’, treating others like you were treated, and repeating your past in your present. Indeed, you may end up hurting the most important people in your life, maybe even destroying those relationships without knowing why.

You’ll blame the failure of the relationship on your partner’s habits, looks, attitudes, and way of going about things. And in so doing, you will remain emotionally stuck, trapped by the unhealed, unrecognised sources of your dysfunction. What you’re dealing with here is ‘emotional baggage’: regrets over past mistakes, grudges over being wronged, and all the other hurts you hide under clouds of anger, cynicism, and reclusiveness. You will never know what you have, or what you truly need, until you get rid of your emotional baggage. How do you do that?

The answer can be found in God’s Word and God’s presence: ‘Prepare your heart and lift up your hands to Him in prayer! Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety… and many will look to you for help.’ (Job 11:13–19 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

June 3, 2020

Arrested Development (1)
 
‘You need someone to teach you again the first principles.’ Hebrews 5:12 NKJV
 
Addressing the early church, Paul said: ‘There is a great deal that we should like to say… but it is not easy to explain to you since you seem so slow to grasp spiritual truth. At a time when you should be teaching others, you need teachers yourselves… You have become people who need a milk diet and cannot face solid food! For anyone who continues to live on “milk” is obviously immature—he simply has not grown up. “Solid food” is only for the adult.’ (Hebrews 5:11–14 PHPS)
 
It’s known as ‘arrested spiritual development’, and it can happen to any of us. One sign a child is healthy and growing is that they no longer need to be fed from a bottle, or have their food cut up and put into their mouth. They may still prefer chocolate to carrots, but hopefully they’re closer to understanding why they need carrots.
 
If the only time you’re fed spiritually is in church on Sunday morning, why would you be surprised that you don’t have the faith to believe God for answered prayer, the strength to overcome temptation, or a sense of God’s guidance in your life? How long do you think you’d last if you only ate once a week? Job said, ‘I… treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.’ (Job 23:12 NKJV) David said, ‘How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ (Psalm 119:103 NKJV) Jeremiah wrote, ‘Your words were found, and I ate them… Your Word was… the joy and rejoicing of my heart.’ (Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV) To grow spiritually, you need the ‘strong meat’ of God’s Word (see Hebrews 5:14).
 
From The Word for Today.

June 2, 2020

Serve Someone Today

‘Through love serve one another.’ Galatians 5:13 NKJV

Before Jesus went to the cross, the Bible says that ‘He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.’ (John 13:3–5 NIV) Then He said, ‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you… Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’ (John 13:15–17 NIV)

What a lesson! Love can’t be manifested in isolation. It can’t be done sitting alone in front of a TV or PC. To quote the great musical producer Oscar Hammerstein: ‘Love isn’t love ’til you give it away.’ Note: Jesus ‘showed them the full extent of His love.’ (John 13:1 NIV) How? By donning a servant’s towel.

Where can you do that? Anywhere! How about tomorrow at the office, the warehouse, or the job site? Your workplace can become a sacred place where God’s presence blesses the mundane, day-to-day routine, because the love of God within you wears a servant’s towel. ‘Let me make those copies for you… I’ll cover your calls while you run to school to bring your son his lunch box… you look like you’re going through a rough time, and I’m a pretty good listener. I may not have all the answers, but I know Someone who does.’

Paul bottom-lines it: ‘Through love serve one another.’ So go out of your way to serve someone today.

From The Word for Today.

June 1, 2020

Looking For Donkeys–And Discovering Your Destiny (2)

‘So they despised him.’ 1 Samuel 10:27 NKJV

When God calls you to a special destiny, not everyone will be happy about it. After Saul was anointed king, some said, ‘“How can this man save us?” So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.’

Note Saul’s reaction to his critics: ‘He held his peace.’ Bottom line: it’s not your responsibility to convince others of your calling; it’s their responsibility to discern it. The Bible says, ‘A man’s gift makes room for him.’ (Proverbs 18:16 NASB) It’s your gifts—and the results they produce—that validate your calling. ‘Samuel said to Saul… “stand here awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God.”’ (1 Samuel 9:27 NKJV)

When you know you’ve heard from God, the criticism of others will affect you less. His presence reassures you, His words direct your steps, and His peace settles the storm within you. After you hear the voice of God, the flattering words of others can’t puff you up, because both your feet are on the ground and your instructions are clear. You will not require the praise of others, for His confidence in you satisfies completely. After you hear the voice of God, your attitude changes instantly; you won’t face the future with anger, torment, or fear. God has spoken, His words have settled every issue, and time will prove Him correct.

And here’s an important Scripture to keep in mind: ‘Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.’ (Zechariah 4:10 NLT) Instead of comparing yourself with others and putting yourself down, celebrate each small step of faith you take on the way to your God-given destiny.

From The Word for Today.

May 31, 2020

Looking For Donkeys–And Discovering Your Destiny (1)
 
‘Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head.’ 1 Samuel 10:1 NKJV
 
Here’s the remarkable story of how Saul became Israel’s first king. He was out scouring the countryside for his father’s lost donkeys when he met the prophet Samuel. ‘Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” And he went on. “But you stand here awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God.” Then Samuel took… oil and poured it on his head, and… said: “Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance?”’ (1 Samuel 9:27–10:1 NKJV)
 
Think about it: Saul went out looking for donkeys—and discovered his destiny! And it can happen to you too! God has a habit of calling people who are busy doing other things. James and John were mending their fishing nets, Matthew was collecting taxes, Elisha was farming, and Saul was out looking for his father’s lost donkeys. It was just another day on the job, working to make a living. But when God has a destiny for you, and a date on His calendar with your name on it, He will come and get you.
 
You say, ‘But I’m nobody special!’ That’s what Saul said too: ‘Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin?’ (1 Samuel 9:21 NKJV) Your social status doesn’t limit God. When He has a plan in mind for you, He will reach into the background and bring you into the foreground.
 
So stay faithful, keep serving Him, and your time will come!
 
From The Word for Today.

May 30, 2020

Speak ‘In Good Taste’

‘Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt.’ Colossians 4:6 NKJV

John Grisham, author of blockbuster books that become blockbuster movies, has been called ‘a straight arrow making his way along a very crooked path’. His novels often depict sleazy lawyers, corrupt politicians, and trigger-happy police—the underbelly of a world of wealth and respectability. His heroes, on the other hand, are generally the innocent or children, such as the eleven-year-old boy in The Client.

Grisham said he would rather be a nice guy than resort to filling his books with sex and gore. He refuses to write anything that would offend or embarrass either his mother or his children. Contrary to what many in the publishing world might have predicted, his approach has paid off. The Firm now has over twenty million copies in print. So far, the oldest fan to write to him is ninety-six years old, the youngest ten years old. Most of his readers commend him for leaving out graphic violence, obscenities, and profanities.

The Bible says, ‘Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.’ Note the words ‘seasoned with salt’ or in good taste.

Jesus said: ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things… every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’ (Matthew 12:34–37 NKJV)

So, speak ‘in good taste’.

From The Word for Today.

May 29, 2020

Let Them Go!
 
‘They went out from us, but they were not of us.’ 1 John 2:19 NKJV
 
Every relationship in your life is for a reason and a season. Your commitment to your family should be for a lifetime; other relationships may have term limits. So when someone walks away, don’t try to talk them into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, or staying attached to you. Your destiny is not tied to those who leave you.
 
John writes: ‘They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.’ People leave you because they’re not joined to you. And if they’re not joined to you, you shouldn’t try to make them stay. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people; it just means their part in your story is over.
 
You’ve got to know when a relationship is over, and graciously say goodbye knowing that whatever relationships God means you to have, He will provide. Stop begging them to stay—let them go! Clinging to a relationship whose season has ended will only lead to heartbreak.
 
After Lot left him, Abraham entered a new level of God’s blessing. Orpah left Naomi and went back home to Moab, but Ruth stayed with Naomi, and they were both blessed by God. You’ve got to know who belongs in your life and who doesn’t. If you’re holding on to someone who doesn’t belong, and who is not intended to be in your life, the word for you today is—let them go!
 
From The Word for Today.

May 28, 2020

Don’t Give In To Despair

‘When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.’ James 1:2 NLT

When difficulties come to us in life and in our relationships, as they inevitably will, it’s easy to succumb to the ‘dominoes of despair’. First, we become disappointed with an event or relationship. Then as the trial lingers, we topple into discouragement and surrender our expectations that things will change. Finally, as we feel the impossibility of moving the object against which we lean, we succumb to the last domino of despair.

We feel powerless and hopeless, and don’t know how to see our way clear. Instead of running our life’s race, it feels like we’re swimming below the surface in an ocean of jelly. Often when we can’t understand life’s circumstances, we limit our expectations of who God is and what He can do. We think there’s only one good outcome—the one we want!

Instead, we need to trust our heavenly Father because He may have bigger and better things in mind. We must try to see Him at work in whatever trials come our way. Remember, God’s expectations are bigger than our own, and only our heavenly Father and His purposes, no matter how painful they seem at the moment, truly satisfy our souls.

James writes: ‘Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.’ (James 1:2–4 NLT)

Keep that truth uppermost in your mind today, and you won’t give in to despair.

From The Word for Today.

May 27, 2020

God Will Forgive And Restore You

‘A bruised reed He will not break.’ Isaiah 42:3 NKJV

Have you ever heard of the Great Boston Molasses Flood? On 15 January 1919, a steel vat containing 8.7 million litres of molten molasses burst. A 10-metre-tall wave of hot syrup drowned people and horses, destroyed buildings, and crushed freight trains, wagons, and cars. The enormous tank, 15 metres tall and 73 metres around, had been poorly designed. Company officials had reacted to the constantly leaking cracks by repainting the tank to match the colour of the molasses; their philosophy was ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

These officials knew the vat was dangerous but they did nothing about it. The disaster, described by one author as the ‘Dark Tide’, killed 21 people and injured 150 others. There are two important lessons in this story.

First, pay attention to the cracks in your character; what you ignore today, you may drown in tomorrow.

Second, no matter how badly broken you may be, if you turn to God, He’ll restore you. Isaiah said, ‘A bruised reed He will not break.’ These words portray the gentleness and grace of God as He stoops to restore and make us whole.

Maybe you think your sin is too great and you’re too far gone. No. God said, ‘I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.’ (Exodus 34:6 NLT)

‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away.’ (Hosea 14:4 NKJV)

‘He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us and will cast all our sins into the depth of the sea.’ (Micah 7:18–19 NKJV) Today God will forgive and restore you.

From The Word for Today.

May 26, 2020

You Need A Vision

‘You spoke in a vision.’ Psalm 89:19 NIV

The psalmist says: ‘You spoke in a vision, to Your faithful people You said… “I have found David My servant; with My sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely My arm will strengthen him.”’ (Psalm 89:19–21 NIV) Great vision always precedes great achievement. And God is the giver of great visions—so ask Him for one.

Vision gives birth to the goal; it sparks and fuels the fire within, and moves you forward in spite of the odds and obstacles. To get a handle on the word ‘vision’, you must understand these things:

(1) Vision comes from God. He knows what you’re capable of and what He has gifted you to do. Are you looking beyond yourself, even beyond your own lifetime, as you seek your vision? If not, you may be missing your God-given potential and His best for you. If, after seeking God for a vision, you still don’t have one, consider partnering with someone whose vision resonates within you.

(2) Vision draws on your history. Vision isn’t some mystical quality that comes out of a vacuum. It grows out of your past experiences, and the history of the people around you.

(3) Vision meets other people’s needs. A God-given vision goes far beyond what one person can accomplish. It includes and blesses others. If your vision doesn’t do that, it’s probably too small.

(4) Vision attracts resources. Like a magnet, it draws, challenges, and unites people. It also rallies finances and other resources. The greater your vision, the more faith-filled people it will attract. And the more challenging the vision, the harder the participants will fight to achieve it.

From The Word for Today.

May 25, 2020

‘Thou, O king, art the most worthy’
 
‘Every knee will bow to the name of Jesus.’ Philippians 2:10 NCV
 
Max Lucado tells the story of how Philippe Auguste, king of France, assembled all his noble knights during a crusade and encouraged them to be strong in battle. On the table he placed his royal crown, bearing the inscription ‘To the most worthy’, and pledged it as a prize to be given to the bravest fighter. After the army went to battle and returned victorious, they encircled the table where the crown sat. Then one of the nobles stepped forward, lifted the crown, and placed it on the king’s head, saying, ‘Thou, O king, art the most worthy.’
 
This will one day be the cry of all heaven and earth. The Bible says, ‘Every knee will bow to the name of Jesus—everyone in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.’ (Philippians 2:10–11 NCV)
 
Back in 2011, the population reference bureau estimated that 106 billion people had been born since the dawn of the human race. Guess what? Every single one of them will bow to the name of Jesus. Try to imagine all those people—over 13 times the world’s current population—kneeling before Christ and saying, ‘Thou, O King, art most worthy.’
 
And in that moment Christ will assume His position ‘far above all rule and authority and power and dominion… not only in this age but also in the one to come.’ (Ephesians 1:21 NASB) Then He, the Author and Finisher of it all, will close the book on this life and open the book on the next. That’s the beginning of the unending story that we, the redeemed of the Lord, wait for and long for.
 
From The Word for Today.

May 24, 2020

God And Your Money (8)
 
‘The Word became flesh.’ John 1:14 NIV
 
Jesus came into the world for two reasons. First, to give you the greatest gift of all—eternal life. Second, to let you know He cares about every detail of your life. ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14 NKJV) JB Phillips put it this way: ‘The Word of God became a human being and lived among us. We saw His splendour (…as of a father’s only son), full of grace and truth.’
 
Roughly 20 per cent of everything Jesus taught had to do with your finances, your job, or your earthly needs. He cares! And when you can’t make ends meet, the Bible says, ‘God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.’ (Philippians 4:19 NKJV) When your business is going under, His promise is: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit.’ (Isaiah 48:17 NKJV)
 
God cares about the burden you’re carrying today, so if your needs aren’t being met, re-evaluate your understanding of your heavenly Father. Have you even discussed your finances with Him? How about the purchase of your home? Did you feel the inner confirmation of the Holy Spirit that the timing was right? Have you been sowing into God’s Kingdom in the field He’s shown you, watering that seed and expecting Him to give the increase? Seed sown in good ground always produces a harvest, and faith is the magnet that pulls the harvest into your life. The word for you today is—God loves you and wants to bless every area of your life.
 
From The Word for Today.

May 23, 2020

God And Your Money (7)

‘He could make you rich.’ 2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT

The Bible assures us that God isn’t poor. ‘“The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the Lord Almighty.’ (Haggai 2:8 NIV) ‘Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.’ (Psalm 50:10 KJV)

Now ask yourself: if you were a billionaire, would you be happy seeing your children running around ragged and hungry? No? Well, neither is God! Paul writes, ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.’ (2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV)

Maybe you’ve read this Scripture and thought Paul was talking about being spiritually rich but not financially rich. Let’s read the verse in that context and see if it makes sense: ‘He who was spiritually rich, for our sakes became spiritually poor, that through his spiritual poverty, we might become spiritually rich.’ That’s not what it says! Question: when was Jesus ever spiritually poor? No, the verse says what it means and means what it says: ‘That you… might become rich.’

But let’s be careful. The word ‘rich’ means different things to different people. In some countries you’re considered rich if you have a roof over your head, three meals a day, and a bicycle to ride to work. In fact, right now would be a good time to discuss the much abused and widely misunderstood Bible word ‘prosperity’. Prosperity simply means ‘having enough to do the will of God for your life.’ Does God have a will for your life? Yes. Does He want you to have enough money to fulfil His will for your life? Yes.

That’s God’s plan!

From The Word for Today.

May 22, 2020

God And Your Money (6)

‘Remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.’ Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV

When it comes to God and your money:

(1) When you do what pleases Him, He will bless you. Why? Because your actions prove that doing His will is more important to you than doing your own thing. ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.’ (Matthew 25:23 NIV)

But there’s another side to the coin. When you knowingly don’t do what pleases God, He will stop blessing you. ‘Take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.’ (Matthew 25:28–29 NKJV)

(2) God will show you how to make more money. He taught Joseph how to prosper in the midst of a worldwide famine, and bless the needy nations around him. And when they could not catch fish, Jesus showed the disciples where to find a boatload of them. On one occasion, they actually caught a fish with enough money in its mouth to pay their taxes! (See Matthew 17:27.) God works through unlikely channels, and He wants you to depend on Him as the source for everything you need.

The Bible says, ‘Remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.’ The word ‘power’ encompasses ideas, strategies, plans, relationships, and investments. Yes, God might prompt someone to send you an unexpected cheque in the mail that will solve your problem temporarily, but you should believe Him for a plan that’ll solve your problem long-term.

From The Word for Today.

May 21, 2020

God And Your Money (5)
 
‘He will give you everything you need.’ Matthew 6:33 NLT
 
When it comes to money, the Bible teaches that:
 
(1) God wants you to have enough to meet any size of need you may face. Think about it: employees are mainly concerned with one thing—getting their salary. Employers, on the other hand, have a bigger need. They must have enough money to cover everybody’s salary. And here’s the good news for both employer and employee: ‘Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!’ (Matthew 6:8 NLT)
 
(2) Many times God will send you to a particular place or person in order to meet your need. During a time of severe famine when people in Israel were dying of starvation, God said to the prophet Elijah, ‘turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan… I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.’ (1 Kings 17:3–4 NIV) And that worked well for a time—until ‘the brook dried up, because there had been no rain.’ (1 Kings 17:7 NIV) God arranged it that way, because He will never permit you to depend on anybody or anything other than Him. He will dry up your ‘brook’ in order to send you back to your true source—Himself.
 
Here’s what God told Elijah next: ‘Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.’ (1 Kings 17:9 NIV) God used unlikely things like ravens, a brook, and a poor widow to meet Elijah’s needs. So stop trying to figure God out!
 
Trust the One who ‘hangs the earth on nothing’ (Job 26:7 NLT) to use whomever, whatever, wherever, and whenever to meet your needs.
 
From The Word for Today.

May 20, 2020

God And Your Money (4)
 
‘Money is the answer for everything.’ Ecclesiastes 10:19 NIV
 
The Bible teaches that God wants you to have enough money to:
 
(1) Provide for the needs of your family and help them to succeed. ‘But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.’ (1 Timothy 5:8 NKJV)
 
(2) Finance His work. ‘Honour the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce.’ (Proverbs 3:9 NASB)
 
(3) Pay your taxes and your obligations. In answer to the question, ‘Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.’ (Matthew 22:17; 22 NLT)
 
(4) Send His Word to the four corners of the world. ‘How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?’ (Romans 10:14–15 NKJV)
 
(5) Help the poor and needy. ‘Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments… Wealth and riches will be in his house… he has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ (Psalm 112:1,3,9 NKJV) When your reason for wanting money is to fulfil God’s will and bless others, God will honour you.
 
From The Word for Today.

May 19, 2020

God And Your Money (3)
 
‘Help in time of need.’ Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
 
When you have a spiritual, physical, relational, or financial need, God says He will meet it. But some of us have a hard time believing this. After all, Jesus condemned the rich man for overlooking the poor man sitting on his doorstep. And God hasn’t changed His position on that issue.
 
Jesus told the story of a man so busy making money that he had no time for God. ‘But God said to him, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?” Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.’ (Luke 12:20–21 NLT) And He hasn’t changed positions on that issue either.
 
Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple because they were ripping people off. He went so far as to call them ‘a den of thieves.’ (Mark 11:17 NKJV)
 
Does that mean God is interested in meeting our spiritual needs but not our material ones? Let’s be clear; your spiritual needs should always be your highest priority, but let’s allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves. When it comes to God and your money, Jesus said: ‘Don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.’ (Matthew 6:31–33 NLT)
 
Note the word ‘everything’. When you’re in right standing with God, you can pray with confidence and ask Him to bless you in all things!
 
From The Word for Today.

May 18, 2020

God And Your Money (2)
 
‘In all things at all times, having all that you need.’ 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV
 
Let’s begin by saying it again: what you believe about God and your money will determine what you believe Him for. If the reason you want more is to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, or brag about what you own, don’t expect God to bless your plans.
 
The Bible says, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.’ (James 4:6 NIV) Humility says, ‘Lord, everything I have is a gift from You. And everything I’ll ever need comes from You.’
 
Before you ask God for more money, you must know that your heart motive is right. And when you know it is, you can stand on this Scripture: ‘Whoever sows sparingly will… reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will… reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 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. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.’ (2 Corinthians 9:6–11 NIV)
 
Who does God give seed to? Sowers—not hoarders. When does God multiply your seed? When you sow it to fulfil His purposes.
 
From The Word for Today.

May 17, 2020

God And Your Money (1)

‘No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.’ Psalm 84:11 NKJV

What you believe about God and your money will determine how you pray and what you believe Him for. You say, ‘But money is the root of all evil.’ No, the Bible says, ‘The love of money is the root of all evil.’ (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV) That means if you’re a miser, God won’t give you more.

‘But haven’t some preachers used the Bible to enrich themselves?’ you ask. Absolutely—and you wouldn’t want to stand in their shoes when they answer to God! But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The best way to tell if a fifty-dollar note is counterfeit is to place it beside a genuine one.

So here’s the question: are you looking for a reason to doubt God’s promises, or a reason to believe them? The Bible says, ‘No good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.’ (Psalm 84:11 NIV) We all agree that providing for your family, getting a promotion, educating your children, and meeting other people’s needs are all ‘good’ things.

So when you ‘do what is right’ before God, you can expect Him to bless you—though it may not always be in the way you expect. John wrote, ‘Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.’ (3 John 1:2 NKJV)

Only when our children reach maturity and demonstrate responsibility do we entrust them with the keys to the family car, right? So maturity must precede prosperity. When you demonstrate maturity, you can go to God with confidence, knowing He’ll meet your needs and bless you. Which raises the question: are you growing and maturing spiritually?

From The Word for Today.

May 16, 2020

Your Strength And Strategy For Living

‘He gives power to the weak.’ Isaiah 40:29 NKJV

When the battle continues to rage with no end in sight, you grow weary. Is that where you are today? Are things that once ran smoothly no longer working? Have you done all you know to do but it hasn’t helped?

What should you do? Spend more time with God in prayer, and listen to Him as He speaks to you through His Word. As long as you don’t give up within, victory is assured without. It’s a matter of replenishing your strength by drawing on God’s strength, refocusing your faith towards victory, and calling God’s promises ‘to remembrance.’ (Psalm 77:6 NKJV)

When you feel overwhelmed by trouble in your marriage, your business, your health, your job, or your finances, stand on these two Bible promises: ‘He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.’ (Isaiah 40:29–31 NLT)

‘We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and… thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God… And He did rescue us… We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.’ (2 Corinthians 1:8–10 NLT)

Instead of trying to escape the situation, seek God and He will give you strength and a strategy to come out of it stronger.

From The Word for Today.

May 15, 2020

The Need For Rest And Renewal
 
‘Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.’ Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
 
When you’re physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained, you become vulnerable. When Samson grew tired, he lay down in Delilah’s lap.
 
Jesus called for 100 per cent commitment, but He also knew the importance of staying in balance; of work and rest; of giving out and taking in. ‘Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.’ (Mark 6:31–32 NLT)
 
A good general will never commit all his soldiers to the battlefield at the same time. He keeps a reserve force to relieve the exhausted ones when they stagger back from the front lines. Yes, you may have the greatest assignment in the world and be succeeding in it, but unless you ‘keep a reserve’, you’re opening yourself up to potential danger. That’s why setting aside time each day to be alone with God in prayer and Bible reading is so important. If Satan can’t defeat you outright, he will settle for an exhausted, ineffective version of the person God wants you to be. If you’re a type A, high-energy person, you’re particularly at risk.
 
What’s the answer? ‘Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, 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 40:30–31 NKJV)
 
From The Word for Today.

May 14, 2020

The Need For Repentance

‘Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted.’ 2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV

There’s a difference between confessing your sin and repenting of it. In Scripture, the word ‘repentance’ means ‘to turn away from sin’. By confessing your sin you acknowledge what you have done; by repenting you turn away from it. And the good news is that there’s no limit to God’s forgiveness. The moment you ask for it, you receive it.

However, God doesn’t intend you to keep repeating your sinful patterns over and over again. That’s where ‘godly sorrow’ comes in. Paul writes, ‘You sorrowed in a godly manner: what diligence it produced in you.’ (2 Corinthians 7:11 NKJV) The purpose of godly sorrow is to make you more diligent when it comes to changing behaviour. When you allow sin into your life, you violate your core of righteousness.

‘For [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV) At the point of salvation God literally made you ‘the righteousness of God in Christ’.

You’re a regenerated spirit living in an unregenerated body, and when you permit sin into your life, it violates the very core of who you are! And that will cause you godly sorrow, leading to repentance and turning away from sin.

Don’t settle for saying, ‘This is a habit I can’t break. But it’s ok because God will forgive me.’ Yes, He will forgive you, but He doesn’t want you to settle for a cycle of sin, repentance, forgiveness, and then repeating the same sin. He wants you to be strong and effective in His service. That’s why He’s calling you to a higher level.

From The Word for Today.

May 13, 2020

An Attitude Adjustment (3)
 
‘Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.’ Proverbs 3:6 NLT
 
When it comes to having the right attitude—stay in touch with the control tower. Air traffic controllers ‘see the big picture’ when it comes to what’s going on in the sky. They have the knowledge and authority to tell pilots to slow down or speed up, fly higher or lower, avoid or navigate through storms, or take alternative routes. Amazingly, air traffic controllers in the Australia handle over 3.2 million flights each year—an average of around 8,900 every day. In fact, they regularly manage more than the busiest day on record in Britain (5 July 2019) which clocked 8,863 flights! They manage commercial flights, private aviation, military, and cargo air traffic, as well as air taxis and airport vehicles.
 
With so many flights taking off and landing every minute, pilots have to stay in touch with the control tower. Similarly, you must stay in touch with God—the One who sees the big picture for your life and orchestrates everything that involves you. He makes sure everything that needs to happen actually does happen at the right time, and also moves at the appropriate speed to make sure you arrive safely at the destination He’s planned for you.
 
That’s why staying in communication with God should be at the top of your daily to-do list. He will help you navigate the ups and downs of life, and find your way through cloudy days when you can’t see the next step you need to take. In short, when you ‘seek His will in all you do… He will show you which path to take.’
 
From The Word for Today.

May 12, 2020

An Attitude Adjustment (2)
 
‘He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom.’ Daniel 2:21 NIV
 
Realise that rough times won’t last forever. As surely as God created spring to follow winter, ‘He changes times and seasons… He gives wisdom.’ The season of adversity you’re in will end. And when it does, you’ll glean from it the wisdom to build a better future. Sometimes your greatest blessings come from your most negative circumstances.
 
Paul writes, ‘Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!’ (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT) Tough times don’t last, but tough people do! Out of your greatest tests come your greatest testimonies.
 
Don’t make major decisions during a storm. Thoughts and feelings often run wild in the midst of a crisis; those are times when you need to be careful about making decisions. Remain calm, discipline yourself to focus on what you can do, and trust God to do what you can’t. Just as a pilot error can cause a plane to be diverted from its intended destination, or have to make a dangerous emergency landing, a bad decision can divert or delay you from reaching your destiny.
 
Let your emotions subside—before you decide. You may not always have that option, but as much as possible, put significant decisions on hold until your storm passes. Just as the wind blows about wildly during a storm, your thoughts can become wild and frantic, and that’s not the best time to make crucial assessments. What should you do? Paul answers, ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and… His peace will guard your hearts and minds.’ (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT)
 
From The Word for Today.

May 11, 2020

The Word for Today

An Attitude Adjustment (1) 

‘Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.’ Philippians 4:8 CEV 

We all need ‘an attitude adjustment’ from time to time. It’s crucial to maintain the right attitude when the going gets rough. No matter what happens in your life, determine to go through it with the right attitude. In fact, determine beforehand to keep a positive mindset in the midst of every negative situation that arises. If you make this a conscious decision and meditate on it during the good times, when difficulties arise you’ll already be prepared.

Paul writes: ‘Keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise… And God, who gives peace, will be with you.’ (Philippians 4:8–9 CEV) Some of the greatest writers and composers in history created masterpieces during the worst times of their lives. Beethoven’s most famous symphonies were written when he was almost totally deaf and experiencing great sorrow.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think, ‘I could never be like those people.’ If you think like that, you’ll be defeated before you even try. Maintaining a right attitude is always much easier than regaining a right attitude. So as soon as you sense yourself becoming negative, make an immediate attitude adjustment.

The Bible says, ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7 KJV) The moment the enemy sends negative thoughts into your mind, stop them midstream. Discipline yourself to stand strong with a positive attitude in every circumstance. When you do, ‘God, who gives peace, will be with you’.

From The Word for Today.

May 10, 2020

Demolishing Strongholds

‘The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.’ 2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV

God called David ‘a man after My own heart.’ (Acts 13:22 NKJV) But David struggled with a weakness in his life. What was it? A lustful spirit that surfaced from time to time, and the people closest to him knew about it. When he grew old and his body cold, they brought a young girl to lie beside him in bed so he could ‘get warm.’ (1 Kings 1:1 NKJV) They figured if that didn’t get David’s circulation moving he had to be dying!

That’s a sad indictment. But there’s something even sadder going on here. David had passed on his weakness to his son Amnon, who’d ended up raping his sister. And although David was angry about it, he didn’t confront or punish him. After all, what could he say? Like father, like son?

Lust isn’t just a whim or a passing fancy, it’s a sin. And when it passes from one generation to the next it becomes a ‘stronghold’. Today psychologists refer to it as ‘a genetic predisposition’. Maybe somewhere in your family tree there’s a workaholic father, a mother who was emotionally unavailable, or a brother or sister who drank too much, and now you’re wrestling with the same issues. Don’t be discouraged! Paul says, ‘The weapons we fight with… have divine power to demolish strongholds.’

So before you run off to a divorce court or a rehab centre, name your stronghold, then pray, believing God to break its stranglehold on your life. Do it before it infects the next generation. Don’t pass it on—call on the power of the Cross and say, ‘This stops with me!’

From The Word for Today.

May 9, 2020

A New Beginning
 
‘My unfailing love for you will not be shaken.’ Isaiah 54:10 NIV
 
After the divorce, her teenage daughter became increasingly rebellious. It culminated one night when the police called to ask her to come to the station and pick up her daughter, because she'd been arrested for drink driving.
 
Not a word was spoken between them until the next afternoon, when mum broke the tension by giving her daughter a little gift-wrapped box. Nonchalantly the girl opened it and found a small rock. Rolling her eyes she asked, ‘What’s this?’
 
Her mum said, ‘Here’s the card.’
 
She took the card from her mother's hand, and as she read it, her eyes filled with tears. Then she got up, walked across the room, and gave her mum a big hug. On the card was written these words: This rock is said to be more than two million years old—and that’s how long it will take before I give up on you!
 
Multiply that story a million times and you’ll get an idea of how much God loves you today! Listen, ‘“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.’ (Isaiah 54:10 NIV)
 
Nothing you’ve ever done has shocked Him for He knew what He was getting when He called you. And He knows something else too—He knows what you can and will be when His grace has done its work in your life. That’s why He’ll never give up on you. Why don’t you come to Him now?
 
From The Word for Today.

May 8, 2020

What’s Your Dream? What’s Your Plan?

‘The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials.’ Genesis 41:37 NIV

God gave Joseph a dream that one day he’d be in a high-profile leadership position. But when he finally arrived at Pharaoh’s palace, he didn’t walk in and announce, ‘God told me I was to be the boss round here!’ No, he had to work for it! There was about to be a worldwide famine and Joseph gave Pharaoh a plan not only to survive it, but to prosper because of it.

Notice what Pharaoh said about Joseph: ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?’ (Genesis 41:38 NIV) So what’s your dream? And what’s your plan? Your dream and your talent are important, but long-term success won’t happen without a plan.

The Bible says, ‘A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.’ (Proverbs 18:16 KJV) Your talent may bring you to the attention of key people, but you’ll have to be able to answer the question ‘What’s your plan?’ A plan takes your dreams and talents and maximises them by bringing structure to the concept. It involves being committed to a budget; it means constantly working on specific goals and details.

Joseph gave Pharaoh a specific plan with a time line: seven years. He told him, ‘This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine.’ (Genesis 41:36 NIV) So here’s what you need to do: write down your plan, which includes specific actions and deadlines to fulfil it. Will God bless your plan? Yes, but you must have the right plan in place before He can bless it.

From The Word for Today.

May 7, 2020

Rejoice, You Are In The Will Of God

‘I delight to do Your will, O my God.’ Psalm 40:8 NKJV

There’s no joy in life that compares to knowing you’re in the centre of God’s will. Not fame, not riches, not pleasure. Nothing compares to knowing you have the smile of His approval on what you’re doing each day.

Will doing God’s will always be easy? No! It’s enjoyable, but it’s not always easy. Indeed, the size of your God-given assignment in life determines the level of attack against you. But your joy comes from knowing that God is strengthening you to do—by the power of His Spirit—what you could never do on your own. So in that sense, Satan’s attack is confirmation that you’re truly in God’s will!

Paul writes: ‘I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have… often gone without sleep… known hunger and thirst… I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?’ (2 Corinthians 11:23–29 NKJV)

So rejoice—you are in the will of God!

From The Word for Today.

May 6, 2020

Do What Pleases God
 
‘Do what is right.’ Psalm 4:5 NCV
 
Day after day Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, but he said no. He gave her no time, no attention, no chitchat, and no reason for hope. ‘He did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.’ (Genesis 39:10 NKJV) In today’s framework: when she called, he didn’t answer the phone; when she texted, he didn’t text back; when she showed up, he ‘fled and ran outside.’ (Genesis 39:12 NKJV)
 
In a culture that uses phrases like ‘consenting adults’ and ‘sexual rights’, we forget how immorality destroys the lives of people who aren’t in the bedroom. Max Lucado writes: ‘Years ago a friend gave me this counsel: “Make a list of all the lives you would affect by your sexual immorality.” I did. Every so often I reread it. “My wife Denalyn. My three daughters. My son-in-law. My yet-to-be-born granddaughter. Every person who has ever read one of my books or heard one of my sermons. My publishing team. Our church staff.” The list reminds me: One act of carnality is a poor exchange for a lifetime of lost legacy.’
 
Joseph’s primary reason for saying no to Potiphar’s wife was—God. ‘How… can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ (Genesis 39:9 NKJV)
 
The lesson we learn from Joseph is surprisingly simple: do what pleases God.
 
When a friend offers you a joint of marijuana: do what pleases God.
 
When your mates show you a way to cheat: do what pleases God.
 
When the temptation to watch pornography is great: do what pleases God.
 
‘How can I please God?’ you ask. ‘Do what is right as a sacrifice to the Lord and trust the Lord.’
 
From The Word for Today.

May 4, 2020

Having Trouble Sleeping?
 
‘You can go to bed without fear, you will lie down and sleep soundly.’ Proverbs 3:24 NLT
 
Insomnia is a miserable thing. At any given time it affects 30 to 50 per cent of the population. You dread bedtime, toss and tumble all night, and walk around exhausted the next day. And when it continues for weeks or even months, it can depress you and rob you of your joy.
 
Is that what’s happening to you right now? Then let God help you. His Word says He ‘gives rest to His loved ones.’ (Psalm 127:2 NLT) His promise is, ‘You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.’ And if you’re addicted to sleeping pills, the Great Physician can heal you.
 
Make this your prayer today: ‘Father, shine Your light on the root cause of my sleeplessness. Whatever anxieties are stopping me from entering into a state of restorative slumber, I cast them all on You as instructed, knowing You care for me (see 1 Peter 5:7). Calm my racing thoughts and restless mind. Help me to be still and know You are my God (see Psalm 46:10). I submit to Your command not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything instead. I bring my needs to You, and thank You for all You have already done. Your Word assures me that if I do this I’ll experience Your peace, which is more wonderful than the human mind can understand, and that it will guard my heart and my mind (see Philippians 4:6–7). By faith I will lie down tonight without fear or anxiety and enjoy pleasant dreams. Yes, I will lie down in peace and sleep because You, Lord, will keep me safe (see Psalm 4:8). In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.’
 
From The Word for Today.

May 3, 2020

Learn To Think Strategically (3)
 
‘I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel.’ Psalm 16:7 NKJV
 
When you’re faced with a problem that overwhelms you, break it down into smaller, more manageable parts so you can focus on each of them more effectively. Don’t try to juggle the whole thing in your head; put it down in writing so you can get a clearer picture. One of those small parts may be the key that opens the door. And if you still can’t find a solution, take it to God in prayer. The psalmist said, ‘The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.’ (Psalm 138:8 NKJV) If something is of concern to you, it’s of concern to the God who loves you. Pray: ‘Lord, I’m giving this problem to you and I’m going to sleep.’
 
When you do that, it’s possible that you may awaken in the morning with an amazingly simple solution to the overwhelming problem you had the night before. The psalmist said, ‘I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.’ God knows what you don’t know, and prayer gives you access to His knowledge.
 
Five loaves and two fish in a boy’s hands won’t feed five thousand people. But when he put it into Christ’s hands, it multiplied and they had twelve full baskets left over. Strategic thinking works best when God is the foundation of your strategy, when you stand on His Word and claim His promise: ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV) God will do it through you, as long as you remember you can’t do it without Him.
 
From The Word for Today.

May 2, 2020

Learn To Think Strategically (2)
 
‘All who are prudent act with knowledge.’ Proverbs 13:16 NIV
 
By taking the time to acquire knowledge, you’ll be ready for the opportunities life brings. If you are not prepared, they’ll pass you by and go to others. God said, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’ (Hosea 4:6 KJV) Observe:
 
(1) Strategic thinking prepares you for the future. None of us know what tomorrow will bring. ‘Don’t brag about your plans for tomorrow—wait and see what happens.’ (Proverbs 27:1 TLB) The only thing that’s worse than the uncertainty of tomorrow is having no plan and strategy for your life.
 
(2) Strategic thinking reduces the margin of error. Whenever you shoot from the hip, you increase your margin of error. It’s like a golfer stepping up to a ball and hitting it before lining up the shot. Misaligning a shot by a few degrees can send your ball a hundred metres off target. Strategic thinking lines up your actions with your objectives, just as lining up a shot in golf helps you to put the ball closer to the pin. The better you are aligned with your target, the better the odds that you will be going in the right direction.
 
(3) Strategic thinking gives you influence with others. One executive quipped, ‘Our company has a short-range plan and a long-range plan. Our short-range plan is to stay afloat long enough to make it to our long-range plan.’ That’s hardly a strategy, yet it’s the position some of us find ourselves in. The person with the plan is the one with the power. Whatever activity you’re involved in, strategic thinking is essential to success. Talk to God about it.
 
From The Word for Today.

May 1, 2020

Learn To Think Strategically (1)
 
‘So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.’ Ephesians 5:15–16 NLT
 
Strategic thinking helps you to plan, to become more efficient, to maximise your strengths, and to find the most direct path towards achieving your God-given assignment in life. The benefits of strategic thinking are numerous. Here are a few of them:
 
(1) Strategic thinking simplifies the difficult. It takes complex issues and long-term objectives that can be very difficult to address, and breaks them down into manageable sizes. Anything becomes simpler when you have a plan! The Bible says, ‘The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.’ (Proverbs 21:5 NIV)
 
(2) Strategic thinking helps you to ask the right questions. Take a look at the following questions developed by Bobb Biehl, author of Masterplanning. ‘Direction: What should we do next? Why? Organisation: Who is responsible for what? Who is responsible for whom? Do we have the right people in the right places? Cash: What is our projected income, expense, net? Can we afford it? How can we afford it? Tracking: Are we on target? Overall evaluation: Are we achieving the quality we expect and demand of ourselves? Refinement: How can we be more effective and more efficient?’
 
These may not be the only questions you need to ask in order to begin formulating a strategic plan, but they are a good first step. Until you take the first step, you’ll remain stuck. Until you get over your need to do it perfectly, you won’t do it at all. You ask, ‘When should I start?’ Today!
 
From The Word for Today.

April 30, 2020

Thomas’ Twin
 
‘Thomas, called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.’ John 20:24 NKJV
 
The Bible says: ‘Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails… and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”’ (John 20:24–28 NKJV)
 
Note the words ‘Thomas, called the Twin’. Do you know who the other twin is? You! Whoever you are, reading this page today, you are Thomas’ twin. Think about it: how often have you doubted God’s love, His goodness, His grace, His faithfulness, and His promises? So what’s the solution? An up-close-and-personal encounter with Jesus like Thomas had.
 
It happens when you read His Word and a verse leaps off the page, causing you to exclaim, ‘My Lord and my God!’ It happens in conversation with a friend when he or she shares such wisdom and insight that you find yourself saying, ‘My Lord and my God!’ It happens when you pray like the psalmist: ‘Be good to Your servant, that I may live and obey Your word. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instructions.’ (Psalm 119:17–18 NLT)
 
From The Word for Today.

April 29, 2020

Where Is God When It Hurts?
 
‘Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ Job 2:10 NKJV
 
If you could ask God one question and be guaranteed an answer, what would you ask? When pollster George Barna asked this question in a national survey in the USA, the primary response was: ‘Why is there pain and suffering in the world?’
 
The short answer is: Christ’s first coming was to save us from the penalty of our sin; His second coming is to save us from the presence of sin and restore paradise lost. But at some point in your life you will face pain and suffering. Job was a good and godly man, yet all ten of his children died tragically in a single day. ‘Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her…“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:9–10 NKJV)
 
Observe two things about adversity. First, the opposite of integrity [wholeness] is fragmentation; we either fall apart or draw closer to God. Second, what we say is crucial: ‘In all this Job did not sin with his lips.’ Yes, he grieved deeply. And he had lots of questions for God, including unanswered ones. Yet when he spoke later, here’s what he said: ‘He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.’ (Job 23:10–12 NKJV)
 
From The Word for Today.

April 28, 2020

Do Only What God Wants You To Do
 
‘I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do.’ John 17:4 NIV
 

Over half of those who enter the ministry quit within ten years because of stress and discouragement. How can you avoid that? By following Christ’s example. How did Jesus do it? He tells us: ‘The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does… By Myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is just, for I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me.’ (John 5:19–20, 30 NIV)
 
That sounds simple, right? Simple—but not easy. People will try to talk you into doing good things that are not necessarily God’s highest priority for you. You can spend your life doing the ‘good’ and never get around to doing the ‘best’. Jesus said, ‘I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.’ (John 17:4 NKJV)
 
If God doesn’t give it to you, don’t take it on. And if He does, don’t try it without His help. Grandfather clocks come with two simple instructions. First, don’t let it run down. Second, don’t wind it too tight. Why did Jesus rise before dawn to pray and sometimes pray all night? To avoid getting run-down, or wound up too tight! The Bible says, ‘Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.’ (Psalm 55:22 NLT) But He can only carry them when you give them to Him.
 
From The Word for Today.

April 27, 2020

‘Yes, But’ People

‘They have an unhealthy interest in controversies.’ 1 Timothy 6:4 NIV

Some people miss all the good things in life by focusing only on what’s wrong. They miss the flowers in the garden and point out the weeds. Who are they? They’re the ‘Yes, but’ people. In order to help them and to deal with them the right way, you must:

(1) Be discerning. Recognise that often their outward bravado masks a deep inner insecurity. It lets them shift the focus off their own fears and onto the faults of others.

(2) Be accepting. Our first inclination is to ignore and isolate difficult people. That’s a mistake. Difficult people often want to be ignored, and avoiding them just provides the emotional distance for them to hide. Plus, it confirms their belief that you don’t care and won’t listen because you think they’re wrong and you’re right.

(3) Be interested. Show genuine concern for their family, their work, and their well-being. ‘Yes, but’ people usually struggle with giving and receiving love; they’re inclined to elevate opinion and loyalty above communication and reconciliation. And nowhere is it more evident than in their personal lives. So be prepared to pray with them about the trail of broken relationships you’re likely to find.

(4) Be kind. The Bible says, ‘Love is patient, love is kind… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)

Avoiding ‘Yes, but’ people doesn’t work; neither does arguing with them or trying to straighten them out. You can’t change the habits of a lifetime in one or two conversations. But given enough time, the one strategy that never fails is love.

From The Word for Today.

April 26, 2020

Prayers That Don’t Work

‘My prayers returned to me unanswered.’ Psalm 35:13 NIV

Misdirected prayers. Some people turn the blessing at mealtime into a public airing of their frustrations. Others bounce their prayers off God, hoping to hit the person across the table—the one they’re trying to win to Christ. Don’t do that. God gets enough bad press without you adding to it! Jesus said, ‘When you pray, don’t be like the play-actors.’ (Matthew 6:5 PHPS)

Judgmental prayers. In one church a childless couple was praying for a baby. The prayer group arbitrarily decided the husband wasn’t ‘godly’ enough to be a father, so they spent their time asking God to change him. If God gave children only to perfect parents, the human race would be extinct! The Bible says, ‘We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of Your mercy.’ (Daniel 9:18 NLT)

Quorum-based prayers. You think there’s a better chance of getting your prayers answered if you involve a lot of people, like having a quorum at a business meeting. With God, what matters is the faith with which you pray, not the number of people. Jesus said, ‘Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’ (Mark 11:24 NIV) Now, when you face a situation that’s too big to handle alone, it’s wise to reach for someone who really knows God and can pray in agreement with you.

Which raises the question: do you have prayer partners you can call on? Are you a prayer partner for someone else? If not, then begin praying for Him to send someone to come alongside you.

From The Word for Today.

April 25, 2020

Forgive Them And Release Yourself

‘When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them.’ Mark 11:25 NIV

When someone hurts us, our natural response is to either hurt them back or hope they will suffer for what they have done to us. Yet as redeemed children of God, we know this is the wrong response. That is when we discover forgiving someone doesn’t come naturally or easily; it requires supernatural grace on our part. And where do we get that? Through prayer! Jesus said, ‘When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.’ Recalling God’s grace towards you leaves you no choice but to extend that same grace towards someone who hurts you.

Lewis Smedes said, ‘Forgiveness is a decision to set a prisoner free, and then discovering that the prisoner is you.’ So if you have a desire to forgive someone, get excited; the Holy Spirit has already done half the job. To complete the other half, humble yourself and pray: ‘Father, I turn from every desire I have to avenge this wrong. You saw the situation before it happened, and in Your infinite wisdom You allowed it to be so. Your Word says that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28 KJV)—even this for my good—so from this moment on, with the help of Your Holy Spirit, I forgive them. I will not dwell on the situation but will declare Your Word instead.’

That’s called ‘a prayer of release’. And you’re not just releasing your offender; you’re releasing and repositioning yourself to walk in God’s blessing. That’s why you must forgive them!

From The Word for Today.

April 24, 2020

Do You Have A Difficult Boss?

‘Serve wholeheartedly.’ Ephesians 6:7 NIV

If you think your boss is hard to get along with, imagine working for David’s boss, King Saul. The more David tried to help him, the more Saul tried to kill him. So what did David do? Every time his boss flew into a jealous rage and threw spears at him, David ducked and kept on serving him. Why?

(1) Because David knew God had called him to be king, and what better place to learn the ropes than in the king’s employ? The truth is, sometimes you can learn more from mistakes and failures than from the achievements of success. So David kept his head down and kept on learning and growing.

(2) David recognised that because Saul had been called by God to the position he held, it was God’s job, not his, to remove him. Was that hard to do? Yes. But David understood that how you treat others when they’re in trouble determines how God treats you when you’re in trouble. And before his life was over, David got into lots of trouble and needed God’s mercy big-time!

Paul writes, ‘Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.’ Instead of murmuring and complaining, work to excel on the job and pray for favour. Remember: ‘The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.’ (Proverbs 21:1 NKJV) Because David acted with grace and integrity while serving under a boss who was a nightmare, God made him the boss! And when you honour God on the job, He can do the same for you.

From The Word for Today.

April 23, 2020

Be Willing To Listen, Consider, And Yield

‘Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another.’ Romans 12:10 NKJV

In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died after being hurled into the icy water below. News of the disaster got worse when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technical problem like radar malfunction, or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence and both could have steered clear. But according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other, because each was too proud to yield. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late.

If you’re a tough-minded, strong-willed, make-it-happen kind of person, think about what you’ve just read. If by winning the argument you hurt or lose the relationship, what have you gained? If you save face but lose the relationship, you end up in the loss column. So here’s the word for you today: ‘Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another… Be of the same mind towards one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men… Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:10–21 NKJV)

From The Word for Today.

April 22, 2020

Choose Joy
 
‘Do everything without complaining.’ Philippians 2:14 NLT
 
Chronic complainers are almost impossible to help. You can never satisfy them but they won’t let you stop trying, so you end up feeling trapped. Once you get a reputation as a chronic complainer, people avoid you like the plague, and you end up feeling lonely and unappreciated. And chances are you’ll never really understand why!
 
Attitudes don’t just happen—you choose them. Paul writes, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’ (Philippians 4:4 NKJV) Joylessness is something many church folks are prone to indulge in, and it’s usually not the kind of problem that gets you thrown out of the choir or removed from the church committee. The psalmist writes, ‘This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Psalm 118:24 NKJV) Notice that he doesn’t say, ‘Yesterday was God’s day, how happy I was then,’ or, ‘Tomorrow will be God’s day, I’ll endure until then.’
 
No, this day is a gift from God! Complaining is often self-centred; it’s about what you like and don’t like. It is self-focused. Real joy is a choice. It comes to those who devote themselves to something greater than their own happiness. There are decisions you get to make every day, like what you eat, the clothes you wear—and the attitude you project. Paul was in prison with no hope of release when he wrote, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’
 
His circumstances didn’t dictate his joy, his focus did! And the same goes for you. ‘Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 NLT) So today choose joy!
 
From The Word for Today.

April 21, 2020

People Pleasing

‘I’m not trying to win the approval of people.’ Galatians 1:10 NLT

People pleasing does two things:

(1) It makes you neglect your own needs in order to meet other people’s.

(2) It causes you to make decisions based on their approval.

Either way, you can end up feeling like a doormat. Maybe you became a people pleaser early in life to get the attention you craved and couldn’t get any other way. Or maybe you never learned to trust your own judgment. The Bible says, ‘Fearing people is a dangerous trap’ (Proverbs 29:25 NLT), because it always backfires. Not only do others get upset with you, you end up disappointed with yourself when things don’t work out.

Peter struggled with people-pleasing. The night before the crucifixion when ‘a servant girl… said… “You were one of those with Jesus”… Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”’ (Matthew 26:69–70 NLT) Afterwards he ended up weeping over his failure.

When Samuel confronted Saul about his decision not to completely destroy the Amalekites: ‘Saul admitted…“I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded.”’ (1 Samuel 15:24 NLT) Paul, on the other hand, wrote, ‘I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.’ It’s good to be considerate, loving, and patient, but you can’t let yourself be intimidated and manipulated: ‘God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power.’ (2 Timothy 1:7 NASB)

When you yield to the fear of others you allow them, not God, to control your life. God doesn’t want you to serve people out of fear, but out of love for them—and Him.

From The Word for Today.

April 20, 2020

The Most Important Thing

‘There is only one thing worth being concerned about.’ Luke 10:42 NLT

Here are two enemies that threaten your spiritual life:

(1) Boredom. Missionary and educator Frank Laubach said, ‘If you’re weary of some sleepy form of devotion, probably God is as weary of it as you are.’ Walking with God is the most rewarding life possible. ‘In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)

(2) Busyness. Jesus told Martha, ‘You are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it.’ (Luke 10:41–42 NLT) And what was Mary doing? Sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him! Martha loved Jesus and she couldn’t do enough for Him. But she was so busy serving Him that she didn’t know how to relax and enjoy being with Him.

Maybe like Martha, you think that unless you do the job yourself, it won’t get done properly. And you may be right. But God will never ask you to do anything that takes His place in your life. He wants to be your top priority. Sometimes we approach God with a list of requests the length of our arm because we’re more interested in His presents than His presence. David said, ‘The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His Temple.’ (Psalm 27:4 NLT)

Can you imagine having ‘one thing’ at the top of your agenda at all times: needing and desiring to spend time with God? Think how that could revolutionise your life.

From The Word for Today.

April 19, 2020

Today ‘Be Ready’
 
‘I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me.’ Philippians 4:13 AMPC
 
The Bible says, ‘Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.’ (Proverbs 27:1 NLT) The truth is, when you wake up every morning you have no idea what will happen to you that day. You hope for a trouble-free day where your expectations and desires will be fulfilled—but you know from experience this isn’t always the case. We live in a real world with real problems. Your enemy the devil is real, and he works in every possible way to bring discouragement, fear, and failure.
 
Knowing this, the psalmist wrote: ‘If you make the Lord your refuge… no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go… The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them My salvation.”’ (Psalm 91:9–16 NLT)
 
No matter what comes your way, you must trust that when it arrives God will give you the grace to handle it. Remember, Satan loves to attack those who are in line for God’s blessing. That’s why Paul wrote, ‘I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me.’ Inner strength is better than outer strength. Why? Because as long as you remain strong inwardly, you can handle anything that comes against you outwardly and keep moving forward. So today—be ready.
 
From The Word for Today.

April 18, 2020

Look For Good Counsellors

‘In the multitude of counsellors there is safety.’ Proverbs 11:14 NKJV

To succeed in life, you need wise and competent people around you, informed people with a proven track record who can assist you. But be advised: the best people with the most knowledge will challenge, stretch, and confront your previously held viewpoints. That doesn’t mean you should avoid them. On the contrary—that’s exactly why you need them! You must get over your fear of people who are smarter, more talented, and more experienced than you are, and learn from them instead. What stops many of us from approaching competent people is that we feel ignorant when we’re around them. It’s ok to be ignorant—but it’s not ok to stay that way! Don’t keep running back to familiar, mediocre interactions with people who don’t challenge you to grow.

The more you move into new arenas in life, the more you need ‘the multitude of counsellors’ who will push you to be more than you are, even if it’s uncomfortable at first. Go where they are, listen to what they say, and evaluate their opinions. If you’re going to build yourself up spiritually, emotionally, and financially, you must go outside your comfort zone. If you don’t, you won’t have the information you need to move beyond the familiar and attain your future goals. Only those who are willing to be stretched achieve their dreams. And remember, the people you need most are usually busy people. Generally speaking, they won’t reach for you, so you must reach for them. And be prepared; some of them may turn you down, while others, recognising your hunger for wisdom and knowledge, will respond and help you to succeed.

From The Word for Today.

April 17, 2020

Saying The Right Thing

‘The word is near you.’ Romans 10:8 NIV

If you’re not careful, it’s easy to speak words of doubt that contradict what God says in His Word. Paul writes of the word that saves, ‘“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim.’ So, speak God’s Word over your situation and watch Him go to work on your behalf, setting things right for you.

The word ‘confession’ is related to the Greek word homologia, which means ‘to come into agreement with, or say the same thing’. That means you must come into agreement with God’s Word and learn to say what He says, no matter how bad things look at the time. If it’s not what God is saying, it’s counterproductive. But if it is, your words become powerful weapons.

The Bible says, ‘How forcible are right words!’ (Job 6:25 KJV) This word ‘forcible’ comes from the Hebrew word marats which means ‘to press’. Just like a king’s signet ring pressed his seal of authority onto a document, your confession of faith seals the matter before God. Jesus said: ‘Assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore… whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ (Mark 11:23–24 NKJV)

Don’t just speak to God about your mountain—speak to your mountain using God’s Word! When you make God’s Word your word, your mountain will begin to move.

From The Word for Today.

April 16, 2020

You’re ‘Connected’
 
‘If anyone does sin, we have an advocate.’ 1 John 2:1 NLT
 
The moon and stars you can see on a clear night are mere drops in the vast sea of the universe. Our sun is one of more than 100 billion stars that make up the Milky Way galaxy. And there may be as many as 100 billion other galaxies—billions of which may have hundreds of millions of planets like ours. The Hubble Space Telescope relays images of galaxies as far away as thirteen billion light years—that’s thirteen billion times nine trillion kilometres! And all this was created because God proclaimed: ‘Let there be’ (see Genesis 1). But here’s something even more amazing: the One who created it all loves you and cares about every detail of your life. When you are weak, He is strong. When you blow it, He forgives you.
 
The Bible says, ‘If anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous. He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins.’ (1 John 2:1–2 NLT) God’s grace is truly amazing, and you don’t have to do anything to deserve it. Because God is your Father, you can call home anytime and find a welcome. You’re ‘connected’ to the One who ‘understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.’ (Hebrews 4:15–16 NLT) You’re connected to unending mercy and grace—how awesome is that?
 
From The Word for Today.

April 15, 2020

Keep Learning
 
‘A wise person is hungry for knowledge.’ Proverbs 15:14 NLT
 
It’s been said that we forget more than 80 per cent of what we learn in school and college. That raises the question, ‘Why bother? Is education really worth what we invest in it?’ It is. There are many valid reasons for learning, even if forgetting will take its usual toll. Here are five of the most important ones:
 
(1) The most important function of the learning process is the self-discipline and control that it fosters. Good students learn to follow directions, carry out assignments, and channel their mental faculties towards a constructive end. These are skills you’ll need in order to succeed in life.
 
(2) Even if the facts and concepts can’t be recalled, you know they exist and where to find them. So you can retrieve the information when you need it later on.
 
(3) Old learning makes new learning easier. Each mental exercise gives you more associative clues with which to link future ideas and concepts, and you are changed for having been through the process of learning.
 
(4) Your brain is like the programming in your computer. You don’t really forget anything that is within the reach of your memory. The information is still stored in your brain and will return to consciousness when properly stimulated.
 
(5) You are shaped by the influence of the people who teach you. The Bible says, ‘The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge.’ (Proverbs 15:14 NKJV) Perhaps you wish that an easier process for shaping the human mind could be found, rather than the slow, painful experience of education. But until a ‘learning pill’ is developed, the old-fashioned approach will have to do.
 
From The Word for Today.

April 14, 2020

Do You Have A Plan For Your Life?

‘Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity.’ Proverbs 21:5 NLT

Without a plan for your life, life just ‘happens’ to you. Some of us plan our lives one day at a time. We wake up, make our to-do list, and dive into action. Some of us even plan our lives one week at a time. We review the calendar for the week, check our appointments, review our goals, and then get to work.

Leadership expert John Maxwell writes: ‘At the beginning of every month, I spend a half day working on my calendar for the next forty days. Forty days works for me rather than just thirty. That way, I get a jump on the next month and don’t get surprised. I begin by reviewing my travel schedule and planning activities with my family. Then I review what projects, lessons, and other objectives I want to accomplish during those five to six weeks. Then I start blocking out days and times for thinking, writing, working, meeting with people, etc. I set times to do fun things such as seeing a show, watching a ball game, or playing golf. I also set aside small blocks of time to compensate for the unexpected. By the time I’m done, I can tell you nearly everything I’ll be doing, almost hour by hour, during the coming weeks. This is one of the reasons I have been able to accomplish so much.’

The thought of planning forty days at a time may overwhelm you, so start by planning your day. Then aim for a week, a month, a year, etc. And if you consult God, ‘He will show you which path to take.’ (Proverbs 3:6 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

April 13, 2020

Satan Wants To Stop You (2)
 
‘There was Satan, standing at Joshua’s right side, ready to accuse him.’ Zechariah 3:1 CEV
 
Sometimes Satan’s attacks are obvious. In the Old Testament the prophet Zechariah writes, ‘He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.’ Satan usually prefers to work incognito, so frequently he will attack you through people—especially those closest to you.
 
The Bible tells us, ‘The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas… to betray Jesus.’ (John 13:2 NIV) So what’s your best line of defence? The living Word of God. Exposed to a greater level of temptation than any of us will ever face, Jesus quoted the Scriptures to Satan three different times and put him to flight. When Satan attacks your mind with temptation, condemnation, doubts, and feelings of inadequacy, God’s Word is a shield he cannot penetrate.
 
David said, ‘If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished.’ (Psalm 119:92 NIV) Notice what happened when Jesus finished doing battle with the enemy: ‘The devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.’ (Matthew 4:11 NLT) You are not alone. God has placed a cordon of angels around you to sustain and protect you. And ‘angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.’ (Hebrews 1:14 NLT)
 
During seasons of adversity, remember you’re a champion, not a victim. Invest your words and energies into creating new goals and dreams. Stay awake, alert, aware, productive, and focused. Exude faith. And expect your faith to be supernaturally honoured by the God who promised to intervene when you need Him most (see Isaiah 59:19).
 
From The Word for Today.

April 12, 2020

Satan Wants To Stop You (1)
 
‘We wanted to return to you. I myself tried to go back more than once, but Satan would not let us.’ 1 Thessalonians 2:18 GNT
 
Paul writes, ‘We wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.’ (1 Thessalonians 2:18 NKJV) Note the words ‘time and again’. When you have an assignment from God, Satan will repeatedly attack you and try to stop you from fulfilling it. Observe three things:
 
(1) His attacks reveal that he believes you’re capable of accomplishing your goal. That’s why when you’re down, he wants to keep you there. He knows if you rise again, you’ll be stronger and more effective than ever.
 
(2) He always attacks the birth of something significant in your life. It may be the birth of your ministry, as with Jesus in the wilderness temptation. It may be the birth of your ‘child of destiny’, like the birth of Moses—there Satan initiated the killing of newborn males in Egypt in an effort to stop the exodus.
 
(3) He uses those closest to you as a gateway to your heart. Jesus said, ‘Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ (Matthew 10:36 NLT) So what should you do? Pray for them. Your intercession is often the only covering they have, so pray daily for the grace and mercy of God to be downloaded into their hearts. And above all, never forget that your attitude is more important than the adversity you’re experiencing. Attacks pass, but your attitude, if bitter or demoralised, can grow into a root of bitterness that will poison every day of your future (see Hebrews 12:15). Your influence in God’s Kingdom determines the level of attack the enemy launches against you. So don’t get discouraged—keep on keeping on!
 
From The Word for Today.

April 11, 2020

The Importance of The Cross (5)
 
‘I have been crucified with Christ.’ Galatians 2:20 NKJV
 
The cross must become a vital part of your everyday life. Why? Because you have three relentless enemies you must overcome each day: sin, Satan, self. How do you overcome them? By living the crucified life.
 
Paul writes, ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.’ You’re probably thinking, ‘It’s too difficult to live a Christian life!’
 
No, it’s not difficult… it’s impossible. The only way is to let the power and person of Christ live through you. That’s why Paul wrote, ‘God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.’ (Galatians 6:14 NKJV)
 
After years in a Russian labour camp, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn became so depressed that he wanted to die. Laying his shovel down, he walked over to a bench and sat down, knowing that any moment a guard could come by and use that shovel to beat him to death. It was then that a fellow inmate took a stick and, in the sand at Solzhenitsyn’s feet, traced out the sign of the cross. As he stared at it, his entire perspective shifted. Realising the cross represented the greatest power in the universe, he slowly got up, picked up his shovel, and went back to work under the sign of the cross. And you must do that too.
 
Each day, remind yourself: ‘Jesus died for me. I died with Him. When I die to me, He lives in me. When He lives in me, I can live for Him.’ That’s the secret of a victorious Christian life.
 
From The Word for Today.

April 10, 2020

The Importance of The Cross (4)
 
‘Behold, they have rejected the Word of the Lord; so what wisdom do they have?’ Jeremiah 8:9 NKJV
 
You will never understand the message of the cross, or receive the benefits of salvation that come from the cross, until you first kneel at the cross and receive Jesus Christ as your personal saviour.
 
The story is told of a great preacher who was touring Italy. A friend told him to go to a certain village and see a painting of the crucifixion of Christ.
 
‘What is it like?’ he asked.
 
His friend said, ‘Never mind what it is like. I want you to see it. Please promise me you will.’
 
He replied, ‘I will.’ He went to the village and visited the chapel where the painting was.
 
The old caretaker said, ‘You’ve come to see the painting, haven’t you?’
 
He said, ‘Why, yes I have.’
 
The caretaker responded, ‘Follow me.’
 
The great preacher was not prepared for what he was about to see. Instead of a beautiful masterpiece, the painting seemed all out of proportion and didn’t make sense. ‘I don’t understand this painting,’ he said.
 
The caretaker replied, ‘Come closer.’ He did. The caretaker said, ‘Get lower.’ He did.
 
Finally, as he was kneeling at the foot of the cross, he looked up and saw the power and beauty of the painting and was reduced to tears. It’s only when you lay aside your pride, your preconceived notions, and your intellectual approach, and humble yourself, that the message of the cross transforms you.
 
‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ (1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV)
 
From The Word for Today.

April 9, 2020

The Importance of The Cross (3)

‘The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.’ 1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV

God dying on the cross for our sins sounds like ‘foolishness’ to some people. Their philosophy is: ‘If I cannot understand it, I won’t accept it.’ That’s where they get it wrong. They want to understand a mystery. But salvation comes through faith alone—so that even tiny children, who lack understanding, can have it. ‘Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.’ (Matthew 18:3 NIV) Simple, childlike faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross is all that’s required.

There’s a story about a student who scored zero on a test. Upset, he said, ‘I don’t deserve this grade.’ The professor nodded and said, ‘I agree, but zero is the lowest grade I can give.’

That’s how God feels about our wisdom. ‘The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.’ (1 Corinthians 3:19 NKJV) One day a man stood on the roof of his house during a flood, and prayed, ‘God, please save me.’ Soon a rowboat came by and offered to take him to safety. But he said, ‘No, God will take care of me.’ The waters kept coming up until they were almost at his waist. Suddenly a helicopter appeared overhead and a rope ladder was lowered down. ‘Oh no, God will take care of me.’ Soon after that the man drowned. When he stood before God, he said, ‘Why didn’t you save me?’

God responded, ‘I sent you a rowboat and a helicopter. What else did you want?’

At the cross, God did everything required to save you. All you have to do is trust in Christ and receive the gift of eternal life.

From The Word for Today.

April 8, 2020

The Importance of The Cross (2)

‘But we preach Christ crucified.’ 1 Corinthians 1:23 NKJV

Paul writes: ‘For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.’ (1 Corinthians 1:22–24 NKJV) There’s no Jewish way to be saved, or Gentile way to be saved. There’s only one way to be saved—that’s the way of the cross!

We all have the same need. We need to know what’s right and do what’s right. We need the wisdom to know what to do, and we need the power to do it. And Christ offers us both through the cross.

In his early ministry, when Billy Graham preached to a great crowd in Dallas, Texas, there was very little response to his message. As he was leaving the platform, an old man told him, ‘Your message was good, but you didn’t preach the cross.’

Billy went to his room, wept, and resolved, ‘There will never be a sermon that I preach unless the cross is central.’ Starting that day, God used him to win more people to Christ than almost any other preacher in history. There’s just enough ego in each of us to want to ‘contribute’ to our salvation by doing good works. But we cannot.

The hymn-writer Robert Lowry wrote: ‘What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know; nothing but the blood of Jesus.’

From the Word for Today.

April 7, 2020

The Importance of The Cross (1)

‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Galatians 6:14 KJV

It’s interesting that in the Bible Jesus doesn’t ask us to remember His birth or His resurrection, although we know we should, but He tells us to remember His death. When He instituted the Lord’s Supper, He said, ‘This do in remembrance of Me.’ (Luke 22:19 KJV) Paul said, ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

The cross is an instrument of death. So why glory in it? Because of what took place there. When Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ all your sins from the cradle to the grave were paid for. So the cross is God’s first and last word when it comes to salvation. It’s His first word because Jesus was ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ (Revelation 13:8 KJV) And the cross is God’s last word about salvation, for in Heaven they will sing, ‘You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.’ (Revelation 5:9 ESV)

There is no ‘plan B’ for salvation. The only road that goes to Heaven goes through Calvary. You can’t bypass the cross or go around it if you want to be saved. The Bible says, ‘Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.’ (Hebrews 9:22 ESV) As you look at the cross today, you’ll see the curse of sin, the cost of sin, and the cure for sin. And as you look at the cross, remind yourself: ‘He did it for me.’

From The Word for Today.

April 6, 2020

Go To Your ‘God Place’
 
‘Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord.’ Genesis 19:27 NKJV
 
Abraham had a special place where he met with God. So did Daniel, when his life was threatened: ‘In his upper room… he knelt… three times that day… and prayed and gave thanks before… God, as was his custom.’ (Daniel 6:10 NKJV) 
Jesus, too, had a special place: ‘Before daylight, He… departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.’ (Mark 1:35 NKJV)
Here’s an idea: establish a ‘God place’ in your life. When problems and pressures threaten to overwhelm you, go to your God place. When you need guidance, go to your God place. Hymnist William Walford penned these time-honoured words: ‘Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer! That calls me from a world of care, and bids me at my Father’s throne make all my wants and wishes known. In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief; and oft escaped the tempter’s snare, by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!’
 
In the words of Henry Ward Beecher: ‘Wherever you have seen God pass, mark that spot, and go sit in that window again.’ Your God place can be anywhere, but it should be somewhere. After you’ve been there a while, a kind of aura will surround it. You’ll create memories of intimate times with God. It will become your sanctuary, which simply means ‘a place of refuge and safety’.
 
David wrote, ‘Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.’ (Psalm 91:1 NLT) Call it your God place, your secret place, your sanctuary, or whatever, but establish such a place in your life.
 
The Word for Today.

April 5, 2020

A Word For Single Parents

‘He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother.’ Psalm 113:9 NLT

Imagine the agony a single parent goes through when they are required by a court order to send their child for an extended visit with the other parent. Yes, it’s necessary and it’s fair, but it can be painful.

One single mum described her feelings this way: ‘I feel an incredible sense of loss. The loneliness immediately starts to set in, I worry constantly about their safety, but I resist the urge to call every hour to see how they’re doing. And when they do call me to tell me how much fun they’re having, I grieve over the fact that they’re having a life completely separate from my own. My only consolation is knowing that they’re coming home soon. But I’m haunted by the fear that they won’t want to come home to me.’

For the single parent who identifies with this hurting mother, there’s a way to get through the painful period of waiting. Instead of seeing this time alone as a period of isolation and deprivation, view it as an opportunity to recharge your batteries and reinvigorate your spirit. Spend time with friends. Read your Bible and pray. Return to a hobby you’ve set aside. Fill your hours with things that are impossible amid the responsibility of childcare, recognising that your children will benefit when you do. They’ll return to a re-energised you, instead of one coming off a time of depression. God says, ‘My grace is all you need.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT) Today draw on His grace.

From The Word for Today.

April 4, 2020

Remove The Label Of ‘Impossible’

‘With men it is impossible, but not with God.’ Mark 10:27 NKJV

When you label something as being ‘impossible’, three things happen:

(1) By giving in to the fear of failure you kill your own faith and motivation.

(2) You risk settling for less than God wants you to have.

(3) By excluding God from the equation you cut yourself off from the greatest power in the universe.

When oil prices went through the roof in the 1970s, car manufacturers were ordered to build more fuel-efficient cars. One manufacturer asked a group of senior engineers to drastically reduce the weight of the cars they were designing. They worked on the problem and searched for solutions, but they finally concluded that making lighter cars couldn’t be done, would be too expensive, and would present too many safety concerns.

What was the car manufacturers’ solution? They gave the problem to a group of less experienced engineers, and the new group found ways to reduce the weight of the companies’ cars by hundreds of kilograms. Why? Because they believed solving the problem was possible—and it was. Every time you remove the label of impossible from a task, and include God in it, you raise your potential from ‘average’ to ‘off-the-charts’. George Bernard Shaw said, ‘Some men see things as they are and say, “Why?” I dream of things that never were and say, “Why not?”’

Jesus said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.’ In the natural world, you may not be able to accomplish it. But when you step into the realm of the supernatural, God adds His ‘super’ to your ‘natural’, and what seems impossible becomes possible.

From The Word for Today.

April 3, 2020

Has Your Spouse Been Unfaithful?

‘I am like a broken vessel.’ Psalm 31:12 KJV

When your spouse breaks your marriage vows, it can break your heart. And after the initial shock wears off, your driving desire can be to hurt them in return. So what should you do instead?

(1) Take time to process your emotions. A quick, ‘I forgive you,’ or just sweeping things under the rug, will sabotage any hope of rebuilding a strong relationship.

(2) If your spouse is a habitual betrayer who wants to live as he or she pleases, God’s Word gives you the right to be set free from them. But don’t move too quickly. Ask yourself if work and family pressures may have caused you to neglect each other. Did you inadvertently open a door for the enemy? These are hard questions—but they must be answered, because the decision you make is one you will live with for the rest of your life.

You may not believe it right now, but God can make a good marriage out of a bad mess. Yes, it will take time—trust can only be rebuilt slowly. And that means:

(a) Learning to be sensitive to one another.

(b) Acknowledging that your spouse may need detailed accountability, and you may have to go the extra mile to rebuild the trust that was lost. But it can happen. ‘The righteous cry out…the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.’ (Psalm 34:17–18 NKJV) God can turn your situation around. If you’ll work with Him—He’ll work with you.

From The Word for Today.

April 2, 2020

Read The Fine Print

‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’ Amos 3:3 NKJV

When it comes to forming relationships, read the fine print. Somewhere in the fine print of meeting, dating, and interacting with someone, it warned you, albeit ever-so-slightly, that they were going to be a certain way. The red flags were always there, even though they started out as a lovely shade of pale pink. You saw how quickly he got angry. You knew she was always late when you picked her up. He invariably went into a panic checking every line item on the restaurant bill. She never failed to flirt with the waiter—and anyone else who looked her way. You noticed, but you didn’t listen to the little voice inside of you.

Before you order something, it’s always wise to read the fine print to make sure you can afford the payments. Maybe the fine print became obvious when you saw how he interacted with his family—or didn’t! Maybe it was in the way his eyes lingered on every woman who walked by. Or in the phone calls she took out of earshot when you were around. Chances are you saw it, but you didn’t pay attention. You overlooked the temper tantrums, the possessiveness, the jealousy, and lack of integrity, thinking you could change the other person, or that they’d change for you. Now you know better.

There’s a reason the Bible asks, ‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’ Yes, the God who gives ‘beauty for ashes’ can change your partner’s heart (see Isaiah 61:3). But if you’re dating or considering a long-term relationship, pray about it and read the fine print.

From The Word for Today.

April 1, 2020

Having The Overcoming Attitude

‘There is wonderful joy ahead.’ 1 Peter 1:6 NLT

In 1962, in a classic study called Cradles of Eminence, Victor and Mildred Goertzel investigated the family backgrounds of more than 400 highly successful people. They sought to identify the early experiences that may have contributed to their remarkable achievements in life. They included people like Einstein and many others who are famous and admired. Their backgrounds proved to be very interesting. Three-quarters of them came from troubled childhoods, enduring poverty, broken homes, or parental abuse. One-quarter of them had physical disabilities. Most of those who became well-known writers or playwrights watched their parents embroiled in one crisis after another.

Here’s what the researches concluded: The need to compensate for disadvantages was a major factor in their drive towards personal achievement. These people had one thing in common—the overcoming attitude: ‘This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.’ (1 John 5:4 NKJV) When you have faith in God and yourself, you can end up doing things that astound you. The problem that seems so formidable today, can become the very thing that launches you into greatness tomorrow.

The Bible puts it this way: ‘There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold… So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour.’ (1 Peter 1:6–7 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

March 31, 2020

You’re Being Tested
 
‘Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.’ 1 Peter 4:12 NKJV
 
The Bible tells us: ‘Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.’ (1 Peter 4:12–13 NKJV)
 
JB Phillips paraphrases Peter’s words: ‘I beg you not to be unduly alarmed at the fiery ordeals which come to test your faith, as though this were some abnormal experience… If you are reproached for being Christ’s followers, that is a great privilege, for you can be sure that God’s Spirit of glory is resting upon you.’ Times of testing feel ‘strange’, but they are normal and necessary! They are how you grow in grace. They are how God equips and prepares you to do great things in His Kingdom. God never afflicts us, but He most assuredly tests us. And His tests measure us, reveal us, strengthen our faith, purify us, and cause us to grow spiritually.
 
To quote the apostle Paul: ‘The more grace God gives, the more thanksgiving will redound to His glory. This is the reason why we never collapse. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength.’ (2 Corinthians 4:15–17 PHPS) If you could see the blessing that’s waiting for you on the other side of this fiery trial, you’d cancel your pity party and start planning your promotion party.
 
From The Word for Today.

March 30, 2020

Satan Is At Work—Stand Up To Him!

‘An enemy has done this.’ Matthew 13:28 NKJV

The Bible says: ‘Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and… when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop… the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’”’ (Matthew 13:24–28 NKJV)

We all need a spiritual wake-up call from time to time. Sometimes the problem we are dealing with isn’t of human origin.

Jesus said, ‘While men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.’ Yes, it’s foolish to blame everything on the devil, but it’s even more foolish not to recognise when he is at work. Paul writes: ‘Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but… against the powers of this dark world and… spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.’ (Ephesians 6:11–13 NIV) He goes on to say, ‘Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.’ (Ephesians 6:16 NIV) So the word for you today is: recognise when Satan is at work, stand up to him, and he will flee! (See James 4:7.)

From The Word for Today.

March 29, 2020

Let God Comfort You

‘God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.’ 2 Corinthians 1:3 NLT

When you lose someone you love, you go through a grieving process. And God will comfort you and walk you through it. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ (Matthew 5:4 NIV) Grieving is the healthy way to process your emotions, to express your pain and move beyond it. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight; it happens in proportion to the size of your loss. Only small losses are healed quickly.

Zig Ziglar says: ‘The longest twenty hours of my life were those right after my daughter’s death. When making her funeral arrangements, I had to listen to a salesman who was an incessant talker, and who told me thirty times that he wasn’t a salesman. Twice I had to leave the room; I simply couldn’t handle him. The night before, half asleep and half awake, I kept thinking my daughter was wondering when her daddy was coming to get her. The next morning I took a walk, praying and crying the whole way. When I returned, the Lord spoke to me in such a distinct way: “She’s fine. She’s with me, and you’re going to be fine too. I’m all you need. Keep walking. Keep talking. Keep praying. Keep crying.”’

Grief and loss can’t be solved, but they are experiences you don’t have to go through alone. The best-known Psalm in Scripture says, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.’ (Psalm 23:4 NKJV)

The sun will shine again. ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’ (Psalm 30:5 NKJV) Your joy will return—God promises it!

From The Word for Today.

March 28, 2020

Live By Your Convictions (2)

‘My conscience is clear but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.’ 1 Corinthians 4:4 NIV

Daniel was forced to decide if he was going to be a conformer or a transformer. What’s the difference? Pressure controls a conformer. If you place enough pressure on them, they’ll cave. If you put enough pressure on them, they will smoke the first joint, they will take the first drink, they will do what everybody else is doing. But principle governs a transformer.

You say, ‘Living that way is very demanding.’ Yes; and it’s very protective. God knows better than we do how to avoid pain, frustration, and destruction in our lives. Because He sees the cliff’s edge clearer than we do, He places guardrails next to the drop-off. And when we follow His commands we avoid heartache, pitfalls, and the loss of our reputation. Refusing to eat the king’s meat was not a matter of diet, but of dedication to God.

Now, we’re not advocating the idea: ‘let conscience be your guide’. Your conscience is not always a good guide. Because you don’t think something’s wrong doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think it’s wrong. Your conscience can be damaged and it can be burned. The Bible speaks of people who have ‘their conscience seared with a hot iron.’ (1 Timothy 4:2 KJV)

Paul writes, ‘My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.’ Nevertheless, the conscience question is the first you should ask when faced with a difficult decision. Rarely do you make a good choice to do something, if you know doing so will take your conscience on the dreaded guilt-trip. So, live by your convictions.

From The Word for Today.

March 27, 2020

Live By Your Convictions (1)

‘Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.’ Daniel 1:8 NKJV

The Bible says, ‘Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank.’ This particular food and wine was offered to pagan gods as an act of worship, and for Daniel that was unacceptable. He was being asked to compromise his character, and he wouldn’t do it. Daniel would have had good reasons if he had chosen to say yes. He was far from home and could do as he pleased. Nobody back home would ever know it. Plus, if he didn’t eat it, he would be insulting the king—not a good move!

Daniel knew God’s Word was clear when it came to idol worship, and God blessed him for it. He ended up being protected, preserved, promoted, and prospered in unthinkable ways. His philosophy was: ‘When God says yes, I say yes. And when God says no, I say no.’ And it seems likely he had established his convictions before he got to Babylon.

Question: have you decided what your core convictions are? Have you spent the good times determining what you will and won’t do during the hard times? If not, you need to. Daniel’s friends probably told him, ‘Nobody will know.’ But his thinking was: ‘God will know, and so will I. I don’t have to live with you, but I’ve got to live with me.’ Your thoughts and ideas must always be open to change and improvement, but your core convictions must be non-negotiable. So, live by your convictions.

From The Word for Today.

March 26, 2020

Focus On What Matters
 
‘I press towards the goal for the prize.’ Philippians 3:14 NKJV
 
Part of Paul’s amazing success was because he was so focused. ‘I press towards the goal for the prize of the upward call.’ Focus can bring energy and power to almost anything, whether spiritual, mental, or physical. Sociologist Robert Lynd observed that ‘knowledge is power only if a man knows what facts not to bother about.’
 
The birthing of a potential breakthrough often results from sharing many good ideas. But to take ideas to the next level, you must shift from being expansive in your thinking to being selective. A good idea becomes a great idea when it’s given focus time. It’s true that focusing on a single idea for a long time can be very frustrating, but your perseverance will pay off. The mind will not focus until it has a goal. But the purpose of your goals is to focus your attention and give you direction, not identify a final destination. As you think about your goals, make sure that they are:
 
(1) clear enough to be kept in focus;
 
(2) close enough to be achieved;
 
(3) helpful enough to change lives.
 
Paul described his goal as ‘the upward call’. When you think only of yourself, you’re thinking ‘downward’, but when you think of others, you’re thinking ‘upward’. These three guidelines will get you going. And be sure to write down your goals. If they’re not written, you can almost be guaranteed that they’re not focused enough. And if you really want to make sure they’re focused, take the advice of theatrical producer David Belasco, who said, ‘If you can’t write your idea on the back of my business card, you don’t have a clear idea.’
 
From The Word for Today.

March 25, 2020

Work On Your Self-Image
 
‘You saw me before I was born.’ Psalm 139:16 TLB
 
It’s how we see ourselves that determines the kind of relationships we establish. Many of us harbour a low sense of self-esteem. We think of everyone else as being more important than ourselves and think meeting their needs is more important than meeting our own needs. We compare ourselves and allow others to determine who we are, and become dependent on their approval to prop up our identity. But it’s a slap in the face to God to look at another person and say, ‘I wish I were like them.’
 
No one can replace you! God made you for His own purpose, that you might reflect a unique aspect of His glory. As believers in Christ, we’ve been given a new identity as children of God. We weren’t created to live dependently on any other person. Rather, God is restoring us to the image of His Son and making us whole (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). In Him we don’t ever need to be afraid to be who we really are. It’s time to develop a true opinion of yourself based on the truth that God made you exactly, precisely, intricately, wondrously, and uniquely you—a one-of-a-kind creation for which there’s no comparison.
 
The psalmist wrote: ‘You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in Your book! How precious it is, Lord, to realise that You are thinking about me constantly!’ (Psalm 139:16–18 TLB)
 
From The Word for Today.

March 24, 2020

Don’t Go There!

‘Sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.’ James 1:15 NKJV

When God says no to sin, He’s not being demanding—He’s being protective. The Bible explains the dangers and subtleties of sin this way: ‘Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived.’ (James 1:14–16 NKJV)

Today some folks are advocating the idea of legalising certain drugs for recreational use. But the idea has already been tried, and it failed disastrously. In the late 1980s, the Swiss set aside some city property in Zurich, where addicts could legally shoot up and where free needles were provided. They were hoping to slow the spread of AIDS. The area of Platzspitz became known as ‘Needle Park’.

So how did the experiment work out? Almost overnight the number of drug users visiting the park soared from 200 to 20,000. Ten thousand ‘consumption events’ occurred per day, as users from all over Switzerland came to get in on the fun. They soon outnumbered the local population. The death rate went through the roof, as health officials sought to resuscitate as many as fifty overdose cases per day. And the crime rate, instead of decreasing, went through the roof too. City officials finally called off the experiment and closed the park. Almost immediately the crime rate dropped to its former levels, and the programme ended in total failure.

When God says to you, ‘Don’t go there,’ it’s because He loves you and wants only the best for you. So be wise, listen to Him, and don’t go there!

From The Word for Today.

March 23, 2020

Made Righteous—By Faith (2)

‘Their faith is credited as righteousness.’ Romans 4:5 NIV

There are only two ways you can become ‘righteous’. The first is through trying, and the second is through trusting. When you try to earn God’s approval by your performance, you can never rest because you can never really be sure you’ve done enough to please Him. But when you place your trust in Christ’s finished work on the cross, the Bible says you enter into God’s ‘rest’ (see Hebrews 4:3).

Paul writes, ‘If anyone is in Christ, the new creation (something that didn’t exist before) has come: The old (appetites and actions) has gone, the new (appetites and actions) is here!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) You don’t have to struggle to be seen as righteous in God’s eyes. The moment you placed your trust in Jesus, God made you ‘the righteousness of God [in Christ].’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

Why did He do it that way? Because any righteousness you could achieve through good works and keeping rules falls so far short of what He requires that He sees it as ‘filthy rags’ (see Isaiah 64:6). So God credited His righteousness to you (see 2 Corinthians 5:18). Paul writes: ‘David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight… whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”’ (Romans 4:6–8 NLT)

Hymnist Edward Mote wrote these words: ‘Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.’ Rejoice! That’s how God sees you—made righteous by faith!

From The Word for Today.

March 22, 2020

Made Righteous—By Faith (1)
 
‘God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.’ 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
 
Here’s an amazing and life-changing truth. The God who made His sinless Son to ‘be sin’ takes unrighteous people like us and makes them ‘righteous’. How does it happen? By works? No, by faith! ‘People are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.’ (Romans 4:5 NLT)
 
This righteousness isn’t about behaving the right way—it’s about believing in the right One. You can’t become righteous in God’s eyes through human effort or keeping the law. You become righteous only through faith in Christ, and trusting in His finished work on the cross. You say, ‘But I feel so guilty when I sin.’ And you should; it’s a good deterrent!
 
But Christ took away all your sins; therefore He took away all your guilt. So what are you feeling? Inner conflict! Your regenerated spirit lives in your unregenerated body, and it reacts the same way your natural body reacts to something harmful. Sin feels foreign to the new you, and when you indulge in it, the pleasure is brief and the aftermath is bad. In essence, your spiritual boundaries have been violated, and your regenerated spirit is telling you that you can’t indulge in sin anymore. That’s not who you are! The old you could have indulged in sin and enjoyed it, but the new you can’t, because you are ‘a new creation in Christ’ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). So rejoice!
 
Today God sees you as ‘righteous’, therefore you can approach Him at any time with complete confidence (see Ephesians 3:12).
 
From The Word for Today.

March 21, 2020

Your Children Are Watching You

‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.’ Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Here’s a story every parent needs to read and remember.

‘One day my husband and I got into an argument and ended up yelling at each other. I retreated to the porch and sat with my head in my hands, crying. Our two-year-old overheard the argument. “I love you, Mum,” she said, as she sat beside me and put her arms around me.

“I love you, too,” I said.

She rested her head on my shoulder, hugging me hard. “I wish you could love my daddy too,” she said.

Talk about ripping your heart out! “But I do love your daddy. We just had a disagreement.” At that, my daughter smiled, got up, and walked away. “Where are you going?” I asked her.

She replied, “I’m going to tell Daddy you love him!”’

If you expose your children to your anger, make sure that they’re around when you extend grace and forgiveness to each other. Teach them how to deal with the issue, without attacking the person. Let them know that a difference of opinion can lead to a decision that makes things better for everyone. And that you can be wrong on an issue and still be respected and loved. Often that means teaching them what you yourself were never taught. If that’s the case, learn from the mistakes your parents made and pass that knowledge on to your children. Forgive when you’re hurt, and don’t take your resentments to bed (see Ephesians 4:26). Jesus said you must forgive ‘so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you.’ (Mark 11:25 NIV)

Remember, parent, your children are watching you!

From The Word for Today.

March 20, 2020

The Power Is In God’s Word
 
‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped.’ 2 Timothy 3:16–17 NIV
 
As you read this devotional, always remember that the power doesn’t lie in the writer’s thoughts or comments, but in the written Word of God. Paul tells us, ‘All Scripture is God-breathed.’ It’s impregnated with divine seeds of life, and those seeds will spring to life within you, producing the fruit of the Spirit, and ‘delivering on’ the promises of God. View this devotional as a gateway rather than a goal. See it as the little book that whets your appetite for the Big Book! When you read each day’s devotion, have your Bible beside you and turn to the Scriptures that are referenced. As you deposit the Word of God within you every day, wonderful things will begin to happen in your life.
 
The psalmist writes: ‘Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.’ (Psalm 1:1–3 NLT) Note the words ‘they prosper in all they do.’
 
As you renew your mind with Scripture, your faith will grow, your outlook will be altered, and every area of your life will start to change for the better. ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’
 
From The Word for Today.

March 19, 2020

‘Perfect Peace’

‘Whose thoughts are fixed on You!’ Isaiah 26:3 NLT

The secret to ‘perfect peace’ lies in this Scripture: ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!’ It’s not your circumstances, but how you think about them that robs you of peace. Focusing on your circumstances just causes more anxiety, because circumstances constantly change and often spin out of your control. However, God never changes, and nothing ever spins out of His control. Peace and worry are mutually exclusive. Worry throttles your confidence, chokes your perspective, and suffocates your spirit. It robs you of the peace that comes from knowing the God who can handle anything, and through whom all things are possible. The reason we worry so much is because we engage in exactly the opposite behaviour to that which brings peace.

Worry is like a ‘no-confidence’ vote in God. You may not intend it that way, but every time you give in to worry, in essence, you’re saying: ‘I don’t believe God can or will handle this for me. I’m not sure I can trust Him in this matter, so I’ll just have to carry this burden and take care of the problem myself.’ God is either the object of your trust or just a part-time helper you call on when you can’t handle things on your own. It’s reminiscent of the elephant and the mouse who were walking together over a bridge. When they got to the other side, the mouse said, ‘Man, we sure shook that bridge!’ When you begin to see God as playing the major role and you the minor one, you’ll begin to find the peace which has eluded you for so long.

From The Word for Today.

March 18, 2020

Ask Why Before How

‘They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.’ Jeremiah 23:16 NKJV

Eugene G. Grace, president of Bethlehem Steel Corporation from 1916 to 1945 said: ‘Thousands of engineers can design bridges, calculate strains and stresses, and draw up specifications for machines. But a great engineer is the man who can tell you whether the bridge or the machine should be built at all, where it should be built, and when.’

Asking why before how forces you to think about your core motivations and the source of your vision. There is much talk these days about ‘purpose’. And that’s a good thing, because a life of purpose is more rewarding than a life of popularity or power. But your purpose must come from God.

‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.”’ When God is the source of your vision, He will resource it. That’s why the most important question you can ask is not, ‘What’s the best way to do this?’ but, ‘Why am I doing it at all?’

Ultimately God will make the final ruling on what you have given your life for. ‘Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work… endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss.’ (1 Corinthians 3:13–15 NKJV)

Missionary and cricketer CT Studd wrote: ‘Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.’

From The Word for Today.

March 17, 2020

Know When To Say Nothing

‘The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue.’ Isaiah 50:4 NIV

Isaiah writes: ‘The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.’

Let’s face it; if you told a person everything you thought, you would hurt them or they would leave you. There are private parts of you. Maturity means you don’t have to say everything you think. Indeed, much of what you think hasn’t been thoroughly thought through! That’s why you need to pray and ask God for ‘a well-instructed tongue’.

Read these three Scriptures carefully: ‘Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.’ (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)

‘Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.’ (Proverbs 21:23 NIV)

‘Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.’ (James 1:26 NIV) There are two occasions in particular when your tongue can get you into trouble:

(1) When you’re angry. Emotional outbursts usually result in harmful comments you don’t mean and will regret later.

(2) When you’re tired. Exhaustion lowers your guard, and at such times thoughtless comments can slip out. Always wait until your judgment is clear and you can think things out before you speak. Paul said, ‘Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.’ (Colossians 4:6 NIV) What does salt do? It flavours, preserves, cleanses, and heals. And that’s how your words should be.

From The Word for Today.

March 16, 2020

Observe The Sabbath

‘As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.’ Luke 4:16 KJV

We all need time to rest and recharge our ‘batteries’. God took time out: ‘On the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day.’ (Genesis 2:2 KJV) Now, the Bible says that God ‘neither slumbers nor sleeps’ (see Psalm 121:4). So if He took a day off in the week, you need one too! Not so long ago most families went to church on Sunday morning, came home and ate lunch together, and spent the afternoon resting and enjoying one another’s company. Other families respectfully observed the Sabbath on a different day.

But now we huff and puff seven days a week, hurtling down the road towards burnout or even an early demise. Scientists say that our bodies are genetically wired to require one day out of every seven for physical, emotional, and spiritual restoration in order to perform at our highest potential.

When Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant in 1946, The Dwarf House, he established the tradition of closing on Sundays. Back then that was an accepted practice, but now it’s extremely unusual, especially for a restaurant chain with hundreds of outlets. But Cathy, a committed Christian, never wavered. And rather than costing him, it paid huge dividends. He built one of the most popular and profitable food chains in the USA—Chick-fil-A.

God knows that the fastest way to burn out is to try and burn the candle at both ends. That’s why the Bible says, ‘The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work.’ (Exodus 20:10 NKJV) Every week you need to observe this directive of God. So consult the Holy Spirit about when to take your Sabbath and then do it!

From The Word for Today.

March 15, 2020

This Is No Small Matter!

‘And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.’ Isaiah 11:2 NLT

Isaiah said of Jesus: ‘Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—the Spirit of wisdom and understandingthe Spirit of counsel and mightthe Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of His Word.’ (Isaiah 11:1–4 NLT)

You say, ‘That’s nice, but how does it influence my life?’ More than you may think! When Jesus Christ sits on the throne as Ruler of your life, the Spirit that rested on Him will rest upon you too! With that in mind, go back and reread the words in bold type slowly and thoughtfully. If you see evidence of them in your life, nurture them with prayer and water them with the Word of God. And if you don’t see any evidence, get down on your knees and pray, ‘Father, let me be a signpost to Jesus.’

Before you buy a car, the salesperson usually lets you test-drive a demo. Chances are if you like it, you will buy the car. We are each called to be a ‘demo’ for Jesus. This is no small matter! Why? Because in the final analysis, your words, attitudes, actions, and reactions either drive people away from Christ or attract them to Him.

From The Word for Today.

March 14, 2020

What’s Weighing You Down?
 
‘Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run.’ Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
 
On a recent radio broadcast, Dennis Rainey talked about Double Eagle II, the first hot air balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The men piloting the magnificent craft caught an air corridor that carried them all the way across the Atlantic. But when they were just off the coast of Ireland, they flew into heavy cloud cover and ice began to form on the balloon’s outer shell. They lost altitude, dropping from 6000 to 3000 metres in a matter of hours. They did everything they could to save the balloon. They threw out video cameras, food rations, and even a glider with which they had planned to land. At about 1200 metres they transmitted their location and then threw the radio overboard. Finally, at 1000 metres they broke through into sunlight. The ice came off in sheets, and the great balloon soared all the way into France.
 
The Bible says that in order to run and win your life’s race, you must ‘lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares.’ And it’s a lot easier to identify the sin you need to drop than the weight you need to drop. Why? Because often the weight is legitimate, and includes responsibilities, pressures, obligations, schedules and entanglements. Today you need to stop and take an inventory of what you’re carrying. You need to face each thing squarely and ask yourself, ‘Did God give me this to carry, did someone else give it to me, or did I decide on my own to pick it up?’ Whatever is weighing you down today—lay it aside!
 
From The Word for Today.

March 13, 2020

Toxins In The Workplace
 
‘Come out from among them and be separate.’ 2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV
 
Stop and think about the products we once considered not only to be harmless, but actually beneficial: asbestos, lead, mercury, etc. A generation later we are still treating sick workers who installed asbestos and breathed in its toxic fibres. With that illustration in mind, beware of the toxins in your workplace and don’t get infected.
 
The Bible says, ‘“Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”’ Now, God is not telling you to separate yourself from your co-workers. And He’s most certainly not telling you to adopt a spiritually superior attitude. He’s telling you to watch out for toxic attitudes, toxic behaviours, and toxic values.
 
What are the toxins in your workplace? The obvious ones are complainers, gossipers, backbiters, and harassers. When these agents come your way, do whatever you can to distance yourself from them. Just being associated with them can be dangerous to your emotional health and spiritual health. And beware of the toxin of workaholism, whether it is the expectation from your boss or self-induced. Be willing to go the extra mile when it’s required, but maintain clear boundaries between your work life and your home life.
 
Learn to separate business from pleasure. If you don’t allow yourself time for physical rejuvenation and spiritual restoration, you’ll burn out. As a result, Satan will be able to trip you up. The most effective antidote to toxins is good nutrition. And spiritually speaking, that calls for daily prayer, Bible reading, and fellowshipping with believers who strengthen and encourage you.
 
From The Word for Today.

March 12, 2020

Lift The Limitations On Yourself

‘You shall expand to the right and to the left.’ Isaiah 54:3 NKJV

Today God may be saying to you what He said to His people Israel: ‘Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left.’ (Isaiah 54:2–3 NKJV) Most people automatically stay within lines, even if those lines have been arbitrarily drawn or are terribly out of date. Remember, most limitations we face are not imposed on us by others; we place them on ourselves. Lack of creativity often falls into that category. If you want to become more creative, challenge your boundaries.

One inventor said, ‘All human development, no matter what form it takes, must be outside the rules; otherwise, we would never have anything new.’ When you want something you don’t have, you must be willing to do something you haven’t done yet. You say, ‘But I don’t have his education,’ or ‘I don’t have her talent.’ You don’t need someone else’s talent or education. When God made you, He deposited within you everything required to fulfil your destiny; you just need to unlock it and put it to work.

‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”… Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over… every living thing that moves on earth.”’ (Genesis 1:26–28 NKJV) Note the word ‘likeness’. You’re an image-bearer of God. You have divinely ordained DNA. You’re capable of being creative, so lift the limitations on yourself.

From The Word for Today.

March 11, 2020

Never Compromise Your Character And Convictions
 
‘Buy the truth, and do not sell it.’ Proverbs 23:23 NKJV
 
In the early 1970s, the Iraqi government arrested a group of American students on trumped-up espionage charges. In order to elicit admissions of guilt, they tortured them. They were told that if they confessed they were spies, they would go free. In other words: ‘Compromise the truth—admit to a lie.’ One by one, as the pressures and the pain mounted, they all confessed to crimes they had not committed—except for one student. The torture intensified and the loneliness of isolation became unbearable, and he came close to breaking. But he didn’t.
 
Finally they announced that they were finished with his case, and that he could simply confess or die. A confession lay before him as they raised a pistol to his head, cocked the hammer and started the countdown. He had heard executions from his cell and knew what his captors were capable of. ‘Sign your name,’ he was told, ‘and you will live,’ but he refused. He closed his eyes, grimaced and prepared to die. They pulled the trigger. When he heard the click, he thought he was dead. The gun, however, had not been loaded. The student was eventually released, but he discovered afterward that every other prisoner who had confessed was hanged in the public square. He was the only survivor.
 
That day he learned a valuable lesson about facing tough times: compromise represents a far greater risk than courage.
 
So the threefold word for you today is:
 
(1) It is always right to do right.
 
(2) It is never wrong to do right.
 
(3) It is never right to do wrong.
 
From The Word for Today.

March 10, 2020

Does Your Wife Know You Love Her? (4)
 
‘He loved them to the very end.’ John 13:1 NLT
 
Let’s look again at how Jesus loved His disciples and how you should love your wife. He never stopped loving them. The Bible tells us that Jesus ‘had loved His disciples during His ministry on earth… and now He loved them to the very end.’ Do you remember the marriage vows you took? ‘For better, for worse…for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death us do part’?
 
If the magic has left your marriage and you feel like you’ve fallen out of love with your mate, pray: ‘Father, my love for my spouse is at an all-time low. I know Your Word says unfailing love is patient, kind, humble, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs (see 1 Corinthians 13:4–5). I confess that I’ve kept records of offences and had little patience with my mate’s shortcomings. Forgive me for my spiritual immaturity. I ask You to permeate my heart and love my spouse through me. Help me to let go of resentment and make our marriage a model of how You loved the church and gave Yourself for it. Work in us, Lord, both to will and to do Your good pleasure (see Philippians 2:13). Heal and restore our relationship for Your glory. Guide us as we follow the pattern established in Your Word for regenerating and restoring lost love: remembering the things we used to do together, repenting of our failings, and rekindling the fire of love we had in the beginning (see Revelation 2:5). Only You can change a person’s heart, and I submit my heart and emotions to You now. “Turn me, and I will be turned, because You are the Lord my God.” (Jeremiah 31:18 GWT) In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.’
 
From The Word for Today.

March 9, 2020

Does Your Wife Know You Love Her? (3)
 
‘Rejoice with the wife of your youth.’ Proverbs 5:18 NKJV
 
The Bible says, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ… loved the church’ (Ephesians 5:25 NKJV), so let’s take another look at how Christ loved the founders of the church, His twelve disciples.
 
He recognised their gifts.
 
He rejoiced in their successes.
 
He supported and encouraged them to grow to their full potential.
 
Are you willing to do that? When you truly love someone, you won’t try to hold them back or seek to control them because of your insecurities. You’ll recognise their gifting, help them become everything God called them to be, release them, and celebrate their successes. And should their light shine brighter than yours, become their biggest cheerleader. If this wasn’t modelled in your family of origin, chances are that you’ll have to work at it. And if you had an unfaithful partner in a previous relationship, you may need to ask God to heal your heart and give you a new level of trust. Building this kind of relationship calls for a level of humility and honesty you’re probably not used to. It may require overcoming your male ego, admitting your fears, and saying to your wife, ‘I love you and I really want to trust you. Will you please help me?’
 
Until you get through this stage and feel more secure about your relationship, a marriage partner who truly loves you will go the extra mile when it comes to telling you where they’ve been and who they spent time with during the day. The truth is, sometimes you have to fight for your marriage—but it’s worth it, because in the end, you both win!
 
From The Word for Today.

March 8, 2020

Does Your Wife Know You Love Her? (2)
 
‘Be happy with the wife you married.’ Proverbs 5:18 CEV
 
The Bible says, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.’ (Ephesians 5:25 NKJV) And since the disciples were the original church founders, let’s look again at how Jesus treated them. He spent time with them, talking and listening. Old Testament law required: ‘When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife.’ (Deuteronomy 24:5 NKJV)
 
Imagine, a whole year of doing nothing but loving and getting to know each other! Why did God plan it that way? Because no battle you’ll ever fight, and no business you’ll ever be involved in, is more important than building a lasting relationship with your spouse. A leading cause of divorce today is among couples who don’t set aside time at the end of the workday to sit down together, free from the television and telephone, and share their thoughts and feelings.
 
Do you know what never grows old? Caring, communicating, assuring your spouse that of all the places you could be right now, you’d rather be with them. Many times your wife will share problems with you, but it’s not because she wants you to ‘fix’ them. Truth be told, some of the problems she discussed with you months ago remain unfixed, and she might even be ok with that! What she’s looking for is empathy, understanding, and support. When you listen attentively to her concerns, she feels loved and valued, and nine times out of ten, the problem fades into obscurity. It’s a big return—on a small investment!
 
From The Word for Today.

March 7, 2020

Does Your Wife Know You Love Her? (1)

‘Husbands, love your wives.’ Ephesians 5:25 NKJV

Why does the Bible say, ‘Husbands, love your wives… as Christ… loved the church and gave Himself for her’? Because your wife needs to know you love her, think about her, include her in your plans, and that you consider her opinions, needs, and desires. And if you don’t tell her, she won’t know it! So let’s look at how Jesus loved the church, which began with twelve disciples who were flawed human beings, and learn how you should love your wife.

(1) He loved them unconditionally. Was it always easy? No. But instead of nagging His disciples about what they were or were not, He rejoiced, thinking about what they would become when His grace had worked in their lives. Stop and remember the qualities you saw in your wife that initially attracted you to her. Over the years she may have gained a few kilos, added a few new wrinkles, and sometimes seems to be buried under a mountain of housework. But she’s still the same wonderful person you fell in love with. That’s easy to forget, so you must constantly remind yourself—and her—of it. When roses are exposed to frost, they wither and die, but given the right amount of sunshine and rain—they flourish.

Describing an ideal wife, Solomon writes, ‘Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.’ (Proverbs 31:28 NKJV) Why did these children praise their mother? Because they saw their father do it! So if you’ve been too busy, too self-absorbed, or too distracted, change your ways—and tell your wife how much you love her. (And by the way, wives—that principle works both ways!)

From The Word for Today.

March 6, 2020

Your ‘Benefits Package’
 
‘You have said, “What’s the use of serving God?”’ Malachi 3:14 NLT
 
In the last book in the Old Testament, Malachi, the Israelites asked, ‘What’s the use of serving God?’ It’s a question non-believers and sometimes even believers ask, particularly when times are hard and our faith is sorely tested.
 
The psalmist gives us the answer: ‘Praise the Lord! For all who fear God and trust in Him are blessed beyond expression… happy is the man who delights in doing His commands. His children shall be honoured everywhere, for good men’s sons have a special heritage. He himself shall be wealthy, and his good deeds will never be forgotten. When darkness overtakes him, light will come bursting in. He is kind and merciful—and all goes well for the generous man who conducts his business fairly. Such a man will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God’s constant care of him will make a deep impression on all who see it. He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him. That is why he is not afraid, but can calmly face his foes. He gives generously to those in need. His deeds will never be forgotten. He shall have influence and honour.’ (Psalm 112:1–9 TLB)
 
Notice that the benefits of serving God include happiness, children you can be proud of, success, influence, and honour. Note in particular the words: ‘He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him.’ These blessings are all part of your ‘benefits package’.
 
From The Word for Today.

March 5, 2020

Don’t Pray Yourself Out Of Faith
 
‘When you pray, believe.’ Mark 11:24 NKJV
 
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, ‘The Prince of Preachers’, said: ‘Believe God until… you can thank Him for the answer. If the answer still tarries outwardly, do not pray in such a way that it’s evident you’re not believing for it. Such a prayer in place of being a help will be a hindrance; and when you are finished praying you’ll find that your faith has weakened, or has entirely gone. The urgency that you felt to offer this kind of prayer is clearly from self… It may not be wrong to mention the matter in question to the Lord again, if He is keeping you waiting, but be sure you do it in such a way that it implies faith. Do not pray yourself out of faith. You may tell Him that you’re waiting… still believing Him and therefore praise Him for the answer. There is nothing that so fully clinches faith, as to be so sure of the answer that you can thank God for it. Prayers that pray us out of faith deny both God’s promise in His Word, and His whisper “Yes”, that He gave us in our hearts. Such prayers are but the expression of the unrest of one’s heart, and unrest implies unbelief… “For we which have believed do enter into rest.” (Hebrews 4:3 KJV) This prayer that prays ourselves out of faith frequently arises from centring our thoughts on the difficulty rather than on God’s promise. Abraham “considered not his own body… he staggered not at the promise of God.” (Romans 4:19–20 KJV) May we watch and pray that we enter not into the temptation of praying ourselves out of faith.’
 
From The Word for Today.

March 4, 2020

The Path Of Pressure
 
‘But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure).’ Matthew 7:14 AMPC
 
If you’re at a crossroads in life today, you have two options:
 
(1) Turn right or left.
 
(2) Go forward or back.
 
There’s no doubt what way God wants you to go—forward! Forward into life, not back into sin. If you have any doubts about that, read and meditate on these Scriptures: ‘Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly.’ (Job 8:7 NKJV)
 
‘They go from strength to strength.’ (Psalm 84:7 NKJV)
 
‘The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.’ (Proverbs 4:18 NKJV)
 
‘Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.’ (1 Timothy 4:15 NKJV)
 
God will give you the grace and strength to go forward and pursue the path ahead, but understand this: it’s not always an easy path. Jesus said: ‘Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.’ (Matthew 7:13–14 AMPC)
 
Here Jesus was preaching His famous Sermon on the Mount, where He outlined how you’re supposed to live as a citizen of His Kingdom. It’s the difference between the ‘many’ and the ‘few’. The first group chooses the path of ease, but the second chooses the path of ‘pressure’, realising that tough as it may be, it forms the character of Christ in us.
 
From The Word for Today.

March 3, 2020

It’s Yours—If You Fight For It
 
‘Take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.’ Joshua 1:11 NIV
 
God told Joshua, ‘You will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.’ As far as God was concerned, the Promised Land already belonged to His people. But when He told them to ‘take possession’, that meant they would have to fight for it. There were thirty-one kings living there—warlords, each with their own tribal armies. There were seven major cities to conquer, and giants to overcome. So here are the questions:
 
(1) Do you believe God has given you the gifting, resources, and strength to fulfil your destiny?
 
(2) Are you willing to fight for it? You won’t win in your own strength, but the good news is, you don’t have to. God said, ‘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.’ (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
 
Whatever God calls you to do, He will give you the ability to do, but you must work to develop that ability. Sometimes He will answer your prayer immediately and give you what you’re asking for. Other times, the onus is on you to pursue what He promised—and that calls for passion, patience, and persistence. Has it occurred to you that you may be waiting for God to bring you something, and He’s waiting for you to go and get it? He doesn’t respond to our wishes, or even to our pleading; He responds to faith-in-action! So the word for you today is—it’s yours, if you’re willing to fight for it!
 
From The Word for Today.

March 2, 2020

Lessons From God’s Creatures (2)
 
‘Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him.’ 1 Peter 1:8 NIV
 
In his book, Talking Dogs, Sam Mason continues:
 
‘During the last couple of years of his life, Tigger, one of our dearly loved Italian greyhounds, gradually lost his sight. He’d developed cataracts. They robbed him of his vision, but they couldn’t steal his precious relationship with his masters. My wife Carol often referred to Tigger as her “lovey-dovey boy”. He would stand (not sit!) on our laps, putting his paws on either side of our necks, then affectionately tuck his head under our chins. It was adorable. Blind though he was, Tigger’s desire for the ones he could no longer see was unaffected. In spite of the cataracts that blurred our features, somehow he still managed to look us in the face. His diminished capacities may have hampered his movements, but his love and trust towards his masters remained rock solid. All of us who have placed our trust in the Lord possess handicaps… even spiritual ones. Do we use them as excuses for not pursuing God as intensely as we ought? Do we allow these hindrances to ration our love for Him? Or do we, with God’s help, find the strength to reach past our limitations to experience the unbounded joy of His presence, and fulfil the calling He’s placed on our lives? Yes, we may sometimes grope about in darkness every now and then, even stumbling and falling. But we can trust the One who understands our seasons of blindness. We can open our hearts to His love and love Him back… sight unseen!’
 
From The Word for Today.

March 1, 2020

Lessons From God’s Creatures (1)
 
‘My heart says of you, “Seek His face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.’ Psalm 27:8 NIV
 
In his book, Talking Dogs, Sam Mason discusses how God can use our pets to speak to us. Looking back on some dogs he has owned and the lessons he learned from them, he writes:
 
‘One such occasion was when Ranger, our eleven-pound Italian greyhound, was sitting on my lap as I relaxed in the recliner. I noticed that familiar, endearing little tilt of the head, as he looked me directly in the face. I found myself wondering what his purpose was. A second later, I warmed to the pleasure of divine inspiration, as the explanation flowed into my stream of thought. Ranger was seeking my face! You see, dogs become students of their owners. Their comprehension of spoken human language is limited to a handful of words. Their capacity to understand a creature of far greater intellect is restricted. So they study our movements: facial expressions, hand gestures, and other body language. Likewise, we have limited understanding of our Master. So how do we “seek the face” of Someone who is so far our superior? The Lord reveals Himself through His Word. That’s where our pursuit begins. How sad that so few professing Christians read and study the Bible on any regular basis. But beyond the Scriptures, there are other ways to seek God’s face. Pay attention to the ways of God as the Holy Spirit moves upon your heart during church services. Learn from His interventions in your life and those of your fellow believers. Behind His works are His ways! Determine to become a student of the Master at every opportunity.’
 
From The Word for Today.

February 29,2020

Regeneration
 
‘Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.’ 1 John 5:1 NIV
 
After Adam sinned, we read that he fathered a child ‘in his own likeness.’ (Genesis 5:3 NIV) Ever since, we’ve all been born in the image of fallen men. Sometimes people say, ‘He’s just like his father.’ Or we say, ‘My dad was an angry man—now I’ve got his temper! Dad couldn’t stay with Mum—now I’m going through a divorce. Dad was an alcoholic—now look at my drinking and drugs! Dad was a workaholic—now I work sixteen hours a day! Dad wasn’t affectionate with us kids—now I don’t even know how to hug my children!’ History repeats itself over and over again in our lives.
 
Here’s a fascinating example: ‘Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.’ (Genesis 20:2 ESV) Note, Isaac wasn't even born when his father lied and did this, yet years later, he did exactly the same thing, in exactly the same place (Genesis 26:7). It's in the genes!
 
But there’s good news! When you receive Jesus as your Saviour, He breaks that cycle! When you’re born again (John 3:3), you get a new Father and a new nature! You don’t need to walk in the likeness of your earthly father anymore, for now you can walk in the likeness of your heavenly Father, and become more like Him every day. Why don’t you talk to Him today about joining His family?
 
From The Word for Today.

February 28, 2020

Be Careful Who You Turn To
 
‘Pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.’ Ecclesiastes 4:10 NIV
 
God never meant us to ‘fly solo’. We all need help and encouragement from time to time, but be careful who you turn to.
 
(1) Don’t go to someone who can’t handle your problem. By sharing your situation with them you may experience temporary relief, but what if they’re not mature enough to handle it? Jesus said, ‘If anyone causes one of these little ones… to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’ (Matthew 18:6 NIV)
 
(2) It’s ok to turn to a proven friend as long as they’re spiritually mature. The Bible says, ‘A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.’ (Proverbs 17:17 NIV) But you must know they’re a true friend. Peter writes, ‘Love covers over a multitude of sins.’ (1 Peter 4:8 NIV) Someone who truly loves you will pray for you, and walk with you until you have the victory. And when you’re on the wrong path, they won’t cover up or make excuses for you—they will hold you accountable.
 
(3) When possible, turn to a spiritual father. Paul says, ‘You might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers.’ (1 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV) Think of a good father’s attributes. He corrects, but never condemns you. He won’t give up on you. He evaluates you based on your best qualities rather than your worst. Instead of reacting negatively to your failures, he recognises your potential and keeps on working with you. So ask God today for a spiritual father, and stay in regular communication with him.
 
From The Word for Today.

February 27, 2020

Are You Praying For An Unsaved Loved One?
 
‘He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish.’ 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
 
If you’re praying for an unsaved loved one, here is a Bible promise you can stand on today: ‘He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ Remove the word ‘everyone’ and insert the name of your loved one. As long as there’s life, there’s hope! The last miracle Jesus worked was saving a thief who hung on a cross beside Him: ‘Today you will be with Me in paradise.’ (Luke 23:43 NKJV)
 
In the words of the hymnist, Annie Johnson Flint: ‘His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power no boundary known unto men; For out of His infinite riches in Jesus—He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.’ No matter how far gone your loved one may be, God’s grace and mercy can still reach them—so keep praying for them.
 
Listen: ‘The arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.’ (Isaiah 59:1 NIV) Jesus said, ‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them.’ (John 6:44 NIV)
 
So ask God to send someone across your loved one’s path who will show them the way of salvation. Above all, don’t get discouraged and give in to doubt. Remember, it’s God’s will to save them, and when you know you’re praying in accordance with His will, you can approach Him with confidence. ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.’ (1 John 5:14–15 NIV)
 
From The Word for Today.

February 26, 2020

Reading The Bible Will Change Your Life
 
‘The entrance of Your words gives light.’ Psalm 119:130 NKJV
 
In December 2005, Brian Hardin says God told him to podcast the Bible. Hardin writes: ‘On New Year’s Eve when I read my first podcast… I said, “I’m Brian… I have no broadcast experience. I really don’t know what I’m doing, but I plan to read through the Bible this year. If you get this, here’s my email address.” I expected about five people to sign up. On New Year’s Day 2006, I had 257 responses, and by June the daily audio Bible had been downloaded 200,000 times. Now, following our sixth anniversary, it’s been downloaded more than 51 million times and is still one of the top podcasts on iTunes. With more than 1.5 million downloads monthly, the daily audio Bible is one of the most listened to podcasts in the world. We’ve become a vast online family that prays and hears the Bible together. When somebody calls or goes into the online prayer line with a request, thousands of people pray for that person… We receive an endless stream of emails from disenfranchised believers who have found the place appealing… Separated couples who had nothing left to do but sign divorce papers… started listening to the Bible and found their marriages restored. I can tell you many stories of people who were hopeless—I mean suicidally hopeless—who found comfort in God’s Word and were restored. The Bible has a voice, and if given a chance to speak—in context—it will create amazing things in your heart. The Bible can transform even the most tangled life. I know. It radically changed mine.’
 
Bottom line: reading the Bible will change your life.
 
From The Word for Today.

February 25, 2020

God’s Recovery Plan For You
 
‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.’ 1 Samuel 30:8 NKJV
 
God’s Word promises that whatever you are addicted to today, you can be set free from. And there’s more! You can get back what you’ve lost, or something even better. How? By doing what David did when the Amalekite armies destroyed his home and took his family captive:
 
(1) He turned to God for strength to deal with his problem. ‘David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.’ (1 Samuel 30:6 NKJV) Face it; if you could have solved the problem by yourself, you’d already have done it, right? Don’t feel bad about that, feel good. Acknowledging that you are powerless is the first step to victory. ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) Now, acknowledging that you’re powerless isn’t the same thing as giving in to hopelessness. It means acknowledging that you can’t, God can, and that He will when you surrender the problem to Him.
 
(2) God gave David a plan to deal with his problem. ‘Pursue, for you will surely overtake them and without fail recover all.’ Armed with God’s strength and His plan, David went after the enemy and kept attacking until he recovered everything that had been stolen from him. And God wants to do that for you too. He promised, ‘I will restore to you the years that the …locust has eaten.’ (Joel 2:25 NKJV) When you turn to God, He can give you more joy and success in the years ahead than in all the years behind you. That’s His recovery plan for you!
 
From The Word for Today.

February 24, 2020

Depend Completely On God

‘Our competence comes from God. He has made us competent.’ 2 Corinthians 3:5–6 NIV

Jesus told His disciples, ‘Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ (Matthew 26:41 NKJV) What did He mean by that? He meant that without the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, which He’d just told them they’d soon receive, they weren’t equal to the challenges they were about to face. It wasn’t a matter of His doubting their devotion and willingness to serve Him; He just knew they couldn’t do it by themselves. And you can’t either. So the sooner you stop trying, the better off you’ll be!

God isn’t looking for educated, sophisticated, well-meaning flesh, or any other kind of ‘flesh’, for that matter. He will only bless you when you acknowledge your total dependence on Him. That means praying and leaning on Him before you start, and continuing to pray and lean on Him until you reach the finish line. It also means that if God doesn’t send you and you insist on going, or if He tells you to do something and you try to accomplish it in your own strength, you’ll surely fail. And what’s more, He will allow you to keep failing until you reach the place where you can say like Paul: ‘Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent.’

It’s when we reach the end of our resources that God’s power kicks in. So the word for you today is: instead of leaning on your own strength and resources, depend wholly and solely on God.

From The Word for Today.

February 23, 2020

God Will Vindicate You
 
‘Vindication will come from Me.’ Isaiah 54:17 NLT
 
Have you been falsely accused? So was Jesus. They called Him a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend of low-life sinners. They accused the apostle Paul of being a madman, a fool, and a babbler. Jesus called Satan the ‘father of lies.’ (John 8:44 NIV) When you’re committed to doing God’s will, Satan will attack you—and use people to do it. Don’t get discouraged and don’t despair. God will vindicate you. His Word says, ‘No weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from Me.’
 
If you insist on retaliating, God will back off and leave you to it. But when you put the situation into His hands, the test can result in a testimony to His goodness and grace in your life. So instead of wasting time complaining, pray: ‘Let Your favour shine on Your servant. In Your unfailing love, rescue me. Don’t let me be disgraced… Lord… I call out to You for help. Let the wicked be disgraced… Silence their lying lips—those proud and arrogant lips that accuse the godly. How great is the goodness You have stored up for those who fear You. You lavish it on those who come to You for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of Your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in Your presence, far from accusing tongues.’ (Psalm 31:16–20 NLT)
 
Simply pray, ‘Father, I put this situation into Your hands today. Vindicate me.’
 
From The Word for Today.

February 22, 2020

Are You Asking God For A Child?
 
‘For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition.’ 1 Samuel 1:27 NKJV
 
Hannah wanted to be a mother so badly that ‘she… prayed to the Lord and wept.’ (1 Samuel 1:10 NKJV) In fact, she made a vow to God, pledging that if He gave her a son, she would ‘give him to the Lord all the days of his life.’ (1 Samuel 1:11 NKJV) And it happened. The Bible says, ‘It came to pass in the process of time that Hannah… bore a son.’ (1 Samuel 1:20 NKJV)
 
The same thing happened to Ruth: ‘Boaz begot Obed by Ruth.’ (Matthew 1:5 NKJV) Ruth was a penniless widow when God introduced her to Boaz, the owner of the field where she was gleaning. She was a Gentile and he was a Jew, and by law they were forbidden to marry. But God removed the barrier that stood in their way, and from their union came a little boy called Obed. He was the grandfather of King David, and so the ancestor of Jesus. God said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?’ (Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV) And in case you’re not sure of the answer, here it is: ‘Lord…You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.’ (Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV) Today if you’re asking God for a child, stand on these Scriptures and believe Him: ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass… Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.’ (Psalm 37:4–7 NKJV)
 
From The Word for Today.

February 21, 2020

How To Win Life’s Battles (6)
 
‘Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord.’ 2 Chronicles 20:21 NIV
 
Sixth, thank God in advance. Imagine standing on a mountaintop looking across a valley towards a mountain on the other side. A big battle is about to take place down below. On one mountain, three enemy nations are poised and waiting to devastate Israel. The Israelites are on your mountain, and their leader Jehoshaphat tells them, ‘Here’s God’s battle plan. All of those who sing in the choir, I want you out front.’
 
So the army goes marching into battle with the choir on the front line singing praises to God. Did the plan work? Yes. The opposing armies got confused and ended up killing each other—and all God’s people had to do was divide up the plunder! Why did God do it this way? As a visual object lesson to teach us to praise Him in faith even before the victory takes place. When you pray, ‘Lord, I know I have problems, but I thank You in advance because there’s no situation You can’t take care of,’ three things happen:
 
(1) Your atmosphere changes. You no longer feel afraid because you have the assurance of God’s presence.
 
(2) Your attitude changes. You begin to say, ‘Lord, this may be too big for me, but it’s not too big for You.’
 
(3) Your approach changes. Instead of speaking words of doubt, you start speaking words of faith. And because your faith honours God, He honours your faith and the battle begins to turn in your favour. And here’s another important key to victory: don’t just praise God for a while and then quit; keep praising Him until your breakthrough comes.
 
From The Word for Today.

February 20, 2020

How To Win Life’s Battles (5)
 
‘Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.’ 2 Chronicles 20:17 NIV
 
Fifth, stand firm. Notice what God told Jehoshaphat: ‘Stand firm.’ What does it mean to ‘stand firm’ when you’re in a crisis? It’s a mental attitude of quiet confidence that says, ‘I’m going to trust God. ’
 
Rick Warren writes: ‘This is something I’m slowly learning; it’s never God’s will for me to run from a difficult situation. If I do, the situation will only follow and catch up with me a little further down the line. It may not look the same, but it will be the same. Why? Because God wants to teach me that He is sufficient for any problem. If we don’t learn this today, we may learn it next week. If we don’t learn it next week, we may learn it next year. But eventually we’ll learn it—and the sooner the better. We can save ourselves problems by standing firm and waiting on God in quiet confidence.’
 
So what do we stand firm on? ‘Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful.’ (2 Chronicles 20:20 NIV)
 
First, we need to stand firm on the character of God. God is faithful, and we can depend on Him. Second, we need to stand firm on the writings that He has given us through His prophets—in other words, the truth of the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word, and we need only rely in quiet confidence on His written promises. So the word for you today is: stand firm on the unchanging character of God and the unchanging promises of His Word.
 
From The Word for Today.

February 19, 2020

How To Win Life’s Battles (4)
 
‘The battle is not yours, but God’s.’ 2 Chronicles 20:15 NIV
 
Fourth, learn to relax in faith. Notice how God responded to Jehoshaphat’s prayer: ‘The battle is not yours, but God’s.’ Many of us wear ourselves out trying to fight God’s battles in our own strength. In the initial flush of becoming Christians, we’re eager to win the world to Jesus, and want to go out and single-handedly bring about His Kingdom. That’s because we don’t realise what’s involved. Then after we’ve worked hard under our own steam, reality sets in. We end up crawling back on our hands and knees, disappointed, because we think we’ve let God down. But He reassures us, ‘You didn’t let Me down, because you weren’t holding Me up.’
 
The truth is, we don’t hold God up—He holds us up! We don’t have Him in our hands, He has us in His hands! And He’s telling us to relax in faith and let Him do the work through us. Paul wrote, ‘As you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him.’ (Colossians 2:6 NIV)
 
In other words, remember how you first became a believer—by simple faith in the finished work of Christ—and continue to live by simple faith. You didn’t become a Christian by striving for perfection and doing good works. Good works have nothing to do with it! Salvation is a free gift. God doesn’t need us to micromanage things; He has everything under control, and He wants us to relax and let Him live through us. Bottom line: victory in life is a gift from God! ‘Thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 2:14 GWT)
 
From The Word for Today.

February 18, 2020

How To Win Life’s Battles (3)
 
‘Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord.’ 2 Chronicles 20:3 NKJV
 
Third, take your problems to the Lord. In the midst of his crisis, Jehoshaphat ‘set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast.’ Prayer is often the last thing we think of. Why? Because we want to work our problems out on our own. A deacon approached the pastor one day and said, ‘Pastor, we’ve got a problem we can’t solve. We’ve tried everything and nothing works.’ The pastor said, ‘Well, I guess all we can do is pray about it.’ The deacon replied, ‘Pastor, has it really come to that?’
 
When you’re facing life’s battles, prayer should be your first resort, not your last! And sometimes when the problem doesn’t yield to prayer alone, God leads you to add a second element: fasting. Ever tried it? Fasting isn’t something mystical and mysterious; it’s about focus! It’s saying: ‘Lord, I can do without many things, but I can’t solve this problem without You. So instead of being preoccupied with TV, or food, or social media, I’m going to spend time seeking Your face.’
 
Cornelius, a Gentile, fasted and prayed for four days, asking God for direction. As a result, God sent Peter to his house to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and in the process changed the course of history (see Acts 10). In order to know whom to appoint to leadership positions, the New Testament church fasted, prayed, and asked God for guidance. And as a result, one of the most dynamic evangelistic teams of all time, Paul and Barnabas, was born (see Acts 13:2–3). When you get serious enough to fast and pray about your problem, God will show you the solution.
 
From The Word for Today.

February 17, 2020

How To Win Life’s Battles(2)

‘We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.’ 2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV

Second, admit your own inadequacy. The only people God can’t help are those who don’t think they need His help. King Jehoshaphat said, ‘We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.’

Often our eyes are on everything and everyone—except God—the One who can solve our problems. Your circumstances are like a mattress: if you’re on top you can rest easy, but if you’re underneath you can suffocate. Keep your eyes on the Lord and you’ll win out over your circumstances. Remember, it’s ‘not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.’ (Zechariah 4:6 NIV)

You can’t live the Christian life in your own strength because you have a power shortage. You need the power that comes from letting God’s Spirit live through you. Try to imagine a glove. On its own, it is limp and powerless. But once a hand fills that glove it becomes useful and effective. Jesus said, ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.’ (Acts 1:8 NKJV) Jesus often spoke of the Holy Spirit as ‘the Helper’, so when you don’t know what to do, stand on His promise: ‘The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name… will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.’ (John 14:26 NKJV)

If you fight in your own strength, you’ll lose. But when you draw on the power of God’s Spirit that’s within you, you’ll win.

From The Word for Today

February 16, 2020

How To Win Life’s Battles (1)

‘We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.’ 2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV

With God’s help, King Jehoshaphat overcame not just one army, but three! And his victory teaches us how we can win life’s battles. First, identify the enemy. Many of us have no clue who the real enemy is. We think it’s the person who is interested in taking our job, our spouse, or our money. But many times the enemy is our own attitude! It’s not so much what’s happening that gets us down, it’s our response to the situation.

Before you can win on a personal level, you must identify the enemy. Note how Jehoshaphat reacted when he heard ‘a vast army’ was coming against him. He was ‘alarmed’. (2 Chronicles 20:2–3 NIV) It’s a fairly typical human response. We see a big problem, panic, and become fearful about what’s going to happen to us. And in truth, fear isn’t all bad unless we deal with it in the wrong way. We can use it to motivate us to conquer the problem and drive us closer to God.

It’s when we get discouraged, give up, get angry, and start asking, ‘Why me, Lord?’ that fear defeats us. If you’re in a situation that’s filling you with fear and anxiety today, remember—God doesn’t respond to need; He responds to faith. So stake your faith on His unshakeable Word and stand on His promise: ‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV) Unshakeable trust in God’s Word is what brings His help.

From The Word for Today.

February 15, 2020

‘Rush Hour’
 
‘The Lord will bless His people with peace.’ Psalm 29:11 NKJV
 
Why is evening drive time called ‘rush hour’, when nothing moves? The real rush hour occurs when we arrive home. Early evening is a time when everyone is hungry and tempers are short. Two working parents usually come home irritable and tired, but their children are unsympathetic and need immediate attention. It’s a setup for conflict. There are some things you can do to help defuse this rush hour time bomb.
 
First, call your children before you leave work in the afternoon. This can give you a head start in dealing with any troubles that might be brewing at home.
 
Second, make a conscious effort during the commute home to disengage from the responsibilities of the job and the cares of the day.
 
Third, concerning the dinner meal, it’s wise to do as much as possible in the morning or the night before. Slow-cooker type dinners that have simmered all day, or those that can go straight from the refrigerator to the oven, will relieve pressure at a time when stress is the greatest. The quicker everyone can eat and raise their blood sugar, the better. Then spend some time with the kids before homework and bath time begins. You might take the dog out on a neighbourhood walk or play football in the garden.
 
Finally, get the kids in bed and reserve a few moments of tranquillity for yourselves. There’s no easy way to get through rush hour five nights a week, but with a little planning, it can be less stressful. And here’s a rush hour promise: ‘The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.’
 
From The Word for Today.

February 14, 2020

Don’t Be A Complainer

‘Do everything without complaining.’ Philippians 2:14 NLT

In an old Peanuts comic strip, Lucy announces, ‘Boy, do I feel crabby today.’ Her little brother Linus, always the peacemaker, responds, ‘Maybe I can help. Why don’t you just take my place in front of the TV and I’ll fix you a nice snack? Sometimes we all need a little pampering to make us feel better.’ A few minutes later, Linus brings Lucy a sandwich, some chocolate-chip cookies, and milk. ‘Is there anything else I can get you? Anything I haven’t thought of?’ he asks. ‘Yes,’ snaps Lucy, ‘There’s one thing you haven’t thought of. I don’t want to feel better!’

The truth is that some people don’t want to feel better—they just want attention, and complaining is how they get it. Do you know anyone like that? The Bible repeatedly tells us to stay away from complaining. It takes gut-level honesty to ask yourself: ‘How much of what I say focuses on complaining about the situation instead of trying to improve it? Have I built my life around people who feel the same, people who’d probably be upset if I decided to grow and adopt a better attitude? Am I living in the past, nursing old wounds, refusing to forgive others and myself?’ Time alone doesn’t heal—insight does! Jesus said knowing the truth sets us free (see John 8:32). Once you’re willing to face the truth about your attitude and do something about it, your life will start to improve. And one more thought: Paul says, ‘Rejoice always… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 NIV)

This is God’s will—so do it!

From The Word for Today.

February 13, 2020

Let Them Go (2)

‘None of them belonged to us.’ 1 John 2:19 NIV

There are some people in life we get along with well, and others we don’t. And in some cases, we’re not supposed to! Now let’s be clear: we’re not talking about being unloving, insensitive, or divisive. Paul says, ‘Do all… you can to live in peace with everyone.’ (Romans 12:18 NLT) We’re talking about people God specifically tells us to break away from. When it comes to those who don’t belong in your life, here are two things to consider.

First, there’s the revelation. The Bible says: ‘They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us… if they had… they would have remained… but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.’ Just like you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, or mix oil and water, there are people who simply don’t belong in your life.

Second, there’s the separation. Paul said: ‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers… what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?… what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them… walk among them… be their God, and they will be My people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate… and I will receive you.”… “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters.”’ (2 Corinthians 6:14–18 NIV)

Bottom line: when God tells you a relationship is not right for you, listen, and obey Him.

From The Word for Today.

February 12, 2020

Let Them Go (1)

‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea.’ Jonah 1:12 NKJV

It’s a mistake to cling to someone when God is telling you to let them go. Until you obey God, the storm you’re in will keep getting worse, as in the case of Jonah. The Bible says: ‘The sea was growing more tempestuous. And [Jonah] said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know… this great tempest is because of me.” Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous… Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.’ (Jonah 1:11–15 NKJV)

God has a plan for the ‘Jonahs’ you’re dealing with, and it may require them to hit the bottom before they rise again. And as long as you keep trying to rescue them, God’s plan is being thwarted and delayed. Jonah’s problem wasn’t that he didn’t love God, it was that he didn’t want to do God’s will. So God resorted to extreme measures to get his attention, push him towards his destiny, and save the city of Nineveh. You have no idea what God has in mind for the person He’s asking you to let go of. If they are His redeemed children, He wants to prosper them (see Jeremiah 29:11). That’s why He wants to save them—so let them go!

From The Word for Today.

February 11, 2020

God Speaks Through Our Thoughts
 
‘You have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things.’ 1 John 2:20 NKJV
 
Have you ever held a conversation with someone in your mind? You took one side of the issue and then the other. So think about this: if you can have a conversation with yourself in your mind, don’t you think God can have a conversation with you in your mind too? The trouble is, our minds often prove to be unreliable because we’ve polluted them with so much junk; therefore, we doubt His ability to speak through our thoughts. Once God redeems you, He starts renewing your mind (see Romans 12:2).
 
Paul writes, ‘“Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV) Did you get that? When God saves you, He starts thinking His thoughts through you. He speaks through many different channels—your mind is just one of them. The Bible says, ‘God… works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil His good purpose.’ (Philippians 2:13 NIV) Note the phrase ‘to will and to act’. God will actually direct your will and create a desire in you to do the thing that pleases Him. And there’s persistence in His leading. When you have a desire to do something that keeps recurring, it may be God directing you. That’s why it’s crucial to monitor your mind and screen the thoughts you entertain.
 
Jesus said, ‘You are already clean because of the word… I have spoken to you.’ (John 15:3 NKJV) Bathe your mind every day with God’s Word, and fine-tune your ‘receiver’ to hear what He’s saying to you.
 
From The Word for Today.

February 10, 2020

You Must Show Compassion (3)
 
‘Having compassion for one another.’ 1 Peter 3:8 NKJV
 
Compassion means ‘to enter into another’s passion’. How can you do that? You might, for example, find out why the other person is so stressed or depressed. What’s preoccupying them, why do they feel so passionately, and how can you enter into it? Or maybe a friend has been diagnosed with an illness, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, or cancer. What should you do? Maybe your brother or cousin is planning a high-end wedding or has bought a new home in an upscale neighbourhood. Perhaps an associate just got promoted and the rest of their co-workers are envious and resentful.
 
Attitudes are fickle at best—and outright ugly at worst. But the person who got promoted is beaming, so enter into their passion and beam with them! Maybe someone you know just lost a loved one and you don’t know what to say. Don’t say anything; just ‘be there’! The Bible says, ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.’ (Romans 12:15 NKJV) In other words, if someone is hurting, hurt with them, and if they’re happy, be happy for them. Enter into their passion—that’s how you show compassion!
 
In an effort to look holy, sometimes we come across as harsh and insensitive. Here’s how Paul addressed that very issue: ‘Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves… clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.’ (Colossians 3:12 NLT) Some of us have to work harder at this than others. But there’s no opt-out clause: ‘All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another.’ That includes you!
 
From The Word for Today.

February 9, 2020

You Must Show Compassion (2)

‘The Lord is very compassionate.’ James 5:11 NKJV

When it comes to Christ-like compassion, the Bible teaches us two more things.

(1) Relates to the needs of others. Paul writes, ‘Jesus…This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do.’ (Hebrews 4:14–15 NLT) Jesus understands—how comforting! Whatever situation, challenge, or adversity we find ourselves in, Jesus is saying, ‘I can relate. I’ve been there.’ Pressure? Rejection? Pain? Temptation? Slander? Lies? False accusations? He understands because He’s been there.

(2) Responds to the needs of others. It’s not enough just to recognise and relate to the needs of others. You’ve been called to action on a practical level; otherwise, your compassion is meaningless. Jesus responded to sick people with healing, to hungry people with food, and to lost people with the good news of the Gospel. Compassion has no limits. It sponsors a hungry child, helps change a tyre for someone stranded on the side of the road, brings a meal to someone who’s grieving, and listens patiently to someone who needs a friend. Compassion gets its hands dirty; it donates readily; it sacrifices its own agenda, schedule, desires, and dreams to meet the needs of another.

The Bible says: ‘God anointed Jesus… with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.’ (Acts 10:38 NKJV) What’s your main concern in life—looking good or doing good? If you want to be more like Jesus, you already know the answer to that question!

From The Word for Today.

February 8, 2020

You Must Show Compassion (1)
 
‘When he saw him, he had compassion.’ Luke 10:33 NKJV
 
Many dictionaries define compassion as sympathy, pity or concern—all emotional responses. But the compassion of Jesus transcends emotion and translates into action. Christ-like compassion:
 
(1) Recognises the needs of others. ‘Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.’ (Philippians 2:3–4 NKJV) Note the phrase ‘better than himself’, and then look around you at the people in your life and say to yourself, ‘Better than myself.’ If you tend to be self-centred, it will take a while for this concept to sink in.
 
Note also the words, ‘look out…for the interests of others’. Sometimes those ‘others’ are badly messed up and not easy to love. For example, how about people in prison? You say, ‘Well, they got what they deserved.’ Maybe—but did you always get what you deserved or did you just not get caught? Think about it! When you visit someone sick or in prison, Jesus said you’re ‘doing it to Me!’ (Matthew 25:40 NLT) In Luke 23:43, He showed compassion to a convicted criminal on the cross and saved him. You shouldn’t pick and choose to whom you’ll show compassion!
 
The Bible says, ‘To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.’ (Job 6:14 NKJV) Mother Teresa prayed, ‘Grant that, even if you are hidden under the unattractive disguise of anger, crime, or madness, I may recognise you and say, “Jesus, You who suffer, how sweet it is to serve You.”’
 
From The Word for Today.

February 7, 2020

Practise Being Kind
 
‘Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness…’ Colossians 3:12 NLT
 
Since the people we deal with every day notice what we wear, the Bible says, ‘Clothe yourselves with…kindness.’ But sometimes kindness is the last thing on our minds. Think about how often you’ve passed a motorist stranded on the road and didn’t stop or even offer to call for help. Or you allowed the business and pressures of work to make you curt and short with others.
 
When that happens, we need to be like the young man who worked in the produce section of a supermarket. His first day on the job, a lady approached him, wanting to buy half a head of lettuce. He tried to dissuade her, but she persisted. Finally he said, ‘I’ll have to go back and talk to the manager.’ He walked to the rear of the shop, not realising the woman had followed him. When he found the manager, he said, ‘There’s a silly old lady out there who wants to buy half a head of lettuce. What should I tell her?’ Seeing the horrified look on the manager’s face, the boy turned around, saw the customer, regrouped, and said in his most gracious voice, ‘And this nice lady wants to buy the other half.’
 
Sometimes when you pay someone a compliment, they’ll say, ‘You’re too kind.’ But what they really mean is, ‘Say it again.’ After Confederate General Robert E. Lee retired from the military, he became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. One day a new student came into his office asking for a copy of the rules and regulations. The old general replied, ‘Son, we don’t have a rule book. Our only rule is kindness.’ So today, practise being kind.
 
From The Word for Today.

February 6, 2020

Finding Contentment In Your Work

‘Enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.’ Ecclesiastes 5:19 NLT

Two-thirds of your adult life will be spent earning a living, and God wants you to enjoy it: ‘To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.’ Try to realise that God has a purpose for your being where you are. ‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.’ (Psalm 37:23 NKJV) When you understand that, you begin to rejoice on the job rather than resent it, and believe that God has a plan for your future. It may be a different job, a promotion in your present job, or improving your skill set, which will result in your feeling fulfilled, knowing you are a valued and contributing team member.

So with one eye on the present and another on the future, your goal should be to perform your responsibilities with efficiency and professionalism, and glorify the One whose name you carry. Learn all you can from your current position—both in skill-building and in character-building. Prepare yourself for what God has in mind.

So what if others overlook or undervalue you? David’s family didn’t think he was qualified to be Israel’s next king, but God had a different opinion. He also had the last word. There’s an important lesson here for you. Be faithful and seek to excel where God has placed you, and when the time is right He will bless you and promote you—but it may not be in the way you expect. ‘It is God alone who judges; He decides who will rise and who will fall.’ (Psalm 75:7 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

February 5, 2020

Love, Without Strings Attached
 
‘Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us.’ Ephesians 5:2 NKJV
 
In America you will sometimes see cars with bumper stickers announcing that the owner’s child is an ‘honour student’ at a particular school. And while we all feel good about the successes of our children, two potential problems can arise. First, there’s a natural irritation on the part of parents whose kids struggle or are less gifted. One mother put this bumper sticker on her car: ‘My kid can beat up your honour student.’ A second problem arises when the pride of the family is riding on the shoulders of an immature child. Your child is not designed to handle that level of pressure! They need to know that they are loved and accepted because of their own unique worth.
 
John McKay, the great football coach at the University of Southern California, had a son who was also a successful football player on the USC team. When an interviewer asked Coach McKay to comment on the pride he felt over his son’s accomplishments, this is what he said: ‘Yes, I’m pleased that John Jr had a good season this year. He does a fine job, and I’m proud of him. But I would be just as proud if he had never played the game at all.’ Great answer! His son would not lose his father’s respect if the next year brought failure and disappointment, because his place in his father’s heart was secure and independent of his performance.
 
That’s the kind of love your children need from you. ‘Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us.’ Christ’s love is not performance-based; it’s unconditional, unbreakable, and unending. Yours must be too!
 
From The Word for Today.

February 4, 2020

God Has Already Gone Before You
 
‘The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you.’ Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
 
Are you feeling anxious today because you don’t know what you’re walking into? Israel was going into a good situation, the Promised Land. They had just come out of a bad one: a back-breaking, soul-destroying, hope-extinguishing 430 years of slavery. Now they were going to be free to own their own homes, raise their own families, work at jobs they liked, and be well-paid for it. But the Promised Land wasn’t problem-free. There were enemy strongholds that had to be conquered one by one, and it would take time.
 
‘The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.’ (Deuteronomy 7:22 NIV) Question: is this a similar situation to the one you find yourself in today? You’re embarking on a new relationship, a new job, a new ministry, or an unfamiliar area where you don’t have all the answers? And because you don’t know exactly what’s involved, you’re anxious? Don’t be! Here’s the word for you today: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you… The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’ (Deuteronomy 31:6–8 NIV)
 
Carry these promises with you. And when your confidence starts to falter and your faith fluctuates, read them, stand on them, and count on God to honour His Word.
 
From The Word for Today.

February 3, 2020

How’s Your Marriage? (2)

‘Live joyfully with the wife whom you love.’ Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

Three things happen in a good marriage:

(1) You get to know yourself. To grow, you must be able to look at yourself realistically. By far the best place to do that is in a home filled with love. It lets you be open about your mistakes and shortcomings. It’s a safe place to fail. It creates a listening environment filled with understanding, encouragement and support. The people closest to us form us. If you want to change your world, bring peace to your community and righteousness to your nation, start at home.

(2) You get to know your character. A Christ-centred home not only helps form your children’s character, it strengthens yours too. Character is built on the choices you make and habits you cultivate. And since your family creates your primary environment, it influences those choices and habits. Strong families encourage us to make good choices, develop the right disciplines, and pay the price today for success tomorrow.

(3) You have a safe haven. It seems like the pace of life gets more hectic every day. Driving on overcrowded roads is stressful. The workplace is demanding. The playground is an increasingly hostile environment. Where can you find shelter? If not at home, then probably nowhere. Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘I’d rather spend time with my family than with any of the world’s notables.’ His home was his safe haven in the midst of life’s storms—and yours can be too. The question is: what are you doing to make it that way?

From The Word for Today.

February 2, 2020

How’s Your Marriage? (1)

‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.’ Proverbs 18:22 NKJV

If you’re over sixty, chances are you grew up in an era where you didn’t know too many divorced couples and the subject was taboo. Now your children are growing up in a world where marriages fail every day. If you don’t want yours to be one of them:

(1) Learn to show your love. Psychologist William James said, ‘The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.’ And if we don’t feel appreciated at home, there’s a good chance we won’t feel appreciated at all, because generally speaking, the world doesn’t fulfil that desire. The best thing you can do for your spouse and your children is appreciate them and love them—not based on their performance, but simply because they’re yours.

(2) Pay attention. Theodore Hesburgh said, ‘The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.’ And that works the other way around as well. A successful marriage is one that can go from crisis to crisis and keep getting stronger. Commitment, not emotion, is what carries you through. If you only intend to stay married as long as you feel like you’re in love, then you’re not truly committed to the relationship. Like anything worthwhile, a good marriage requires constant attention.

(3) Protect your time together. If you feel like you ought to be at work when you’re with your family and vice versa, something’s wrong. Call a family conference and agree on how much time you should spend together. If you prioritise and protect those times, your marriage will thrive.

From The Word for Today.

February 1, 2020

Believe God For Your Healing

‘I am the Lord, who heals you.’ Exodus 15:26 NIV

Why isn’t every sick person who is prayed over healed? We don’t know, and God doesn’t tell us. We know that doubt and unbelief can hinder His miracle-working power in our lives. When Jesus returned to His hometown to those who knew Him best, we read: ‘He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.’ (Matthew 13:58 NIV)

But there are aspects of healing we will never fully understand. Paul writes, ‘I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.’ (2 Timothy 4:20 NIV) Why would Paul, who raised the dead, leave a friend sick instead of praying and seeing him healed?

There are many things about God we don’t know, but here’s one thing we do know: ‘I am the Lord, who heals you.’ And since He said, ‘I am the Lord, and I do not change’ (Malachi 3:6 NLT), and ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8 NIV), we can go to Him for healing based on His Word. One of the last statements Jesus made before leaving earth was: ‘These signs will follow those who believe… they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ (Mark 16:17–18 NKJV)

Do you believe God still heals people today? If you do, then obey this Scripture: ‘Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.’ (James 5:14–15 NKJV) The word for you today is: don’t give up—believe God for your healing.

From The Word for Today.

January 31, 2020

Pray Before Temptation Comes

‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ Luke 22:40 NIV

You can put on your best brave face in an attempt to convince others you’re doing better than you are. However, deep inside you know the areas where you’re most often tempted and fail. In fact, if you are gut-level honest, chances are you keep a mental score-card. Others may give you an A or B on your report, but you give yourself a failing grade. And when that happens often enough, you reach the place where you start thinking, ‘What’s the point in asking God for forgiveness? I’m just going to repeat the same sins over and over and have to go back to Him again.’

There’s a solution. Jesus told His disciples, ‘Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’ (Matthew 26:41 NIV) In other words, pray before the temptation comes and you’ll be strengthened and fortified to handle it. ‘But I have prayed!’ you reply. Then increase the dosage and pray more!

Before Jesus calmed the storm on Galilee, He spent the whole night in prayer. Turn off your TV, your computer, your phone, and any other outside connections, and spend time with God. What did the old-timers mean when they talked about ‘praying through’? Simply this: you can reach a point in prayer where you ‘know’ God has given you the strength you need and victory is assured.

Paul said, ‘Let us… approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’ (Hebrews 4:16 NIV) What do you need when you keep failing? God’s grace to forgive you—and His help to overcome temptation. So pray before temptation comes, and God will make you an overcomer.

From The Word for Today.

January 30, 2020

Your Forgiveness Is Guaranteed
 
‘If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins.’ 1 John 1:9 AMPC
 
In spite of our best intentions and efforts, we all ‘fall short’ of God’s requirements (see Romans 3:23). So what’s the answer? ‘If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts]. If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].’ (1 John 1:8–9 AMPC)
 
When it comes to God’s forgiveness, knowing is better than feeling. Here’s how God’s forgiveness works: consciousness of sin leads to conviction of sin, and conviction of sin leads to confession of sin, and confession of sin leads to cleansing of sin, and cleansing of sin leads to confidence before God (see 1 John 3:21–22).
 
You say, ‘I don’t feel worthy of God’s forgiveness.’ You will never be worthy of it! God’s forgiveness is not based on your worthiness, but on Christ’s! Furthermore, God is not like your parents; He doesn’t insist you squirm and be miserable for a few days so that you will ‘learn your lesson’ before He forgives you. That would mean you play a part in earning His forgiveness. It’s by grace, and grace alone (see Ephesians 2:8–9).
 
‘Grace’ means ‘undeserved favour’. So when God forgives you, honour Him by forgiving yourself and moving on.
 
From The Word for Today.

January 29, 2020

When You Worship, God Feels Right At Home

‘You who inhabit the praises of Israel.’ Psalm 22:3 WEB

The place where you live is your home, or ‘habitation’. So when you praise God, you’re saying, ‘Make Yourself at home, Lord.’

Where does God dwell? He has many different addresses and one of them is ‘praise’. Just as we enjoy a deeper level of intimacy with those we share our lives with at home, praise creates a sense of intimacy between God and us. Just as words spoken in love and appreciation draw two people together, words of praise draw you closer to God.

The New King James Bible says, ‘You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.’ Note the word ‘enthroned’. The Japanese have a wonderful way of translating this. Recalling how their emperor was once carried on a throne and those around him would stop and bow down, they say, ‘When we worship God we create a seat, and He comes down and sits in it.’

Five times in two back-to-back Scriptures we are commanded to ‘sing praises’ to God. ‘Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding.’ (Psalm 47:6–7 NKJV) When God repeats the same thing five times in two verses, it’s because He wants to be sure you get the message. You say, ‘But I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.’ Listen to a praise song and hum along.

The psalmist wrote, ‘Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.’ (Psalm 63:3–4 NKJV)

From The Word for Today.

January 28, 2020

Be Devoted To Christ
 
‘Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.’ 1 Timothy 4:15 NIV
 
One day a friend of Chuck Swindoll’s stopped by his study to ‘speak the truth in love’ to him (see Ephesians 4:15). The man said, ‘I don’t think you’ll fall morally or ethically. What does worry me is that you could be tempted to let your time with God and your time in the study of the Scriptures become less and less important to you. I want to urge you, do not let that happen.’
 
Swindoll took his words to heart and wrote down these five promises to himself. If you’re serious about being devoted to Christ, you need to make these same promises to yourself also:
 
(1) I promise to keep doing original and hard work in my study. Those to whom I am called deserve my best efforts.
 
(2) I promise to maintain a heart for God. That means I will pray frequently and fervently, and stay devoted to Him and to my calling.
 
(3) I promise to remain accountable. Living the life of a religious lone ranger is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous.
 
(4) I promise to stay faithful to my family. My wife deserves my time, affection, and undivided attention. Our now-grown children deserve the same.
 
(5) I promise to be who I am, just me. To keep laughing and saying things a little ‘off-the-wall’. To be a friend and make a few mistakes each month.
 
On that second promise of Swindoll’s: being devoted to Christ doesn’t make you weird, judgmental, antisocial, or isolated from the world. No, it makes you the best version of yourself you can be—and the one God wants you to be.
 
From The Word for Today.

January 27, 2020

Challenge Your Own Thinking

‘Let the wise listen and add to their learning.’ Proverbs 1:5 NIV

As you examine your mistakes, you realise it was your thinking at the time that caused them, and that’s why you need to keep challenging your own thinking. ‘Let the wise listen and add to their learning.’ How do you do that? By learning to appreciate how others think and by continually exposing yourself to people who are different from you. You will think like the people you spend the most time with. When you spend time with people who think outside the box, you’re more likely to break new ground.

Let’s face it, any time we find a way of thinking that works, our greatest temptation is to rely on it repeatedly—even if it doesn’t work in new situations. When your goal is to protect the success you already enjoy, you put the brakes on the process that can lead you to even greater success. Holding on to a good tradition is a good thing. But you need to remember that every tradition was originally a good idea, perhaps even a revolutionary idea, but every tradition may not be a good idea for the future.

When you cling to what’s already in place, you resist change—even change for the better. That’s why it’s important to challenge your own thinking. If you’re too attached to how things are done now, nothing will change for the better. Dr John Maxwell writes: ‘In your early years you won’t be as wrong as people think you are. In your later years you won’t be as right as people think you are. And all through the years you will be better than you thought you could be.’

From The Word for Today.

January 26, 2020

Repentance!

‘Create in me a pure heart, O God.’ Psalm 51:10 NIV

Samson went too far. He wound up with his eyes gouged out, mocked by his captors in a Philistine dungeon. Why? Because of two unguarded areas: pride and sex.

David also struggled against temptation. In a moment of weakness he fell prey to lust and paid dearly. But he didn't die in prison like Samson. Instead he died as ‘a man after God's own heart.’ What made the difference?

Repentance!

In brokenness and humility David called on the Lord and found mercy and grace to get back up. Stop and ask yourself, ‘Am I living a secret life that only God and I know about? Have I allowed myself to become so addicted to my sin that I fear there’s no possibility of turning back?’

It’s never too late to start doing what’s right. You cannot sink so deep that Christ is unable to lift you. Repentance is the place to start. Repentance means turning from your sin, confessing your failure and acknowledging your inability to change on your own. It means asking for God’s strength. Stop rationalising what you’re doing; you’re only fooling yourself. You may have kept it a secret so far, but ultimately you’ll be found out. Don’t go another day without falling on your knees before God and praying, ‘Cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a pure heart, O God.’ (Psalm 51:2;10 NIV)

Did you pray that prayer? If so, reach for those who can strengthen and encourage you. Don’t try to battle it alone; you won’t succeed. Then what? Get back in the race and run like never before!

From The Word for Today.

January 25, 2020

Stand On God’s Word (6)
 
‘To depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.’ Philippians 1:23 NIV
 
When death takes someone you love. Satan will try to torment you with remorseful thoughts of what you did and didn’t do for your loved one while they were still here. Don’t listen to him! The Bible calls him ‘the accuser’ (see Revelation 12:10).
 
Instead, rejoice that your loved one was in right standing with the Lord, and that you’ll be reunited in Heaven for all eternity. Give yourself permission to grieve, and when the grieving period ends, stand on God’s Word:
 
‘Brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:13–14 NLT)
 
‘Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.’ (1 Corinthians 15:42–43 NLT)
 
‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.’ (John 14:1–3 NKJV)
 
Lean on these words of Scripture today and find comfort.
 
From The Word for Today.

January 24, 2020

Stand On God’s Word (5)

‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted.’ Psalm 34:18 NLT

When someone has broken your heart. When somebody you love breaks your heart and betrays your trust, you’re in a vulnerable place. And the Enemy will use the experience to get you to do four things that will hurt you even more, derail you spiritually, and rob you of God’s blessing:

(1) Isolate yourself, alienate and avoid others.

(2) Lose your sense of trust, and suspect the motives of everyone you meet.

(3) Cause a root of bitterness to spring up that will impact your relationship with your family and those in your circle of influence (see Hebrews 12:15).

(4) Make you strike back and get even, rendering evil for evil (see 1 Thessalonians 5:15). Don’t do it!

Instead, stand on God’s Word: ‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.’ (Psalm 34:18 NLT)

‘I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.’ (Jeremiah 31:13 NLT)

‘The Spirit of the Lord… has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor… heal the broken-hearted… proclaim liberty to the captives… recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.’ (Luke 4:18 NKJV)

‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.’ (Ephesians 4:31–32 NLT)

Has someone done you wrong? Forgive them—and keep on forgiving them until you’re free in your mind. It’s a daily walk that sometimes feels like three steps forward and two back. But if you keep your eyes on Jesus—you’ll get there.

From The Word for Today.

January 23, 2020

Stand On God’s Word (4)
 
‘When you are tempted, He will show you a way out.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
 
When you violate your marriage vows. You violate God’s Word, break your spouse’s heart, embarrass the cause of Christ, live with the fear of exposure, and trade short-term pleasure for long-term pain. So before you get involved, seek God’s help, and stand on His Word.
 
‘Give honour to marriage, and remain faithful to one another… God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.’ (Hebrews 13:4 NLT)
 
‘Put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires.’ (Colossians 3:5 NLT)
 
‘Don’t participate in… promiscuity and immoral living… Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.’ (Romans 13:13–14 NLT)
 
‘Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does… Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.’ (1 Corinthians 6:18–20 NLT)
 
‘The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
 
If you’re toying with the idea of having an affair, or you’re already in one, or you’re trying to get out of one, stand on the Word of God today and believe Him for victory.
 
From The Word for Today.

January 22, 2020

Stand On God’s Word (3)

‘Exercise self-control in all things.’ 1 Corinthians 9:25 NRSV

When you are eating too much. Studies confirm that today over half the population of the western world is eating too much. If you are one of the many people battling a problem of overeating, here’s the good news: God can help you win the battle! Often it’s not about what you are eating, it’s about what’s eating you.

We overeat to find comfort and relief from stress and anxiety, but it’s a short-term fix and it doesn’t work. The psalmist went directly to the root of his problem: ‘Search me… and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.’ (Psalm 139:23–24 NLT) God can relieve the ‘anxious thoughts’ within you.

The Holy Spirit is the greatest therapist in the world. When you surrender and ask Him to take up residence within you, you discover that ‘the fruit of the spirit is… self-control.’ (Galatians 5:22–23 NIV) He can give you the power to control your appetite, and start living by the Scripture: ‘Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT)

So make this your prayer today: ‘O Lord, if You heal me, I will be truly healed; if You save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for You alone.’ (Jeremiah 17:14 NLT) The word for you today is—with God’s help you can avoid eating too much.

From The Word for Today.

January 21, 2020

Stand On God’s Word (2)

‘Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.’ Psalm 119:50 NLT

When you are in pain. Sometimes God lifts you out of your situation. Other times, He carries you through and makes you stronger by proving His love and faithfulness to you. Sometimes He relieves you of the pain; other times He sustains you in the midst of it.

If you’re in pain today, read these promises from God’s Word and stand on them: ‘Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.’

‘Let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant. Surround me with Your tender mercies so I may live.’ (Psalm 119:76-77 NLT)

‘Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble.’ (Psalm 25:16–18 NLT)

‘The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!’ (Psalm 34:17–20 NLT)

‘Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.’ (Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV) Notice, God’s promises revive and comfort us in all of our troubles. Your Bible is a prescription from the Great Physician Himself, and the label on the bottle reads: ‘Take as often as needed for pain.’

From The Word for Today.

January 20, 2020

Stand On God’s Word (1) 
‘I am ready to perform My word.’ Jeremiah 1:12 NKJV
 
When you are facing danger. The psalmist said: ‘This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety… my God and I trust Him. For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armour and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you… If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up… so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone… The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them My salvation.”’ (Psalm 91:2–16 NLT)
 
Note the phrase, ‘This I declare about the Lord.’ When you speak God’s Word over your life, you release the power contained in it. So stand firm today, and expect God to honour His Word!
 
From The Word for Today.

January 19, 2020

Make Your Relationships A Win-Win 
‘Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.’ Philippians 2:4 ESV
 
If your only motive for giving to someone is to see what you can get back, you will be disappointed. The Bible says, ‘Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.’ When you give yourself to another person for that person’s development and well-being, you are truly giving and God will bless you for it.
 
If you’re married or a parent, you know this from personal experience. What does your husband or wife value most highly? Money in the bank, or your time freely given? What would your children rather have? A toy, or your undivided attention? The people who love you would rather have you than what you can give them. It’s wise to invest in yourself and your career, but never at the expense of those who matter most. If you succeed in your career but fail with your loved ones, your success will be hollow and your regrets real.
 
Solomon was famous for his wealth and wisdom. Yet he wrote, ‘As I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind.’ (Ecclesiastes 2:11 NLT) Learn from his mistakes. Don’t invest in things, invest in relationships.
 
Here is how most relationships often play out:
 
I win, you lose—I win only once.
 
You win, I lose—you win only once.
 
We both win—we win many times.
 
When you seek the good of others, God promises that good things will come to you (see Ephesians 6:8).
 
From The Word for Today.

January 18, 2020

That’s How It Works!

‘The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering: but for Cain and his offering He had no regard.’ Genesis 4:4–5 NASB

Cain cultivated the ground, planted the seed, gathered the harvest, and offered God the fruits of his labours. It seems likely that he thought God would be impressed, and that He would feel obligated to bless him. But that’s not how it works!

Abel, on the other hand, obviously had a different attitude. Perhaps he told God, ‘I did nothing. You created the lamb I’m offering. I’m just giving You back what’s Yours, and asking You to bless it.’ And God did!

You can tell a lot about somebody by how they approach God. Some of us act like God owes us something. Others among us are so impressed with our spiritual status and accomplishments that we feel the need to approach Him with lofty phraseology and high-sounding ‘thees’ and ‘thous’. But God isn’t impressed, so let’s get real!

‘The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering.’ Clearly Abel wasn’t seeking credit for anything. He wanted God to have all the glory. That’s the kind of offering that moves God’s heart and invites His richest blessing upon our lives. So what are you offering God today? Your achievements? Your denominational credentials? Your self-reliance? Your shallow emotion?

If you are, don’t bother! The only thing He asks is that you humbly open your heart and let Him recreate you in the likeness of Jesus. When you do that, something wonderful happens. By downplaying your own self-interests and giving God an acceptable offering, not only will He receive and respect it, He will bless you and equip you to bless others too. That’s how it works!

From The Word for Today.

January 17, 2020

How To Raise A Secure Adult

‘The children of your people will live in security.’ Psalm 102:28 NLT

When you ask parents about their future hopes for their kids, you’ll hear words like happy, secure, and self-confident. Those are nice sentiments, but not guarantees. But what makes that kind of adult? A childhood filled with trophies and good grades? A life in the country, far away from the crime-ridden city? Enriching pastimes like travel and music? The truth is, not one of these things predicts later happiness.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t encourage children to study and excel; having parents who value knowledge makes a difference. The important qualities, however, aren’t external, they’re internal. Psychologist Dr Edward Hallowell says to feel secure, your children need to develop two crucial skills:

(1) The ability to overcome adversity.

(2) The capacity to sustain joy.

He says, ‘Life is full of disappointments. Only by failing the first time and learning to try, try, and try again will a person get the most out of their abilities.’ But how do you teach your kids to be joyful in the face of adversity? There’s only one way to do it: introduce them to the source of joy.’

Isaiah said, ‘My soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation.’ (Isaiah 61:10 NIV)

David said, ‘In Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ (Psalm 16:11 ESV)

Jeremiah said, ‘Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.’ (Jeremiah 15:16 NASB)

God never promised us a life without problems, but His Word says, ‘The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives… joy.’ (Galatians 5:22 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

January 16, 2020

The Right Mind-Fuel?

‘Be changed within by a new way of thinking.’ Romans 12:2 NCV

What we consume determines our performance. That’s why you need to be careful what you feed your body, your children, your pets, and even your car. But what you feed your mind is equally important, especially when you consider these two laws that operate in life:

(1) The law of cognition. Your thoughts influence your emotions and your behaviour. The Bible says, ‘As he thinks in his heart, so is he.’ (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV) Jesus said a good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit (see Matthew 7:18). In other words, good thinking can’t produce bad results, just as bad thinking can’t produce good results.

(2) The law of exposure. The Bible says, ‘Do not… be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking.’ You’ll always think about what you are exposed to the most. And given the violence, lust, and greed portrayed by the media, it’s not surprising that crime and immorality are on the rise. You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to read this magazine, watch this programme, listen to this music, but it won’t affect me.’ Social science now confirms what God said all along—it does affect you! Where you go, what you read (or don’t read), what you watch, and the dreams you entertain all shape your mind.

Paul writes, ‘Remember what Christ taught, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise.’ (Colossians 3:16 TLB) So when you need the right mind-fuel, remember: ‘God and the message of His grace… is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those He has set apart for Himself.’ (Acts 20:32 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

January 15, 2020

Looking For A Lifetime Partner

‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?’ 2 Corinthians 6:14 NIV

An ox and a donkey each have a tail, two eyes, and four legs. But if you harness them together, they won’t get along or work well together. Actually, they will pull in different directions. That’s because God made them with very different natures and attributes!

With that picture in your mind, here’s some advice on dating you’d be wise to heed. Looks soon fade, so choose someone who has other, less obvious attributes. For example:

(1) Consider their manners and how they treat the waiter at the restaurant.

(2) What type of interests do they have?

(3) Do they share your spiritual values and beliefs?

(4) Do they show genuine interest in what you have to say?

(5) How do they treat people they’re not trying to impress?

Once the newness of the initial attraction wears off, there must be something more, or the relationship is doomed. And make sure you’re the chooser, and not the chosen. Think about what you really want, and don’t entrust your heart to someone without first ascertaining their suitability. The only way to do that is to ask questions and ask God for discernment so you can learn to read their motives through their mannerisms. If you’re going to make an informed decision about sharing your life with this person, and share the most intimate, vulnerable parts of yourself literally and figuratively, you must open your eyes, along with all your senses, and really see the other person. Stop. Look. Listen. Pray. That’s the Bible’s formula for making a wise decision when it comes to choosing a mate for life.

From The Word for Today.

January 14, 2020

Try Less and Trust More!

‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.’ Philippians 1:6 NIV

If you want God’s will to be done in your life, don’t rush things. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, did that. As a result Ishmael was born, and that brought all sorts of strife and family complications—that still trouble us, even in the twenty-first century.

Remember: ‘Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to spirit’ (John 3:6 NIV), so be sure your plans are conceived by God’s Spirit. Don’t try to salvage anything flesh-based. God said, ‘My covenant I will establish with Isaac.’ (Genesis 17:21 NIV)

Isaac was born as a result of God’s will, done God’s way, in God’s time. Everything that’s conceived in you comes from one of two sources: the flesh or the Spirit. So be careful. People will try to involve you in all kinds of schemes to promote yourself. God doesn’t need anybody’s help to bless you; He can do it all by Himself! That’s why whenever Satan attacks you, you need to be able to point him to your spiritual birthplace and remind him that you didn’t begin this project and you don’t have to finish it.

‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.’ And here’s another thought. If God’s dealing with you about carnality, pride, or some other obstacle in your path, don’t resist, don’t run, and don’t get in His way. Like a drowning man frantically trying to save himself—until you stop flailing around God can’t do anything for you. So the word for you today is: ‘Try less and trust more!’

From The Word for Today.

January 13, 2020

Use The Power Of Praise

‘His praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ Psalm 34:1 KJV

You can praise God too little, but you can never praise Him too much. David writes, ‘From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.’ (Psalm 113:3 KJV)

‘Seven times a day I praise You. (Psalm 119:164 NIV)

‘His praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ (Psalm 34:1 KJV) When you are overwhelmed by circumstances, the last thing you feel like doing is praising God. But it’s the first thing you should do, because praise gets your attention off yourself and onto God’s miraculous power.

Jehoshaphat faced an army he had no hope of defeating. But when he started to praise God, his enemies destroyed each other while he looked on in amazement. When Paul and Silas praised God in prison, their chains broke and the doors opened. It’s normal to focus on the problem and forget to praise God, but praise solves problems. Peter writes: ‘The tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ (1 Peter 1:7 ESV) Start to acknowledge the power of praise and choose to exalt God regardless of how you feel. Praise brings you into God’s presence and positions you for His favour and blessing.

You say, ‘But I don’t understand how praise works.’ Think about it like this: you don’t have to understand aerodynamics in order to fly. You just get on the plane and the pilot takes you where you need to go. It’s the same when you praise God—just do it and you’ll get results.

From The Word for Today.

January 12, 2020
How To Receive God’s Forgiveness 
‘You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.’ Psalm 32:5 NLT
 
When God forgave David for adultery and murder, he wrote: ‘Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night Your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed my sins to You and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said…“I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.’ (Psalm 32:1–5 NLT)
 
Unconfessed, unforgiven sin will make you miserable. But after you’ve acknowledged it and received God’s forgiveness, you shouldn’t continue to feel miserable. So why do we feel miserable? Many times it’s because of how we were raised. We grew up hearing words like, ‘I hope you feel bad about what you’ve done!’ or ‘Shame on you!’ And if our offence was great, like wrecking the family car, we may even have been put on probation! In other words, we’re programmed for long-term guilt.
 
The good news is, God’s forgiveness doesn’t work that way. The moment that brings conviction and confession of sin also brings cleansing of sin, and leads to restored confidence before God. Don’t let Satan keep condemning you. Refuse to walk around feeling guilty and ashamed.
 
Today say with the psalmist, ‘You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.’
 
Now go out and live freely, confidently, and with joy!
 
From The Word for Today.

January 11, 2020

Tempted To Compromise? 
‘To him who is able to keep you from stumbling.’ Jude 1:24 NIV
 
Pick friends who respect your values; otherwise, you will end up under pressure to compromise your convictions to maintain their friendship. That’s too high a price to pay! Joseph said no to the sexual advances of his boss’s wife, and there’s a lesson for you in his story. There are people in the workplace who will push every button and probe every weakness you have, in order to bring you down to their level. And if they succeed, they’ll attack you rather than appreciate you.
 
What should you do? Turn to God for help! He ‘will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV) When someone seeks to compromise your character, God promises to ‘make a way of escape’ so you don’t have to succumb to temptation. Even if your decision results in your being penalised, alienated, or terminated, ask God for courage to do the right thing. His promise to you is: ‘Those who honour me I will honour.’ (1 Samuel 2:30 NIV)
 
Remember, it’s better to be alone and walk with God than give in to temptation, violate His Word, and compromise your convictions by ‘going along to get along’. When you stand tall and do the right thing, you bring honour and glory to God. Jude writes, ‘To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!’ (Jude 1:24–25 NIV)
 
From The Word for Today.

January 10, 2020

Control Your Anger 
‘A wise man [uses self-control and] holds it back.’ Proverbs 29:11 AMP
 
The Bible says, ‘A shortsighted fool always loses his temper and displays his anger, but a wise man [uses self-control and] holds it back.’ You can express anger verbally or through silence. When you use silence as a weapon to hurt someone, you’re resorting to emotional manipulation and indulging in childish immaturity.
 
When you were a child and someone refused to do what you wanted, do you remember saying, ‘I’m not talking to you anymore’? That may be acceptable behaviour for a child, but not those who are called to be spiritually mature. If you’re given to frequent outbursts of temper, here are some Scriptures you’d do well to take to heart:
 
(1) ‘Better…one with self-control than one who takes a city.’ (Proverbs 16:32 NIV)
 
(2) ‘A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offence.’ (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)
 
(3) ‘Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.’ (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NIV)
 
(4) ‘Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.’ (James 1:19–20 NIV)
 
(5) ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4:31–32 NIV)
 
So ask God to help you get your anger under control. Remember: anger is like fire: when it’s kept under control, it’s like a flame that draws people to a cause you’re passionate about. But when it’s out of control, it can destroy everything in its path.
 
From The Word for Today.

 

January 9, 2020

Burying The Memories Of Childhood Abuse 
‘You have wiped out all remembrance of them.’ Isaiah 26:14 NASB
 
Psychologists tell us that one out of three people has experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Most are ashamed to talk about it! They walk around filled with resentment, thinking not only about the offender, but also the people who should have protected them and didn’t. The truth is, if they don’t get help, the memory of what was perpetrated against them can end up hurting them more than the event that actually happened.
 
If you’re a victim of abuse, here are some Scriptures you need to read, stand on, and turn into a prayer: ‘I cried out to You, O Lord…“You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors [memories], for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison [the past], that I may praise Your name.”’ (Psalm 142:5–7 NKJV)
 
‘O Lord our God, masters besides You have had dominion over us; but by You only we make mention of Your name. They are dead, they will not live; they are deceased, they will not rise…You have punished and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.’ (Isaiah 26:13-14 NKJV)
 
Now, you can choose to forgive your offender and their power over you will be broken! Once you’ve done that, place them in God’s hands and allow Him to deal with them. Refuse to remain a victim. Instead of continuing to live in secret shame, you will discover that the power of God can heal ‘the broken-hearted and [bind] up their wounds.’ (Psalm 147:3 NKJV)
 
From The Word for Today.

 

December 24, 2019 

Trust God’s Timing (1)
‘When the right time came, God sent His Son.’ Galatians 4:4 NLT
 
God doesn’t consult us to make sure His plans line up with our timetable. God sets the schedule. Sometimes we have to run to keep up, and other times we have to slow down in order to get in step with Him.
 
Mary planned to marry Joseph, then have a child, but God had a different plan. The child had to be without inherited sin, so He needed a perfect father. Therefore, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her.
 
Humanly speaking, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Mary became pregnant before she got married, and Joseph wasn’t the father. Besides being excluded, the law said she could be stoned to death. How did she respond to the message of the angel? Amazingly: ‘Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”’ (Luke 1:38 NKJV) God has a set plan, and He is always working towards it. The trouble is, we are only working with limited information, so we become impatient and upset when He doesn’t answer our prayers when we think He should, or in the way we think He should.
 
It’s said that George Müller, evangelist and founder of the Ashley Down Orphanage in Bristol, England, once waited on the dock for a special chair to be delivered; he had a bad back and needed the chair for his ocean voyage. When departure time came and it still hadn’t arrived, his friends offered to buy him one. But Müller said, ‘Either God will provide or He will give me the grace to do without.’ Then, just like a Hollywood ending, the chair arrived right on time! Trust God—He knows what He’s doing!
 
From The Word for Today.

December 23, 2019 

Christmas Symbols
‘In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.’ Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
 
Today, some people are trying to remove any public mention of Christ at Christmas, while others seem bent on secularising it completely. So let’s look at the meaning of some of the Christmas symbols.
 
Small holly berries are thought to have originally reminded Christians of the drops of Christ’s blood caused by the crown of thorns He wore on Calvary. Evergreen trees speak of the promise of never-ending life resulting from His resurrection. When early Christians changed the Roman winter solstice of the rebirth of the sun (originally on December 21), to a celebration of the birth of the ‘Son of Righteousness’, the evergreen wreath was adopted. Instead of simply being a garland, the round Christmas wreath now speaks of the never-ending unity and fellowship we have with God through Christ. So if you hang a wreath on your door or over your fireplace this Christmas, remind yourself that nothing ‘shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:39 NKJV)
 
But it’s pagan, you might say! Or just ‘traditional’! The fact is that Jesus Himself took the traditional and pagan of His time and transformed its meaning. Hanukkah—the Festival of Lights—is not one of the feasts commanded by God. It was (and is) a human tradition celebrating a great military victory. Yet it was at Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, that Jesus said, ‘I am the Light of the World,’ restoring a name associated with the pagan god Mithras to both Himself and to the Father.
 
Jesus didn’t avoid the pagan and traditional, but used it to point to Himself. So why can’t we do the same?
 
From The Word for Today.

December 22, 2019

Are You At Your Breaking Point?
‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed.’ Psalm 27:13 NKJV

David was a giant killer, a psalm writer, and Israel’s most popular king. But when the stresses of life brought him to his breaking point, he wrote, ‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.’

Are you at your breaking point today? When you get to that place, one of two things happens: you either break down or break through! It all depends on what you do. David experienced a breakthrough because he knew the right formula: ‘Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.’ (Psalm 27:14 NKJV)

There’s an old saying—‘The same sun that melts the butter hardens the clay.’ When trouble comes, you can turn against God because you’ve served Him faithfully and don’t understand why He’s permitting you to go through such a hard time, or you can turn to Him for the answer! Nothing catches Him off guard, and nothing is too hard for Him.

He said, ‘I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.”’ (Isaiah 46:9–10 NKJV) You may be in a state of shock right now—but God isn’t. Your circumstances can actually become a platform for Him to demonstrate His unfailing love and care for you. So don’t lose heart; He’s going to bring you through this storm and bring glory to His name in the process.

From The Word for Today.

December 21, 2019

Undercover Boss

‘I sat among them for seven days.’Ezekiel 3:15 NIV

Remember the reality tv show Undercover Boss? In it, the company owner goes undercover disguised as a regular staff member, and works alongside the other employees. He or she gets to experience their daily pressures and problems, becomes familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, and finds out what is and isn’t working. Some of the discoveries are truly eye-opening, and lead to major changes that end up making the organisation a more efficient, more profitable, and a more enjoyable place for everyone to work.

A good definition of the word understand is ‘to stand in another person’s shoes’. That’s what happened to the prophet Ezekiel. He writes: ‘Then I came to the colony of Judean exiles… I was overwhelmed and sat among them for seven days. After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman.”’ (Ezekiel 3:15–17 NLT) When did God give Ezekiel a message for others? After he’d spent seven days and nights sitting with people who had lost everything, people in deep despair and in need of answers.

Referring to Jesus, the Bible tells us, ‘This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do.’ (Hebrews 4:15 NLT) Your most effective ministry to others can come out of some of the experiences you’re going through right now, especially the painful ones you’d like to escape and don’t even feel comfortable talking about. The truth is, your greatest mess can turn out to be your greatest message. So let God work on you until He gets you to where you need to be.

From The Word for Today.

December 20, 2019 

The Law of Location
‘God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it.’ Genesis 2:15 NIV
 
God created the Garden of Eden, placed Adam in it, and told him to ‘work it’. God said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ (Genesis 1:22 NKJV) In other words, ‘Be successful.’
 
But notice, there’s a definite sequence. First: God prepares a place for you. Second: He puts you in it. Third: He tells you to ‘work it’. Fourth: He says, ‘I want you to succeed.’ This is called ‘the law of location’. You only flourish in the place where you belong, doing what God has called and equipped you to do. And you’ll have to work at it, so don’t expect it to be quick and easy. The law of location is evident throughout the Scriptures.
 
After his life-changing encounter with God, we read, ‘Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”’ (Genesis 32:30 NIV) That’s when God changed his name from Jacob, which means ‘deceiver’, to Israel, which means ‘a prince with God’.
 
God spoke to the prophet Elijah in the middle of a famine and said, ‘Go at once to Zarephath…I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.’ (1 Kings 17:9 NIV)
 
Eden was the place of fruitfulness.
 
Peniel was the place of radical change.
 
Zarephath was the place of divine supply.
 
Question: are you in the place God wants you to be? If you’re not sure, talk to Him today. ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go.’ (Isaiah 48:17 NKJV)
 
From The Word for Today.

December 19, 2019

Distributors of God’s Blessing
 
‘I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.’ Genesis 12:2 NIV
 
God promised to bless Abraham and make his name ‘great’ for one reason—so he would be a blessing to others. Jesus taught His disciples to be distributors of blessing and first responders to those in need. That’s why He often involved them in the miracle process; He was training them. In feeding the five thousand, the miracle of multiplication took place after the bread and fish left the disciples’ hands. Jesus was the source, they were the distributors (see Matthew 14:13–21).
 
And God is calling you to be a distributor too. Sometimes we don’t recognise our blessing because it’s in seed form, so we conclude we don’t have what it takes. Not so. Jesus said: ‘This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’(Mark 4:26–29 NIV)
 
Note the words: ‘The seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.’ Instead of saying, ‘How could God possibly use me?’ become aware and alert to people’s needs. You have something God can use, and when He blesses it, you’ll be amazed at your potential. The miracle of the loaves and fishes began when someone said, ‘These people need to be fed.’ That’s when the disciples discovered Jesus could use what they had, even though it seemed inadequate.
 
From The Word for Today.

December 18, 2019 

Great Doors/Great Challenges
‘A great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.’ 1 Corinthians 16:9 NIV
 
Nothing becomes truly great until it overcomes something that looks insurmountable. Paul writes, ‘I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.’ (1 Corinthians 16:8–9 NIV) Great doors of opportunity always come with great challenges, and each challenge calls for greater faith and tenacity. Think about it: if outstanding success came easily, everyone would have it. And if everyone had it, it wouldn’t be outstanding success.
 
How does a caterpillar become a butterfly? By overcoming the cocoon. And the cocoon is so essential to the process that the caterpillar actually creates it. Wouldn’t it be easier just to stay in the warmth and comfort of the cocoon? On days when the caterpillar struggles to get out of it, he probably thinks so! But deep down, he knows the price of freedom. Flight and discovery require struggle, development, and breakthrough. There is no other way!
 
Why did Jesus send His disciples into a life-threatening storm? To teach them to trust Him in all of life’s situations. Soon He’d be leaving them, and He was using every experience to prepare them for their future. So what are you struggling to overcome right now? Instead of complaining and asking God to take it away, see it for what it is—preparation. Remember, your level of preparation indicates the level of blessing that awaits you on the other side of it. So if God is opening doors of opportunity for you, be prepared for challenges, because you can’t have one without the other.
 
From The Word for Today.

December 17, 2019 

Challenges for the Church of Today
‘God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety.’ Ephesians 3:10 NLT
 
Here are three of the challenges the church faces today:
 
(1) We can’t experience a new move of God if we insist on clinging to an old one. ‘God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety.’ The word revival doesn’t simply mean awakening something that’s asleep. It also means resurrecting that which is dead or dying, and causing it to come to life again.
 
(2) We fear excess, so we embrace mediocrity and call it balance. People aren’t drawn to us because of our similarities, but because of the things that make us unique. When it comes to our faith and our testimony, we mustn’t downplay, soft-pedal, or sidestep the very things God has given us that make us distinctive. If we do, people will be disappointed and go elsewhere. The disciples didn’t blend in with the crowd; their message and the demonstration of its power made them stand out.
 
(3) We need to make room in the church for risk-takers and faith-walkers. In the first miracle Jesus worked, changing water into wine, Mary told the servants, ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ (John 2:5 NIV) Our need to be liked and to be popular can lead to a religious spirit that cripples risk-taking and faith-walking. Jesus promised: ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses.’ (Acts 1:8 NIV) So when God tells us to ‘do church’ differently, let’s not be afraid to step out and obey Him.
 
From The Word for Today.

December 16, 2019

How To Set Your Goals (6)
‘Write down the revelation and make it plain.’ Habakkuk 2:2 NIV

Put your goals in writing. God told the prophet Habakkuk, ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain…so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time…Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.’ (Habakkuk 2:2–3 NIV)

Note the word ‘delay’, because it’s not one we particularly like. God can give you a vision overnight, but usually it won’t be fulfilled overnight. You’ll face disappointments, discouragements, and delays. Because your vision always costs more than you estimated, and takes longer than you planned, it can become ‘blurred’ by your circumstances and emotions. That’s why it’s so important to write it down and keep it in front of you! Why did God tell Abraham that his children would be as numerous as the stars in heaven? Because stars are something you can physically look at and count. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish [languish and waste away].’ (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

The word ‘perish’ suggests something that’s slowly decaying, and that’s what happens when you don’t keep your God-given vision in front of you. If you’ve dreamed of losing weight, post a picture that inspires you on your refrigerator. If you dream of one day owning your own home, stick a picture of it on your message board. And if your goal is to give a certain amount to God’s work, write a cheque for that amount and place it where you’ll see it every day. With a clear-cut written goal, you’ll always know where you are and remember what God has called you to do.

From The Word for Today.

December 15, 2019 

How To Set Your Goals (5)
‘My relatives stand afar off.’ Psalm 38:11 NKJV 
Discern who belongs in your life and who doesn’t. One of the toughest parts about reaching your goal is discovering that some of the people closest to you don’t share it or want to be part of it. You can spend years trying to convince them. You may even be able to buy their short-term loyalty, but eventually they’ll leave you, often breaking your heart in the process.
 
Paul wrote, ‘All those in Asia have turned away from me.’ (2 Timothy 1:15 NKJV) ‘Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.’ (2 Timothy 4:10 NKJV) Can’t you hear the heartache and disappointment in his words? And when God gives you a great goal, you may experience the same thing.
 
It’s said, ‘In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.’ How true! When disaster blindsided Job, he said, ‘All my close friends abhor me, and those whom I love have turned against me.’ (Job 19:19 NKJV) David’s experience caused him to say, ‘My relatives stand afar off.’ Solomon in his wisdom sums it all up: ‘Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth.’ (Proverbs 25:19 NKJV)
 
The truth is that people who don’t respect your goal will detract from it. You can minister to them and try to encourage them with words that strengthen and bless, but if you insist on holding on to them, like an infected tooth, they will end up hurting you. Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.’ (Matthew 10:14 NIV) In order to reach your God-given goal, sometimes you have to do that.
 
From The Word for Today.

December 14, 2019

How To Set Your Goals (4)

‘I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.’Isaiah 43:4 NIV

Depend on God more than on others. That doesn’t mean you don’t need other people. You do. When God calls someone to do a job, He calls others to stand alongside them. God’s promise is: ‘I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.’ So ask Him who belongs in your life.

In Exodus chapter 17, as long as Moses held his hands up, Israel’s armies prevailed in battle, but when his hands grew tired the battle went the other way. So Aaron and Hur stood by Moses and held up his hands until victory over the Amalekites was complete. You need people who know how to hold up your hands and strengthen you.

Paul wrote, ‘I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. All the others care only for themselves… Timothy has proved himself.’ (Philippians 2:20–22 NLT) In fact, Paul took an entire chapter of the Bible to acknowledge and thank all those who made it possible for him to succeed in his calling. He writes about people ‘who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches.’ (Romans 16:4 NKJV)

Some of us are stubborn and self-centred; we subscribe to the philosophy, ‘It’s my way or the highway.’ We burn through people, leaving wreckage in our wake. Don’t do it! When God sends gifted people into your life, acknowledge them, respect them, train them, motivate them, and reward them. When you do that, not only will you fulfil your goal, you will create a win/win for everybody.

From The Word for Today.

December 13, 2019

How To Set Your Goals (3)
‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’ Proverbs 3:5 NIV

Trust in God more than in yourself. That doesn’t mean you should go through life doubting and second-guessing yourself, or being afraid to move in case you make a mistake. When you recognise and embrace God’s plan for your life, you tap into the power you need to fulfil it. False humility will handicap you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, and keep you from moving forward.

When God called Jeremiah to be a prophet, he protested, ‘I am only a child.’ (Jeremiah 1:6 BSB) But listen to what God told him: ‘Do not say, “I am only a child.”’ (Jeremiah 1:7 BSB) As surely as ‘the tongue can bring death or life’ (Proverbs 18:21 NLT), you must learn to speak God’s Word over the vision He has given you.

Yes, it’s a mistake to think you can play God’s role or that He will play yours. But once you understand your personal assignment and tap into His power, you can start believing for success, regardless of what obstacles may stand in your way. When you know you’re in the will of God, doing what He told you to do, you can stand confidently on these Scriptures: ‘“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts.’ (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV).

‘One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised.’ (Joshua 23:10 NKJV)

‘In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.’ (Psalm 138:3 NKJV)

You’re not alone today—God is with you!

From The Word for Today.

December 12, 2019

How To Set Your Goals (2)
‘Before you were born I set you apart.’ Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
 
Ask God to tell you who you are. Bookshop shelves are lined with volumes telling us that we can be anything we make up our minds to be. And while there’s some truth to that, it’s not the whole truth! A dog may believe it can fly, but if it tries to, it will go ‘splat’. A fish may believe it can bark, but it’s not going to happen. The same is true for us.
 
Bottom line: we may pray, believe, claim, confess, and try all they want, but we won’t succeed unless it’s in line with what God called and equipped us to be. He told Jeremiah: ‘“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, I am too young. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words in your mouth.”’(Jeremiah 1:5–9 NIV)
 
When God equips you with one talent He doesn’t give you a five-talent assignment, and vice versa (see Matthew 25:14–15). And here’s the great thing: the one-talent person and the five-talent person will one day stand before Him and hear the commendation: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ (Matthew 25:21 NKJV)
 
From The Word for Today.

December 11, 2019

How To Set Your Goals (1)

‘The Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there.’ Acts 16:7 NLT

We’ve all been given individual gifts and goals in life, and God is the giver of both. Jesus said, ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ (John 3:6 NKJV) When you have a desire that’s ‘born of the flesh’, don’t expect God to fulfil it.

It’s ok to admire and learn from gifted, successful people, as long as you don’t try to duplicate them. It’s okay to emulate their good character qualities and seek their input as long as you go to God, the architect of each of our lives, and ask Him to show you His blueprint for your life. Even though David’s desire was to build the temple, God told him his son, Solomon, would ultimately build it. David’s job was to raise the money and materials for the project. If you’re a ‘make-it-happen’ sort of person, that kind of thinking will go against your grain.

So read this and think about it: ‘They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the Gospel to them.’ (Acts 16:6–10 NKJV)

So let God set your goals and you’ll be heading in the right direction.

From The Word for Today.

December 10, 2019

‘A Spirit of Fear’
‘God has not given us a spirit of fear.’ 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

The Bible tells us that fear is a ‘spirit’. This spirit has a mind that thinks and a voice that speaks, and if you allow it to—it will control you. Today if you’re battling a ‘spirit of fear’, make this your prayer: ‘Lord, Your Word says when I seek Your face, You’ll hear me and deliver me from all my fears (see Psalm 34:4). So I cast down every anxious thought that rises up against what I know about You and Your power (see 2 Corinthians 10:5). I stand on the promise that You’ll never leave nor forsake me (see Hebrews 13:5). I rest in the truth that nothing is too hard for You (see Jeremiah 32:17). I rejoice in the assurance that You’ve already given Your angels responsibility for keeping and protecting me in all my ways (see Psalm 91:11). I resist the spirit of fear, and command it to flee in Jesus’ name (see James 4:7). By faith I decree that Your peace, which passes human understanding, will guard my heart and mind (see Philippians 4:7). Therefore, I will not let my heart be troubled or afraid (see John 14:27). In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.’

Now instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the Problem-Solver—God! That may not immediately resolve your difficulty, but it’ll keep you in a peaceful state of mind while you wait for God to work.

Isaiah said, ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!’ (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) Note the word ‘fixed’. As you go through this day with your mind ‘fixed’ on God, you’ll have ‘perfect and constant peace’ (AMPC).

From The Word for Today.

December 9, 2019

When You Can’t Make Ends Meet
‘Those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.’ Psalm 34:10 NLT

Have you lost your job? Are you facing the possibility of losing your home or going bankrupt? Are you in the toughest place you’ve ever been? Paul ‘suffered the loss of all things’ (Philippians 3:8 NASB), but he didn’t stay there. He went on to say, ‘My God shall supply all your need.’ (Philippians 4:19 NKJV)

And God can do that for you—with or without a salary or some other anticipated source of income. The psalmist said, ‘Those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.’ One of the things you have to watch out for is Satan’s worst-case-scenario talk. If you allow him, he will paint mental images of you living in a cardboard box, under a bridge.

Stand on God’s Word today and declare: ‘Lord, You said if I’m willing and obedient, I will enjoy the best You have to offer (see Isaiah 1:19). You promise to surround me with favour (see Psalm 5:12). Your Word says that You can do more than anything I could even ask or think, according to Your power that works within me (see Ephesians 3:20). Even though nothing seems to be going right for me just now, give me faith to believe You for good things and better days. Your Word tells me to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to You. That Your peace, which surpasses human understanding, will guard my heart and mind (see Philippians 4:6–7). Lord, honour Your Word today, in the name of Jesus, Amen.’

From The Word for Today.

December 8, 2019 

Are You On Overload?
‘Who can eat or enjoy anything apart from Him?’ Ecclesiastes 2:25 NLT
 
There will be times in life when it feels like there’s too much to do, and not enough time to do it. However, when you’re constantly on overload, it shows up in your attitude, your relationships, your job performance, and even your walk with God. If that’s where you are today, here’s what you need to do:
 
(1) Pray. ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.’ (Psalm 55:22 NIV) Before you fall apart, ask God for the wisdom to evaluate what you are doing, and then be honest with yourself about why you’re in this predicament. The writer of Proverbs says, ‘Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.’ (Proverbs 23:4–5 NIV) Ask God to show you where you may be sacrificing your peace, health, and relationships on the altar of materialism.
 
(2) Delegate. Moses, one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament, was falling apart under the weight of responsibilities he needed to share with others. He got so depressed that he asked God to take his life! There were capable people all around him who were willing to help, but he wouldn’t let them. Sound familiar? As long as you insist on controlling and doing everything yourself, your productivity will stall and your peace of mind will evaporate. Bottom line: if you’re on overload today, start making some changes.
 
From The Word for Today.

December 7, 2019 

Live With Integrity
‘Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.’ Proverbs 10:9 NIV
 
There are those who live with integrity and those who don’t, and interestingly they’re both rewarded. The first group lives with an abiding sense of God’s peace and security, the second group with the constant fear of being found out. ‘The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.’ (Proverbs 11:3 NIV) A person with integrity is ‘complete and undivided’. They adhere to high moral principles in every area of life. Does that mean you’ll never fall? No.
 
‘A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.’ (Proverbs 24:16 NKJV) Everybody falls, but people of integrity always get back up. God is patient; He‘ll work with you until you get it. And if you suffer from a lack of integrity, He can still put your life back together again if you surrender to Him.
 
Before he wrestled with the Lord, Jacob was a cheat and a deceiver (see Genesis 27:35–36). And after he wrestled with the Lord, he walked with a limp. But God would rather have someone who walks with a limp because they’ve wrestled with their issues and won, than someone living under false pretences.
 
Daniel, a Jewish prince living in captivity, refused to eat non-kosher food because it violated God’s law. Joseph was single, far from home, and lonely, but he refused to sleep with his boss’s wife. Paul says, ‘When you are tempted, he will… provide a way out so that you can endure it.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV) God always has a way out, and when you’re committed to walking in integrity, He’ll reveal it to you.
 
From The Word for Today.

December 6, 2019 

Hold On To The Word You’ve Received
‘As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.’ Mark 4:15 NIV
 
In the parable of the sower, Jesus said, ‘Some people are like seed along the path, where the Word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the Word that was sown in them.’ Ever notice how you can sit at home and watch a two-hour, advert-packed film without feeling restless or bored, yet when the sermon exceeds thirty or forty minutes, you keep glancing at your watch and can’t wait to get out of church? And if someone asked you the next day what the preaching topic was, most times you couldn’t tell them. Jesus said, ‘Satan comes and takes away the Word.’ So how can you retain it?
 
(1) Write it down (see Exodus 17:14). When you make notes on what you read and hear, you’ll retain more, be more impacted, and get much more out of it.
 
(2) Pray it through. Unless you pray over the Word you’re hearing, you’ll keep coming home from church moved but unchanged. Many of the great saints of old read through the Bible on their knees. You should try that too!
 
(3) Discuss it with others. God’s Word is like a seed that multiplies and grows when it’s watered by conversation with others who share your faith. The Bible says, ‘Those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.’ (Malachi 3:16 NIV)
 
(4) Practise it daily. John tells us, ‘The Word was made flesh.’ (John 1:14 KJV) The best way to retain God’s Word is to practise its principles, or ‘flesh it out’!
From The Word for Today.

December 5, 2019

Your Time Has Come
‘You have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.’ Esther 4:14 NKJV

Moses began his ministry when he was eighty. Esther started hers as a teenage girl. When she heard the words of Mordecai—‘Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’—she could easily have said, ‘Give me time to grow up, get married, have children, and fulfil my dreams before asking me to put my life on the line to save the Jewish people.’ But she didn’t. She said, ‘I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.’ (Esther 4:16 AMPC)

Often what God does in you while you’re waiting is more important than the thing you’re waiting for. Sometimes you think you’re ready but God knows you’re not, so He puts you into the school of faith. That’s where you learn to listen to ‘the teacher’ (the Holy Spirit), study your lessons, pass the tests, and graduate so that God can use you. It’s not a comfortable place to be, but God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

Missionary Nancy Cockrell writes: It was God’s plan all along to bring you here to serve Him, by using your gifts to minister to others—for such a time as this. He has given you the grace to reflect the love and character of Christ, to be a light in a darkened world—for such a time as this. You have a unique place of service in God’s Kingdom, touching lives as only you can do—for such a time as this.’

So here’s the question: is God telling you today—your time has come?

From The Word for Today.

December 4, 2019

‘Putting Skin On Jesus’
‘Whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing.’ John 14:12 NIV

It’s good to read about what Jesus did when He walked among us. But when you see someone living the way He did, it’s called ‘putting skin on Jesus’. Instead of just being an historic figure, His lifestyle becomes a reality. And isn’t that what people are looking for?

Gandhi once said if he could meet Christians who were like Christ, he’d become one too. Unfortunately, the Christians he knew carried weapons and subjected him and his people to servitude. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus said, ‘Whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.’

Maybe you’re wondering how we could possibly do greater works than Jesus. Here’s how: He was one man confined to one place, whereas His redeemed family is capable of multiplying His works throughout the world. So what was Jesus like? For starters, He was compassionate, not condemning. Remember the woman caught in the act of adultery? When the Pharisees wanted to stone her, He said, ‘Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!’ (John 8:7 NLT) Ouch! Who was Jesus talking about? The Pharisees or the religious hierarchy? No, He was talking about Himself! He was the only one without sin and He had no stones to throw! If you want to know what ‘putting skin on Jesus’ looks like, the Bible lists these nine ‘fruits’ (or Christlike qualities) that the Holy Spirit wants to produce in your life: ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’ (Galatians 5:22–23 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

December 3, 2019

Discovering God’s Will (2)

‘That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.’ Romans 12:2 NKJV

For a redeemed child of God, nothing in life should be more important than discovering and doing His will. But you have four options:

(1) You can remain ignorant of it. Chances are this isn’t you, or you wouldn’t be reading this daily devotional right now. Clearly you have a desire to know God’s will for your life and He will help you find it (see Isaiah 30:21).

(2) You can know it and choose to disobey it. Jonah knew God’s will, but he ran from it and ended up in the biggest storm of his life. What was his problem? He didn’t like the assignment God gave him. Is your problem that you know God’s will but you just don’t like it?

(3) You can know it but settle for less. The truth is you can sing in the choir and serve on church committees, yet deep in your heart know you’re settling for less than God’s will.

(4) You can settle for nothing less than God’s will. There are moments when God’s will seems too difficult, too prolonged, and too unrewarding. Your own ideas seem easier, quicker, and more enjoyable. In the end, you find that His plan was better than yours and there will never be an exception to this rule. So you may as well decide from now on to yield to God’s will, do things His way, and believe Him for His best. Today get down on your knees and say with the psalmist, ‘I delight to do Your will, O my God… Your law is within my heart.’ (Psalm 40:8 NKJV)

From The Word for Today.

December 2, 2019

Discovering God’s Will (1)
‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Romans 12:2 NKJV

The story is told of a man who lived on a beautiful farm. When he died, the property, which had been in the family for over 200 years, was sold to one of the neighbours. One day, the new owner was walking in a field when he noticed an odd-looking rock sticking up out of the dirt. He took it home, washed it, and took it to a jewellery store. The jeweller confirmed what the owner already suspected. The old stone was a large, uncut emerald, and proved to be worth several million dollars. This gemstone had been in the field for thousands of years, just waiting for someone to come along and discover it. Over the years, people had walked past it thousands of times and overlooked it, because it looked like nothing more than a common garden rock.

When we ‘discover’ something, in actuality, we’re finding something that already exists even though we were unaware of it. Here’s the point: while many of us are seeking God’s will for our lives, often what we’re looking for is right under our nose but we keep searching because we don’t recognise it.

To recognise a precious stone, you need to be familiar with its characteristics and know what to look for. Likewise, to recognise God’s will you must live by this Scripture: ‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.’ That calls for quality time reading your Bible, and talking with and listening to the Author.

From The Word for Today.

December 1, 2019
Your Divine Security Detail
 

‘The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.’ Psalm 34:7 NKJV

Just as a president or a prime minister are constantly surrounded by security guards, as a redeemed child of God you are surrounded by angels. You may not be able to see the president’s or prime minister’s security detail, but just let someone make a threatening move and trained guards instantly form a protective shield around them.

Dr James McConnell, founder of Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was preaching one night during the ‘Troubles’, when a paramilitary leader with a gun came into the church to kill him. The man’s wife had become a Christian and her life was so radically changed that he hardly recognised her. The man only took a few steps up the aisle when he stopped dead in his tracks, turned, and ran out of the church. On later becoming a Christian, the man testified that he’d seen two big angels standing on either side of Pastor McConnell!

When Paul’s ship encountered a storm and everyone thought they were going to perish, Paul announced: ‘There stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, “Do not be afraid”… take heart… for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.’ (Acts 27:23–25 NKJV) Today, you have a divine security detail watching over you.

From The Word for Today.

November 30, 2019
 Keep Praying And Believing God
‘Many are saying, “God will never rescue him!”’ Psalm 3:2 NLT
 
Have you been praying for years that God will save your husband, your wife, your children, or your friends? Does your heart long to see the people you love serving Him? Are you getting discouraged? Has someone told you, ‘You’re wasting your time—they’ll never change’?
 
If so, read what the psalmist wrote: ‘Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.’ (Psalm 3:2–4 NKJV) Pay particular attention to the phrase, ‘many are they who say’. Everybody has an opinion, but until God speaks on the matter, the jury is still out! As long as He’s still on the throne and His promises are still true, keep praying and believing God for a miracle.
 
‘But they’re so far from God right now!’ you say. They may be, but read this and rejoice: ‘The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.’ (Isaiah 59:1 NKJV) Your loved one is not too far gone for God. They may be messed up on drugs and alcohol, having an affair, or even be in prison. Wherever they are today, the long arm of God’s grace can reach out and save them. Satan knows that and he wants you to get discouraged and give up. Don’t do it! Just as power flows through electric wire, God’s power flows through your prayers. So keep praying and believing God!
 
From The Word for Today.

November 29, 2019

Taking Responsibility And Risks (3)
‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received.’ 1 Peter 4:10 NIV
Guess which big company felt like ‘choking on its own chocolate’ after it elected not to feature one of its products in the 1982 blockbuster film E.T.? If you said M&M’s, you’d be right! How did it happen? Turns out the Mars chocolate bar company executives decided nothing could be gained from allowing their M&M’s sweets to be used in what some of them considered ‘a silly movie’. Consequently, the little boy Elliott ended up luring the loveable alien E.T. with Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces. That one scene drew millions of customers worldwide into sweet shops in quest of Reese’s Pieces! Thanks to this movie mega-hit, Hershey’s sales shot up 65 per cent! It’s interesting that the Mars executives who said ‘No’ probably lived in big houses, drove big cars, and earned big salaries! Yep, doubt and fear stalk the rich as well as the poor; you’ll find naysayers at the top and bottom of the corporate ladder.
Do you recall these words from the famous poem by John Greenleaf Whittier: ‘For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been”’?
Think of all the times opportunity knocked and nobody answered. Are you standing before a door of opportunity today? Are you afraid to walk through it? Don’t be. God is with you. His Word says, ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.’ When God gives you a gift He gives you the grace and grit to use it. So step out in faith, ‘commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.’ (Proverbs 16:3 NLT)
From The Word for Today.

November 28, 2019

Taking Responsibility And Risks (2)

‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ Matthew 25:23 NIV

In 1975 a low-level Hewlett Packard engineer called Steve shared a dream with his friend, also named Steve. It was about building and selling an easy-to-use personal computer to the masses around the world. The pair worked round the clock to create their compact PC. But when they offered it to Hewlett Packard, one of the world’s great companies, the powers-that-be at the time failed to see its potential and gave it the thumbs down. So Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs went off on their own and founded a little company called Apple Computers—and revolutionised the computer industry!

There’s no shortage of people who will tell you, ‘It can’t be done’ or ‘It won’t work.’ There’s a name for those people: ‘dream killers’—and if you listen to them you’ll give up before you even begin. Behind every major accomplishment you’ll find ordinary people with dreams, who are willing to take responsibility and risks. They are the people who enjoy the rewards! Jesus wrapped up one of His parables with these words: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ In spite of your failures, your struggles, and your limitations, if you’re willing to disregard the naysayers, step out in faith, and use the gifts God has given you, He will see to it that you succeed.

From The Word for Today.

November 27, 2019 

Taking Responsibility And Risks (1)
‘The vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come.’ Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV
 
Missionary evangelist Daniel Kolenda writes: ‘We can easily become frustrated if we don’t understand that just as there are times and seasons in nature, there are also times and seasons in the process of fulfilling God’s will… Years ago a group of senior missionaries came together to discuss life principles they’d discovered…their purpose was to share this wealth of experience with succeeding generations… They’d all encountered common stages of transition in their ministries, and collectively they identified a five-step cyclical process God had taken them through.’ Bottom line: timing is all-important!
 
When executives at Decca Records told the Beatles, ‘Groups with guitars are on the way out,’ they signed up with EMI—and the rest is history! Don’t miss the lesson here. Each of us has been placed on earth as a caretaker of God’s business. And that’s true whether you are a judge or a cleaner. You’ve been given an allotment of life and charged with the responsibility of taking care of it, investing it, increasing it, and presenting it back to God. Simply saying, ‘I was afraid of failing,’ or ‘I was worried about being criticised,’ or ‘I didn’t think I was good enough,’ won’t work.
 
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘Excuses always replace progress.’ God will accept your trials and errors, but He won’t accept your excuses for not having tried. So pray, accept responsibility, and step out in faith. You may fail many times on your way to success, but if you keep trying and trusting God, you’ll eventually succeed.
 
From The Word for Today.

November 26, 2019 

It’s A Necessary Part Of The Process
‘I will instruct you.’ Psalm 32:8 NKJV
 
Why are you still here? When Jesus saved you, why didn’t He simply take you to Heaven to be with Him? Because He’s not only interested in your final destination; He wants to do a work in you and through you on the way to it. We get impatient when it comes to God’s will for our lives. We just want to get there! But a great deal of time usually elapses between when God calls us and when we’ve fulfilled His will for our lives. And until we accept that, we’re not ready to go anywhere!
 
We need to understand that the journey is an important process. It matters to God what you become on the way to where you’re going. And following Him in obedience through many unknowns, trials, and difficulties is an integral and indispensable part of your preparation. God uses the journey to teach you faith, refine your character, and equip you for greater challenges that lie ahead. In fact, if you’re in the process of seeking God’s will right now, you’re already fulfilling part of it in your life.
 
God said, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.’ Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you don’t know all you’d like to, you’re not making progress. Something is happening right now. Your faith is being stretched, your patience is being developed, your doubts are being confronted and conquered, and your relationship with God is growing deeper. He always prepares us in advance for what He has planned ahead for us. Yes, the struggle is uncomfortable—but it’s a necessary part of the process.
 
From The Word for Today.

November 25, 2019 

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed Today?
‘I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’ Jeremiah 45:3 NLT
 
Some of the people we admire in Scripture experienced times when they felt ‘worn out’, yet unable to rest. Jeremiah said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’ (Jeremiah 45:3 NLT)
 
The psalmist put it this way: ‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.’ (Psalm 27:13 NKJV) Then he goes on to say: ‘I cry to You for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!’ (Psalm 61:2–4 NLT)
 
If you’re feeling overwhelmed today, take a minute to pray this prayer: ‘Lord, it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I know this isn’t Your will. Teach me to cast my worries and concerns on You, knowing that You have promised to take care of me (see 1 Peter 5:7). Give me courage to change the things I can, grace to accept the things I can’t, and wisdom to know the difference. Never let me become so busy that I forsake my quiet time with You. Teach me to be still and know that You’re my God (see Psalm 46:10). Thank You for being my refuge; a very present help in this time of trouble (see Psalm 46:1). In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.’
 
From The Word for Today.

November 24, 2019 

Understanding The Stages Of Your Vision
‘In due season He will honour you.’ Psalm 37:34 TLB
 
In farming, there’s a time for sowing, a time for growing, and a time for reaping. It’s the same in God’s kingdom. One missionary tells of hearing a group of seasoned leaders discussing their shared experiences from which a fascinating five-stage process emerged.
 
Stage 1: The birth of the vision. Initially each of them was given a vision by the Holy Spirit, accompanied by an excitement and abiding awareness that it was from God.
 
Stage 2: The preparation. This is the stage where dreams are often aborted because we don’t want to do the necessary preparation. When God gives you a vision, there must be some action on your part or it will never amount to anything more than a passing daydream.
 
Stage 3: The wilderness and the struggle. One of our biggest misconceptions is that if something is really from God, there’ll be no struggle involved. That’s a myth! You can almost guarantee a significant amount of struggle will be required. This stage is the proving ground of our faithfulness, and there’s no substitute.
 
Stage 4: The realisation of the vision. This is where we finally get to enjoy the fruits of our diligent preparation and God’s faithfulness.
 
Stage 5: New beginnings and vision. These leaders all found themselves challenged again with fresh vision from the Holy Spirit. As a result, they concluded that their lives had been a continual cycle of ever-expanding vision, and as God entrusted them with more, it would take even greater amounts of preparation and the intensity of the battle would increase. Now you understand the stages of your vision!
 
From The Word for Today.

November 23, 2019

Seek His Help Today
‘The Spirit also helps our weakness.’ Romans 8:26 NASB

Paul writes: ‘The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.’ (Romans 8:26–27 NASB) So what is this ‘weakness’ in prayer that we are subject to? It’s that sometimes we don’t know how to express the depth of our desires and feelings, nor do we even realise what we need. Sometimes we’re so exhausted in spirit, mind, and body, that we can hardly muster the energy to open our mouths. There are instances when discouragement has taken such a strong hold of your heart that you can’t imagine a way out of your circumstances. That’s when you need to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help! When you are a believer, the Holy Spirit supplies you with the two things you can’t live without:

(1) The ability to know what God is saying to you. Sometimes you can’t trust your own wisdom or the advice of those closest to you.

(2) How to have an intimate relationship with God. One of the most wonderful things Jesus said was, ‘I have called you friends.’ (John 15:15 KJV) But friendships aren’t built on a hit-and-run basis; they take time and communication. Jesus described His relationship with the Father like this: ‘The Father loves the Son and shows Him everything.’ (John 5:20 NLT)

And not only does the Holy Spirit show you what to do, He empowers you to do it. So seek His help today.

From The Word for Today.

November 22, 2019 

The Holy Spirit Is Your ‘Helper’
‘The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,He will teach you all things.’ John 14:26 ESV
 
Jesus said, ‘The Helper, the Holy Spirit… will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.’ So the Holy Spirit has these two functions:
 
(1) He teaches you how to walk with God.
 
(2) He reminds you to do it each day. As redeemed children of God, we constantly need to be taught how to walk with Him, and to be reminded of the blessings that await us when we do and the trouble we get into when we don’t. If you’ve raised kids, you know the routine. They have to be taught their ABCs so they can read and write; then they have to be reminded until they master it. They have to be taught to walk, and falling down hundreds of times is just part of growing up.
 
The Bible says, ‘A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.’ (Proverbs 24:16 NKJV) Just as you don’t tell your child, ‘Forget it, you’re never going to learn to walk,’ your heavenly Father doesn’t give up on you either. Your child had to be taught personal hygiene and cleanliness. Likewise, the Holy Spirit will remind you of the importance of reading God’s Word each day.
 
Jesus said, ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.’ (John 15:3 NIV) And the psalmist wrote, ‘How can a young person [and an older one too] stay on the path of purity? By living according to Your word.’ (Psalm 119:9 NIV)
 
If you’re wise, you’ll start each day by praying, ‘Holy Spirit, teach me what I need to know, and remind me of it throughout this day.’
 
From The Word for Today.

November 21, 2019

Know Who’s Guiding You
‘Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.’ Galatians 5:16 NLT

Dr Charles Stanley says: ‘During a photographic trip my group had been travelling up a trail for almost three hours, and I began to have a funny feeling that we were going in the wrong direction. I asked the guide about it and he assured me everything was fine. Not wanting to be presumptuous, I kept walking. After a few minutes, I noticed that my sense of uneasiness persisted; in fact, it was growing stronger. I pulled out my compass and looked at the map. Sure enough, we were headed away from our intended destination. It took us close to an hour and a half to return to where we’d taken the incorrect turn. Sadly, this meant by the time we got to the site, our window for taking photographs was cut short. The event helped me realise two valuable lessons. First, when we sense an internal witness encouraging us to take a certain course of action, we should listen. Second, when you and I choose people to guide us, we must be certain they know the path ahead better than we do. Have you ever felt something alerting you to pay attention or pulling you in a particular direction? Perhaps you were listening to a sermon and you sensed God telling you to follow Him in obedience. Or maybe you walked into a restaurant and were filled with dread, as if you should leave quickly. If you’re a believer, most likely these feelings were the promptings of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart, warning you about danger, and encouraging you to submit to God’s purposes.’

Today—let the Holy Spirit guide your life.

From The Word for Today.

November 20, 2019

Finishing Strong In Ministry (4) 
‘Appoint leaders for the churches in each town.’ Titus 1:5 CEV
 
The fourth issue you find among leaders who leave the ministry is this: they teach others how to build strong families without necessarily knowing how to build one themselves. Or they’re not willing to pay the price to do it and eventually it becomes a problem.
 
The greatest lesson you’ll ever teach is at home! Leaders’ wives can slip into despair and depression because they feel like the ministry robs them of all their husband’s time and attention. Their neglected children get tired of hearing, ‘I’m doing this for the Lord,’ so they rebel against God and the church, and act out in ways that embarrass the parent who has no time for them.
 
Your spouse and children should always be able to reach you. If the church takes up seven days out of your week, it’s not the church’s fault—it’s yours! You need to start making changes! And if you think this is a phenomenon of living in the 21st century, think again. Read the stories of leaders like David and Samuel, and you discover it’s possible to succeed on the job, yet fail miserably on the home front. Too many leaders value the approval of their peers more than the love and respect of their families. Bear in mind that you won’t always be the leader, but you will always be the partner of your spouse and the parent of your children. So be there when they need you—and they’ll be there when you need them.
 
From The Word for Today.

November 19, 2019 

Finishing Strong In Ministry (3)
‘Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock.’ Acts 20:28 NKJV
 
Another issue leaders often grapple with is: knowing how to feed others spiritually, but not themselves. Before leaving the church at Ephesus for the last time, Paul gathered its leaders together and said, ‘Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.’
 
Before you attempt to take care of others, learn to take care of yourself. Before God builds the ministry, He builds the minister; otherwise, you become an easy target for the Enemy. When the administrative side of church threatened to rob the apostles of their daily prayer and Bible study time, they called ‘time out’, saying, ‘We will give ourselves continually to prayer and… the word.’ (Acts 6:4 NKJV)
 
Leader, don’t just focus on preparing your lesson, keep your soul prepared! And don’t just set boundaries for your people, set them for yourself. Believing you can cut corners spiritually opens you to wrong relationships and destructive habits. As a result, you end up living on two levels—public service and private struggle. When that happens, you live with the fear of exposure, feel like a hypocrite, and forfeit the confidence necessary for God to use you (see 1 John 3:21, 22). Consequently the church gets robbed spiritually and suffers.
 
So… what do struggling servants of God need? Spiritual fathers! Paul writes, ‘You might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers.’ (1 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV) Find a mature, seasoned friend in ministry and reach for help before your problem gets out of control. This isn’t just a good idea—your survival in ministry may depend on it!
 
From The Word for Today.
 
November 18, 2019

Finishing Strong In Ministry (2)

‘I face the daily pressure of my concern for all the churches.’ 2 Corinthians 11:28 NIV

Over 50 per cent of church leaders leave the ministry. Let’s look at another reason why. They love people, but can’t handle the pressure. We like to talk about the power of the New Testament church, but what about its problems? The church is made up of human beings, and human beings have unresolved issues. The New Testament church had:

(1) Moral problems. One man was sleeping with his stepmother, and nobody in the church seemed particularly upset about it (see 1 Corinthians 5:1–2).

(2) Doctrinal problems. Some Jewish converts thought the Gentile converts needed to be circumcised. The dispute became so heated that it almost split the church down the middle (see Acts 15).

(3) Immaturity and ‘personality-itis’ problems. Paul writes: ‘I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it… For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly?…when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?’ (1 Corinthians 3:1–4 NIV) He goes on to say, ‘Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.’ (2 Timothy 4:10 NKJV) Then he adds, ‘Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil.’ (2 Timothy 4:14 KJV)

If you’re a church leader here’s the bottom line: if you can’t feel the pain, you can’t heal the pain! Hidden in your everyday problems and people pressures, you’ll find the wisdom to minister effectively. So don’t get discouraged—keep going!

From The Word for Today.

November 17, 2019 

Finishing Strong In Ministry (1)
‘I have finished the race.’ 2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV

Did you know that over half of those who enter the ministry leave before retirement? Why? There are lots of reasons—here is one of them: They discover that great revelation is accompanied by a ‘thorn’. The apostle Paul, who wrote half the New Testament, says: To keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Corinthians 12:7–10 NIV)

There are 168 hours in your week. The hour you spend in ministry preaching a sermon, teaching Sunday school or leading a small group showcases you in the areas of your gifting and strength. So your challenge will always be to remember that it is God’s Word and God’s power, not yours, that changes lives and gets the job done. Notice what Paul said: ‘To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh.’ Paul’s thorn came in the form of ‘weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties.’ What’s your thorn? You can only stand strong before people if you discipline yourself to spend time before God in prayer and Bible study. That’s how to stay effective and finish strong in ministry!

From The Word for Today.

November 16, 2019 

Be Spiritually Sensitive
‘To be spiritually minded is life and peace.’ Romans 8:6 NKJV
 
Paul writes, ‘Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.’ (Romans 8:5 NKJV) Passenger planes are designed to fly in two ways—through the skill of a pilot and the commands they receive from the control tower. To ‘live according to the Spirit’ means obeying His promptings. You do that by going through your day with an awareness of His presence. Submit, as you feel Him tugging at your heart to take a particular course of action, even if you don’t quite understand why. You may be prompted to drop a particular conversation, turn away quickly from a certain television programme, walk away from a questionable environment, or even go ‘by another way’. (Remember the wise men in Matthew 2:12?) Whatever it is, do it immediately.
 
The Holy Spirit may be warning you about a temptation you’ll be unable to resist unless you obey Him there and then. Perhaps there’s someone who comes to your mind during the day, and you know he or she is going through a difficult time and could use some support. Get in touch with them. God wants to minister to that person through you, and He will bless you when you do it. The Holy Spirit may guide you to do a certain thing, or take a risk you never imagined you’d take. The wisest thing is always to submit to His plan, regardless of whether or not it makes sense to you. God knows all things, including your future, and His direction is always for your benefit.
 
From The Word for Today.

November 15, 2019 

Muzzle Your Mouth
‘I will put a muzzle on my mouth.’Psalm 39:1 NIV
 
The psalmist has a lot to say about the dangers of the tongue. Apparently David had to guard himself in that particular area. ‘Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.’ (Psalm 141:3 NIV) ‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord.’(Psalm 19:14 NIV)
 
Just because a thought comes up doesn’t mean it should come out! ‘A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.’ (Proverbs 29:11 NKJV)
 
You say, ‘But I didn’t really mean it. I was just sounding off!’ You may not think you meant it, but the Bible says, ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’ (Matthew 12:34 NKJV) What’s harboured on the inside inevitably shows up on the outside. Put yourself in the other person’s place, listen to what you’re saying, and ask yourself how you’d respond. When you’re talking to someone, their acceptance doesn’t come from your heightened decibel level, but from your ability to listen, understand, care, empathise, and respond with wisdom. And if none of those things work, do what Jesus did when He stood before Pilate: ‘He did not open His mouth.’ (Acts 8:32 NLT) Amazing! He had the power and authority to call twelve legions of angels (72,000 plus) to His defence, but He didn’t. That’s strength, not weakness!
 
Another word to the wise: never resort to profanity. ‘Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.’ (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)
 
From The Word for Today.

November 14, 2019

Giving Is Its Own Reward
‘I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you.’ 2 Corinthians 12:15 NLT

The apostle Paul wrote, ‘I don’t want what you have—I want you… I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:14–15 NLT) Paul found his greatest fulfilment in giving, not receiving. For him, giving was its own reward. For him, being successful meant making others successful. For him, being joyful meant bringing joy to others. That’s because he didn’t look to people for his reward, but to God: ‘Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do.’ (Ephesians 6:8 NLT)

The hardest thing for most of us to do is to fight our natural tendency to put ourselves first. That’s why it’s important to continually examine your motives and make sure you’re not sliding backwards into selfishness. If you want to check your motives, follow the example set by Benjamin Franklin. Every day he asked himself two questions. When he got up in the morning he would ask, ‘What good am I going to do today?’ And before he went to bed he would ask, ‘What good have I done today?’ If you can answer those questions with selflessness and integrity, you can keep yourself on track. Seeing those in need, and giving to meet that need, keeps your priorities and your perspective right. It increases the quality of life for both the giver and the receiver. The truth is, there is no life as empty as the self-centred life, and there is no life as centred as the self-empty life.

From The Word for Today.

November 13, 2019

Glorious Inheritance
‘Because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God.’ Ephesians 1:11 NLT

Consider these words: ‘I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon if I can. I seek opportunity, not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the company look after me. I want to take the calculated risk, to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfilment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor dignity for a hand out. It is my heritage to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefits of my creations, to face the world boldly and say, “This I have done.”’

That sounds like another man who wrote, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness.’ (2 Timothy 4:7–8 NIV)

But I'm disadvantaged,’ you say. Ever see the movie Rain Man? Dustin Hoffman plays a savant: a person who, in a sea of disabilities, has an island of genius. In the movie, he's incredibly gifted with numbers.

Other savants have amazing abilities in art and music. The truth is, all of us arrived equipped and empowered to do something special. You have an island of genius inside you. God's given you a gift. Believe it! Discover it! Develop it! Cherish it! Use it! Gift it! That's what it means to have a glorious inheritance from God.

From The Word for Today.

November 12, 2019 

Let God Tell You Who You Are!
‘His mother called his name Jabez.’ 1 Chronicles 4:9 NKJV
 
The name Jabez means ‘pain and trouble’. Can you imagine walking into a room and hearing someone say, ‘Here comes trouble,’ or someone describing you as ‘a pain’? And what’s more, his mother labelled Jabez that way the day he was born because she ‘gave birth to him in pain.’ (1 Chronicles 4:9 NIV)
 
But Jabez refused to let that name define him. Instead of looking back at his past and listening to his critics, he turned to God and prayed: ‘“Oh, that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm, that it might not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.’ (1 Chronicles 4:10 NASB)
 
The label on the outside of a bottle tells you what’s on the inside. And when you let others label you, invariably they make your world too small. And once you accept the label they place on you, you start to believe that’s who you are and that you’ll never amount to anything more than that. No, only God can tell you who you are! So do what Jabez did—go directly to the source: God. He created you. He redeemed you. He calls you. He equips you. He empowers you. He rewards you.
 
So when people try to limit you by putting labels on you, God steps in and says, Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.’ (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV) The truth is that God loves and accepts you, and His approval trumps everybody else’s disapproval!
 
From The Word for Today.

November 11, 2019 

Come Back To God!
‘When he was still a great way off.’ Luke 15:20 NKJV
 
The Bible says concerning the Prodigal Son: ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.’ (Luke 15:20 ESV) The truth is, you’re not beyond the reach of God’s grace, so your future can be greater than your past! When he was ‘a great way off’, his father ran to him.
 
His relationship with his son wasn’t based on performance, but because he’d given him life and brought him into the family. Think about the significance of the things the Prodigal received that day:
 
(1) The robe. That confirmed his identity as a son. God doesn’t see you in your weakness; He sees you clothed in the righteousness of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:18–21).
 
(2) The ring. This was a signet ring with the family seal that gave him back authority to do business in his father’s name.
 
(3) The shoes. Household servants didn’t wear shoes, only family members did. He returned home thinking the best he could hope for was a job in the servants’ quarters. But his father not only restored his identity and authority, he restored him to full son-ship in the family.
 
(4) The party. Back then when you rebelled against your father’s authority and left home, they conducted ‘a ceremony of shame’, which meant you could never return. Not this father—he threw a party! The point? Because Jesus took our shame! ‘For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT) The word for you today is—come back to God!
 
From The Word for Today.

November 10, 2019 

Resistance Training
‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ James 4:7 KJV
 
Have you ever watched someone doing resistance training? They get stronger every day as they press more and more weight. That’s how to view the verse ‘resist the devil’. Satan is out to do three things: ‘Kill, steal, and destroy’ (see John 10:10). Destroy what? Everything God has given you! And he doesn’t play fair. Using a whole arsenal of weapons, he’ll attack your mind, your health, your marriage, your children, your finances, and your character. And if you’re a spiritual weakling, he’ll crush you! Satan studies you. He knows your quitting points, and he’ll push you to the brink every chance he gets. So what should you do? Push back—and keep pushing! Use every spiritual weapon God has given you—prayer, praise, His Word and fellowship. It’s time to turn the tables on the Enemy and start using him as your spiritual gym!
 
The Amplified Bible talks about ‘the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.’ (Ephesians 6:17 AMPC) When you’re filled with God’s Spirit, He will fight in you, through you, and for you. When that happens, Satan reaches the place where he knows he can’t defeat you on a particular front, so what does he do? He attacks you on a different one! But with victory after victory being chalked up, you develop the boldness and strength to defeat him on that front too. With enough resistance training under your belt, you’ll experience the joy of walking in the truth of this wonderful promise: ‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.’ (Romans 16:20 NIV)
 
From The Word for Today.

November 9, 2019 

Anger Management (3)
‘He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty.’ Proverbs 16:32 NKJV
 
The Bible says, ‘He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.’ As a Christian you have the Holy Spirit living within you, and one of the fruits of the Spirit is ‘self-control’ (see Galatians 5:23).
 
That means as a Christian you can control your temper, and as a Christian you must control it. You say, ‘I get mad easily because I was born with that nature!’ You’re not supposed to live according to your old nature, but your new one! Anger is like a river. Controlled, it can generate enough electricity to power an entire city. Uncontrolled, it can overflow its banks and become a raging flood that destroys everything in its path. And as surely as a river can be controlled, so can your temper.
 
Have you ever been in a big argument at home with your spouse or one of your kids? Suddenly the telephone rings; instantly you pick it up and answer in a soft, controlled tone, ‘Hello-o-o-o. May I help you?’ What just happened? You proved that your anger can be controlled and tamed. The Bible says, ‘People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.’ (Proverbs 14:29 NLT) Not everything is worth getting angry about. The more calmly you see a situation, the more clearly you’ll see how to handle it.
 
So if you have a quick temper, here’s some good advice. When you’re angry, count to ten before you speak. And when you’re really angry, count to one hundred—then don’t say anything.
 
From The Word for Today.

November 8, 2019 

Anger Management (2)
‘A quick-tempered man acts foolishly.’ Proverbs 14:17 NKJV
 
The truth is that when your temper gets the best of you, it reveals the worst of you. The Bible says three things about unrighteous anger that you need to keep in mind:
 
(1) It’s stupid. Simple as that. ‘A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated.’ (Proverbs 14:17 NKJV) Mark Twain wrote: ‘Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.’
 
(2) It’s divisive. ‘A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.’ (Proverbs 15:18 NLT) Occasionally we may become angry for good reason. But most of the time it’s because we’re selfish, impatient, irritated, or hurt about the way we have been treated. Humourist Will Rogers once said, ‘People who fly into a rage seldom make a good landing.’ Instead of solving the problem, anger only makes it worse.
 
(3) It’s destructive. ‘Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.’ (Proverbs 19:19 NLT) That means when you keep losing your temper, you keep losing. You will lose friends, you will lose the love and respect of your family, you will lose your business associates, and it can even cause you to lose your health. John Hunter, a psychologist who had a severe heart condition, said, ‘My life is at the mercy of the person who can make me angry… the first scoundrel who gets me angry can kill me.’
 
And guess what? That scoundrel can be you! So ask God to help you control your anger.
 
From The Word for Today.

November 7, 2019

Anger Management (1)
‘Don’t sin by letting anger control you.’Ephesians 4:26 NLT

The first mention of anger in Scripture is when Cain got so angry with his brother Abel that he murdered him. In Australia in 2018, three people died each week at someone else’s hand.

Anger not only kills others, it can kill you. Dr Redford Williams, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at Duke University, states: ‘The hostility and anger associated with Type-A behaviour is a major contributor to heart disease. People who struggle with anger are five times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease, and people with heart disease more than double their risk of a heart attack when they get angry.’

Of course, there’s a difference between anger and mere aggravation. A little girl asked her father to explain that difference. So he picked up the phone, dialled a number, allowed his daughter to listen in, and when the other person answered, he said, ‘Hello. Is Melvin there?’

Back came the answer, ‘There’s no one here named Melvin. Why don’t you look up numbers before you dial them?’

The father waited a moment, then re-dialled the number. ‘Hello. Is Melvin there?’

The man yelled, ‘I just told you there’s no Melvin here! Don’t call this number again!’ then slammed down the receiver.

The father looked at his daughter and said, ‘Honey, that was anger. Now let me show you aggravation.’ He dialled the number again.

A voice roared back, ‘Hello!’

And her dad calmly said, ‘Hi. This is Melvin. Have there been any calls for me?’

The word anger is only one letter short of the word danger. So ask God to help you manage your anger. He will!

From The Word for Today.

November 6, 2019

Forgive—And Set Yourself Free!
‘Forgetting those things which are behind.’Philippians 3:13 KJV

The Bible says that the greater the offence, the greater the need to forgive your offender in order to go on with your life. Remember when you were growing up, how your parents would tell you to close the door? That’s because in winter you were letting in the cold and in summer you were letting in the insects.

Forgiveness shuts the door on your past! Paul, who martyred Christians before becoming one, writes, ‘This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching… unto those things which are before.’ Only when you release your grip on the past can you secure your grip on the future. Forgiving is a decision, one you sometimes have to make daily or even hourly. Bottom line: you need to forgive every time the issue that’s hurting you rears its head (see Matthew 18:21–22).

Complete healing can take months or years. When someone hurts you deeply, you must purpose in your heart to keep forgiving them until you’re free from their influence. No matter what they took from you through abuse, abandonment, betrayal, manipulation or deceit, the fact is that bitterness will take more! Like making a rod for your own back, unforgiveness lets the person who hurt you keep on doing it. So until the issue is resolved, you may have to get down on your knees every day and pray, ‘Lord, by an act of my will, I forgive ________ and ask You to bless them. I’m turning them over to You and getting on with my life.’

There’s no shortcut—it’s the only path to freedom!

From The Word for Today.

November 5, 2019

Look For Teaching Moments
‘What do these stones mean?’ Joshua 4:21 NIV

One of the most effective ways to teach is through ‘teaching moments’. Jesus did that. When a fig tree didn’t produce fruit, He cursed it and it immediately withered up. That got the disciples’ attention (see Matthew 21:18–22). Then He explained that unless you stay filled with God’s Spirit, you won’t be fruitful in His service.

He could have taught this same lesson in the synagogue. But then His listeners would’ve had to imagine a fig tree, and the message would have been diluted depending on the ability of the hearer. When three drunken high-school students crashed their car into a tree, the wreck sat in front of their school for several days. Every day the students had to look at it. That’s called a ‘high-impact teaching moment’.

It’s said timing is everything. That’s certainly true when it comes to learning the important lessons in life, so don’t miss them! If you’re a parent, it’s futile to constantly ‘preach’ at your kids. If you’re a leader, it’s a mistake to keep ‘lecturing’ the people who are answerable to you. Let the experience speak! Then ask for their thoughts, and listen without interjecting! People learn more through discovery than dialogue. That’s why God instructed Joshua to build a monument of twelve stones on the other side of Jordan after He miraculously parted its waters so they could cross over (see Joshua 4:1–9). What He was really saying was, ‘When your children ask what this monument is all about, use it as a teaching moment about My love and faithfulness.’

From The Word for Today.

November 4, 2019

Don’t Brag About It

‘We have done what was our duty.’ Luke 17:10 NKJV

If you have a tendency to remind people of all the good things you do and the sacrifices you make, read what Jesus said: ‘When you have done all those things which you are commanded, say…“We have done what was our duty to do.”’ We all deserve recognition for the good we do, and we thrive on appreciation. But lots of times we don’t get it, so we’re left with three choices:

(1) We can succumb to self-pity and go around complaining about how the world doesn’t treat us right or give us a fair deal.

(2) We can give way to resentment, walk around with a chip on our shoulder, and end up wondering why people don’t want to be around us.

(3) We can adopt the attitude Jesus taught and say, ‘I’m only doing what God expects of me. And knowing He is pleased with me is reward enough.’ If you try to run on the fuel of other people’s encouragement and praise, when it doesn’t come you’ll have no joy. And that’s bad because ‘the joy of the Lord [the joy that comes from knowing you walk under the smile of His approval] is your strength.’ (Nehemiah 8:10 KJV)

Living this way will make you a self-starter and a successful finisher. And when that happens, you’ll find favour at home and on the job, and end up with more friends than you know what to do with. Plus your real reward, the one that matters most, is guaranteed when you stand before the Master one day and hear the words: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ (Matthew 25:23 KJV)

From The Word for Today.

November 3, 2019

The Healing Power Of Forgiveness
 
‘Pray for those who spitefully use you.’ Luke 6:28 NKJV
 
Night after night, Mary was beaten by her father when he came home from the pub in a drunken rage. So the first chance she got, she left home. Given time, most physical scars begin to heal, but emotional scars can last a lifetime. They can keep you stuck in the pain of the past and cost you valuable relationships. Even the people who love you can grow weary and despair that you’ll ever get better despite their efforts to help you. Do you know someone like that? Are you that someone? Do you want to move towards healing and find joy? You can.
 
Mary found it when she decided to forgive her dad and start praying for him. That’s when she started to become spiritually and emotionally whole. And she kept on forgiving him and praying for him until her old memories no longer held her prisoner. Jesus said, ‘Pray for those who spitefully use you.’ The word ‘spiteful’ implies you did nothing to cause or deserve it, that your offender hurt you for reasons you may never understand. That’s why Jesus prayed on the cross, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ (Luke 23:34 NKJV) That doesn’t let your offender off the hook. They will live with the guilt of what they did, and unless they turn to God for forgiveness they’ll have no peace.
 
But you will have peace! When you decide to forgive someone and pray for them, you take back your power and reclaim your life.
 
From The Word for Today.

November 2, 2019

Living The Anointed Life

‘The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you.’ 1 John 2:27 NKJV

The word ‘anoint’ means ‘to pour on and rub in’. In the Old Testament a priest had oil poured over his head, symbolising the Spirit of God resting on him as he carried out his duties each day.

Now fast forward to the age we are living in and read it again: ‘The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you.’ The word ‘abide’ simply means ‘to take up residence and live in’. In other words, you’re a container for God’s Spirit. And when His Spirit lives within you, it affects every area of your life. Try to imagine the advantage this gives you when it comes to your relationships, your career, your health, your decisions, your struggles, your marriage, and your ministry. Imagine what it does when you’re under stress and handling overwhelming problems. And furthermore, the anointing of God’s Spirit that ‘abides’ in you is transferable to others. When you speak Scriptural words of kindness and encouragement to someone, those words are still at work long after you’re gone because they’re infused with the presence of God.

In Psalm 23:5 NIV, David says: ‘You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.’ ‘Overflows’ means it’s spilling out to friends, family, colleagues, strangers.

The psalmist said, ‘I shall be anointed with fresh oil.’ (Psalm 92:10 KJV) Every morning when you wake up, pray, ‘Lord, anoint me afresh today.’ Then go out and touch others with that anointing!

From The Word for Today.

November 1, 2019

How To Move Your Mountain
 
‘Even if you say to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” it will happen.’ Matthew 21:21 BSB
 
Jesus said: ‘Whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ (Mark 11:23–24 NKJV)
 
Now, Jesus didn’t relocate any physical mountains during His ministry, so what was He talking about here? The problems we face in life! And notice something important: He talks only once about our need for ‘faith’—and three times about our need to ‘speak’ His Word. Why? Because if you don’t have enough faith to move your mouth and speak God’s Word, you won’t have enough faith to move your mountain!
 
The Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’ (Romans 10:17 NKJV) Something wonderful happens when you verbalise God’s Word. Your ears hear it, your mind is renewed, your focus is changed, and the thing God responds to—faith—rises up within you. And when you hold that position of faith, refuse to budge, and keep speaking God’s Word, the mountain in your life starts to shift.
 
As long as you keep saying what you think and feel in your natural mind, the mountain will keep standing like an immovable object. But when you stand on God’s promise and declare, ‘I may not know how or when, but I know you’re moving aside in the name of Jesus,’ your mountain will move!
 
From The Word for Today.

October 31, 2019

Delivered from People-Pleasing

‘I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles.’ Acts 26:17 NLT

Paul’s ministry began when he met Jesus on the Damascus Road. In that humbling encounter, the Lord said to him: ‘Get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as My servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen Me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light.’ (Acts 26:16–18 NLT)

Before Paul could be successful in his calling and minister effectively, he had to be delivered from the fear of people. That included those who knew him well, and those he had yet to meet who didn’t know him at all. He had to be detoxed from the need for approval. In essence, God was saying to Paul, ‘You’re just the postman. Some days people will like what you deliver, other days they won’t. You have to deliver the post anyway. So I’m setting you free from the fear of their rejection and the need for their acceptance.’

Has God called you to do a particular job? Are you afraid you’ll make mistakes? Count on it—you will! Are you worried you’ll be criticised? It comes with the turf! People will disappoint you in 101 different ways, but if you’re determined to do the will of God, pray, ‘Lord, deliver me from people pleasing, so I can share with them what You’ve given to me.’

Then get on with the job!

From The Word for Today.

October 30, 2019

What’s The Basis Of Your Self-Worth?

‘Be satisfied with what you have.’ Hebrews 13:5 NLT

One morning, a businessman saw a fisherman lounging on his boat drinking coffee. ‘You’re back early,’ he shouted.

The sailor replied, ‘I’ve caught enough. I’m through for the day.’

The businessman said, ‘Why not go out again? If you keep going out you can catch more fish and increase your income, buy a second boat, hire a crew, and become rich like me.’

The man replied, ‘Why should I do that?’

The businessman said, ‘So you’ll be free to do what you want and enjoy life.’

Grinning, the fisherman said, ‘But that’s exactly what I’m doing right now!’

The Bible says, ‘Be satisfied with what you have,’ yet many of us base our self-worth on what we own or achieve. We only feel good about ourselves when we’re involved in certain relationships or live in certain areas or reach certain goals. We tell ourselves, ‘When I earn more money, or become CEO, or get fitter, etc., I’ll be ok.’

So, what’s the basis of your self-worth today? If you’re not sure, ask yourself, ‘What can I not live without?’ Is there somebody you’re afraid will leave you? A job you’re too involved in? Is there something you need to accomplish before you feel complete? It is both Scriptural and wise to have goals for your life, but don’t undermine yourself by believing that you’re ‘less than’ because you’ve achieved or acquired less than someone else. The Scriptures teach that when you make God’s purposes your number one priority, ‘He will always give you all you need from day to day if you will make the Kingdom of God your primary concern… For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.’ (Luke 12:31–32 TLB)

From The Word for Today.

October 29, 2019

It’s The Way God Planned It
 
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother.’ Matthew 19:5 NIV
 
Parents, read this letter. ‘Dear Dad: Thanks for all the times you held me on your lap so I could see the football match, and times you took me to the funfair and bought me hot dogs. I’ll always remember the day you carried me through the snow because I was so cold. You’ve been a great dad and I’ll never forget you. Suzie and I were talking the other day and wondering how you’re doing. Since we moved away we don’t get to see much of you. But one of these days we’re going to come and surprise you. Take care. I love you, your son.’ Nice letter, eh?
 
Nice, if you’ve prepared yourself for the time when you’re no longer needed to do what you’re doing today. If not, you can grow resentful towards those you sacrificed so much for and feel like you’re no longer important to them. God gave you your children on a lease, with an expiration date. Poet Kahlil Gibran said, ‘They come through you but not from you… You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.’ (see also Psalm 127:4).
 
Parenthood isn’t about ownership, it’s about stewardship. Your first assignment is to provide love to make them secure, laws to make them wise, light to walk in, and a lifestyle to follow. Your next assignment is to prepare them to go out into the world and put into practice the things you’ve taught them. So release them, celebrate the investment you’ve made, pray for them, and ask God, ‘What’s next?’ It’s the way God planned it.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 28

Meditate On God’s Word

‘In His law he meditates day and night.’ Psalm 1:2 NKJV

When you go beyond simply reading your Bible and take the time to meditate each day on its truths, you begin to think like God. And when that happens your life changes for the better. Peter was so dependent on the words of Jesus that he said, ‘To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ (John 6:68 NKJV) And Job said, ‘I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.’ (Job 23:12 NIV)

Question: How often do you set aside time to meditate on the Scriptures? As you meditate on God’s Word you develop a mindset that enables you to rise above your fears. ‘My word… will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ (Isaiah 55:11 NIV) Did you get that? God’s Word will accomplish God’s purposes in your life! That’s why Satan will battle you over finding time to read your Bible.

The truth is, you don’t find time, you make it! The prophet Isaiah said, ‘Morning by morning He wakens me and opens my understanding to His will.’ (Isaiah 50:4 NLT) In a world that’s often devoid of commitment, God promises: ‘I won’t give up on you. I’ll keep working on you until you’re clear in your perceptions, strong in your faith, and balanced in your spiritual walk. As you meditate on My precepts, you’ll start to move in a new direction. And when that happens, your life will begin to prosper.’

From The Word for Today.

October 27, 2019

He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands

‘The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.’ Daniel 4:25 NKJV

As a Bible believer, here are three words that should NOT be in your vocabulary: luck, coincidence, and fate. Replace them instead with the word providence, which means ‘to see in advance and to provide for’. The Westminster Confession of Faith, written in the seventeenth century, states: ‘God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence.’ That means God is in charge, not us!

But what about our human will? Can’t we act independently? Theologian Dr R.C. Sproul wrote, ‘God’s sovereign providence stands over and above our actions. He works out His will through the actions of human wills, without violating the freedom of those human wills.’ Look at Joseph. His brothers tried to destroy him, but instead their efforts put him on the throne of Egypt and fulfilled God’s will. Later he said, ‘You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result.’ (Genesis 50:20 NASB)

Judas’ most heinous act of betrayal helped bring about the best thing that ever happened: Christ’s atonement for our sins on the cross. Are you confused because of the things going on around you? One reason is because we only utilise about 10 per cent of our mental potential. Plus, Paul points out that now we only ‘know in part’ (see 1 Corinthians 13:9). When we get to Heaven God may explain it all—or not. Until then, trust Him. And rejoice, He’s got the whole world in His hands—including you!

From The Word for Today.

October 26, 2019

You Have A Right To Shout!
 
‘He sent out His word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.’ Psalm 107:20 NLT
 
Each of us comes to the Lord damaged. So He begins a renovation programme to repair our thoughts about Him, about others, and about ourselves. While you may look good on the outside, there’s a constant hammering and sawing going on inside, as the Holy Spirit works to meet a deadline and make us an ‘instrument for noble purposes.’ (2 Timothy 2:21 NIV)
 
And one of the tools He uses is ‘the foolishness of preaching.’ (1 Corinthians 1:21 KJV) Whatever you do, never lose your appetite for Bible preaching: ‘Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.’ (Romans 10:17 NIV) It boggles the unregenerate mind to watch the preached word transform the most dysfunctional people into productive members of society. And most of the time God does all this while maintaining a veil of secrecy that protects our reputation and public perception. How gracious!
 
Can you imagine how shocked people would be if they really knew the shape we were in when God found us? Only His power could have forced open the snare that had entrapped our minds and set us free to live again. David declared, ‘He sent out His word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done.’ (Psalm 107:20–21 NLT)
 
Notice what did it—His Word! That’s what provides cleansing for our shame, makes us righteous, and gives us a roadmap to our destiny. Because of Him, you matter. Because of Him, you have nothing to fear. If anybody has a right to shout for joy today—it’s you!
 
From The Word for Today.

October 25, 2019

You Can Begin Again
 
‘The Lord is all I need, I can depend on Him!’ Lamentations 3:24 CEV
 
When you haven’t accomplished what you’d hoped for, regret can become a major pastime. The computer programmer wishes he’d become an accountant, the accountant wishes he’d become a doctor. Maybe you planned to leave a legacy, but to date all you’ve left is a trail of unfilled aspirations. It’s not too late; you can begin again! You just have to be prepared to pursue your dream and pay the price.
 
‘To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best.’ (1 Corinthians 9:25 TLB) Don’t listen to the critics and complainers who’ve settled for less. Your goal should be to make a difference in the world and glorify God.
 
Charles Lindbergh, the first pilot to make a solo transatlantic flight, said, ‘Who valued life more highly, the aviators who spent it on the art they loved, or these misers who doled it out like pennies through their antlike days?… If I could fly for ten years before I was killed in a crash, it would be a worthwhile trade for an ordinary lifetime.’
 
Look at Moses. Look at Paul. They both began again. Look at Winston Churchill: instead of retiring after World War II, he won the Nobel Prize for literature. Heinrich Schliemann retired from business to look for Homer’s legendary city of Troy—and found it. Here’s a Scripture you can stand on: ‘The Lord’s kindness never fails! If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed… The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. Deep in my heart I say, “The Lord is all I need; I can depend on Him!”’ (Lamentations 3:22–24 CEV) That means you can begin again.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 24, 2019

Understanding Our Heavenly Father (2)
 
‘He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic.’ Psalm 103:13 TLB
 
To see God as your loving Father may not come easily if you carry the scars of an abusive childhood. So many needs that went unmet in your childhood—affection, security, trust, comfort, nurture, and material requirements—can make it hard to believe that God will provide for your needs now. So what to do? Recognise that your internalised father-image is flawed and in no way fits your heavenly Father. Even the best father is a blurred carbon copy of your heavenly Father.
 
God wants you to see Him as a caring, sensitive, generous, dependable Father. That’s why Jesus taught us to call Him ‘Our Father’, not just ‘Almighty God and Lord’. It’s also why He called God ‘your Father’ and not just ‘My Father’.
 
Like a good father, God has anticipated your every need and provided for it (see Matthew 6:25–34). Just as good parents understand the individual characteristics of their children, your heavenly Father knows your unique needs, thoughts, and feelings. ‘The Lord has mercy on those who respect Him… He knows how we were made.’ (Psalm 103:13–14 NCV) His care for you is tailor-made to fit your specific requirements and limitations.
 
Just as a good earthly father accepts and fulfils his responsibility to provide for his children, your heavenly Father holds Himself responsible for meeting your needs, and He wants you to act accordingly by trusting Him. In other words, your role is to act like the child of a trustworthy, generous, permanently loving Father.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 23, 2019

Understanding Our Heavenly Father (1)
 
‘They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.’ John 8:27 NKJV
 
Religious people in Jesus’ day found the concept of the Fatherhood of God hard to grasp. Lord, king, judge, they understood—but not Father. Their Old Testament Scriptures barely spoke half a dozen times of God as Father, whereas the New Testament mentions it hundreds of times. Jesus Himself said, ‘No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.’ (Matthew 11:27 NIV)
 
The truth is, until Jesus revealed the Father, God remained a mystery to them. And many of us still don’t comprehend His Fatherhood and the rich blessings we have in Him. Father, God’s all-inclusive name, incorporates everything you’ll ever need and discloses exactly how He feels about you. He exemplifies every trait of the best father imaginable. Whatever a loving father would do for his needy child, your heavenly Father will do for you—and then some. Once we recognise God as our Father, our fears dissolve as we start to realise that all our needs will be met.
 
Jesus said, ‘It gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.’ (Luke 12:32 NLT) It makes God happy to give you the resources of His kingdom. Why? Because He loves you as much as He loves Jesus! In John 17:23, Jesus prayed you’d know with confidence that your heavenly Father loves you in the same way as He loves Jesus Himself. So treat God as your Father, and start acting like His child and enjoying the benefits of family membership (see Ephesians 2:19).
 
From The Word for Today.

October 22, 2019 

When You Worship, You Win Spiritual Battles
‘He appointed those who should sing to the Lord.’ 2 Chronicles 20:21 NKJV
 
Worship is a powerful weapon, one that can turn the battle in your favour. When King Jehoshaphat faced the combined might of three different armies, he knew he was no match for them. So he turned to God, saying, ‘We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.’ (2 Chronicles 20:12 NKJV)
 
Here’s how God answered him: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ (2 Chronicles 20:15 NKJV) Then God gave him an amazing strategy for victory. He told him to put a choir in front of his army and go into battle singing the praises of God. Can you imagine trying to explain that at the Creswell or Duntroon? You’d be sent to a psychiatrist—and that’d be one of the better outcomes!
 
But Jehoshaphat did it: ‘He appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army.’ And if that blows your mind, read this: ‘When they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.’ (2 Chronicles 20:22 NKJV) Instead of attacking Judah, the three armies attacked one another. Israel never fired a shot, never took a casualty, and it took them three days to gather the spoils. So when you’re in a battle you can’t win, begin to praise God and the forces of Heaven will come to your aid.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 21, 2019

God Will Take Care Of You
 
‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.’ Matthew 6:25 NIV
 
If God lives within you, shouldn’t it be obvious? How can you say you trust Him and then worry obsessively about your health, your kids, your job, and your finances? Concern is one thing, but worry is an affront to the God who has never let you down.
 
Paul writes, ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace.’ (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT) Pray or worry—those are your options. Why did Jesus say, ‘Take no thought for tomorrow’? (See Matthew 6:34.) Because when you take thought you try to take control. And when that happens peace goes out the window!
 
Worry is like a snowball; it starts small, and as you keep rolling it forward it becomes big enough to bury you. All that’s necessary to keep a stationary train from moving forward are two 15 cm blocks of wood, but once it builds up momentum it will crash through a two-metre-thick wall. So stop the worry train before it leaves the station!
 
God says, ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) God will give you only what you need for today; that way you have to keep trusting Him for tomorrow. The Bible tells us Jesus is the Good Shepherd who ‘calls His own sheep by name and… He walks ahead of them.’ (John 10:3–4 NLT)
 
How wonderful. He’s already gone ahead of you to arrange everything. Knowing that should help you face tomorrow, confident that God will take care of you.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 20, 2019

Blessed For A Purpose!
 
‘Afterwards they will come out with great possessions.’ Genesis 15:14 NIV
 
When the children of Israel were leaving Egypt, God transferred the wealth from one nation of people to another. And He did it overnight. That’s because His people were called to fulfil His purposes in the earth. After 400 years of making bricks, carting bricks and stacking bricks into treasure houses, God said in essence, ‘It’s payday! All that stuff you’ve been bricking up is going to be yours.’
 
The greater the affliction, the greater the abundance! Let’s be clear, the Bible teaches that money isn’t offensive to God; the misuse of it is! One pastor says: ‘Money speaks. It says to land, “I can own you.” It says to buildings, “I can build you.” It says to vision, “I can fulfil you.” It says to a missionary, “I can support you.” It says to poverty, “I can feed you.” And it says to opportunity, “I can accept you.”’
 
Why did Pharaoh pursue the Israelites? To get back the wealth of Egypt. Stop and think about that! The devil doesn’t care who gets the money, as long as it doesn’t go to God’s people or fulfil His purposes. Satan dreads the thought of a generation of prosperous believers committed to reaching the world with the Gospel. And he will keep us enslaved to ignorance if he can. ‘But I’m not a slave,’ you say. How about slavery to debt, or hopelessness, or fear, or old habits? God wants to set you free from anything that keeps you from fulfilling His will. Once you realise that, you’ll start to pray in earnest and believe God for the resources to do it!
 
From The Word for Today.

October 19, 2019

Building Healthy, Fulfilling Relationships
 
‘There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.’ Proverbs 18:24 NIV
 
To fulfil God’s plan for your life, you need relationships with the right people, those who stick by you come what may. Remember Jonathan, who loved David even at the cost of his own life? And Ruth, who loved her mother-in-law Naomi and gave her a reason to live again?
 
God can introduce you to such people and help you build a relationship with them. Think about it: He wouldn’t say, ‘It is not good that man should be alone,’ (Genesis 2:18 NKJV) then ask you to live in isolation. Sometimes when you’re by yourself, you’re in the worst possible company! But you may need to be healed within before you can build healthy relationships and make healthy choices.
 
That means learning to differentiate between ‘using’ relationships and ‘heart ties’. Blood ties don’t wear as well as heart ties. Allow God to work on you and when you’re ready, He will facilitate the necessary introductions. In the meantime get to know Him better because He’s the source of true self-esteem. If your last relationship stripped you of self-worth and drained you spiritually, use this time to get back on your feet. You may never have this opportunity again! Begin to love like God loves. He sees our imperfections, handles our rejection, and loves us regardless. Knowing that will help you not to discard a good person because they did a bad thing.
 
Would you throw your car away because of a faulty part? If God forgave you the way you forgive others, could you stand? (see Psalm 130:3) Ask Him today to show you how to build healthy, fulfilling relationships. He will do it!
 
From The Word for Today.

October 18, 2019

‘Stress Fractures’
 
‘He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak.’ Isaiah 40:29 TLB
 
Sports Illustrated magazine says, ‘Stress fractures begin when the shocks and strains of playing game after game create tiny cracks in outer layers of bone. When those cracks become large enough to cause severe pain, they are known as stress fractures.’
 
If you’ve ever had a stress-fractured mind, you can relate. It eats at you by day and keeps you awake at night. And if you try to ‘medicate’ it with alcohol, or drugs, or an affair, or overeating, or a hyperactive lifestyle, it gets worse. What should you do?
 
(1) Change your focus. ‘Come to Me… and I will give you rest… Let me teach you… and you will find rest for your souls.’ (Matthew 11:28–29 NLT) ‘He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak… they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.’ (Isaiah 40:29–31 TLB) Instead of struggling alone with the burden, share it with the burden-bearer and let Him strengthen you.
 
(2) Lighten up! ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine.’ (Proverbs 17:22 NIV) Don’t make such a big deal out of everything! Lighten up and laugh more, especially at yourself! Do you even remember the last time you enjoyed a good laugh? Accept your imperfections. Let some stuff go. Stop trying to be Wonder Woman or Superman. Get away for some fun. Yes, you need fun too! Cancel some of your not-so-important meetings. If you want things to change, you will have to change them. Today talk to God; He knows how to heal stress fractures.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 17, 2019

Try To Learn Something Every Day

‘Knowledge will fill you with joy.’ Proverbs 2:10 NLT

One Friday morning an eager young Stanford University student stood before Louis Janin, a well-known mining engineer. He was seeking employment. Janin informed him, ‘All I need right now is a stenographer.’

The young man said eagerly, ‘Fine, I’ll take the job.’ Then he added, ‘But I can’t come back until Tuesday.’

Janin agreed, and the next Tuesday the young man reported for work as scheduled. Janin asked him, ‘Why is it that you couldn’t come back before Tuesday?’

The young man replied, ‘Because I had to rent a typewriter and learn how to use it.’

The young typist was Herbert Hoover, whose can-do attitude eventually led him through the doors of the White House to become one of America’s presidents. By taking shortcuts—you risk short-changing your future. Your unwillingness to learn today will leave you unprepared for tomorrow’s opportunities. No skill you learn will ever be lost. Gleaning knowledge and learning new skills builds confidence and sharpens your mind. Successful people have one thing in common: they never quit learning! Furthermore, God calls prepared people, so prepare yourself.

The Bible says: ‘Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver… Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.’ (Proverbs 2:2–10 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

October 16, 2019

When You Worship, You’re Taking In God’s Word
 
‘Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.’ Ephesians 5:19 NKJV
 
The truths of God’s Word have been passed down from generation to generation through preaching, teaching, and publishing. But they have also been passed down through hymns of worship we sing in church. When you sing them, you’re proclaiming the truth of God’s Word and simultaneously ingesting it. You grow spiritually through the Word you hear, the Word you study, the Word you speak, and yes, the Word you sing.
 
Paul writes, ‘Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.’ (Ephesians 5:18–19 NKJV)
 
Jesus didn’t just preach the Word, He sang it too: ‘And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.’ (Matthew 26:30 KJV) Why does the Bible place such emphasis on speaking God’s Word? Because when you read God’s Word aloud you ingest it in two ways—through the eye-gate and the ear-gate. And the same thing happens when you sing God’s Word. The readers of God’s Word shouldn’t look down on the singers of God’s Word, and the singers shouldn’t feel spiritually inferior to the readers. The important thing is to get into God’s Word and get God’s Word into you. Some of us do that best through a sermon, others through personal Bible study, and others through songs that proclaim the life-changing truths of His Word.
 
So, when you worship, you’re taking in God’s Word.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 15, 2019

Thank God For Your Job
 
‘Those who work hard will prosper.’ Proverbs 13:4 NLT
 
Author and motivational speaker Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones tells the story of a man who dreamed he’d inherited a million dollars. In the dream he tried to take a shower, but the shower wouldn’t work. He tried to shave, but his shaver wouldn’t shave. He tried to make breakfast, but the coffee wouldn’t perk and the toaster wouldn’t toast. He went to get a newspaper, but the newspaper box was empty. He went to catch the bus to work, but the bus didn’t come. Finally, after waiting an hour, he saw a few people. ‘What’s going on here?’ he asked. ‘Haven’t you heard?’ they replied. ‘Everybody has inherited a million dollars and nobody’s working anymore.’ Suddenly the man woke up, discovered that it was all a dream, and said, ‘Thank God!’
 
So he went and had a tremendous shower, a tremendous shave, a tremendous cup of coffee, and a tremendous piece of toast while he was reading a tremendous newspaper. Finally he caught a tremendous bus to a tremendous job! Thank God today for the job He has given you, and put your very best into it. Your position and salary would most likely have been a dream-come-true for some of your ancestors. You may not be called to ‘the ministry’ per se, but if your job affords you the privilege of being a solution to somebody’s problem and offers you the dignity of making a difference in life, be grateful. Imagine what your life would be like without it! ‘Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.’
 
From The Word for Today.

October 14, 2019

Make It A Personal Growth Experience
 
‘Speaking the truth in love, we will grow.’ Ephesians 4:15 NIV
 
Before you confront someone over an issue, stop and examine your motives. Is your goal to help or humiliate them? Jesus was in the business of lifting and restoring people, and you should be in that business too. Ask yourself, would you approach things differently if you weren’t so personally involved? Are you confronting this person to make yourself look better? Cutting someone else down in order to lift yourself up is the lowest form of ego gratification.
 
Poet Kahlil Gibran said, ‘To belittle, you have to be little.’ Don’t do it! It’s a sign of insecurity. Remember Nehemiah’s response to those who tried to discourage him from rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls? ‘I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?’ (Nehemiah 6:3 KJV) Don’t allow your critics to break your stride. Don’t give more credence to the sentiments of a critic than you would to the encouragement of a friend. Before you put somebody else’s life under the microscope, stop and examine your own. Are you grappling with the same issue, or one just as bad? Have you succeeded where you’re accusing somebody else of failing? In other words, have you earned the right to be heard?
 
Paul writes, ‘Speaking the truth in love we will grow… in every respect.’ Could it be that the situation you’re dealing with right now is an opportunity to measure your own maturity and make it a spiritual growth experience?
 
From The Word for Today.

October 13, 2019

Your Joy Will Return
 
‘Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.’ Psalm 30:5 NLT
 
It’s hard when you work all day then come home to an empty house and sleep with your arms wrapped around a pillow, wishing you had someone to hold. No matter how much you try to cover it up, nothing can hide that kind of loneliness. It’s the pain of having so much to share and nobody to share it with. But God knows your plight, and He cares. It’s why He made Eve for Adam, found Boaz for Ruth, and Rebekah for Isaac. It’s why His Word deals with real-life issues like sexual frustration, loneliness, failure, and lack of self-worth. Natural voids and thirsts exist within all of us, and how we fill them determines our ability to survive and find happiness. If you’re struggling on your own to face the challenges of life, you need to know that you’re not alone! ‘The God of all comfort’ is with you. (2 Corinthians 1:3 KJV)
 
No one understands like Jesus. His family rejected Him, His disciples abandoned Him, and the world crucified Him. That’s why the Bible says He’s ‘touched with the feeling of our infirmities’ and was ‘in all points tempted… as we are.’ (Hebrews 4:15 KJV) He knows when you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. He knows that as well as being a parent, you’re a person. He knows, He understands, and He invites you to come to Him.
 
The season you’re in right now won’t last forever. A new one is coming, with new energy, new relationships, new experiences, and new joy. Until then remember: ‘Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.’ Your joy will return!
 
From The Word for Today.

October 12, 2019

The Power Of Your Testimony
 
‘Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you.’ Mark 5:19 NASB
 
The most powerful testimony of all—is a life that can’t be explained without God! People may dispute your theology, but your testimony, that’s something else! Six different times Paul stood before hostile audiences, and each time he gave his personal testimony. No arguing, no debating—just his story.
 
Dr David Yonggi Cho built the world’s largest church in South Korea (one million members). He was won to Christ by a lady he met only once. She shared her testimony, moved on, and Cho, a former Buddhist, never found her again. Your testimony is an awesome thing, especially when it’s backed by a consistent lifestyle. People who won’t listen to others will listen to you, relate to you, and respond to you if you’ll share your story. And when you do, keep in mind four things:
 
(1) Be interesting. Give them the short version and avoid clichés. Jesus is exciting; He came to bring life ‘more abundantly.’ (John 10:10 NKJV)
 
(2) Be specific. Talk about: (a) how it used to be; (b) how you met Jesus; (c) how it is now.
 
(3) Be honest. Don’t say, ‘All your problems will disappear when you become a Christian.’ The Christian life is a battlefield, not a playing field. Let people know you still have struggles but something important has changed—you’re no longer alone: ‘Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4 KJV)
 
(4) Be warm. Don’t try to arm-wrestle them into the kingdom. Be gracious, sow the seed, and leave the harvest to God. Now, ‘Go… tell them how much the Lord has done for you.’
 
From The Word for Today.

October 11, 2019

Take ‘The People Of War With You’
 
‘Take all the people of war with you.’ Joshua 8:1 NKJV
 
When you’re under spiritual attack, you need to surround yourself with ‘the people of war’. They are experienced in spiritual warfare and know how to deal with the enemy. They have proven strategies for victory and a tenacious faith that rises up and says, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31 KJV) The truth is, the people of war are the people of the Word. They know how to take the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, and use it to defeat the enemy (see Ephesians 6:17). They’re not hesitant about marching into the enemy’s camp and taking back everything he has stolen from them (see 1 Samuel 30:8).
 
Anybody can stand with you in the good times, but when you find somebody who can stand with you in the bad times, treasure them and build a relationship with them. The Bible says, ‘A brother is born for adversity.’ (Proverbs 17:17 KJV) Did you get that? They’re born for battle! They’re not just strong in faith, they’re strong in fight. And you won’t necessarily find these people in pulpits and choir lofts; they blow no trumpets, wave no banners, and demand no applause. But they know how to boldly approach the throne of grace and claim the promises of God (see Hebrews 4:16).
 
After Joshua conquered Jericho, God said to him, ‘Take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king… his people… his city, and his land.’ So if you’re in a battle today, take ‘the people of war with you.’
 
From The Word for Today.

October 10, 2019

How To Experience God’s Peace

‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.’ Philippians 4:6 NLT

God’s peace is a wonderful thing. And some of the people around you today are in need of it. It comes when you commit your life to Christ and live by the principles laid out in Scripture. When you ‘commit’ something to the Lord, you transfer every part of it from you to Him (see Psalm 37:5). Peter writes, ‘Casting the whole of your…concerns, once and for all, on Him, for He cares for you.’ (1 Peter 5:7 AMPC) What a privilege. Have you been availing yourself of it lately?

‘How do I cast all my cares on Him?’ you ask. Through prayer! As soon as you become aware that you’re starting to worry and lose your sense of peace, take it to God immediately and leave it with Him. Don’t give the devil time to work you over. The longer you wait, the greater his hold over you becomes. ‘But I can’t help thinking about it,’ you say. ‘What can I do?’ These two things:

(1) Give it to God and then start to focus on other things. It’s a learned response, one you’ll have to practise daily. Paul writes, ‘Whatever is true… honourable and worthy of respect… whatever is lovely and brings peace… think continually on these things.’ (Philippians 4:8 AMP) In other words, redirect your thoughts!

(2) Find out what God says in His Word about your situation. Then line your thoughts, words, and actions up with it. When you do this, then you’ll be able to not ‘worry about anything; instead, pray about everything… You will experience God’s peace.’ (Philippians 4:7 NLT)

From The Word for Today.

October 9, 2019
Have Clearly Established Goals For Your Life
 
‘I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me.’ Philippians 3:14 NIV
 
In 1972, Life magazine published a story about the amazing adventures of John Goddard. When he was fifteen, his grandmother remarked, ‘If only I had done that when I was young.’ Determined not to make that statement at the end of his own life, John wrote out 127 goals. He named ten rivers he wanted to explore and seventeen mountains he wanted to climb. He set goals of becoming an Eagle Scout, a world traveller, and a pilot. Also on his list was riding a horse in the Rose Bowl parade, diving in a submarine, retracing the travels of Marco Polo, reading the Bible from cover to cover, and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. He also planned to read the entire works of Shakespeare, Plato, Dickens, Socrates, Aristotle, and several other classic authors. He desired to learn to play the flute and violin, marry, have children (he had six), pursue a career in medicine, and serve as a missionary for his church. Sound impossible? At age forty-seven, he had accomplished 103 of his 127 goals!
 
Now, your list of goals may not be as extensive as his, but if you don’t have some goals for your life you’ll have little motivation to get up in the morning and little satisfaction when you put your head on your pillow each night. And unless you try something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you won’t grow. So set your goals in prayer, and with God’s help work towards them each day.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 8, 2019

You Can Start Again
 
‘Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.’ Proverbs 24:16 NIV
 
On the night of 9 December 1914, Edison Industries was destroyed by fire. The loss exceeded a million dollars, along with the majority of Thomas Edison’s work. He was insured for far less because the buildings were constructed of concrete, which was thought to make a building fireproof. At sixty-seven years of age, the great inventor watched his life’s work go up in flames. The next morning after firefighters had finally brought the inferno under control, he surveyed his charred dreams and crushed hopes. As he looked at the scene, he said, ‘There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.’
 
Three weeks after the fire, Edison produced one of his greatest inventions: the first phonograph. Try to imagine the world of music and entertainment without it! The Bible says, ‘For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.’ With God on your side you can begin again because the power to do it resides within you. It’s the same power that raised Christ from the dead (see Romans 8:11). Paul prayed for believers at Ephesus: ‘That out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.’ (Ephesians 3:16 NIV)
 
Where is your strength? ‘In your inner being.’ He continues: ‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.’ (Ephesians 3:20 NIV) So the word for you today is—you can start again.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 7, 2019

When You Worship, You’re Serving God
 
‘Bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord.’ Psalm 134:1 NKJV
 
The last verse of the last psalm in the Bible says, ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.’ (Psalm 150:6 ESV) That means as long as you are alive you are called to worship God. But some of us are more wired to be worshippers in a church setting, while others are more wired to be workers. While all of us are called to glorify God, some of us are more inclined to do it through works of devotion while others are more inclined to do it through lifting our voices in praise. Still others do it through study of His Word. And with God, all of them count as acts of service.
 
The psalmist said, ‘Bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.’ (Psalm 134:1–2 NKJV) Note the words ‘servants of the Lord’. How were they serving Him? Through worship.
 
The Westminster Confession of Faith says, ‘The chief end of man is that he might glorify God.’ And there are many ways to do it: ‘Whoever offers praise glorifies Me.’ (Psalm 50:23 NKJV) Worship acts like a thermostat; it creates a climate in which God’s presence can be experienced and enjoyed.
 
David said: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.’ (Psalm 103:1–2 NKJV) What a benefits package! Forgiveness, healing, deliverance, and protection. How do we receive these benefits? Through worship. When we bless the Lord, He blesses us. So when you worship, you’re serving God.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 6, 2019

Pray And Post A Guard
 
‘We prayed to our God and posted a guard.’ Nehemiah 4:9 NIV
 
God’s sovereignty doesn’t negate our responsibility. Just the opposite. It empowers it. When we trust God, we think more clearly and react more decisively. Like Nehemiah, who said, ‘We prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.’ Note the words: ‘We prayed… and posted a guard.’ Nehemiah did two things. He trusted God for success, and acted on what God had told him to do. Prayer invites God to do what you cannot do.
 
Paul wrote, ‘Pray without ceasing.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV) Why? Because God comes by invitation. Until you’ve sought God’s guidance you’re at the mercy of your own thoughts, and everybody else’s. When you don’t know what you don’t know, you’re in a dangerous place. Why settle for human knowledge when you can have divine input? God says, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)
 
And when God reveals His will to you, don’t delay and don’t debate—do it! Before God gives you His next set of instructions, He wants to know that you have obeyed His last set of instructions. Why? Because He cannot bless you beyond your last act of disobedience. So stop and take an inventory. If you’ve done the wrong thing, repent, make a course correction, and get back on the right path as quickly as possible. ‘But this is what I commanded them, saying, “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.”’ (Jeremiah 7:23 NKJV)
 
From The Word for Today.

October 5,  2019

Are You A ‘Me First’ Person?
 
‘In humility value others above yourselves.’ Philippians 2:3 NIV
 
If you’re a ‘me first’ person, here are some verses of Scripture designed to keep you on your toes—and your knees! ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but… to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 2:3–5 NIV) That’s how Jesus treated people, and you have been called to do likewise. Is doing this easy or convenient? No, it runs contrary to everything in our self-centred natures. And because you were gracious yesterday, is no guarantee you’ll treat people the same way today.
 
Grace is like a garment; you have to put it on each morning and wear it all day. ‘How can I live like that?’ you ask. By drawing daily on God’s grace, and deciding to put others first. By looking for ways to support and encourage them. Everybody you meet is fighting a battle of some kind, and you may be the one person that crosses their path who is able to speak a word of encouragement to them (see Proverbs 16:24). Don’t let them down. Humility is an attitude that determines ahead of time: ‘I care about the people around me. I don’t always have to be first. I’m going to help somebody else win for a change.’ Humility prays, ‘Lord, teach me to curb my competitive nature and turn that energy into loving and lifting others. Show me how You did it, and help me to do it too.’
 
From The Word for Today.

October 4, 2019

Friends ‘In The Woods’
 
‘Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.’ 1 Samuel 23:16 NKJV
 
The first African American to play major league baseball in the USA was Jackie Robinson. While trying to break through baseball’s colour barrier, he faced insults and abuse in just about every stadium. One day at his home stadium in Brooklyn, he made an error and the fans immediately turned on him. While they jeered, Robinson just stood there at second base, humiliated. At that point shortstop Pee Wee Reese ran over, stood beside him, put his arm around him, and together they faced the crowd. Within seconds the fans grew quiet.
 
Years later when Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, he said, ‘Reese’s arm around my shoulder that day saved my career.’ Jesus knew Peter would ‘strike out’ and deny Him, yet He extended grace to Peter even before it happened. Here’s what He told him: ‘When you have come back to Me, help the others.’ (Luke 22:32 CEV)
 
When God restores you, you’ll want to reach out to others with His love. It will be as natural to you as breathing. You’ll live by the Scripture: ‘Strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong… for your God… is coming to save you.”’ (Isaiah 35:3–4 NLT)
 
‘Jonathan…arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.’ When you feel lost ‘in the woods’ you need a Jonathan. That’s when you prove the truth of the old adage: ‘In prosperity our friends know us, but in adversity we know our friends.’ They’re the people we turn to in times of trouble. So if you think you’ll ever need such a friend, be one!
 
From The Word for Today.

October 3, 2019

Responding To Gossip (2)
 
‘Those who consider themselves religious but do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves.’ James 1:26 NIV
 
When someone gossips about you, keep this in mind: people tend to accuse in others what they excuse in themselves. The story’s told about a husband who suspected his wife of losing her hearing. One night he positioned himself across the room from her as she sat in her favourite chair with her back to him. Very softly he said, ‘Can you hear me?’ When she didn’t answer he moved a little closer and repeated very softly, ‘Can you hear me?’ Still no answer. Then he moved closer and said, ‘Can you hear me?’ Still no answer. Finally he got up behind her chair and said right into her ear, ‘Can you hear me?’
 
She looked him in the eye and said, ‘For the fourth time, yes!’
 
Psychologists call this ‘projection’. We tend to project our fears, feelings, and problems onto others. But you must not let people do this to you. Lady Astor, a member of Parliament, was a constant thorn in the side of Winston Churchill, always criticising him. One day the two of them got into a heated conversation and she said, ‘Winston, I don’t like your politics, and I don’t like your moustache.’
 
He looked at her and said, ‘Madam, I see no earthly reason why you should ever come into contact with either one.’
 
Jesus’ critics accused Him of being demon-possessed. Paul’s critics called him a madman, a fool, and a babbler. And you must not expect different treatment at the hands of the same crowd. So the word for you today is: stay focused and don’t get distracted.
 
From The Word for Today.

October 2, 2019

Responding To Gossip (1)

‘It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true.’ Nehemiah 6:6 NIV

The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing. When you attempt anything of value or significance, people are going to talk about you. Nehemiah’s enemies tried to stop him from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem by using gossip and innuendo: ‘It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true… Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: “There is a king in Judah!”’ (Nehemiah 6:6–7 NIV) Notice, no source was given of the accusations against Nehemiah. ‘It is reported.’ Always be prepared when someone comes to you and says something like this: ‘I heard…’ or ‘somebody said…’ or ‘the word on the street is…’

Never receive a criticism from someone who is bringing it on behalf of someone else, someone they won’t even name, someone who won’t say it to your face. Not even slander could keep Nehemiah from the work he was doing. Note how he responded: ‘I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”’ (Nehemiah 6:8 NIV) In other words: ‘I don’t care what you think, or say, or like. I’m going to keep building this wall until the job is done.’ And that must be your attitude too. Most of the time your friends don’t need an explanation, and your enemies wouldn’t believe one if you held them at gunpoint. So stay focused and get the job done.

From The Word for Today.

October 1, 2019

Heartfelt Prayer
 
‘When you pray, don’t babble on and on.’ Matthew 6:7 NLT
 
Here’s what Jesus taught about prayer: ‘When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.’ Then He gave us two specific instructions.
 
First: ‘Shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private.’ (Matthew 6:6 NLT) Second: ‘Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him.’ (Matthew 6:8 NLT) Heartfelt prayer isn’t meant for human ears.
 
In heartfelt prayer the Holy Spirit brings to the surface things you’ve carefully hidden from others, and even yourself. Like a mirror, He confronts you with the truth and demands that you confess ‘the hidden things of dishonesty.’ (2 Corinthians 4:2 KJV) Once you’ve done that you can leave God’s presence cleansed, corrected, confident, and clear as to His will. Nothing fuels heartfelt prayer like real need. It causes both the prominent and obscure to acknowledge, ‘Lord, without you I can do nothing. Indeed anything I could accomplish without you would mean nothing!’ This is the place of naked prayer.
 
Hannah was there when she cried to God for a child. She was so passionate that Eli the high priest thought she was drunk (see 1 Samuel 1:13). But God heard her cry. That day, Samuel was conceived in her heart, and shortly thereafter he was conceived in her womb. So don’t leave the place of prayer until you conceive, until the embryo of God’s purpose for your life starts to take form within you, and your vision is born.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 30, 2019

God Wants To Tell You Something
 
‘When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush.’ Exodus 3:4 NLT
 
Never judge a person’s potential by what they appear to be right now. Moses, one of history’s greatest leaders, was tending sheep when God called him. There’s not a corporate head-hunter who would have hired him. But don’t judge him yet—he’s just between jobs. God is about to talk to him and change his life. If you’re tired of listening to everybody else’s opinions, get alone with God. He will show you things that can change your future (see Jeremiah 33:3).
 
At age sixty-five, after running a restaurant for several years, Colonel Sanders found himself broke. All he had was a Social Security cheque of $105 a month, a recipe for fried chicken, and a vision he refused to give up on. As a result he eventually built the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, became a multimillionaire and a devoted Christian philanthropist. The point is: it’s not over until God says it’s over!
 
Moses nearly burned out trying to do things his own way. Then God showed up in a fire that Moses neither started nor maintained. In essence God said, ‘Look at this burning bush; it’s going to be you. In My strength you’ll stand before Pharaoh. The Red Sea will give way before My power at work in you. I’ll give you manna in the wilderness. I’ll strengthen and sustain you all the way to your destiny.’
 
Whatever you’re doing today, stop! Get alone with God and say, ‘I will now turn aside and listen to You’ (see Exodus 3:3). Once you’ve heard what He wants to tell you, your life will never be the same.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 29, 2019

Serving ‘Jesus-Style’
 
‘We serve God whether people honour us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us.’ 2 Corinthians 6:8 NLT
 
Kelli B. Trujillo writes: ‘“I’m not your servant!” I half-grunted, half-spoke to one of my kids as I got on my hands and knees to pick up pasta he’d decided to deposit on the floor… Then a thought struck me: I sure hope Jesus didn’t hear me say that! Unfortunately, this attitude towards servanthood extends beyond cleaning the floor. Most of the time, serving others just rubs me the wrong way. If it’s some extra-meaningful project where you can practically hear the soundtrack of inspirational, feel-good music… and experience a rush about how great you are… it’s not difficult. But what about the service Jesus talked about… that involves getting no credit… and waging a battle against your selfish impulses?’
 
Harry E. Fosdick said, ‘No steam drives anything until it’s confined. No Niagara is turned into power until it’s tunnelled. No life grows great until it’s focused, dedicated and disciplined.’ Serving ‘Jesus-style’ means saying, ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’ (Galatians 2:20 NIV) Paul was jailed, whipped, stoned and robbed, yet he said: ‘We serve God whether people honour us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive… Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others.’ (2 Corinthians 6:8–10 NLT)
 
The Bible says Jesus ‘for the joy set before Him He endured the cross… and sat down at the right hand… of God.’ (Hebrews 12:2 NIV) And that same Spirit enables you to serve others by drawing on His strength.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 28, 2019

Protect The ‘New Shoots’
 
‘There is hope for a tree: if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.’ Job 14:7 NIV
 
It takes God’s wisdom to find a mate who can fit where you are and go where you’re going. If you choose using only your own wisdom, you might not make the best choice. And when a family shatters, the wounds can last a lifetime even though the war is over. Please hear this: never use your children as ammunition to hurt one another! Ammunition doesn’t just destroy the target, it also gets destroyed in the process. Your monologue of bitterness may be true, but it can destroy your child’s ability to build healthy relationships of their own. After all, if they can’t trust a parent, who can they trust? Even if you can’t save the relationship, save them.
 
Job says, ‘There is hope for a tree: if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.’ How wonderful—new shoots born out of a dead tree! That’s our message; there is life after death! He’s the God of second chances and new beginnings. Just because your dreams didn’t come true doesn’t mean your children’s dreams won’t. If the only thing that comes from your relationship is a healthy, well-adjusted child, you’re still a winner!
 
Solomon says without a vision we perish (see Proverbs 29:18). And your children are your vision. They speak of your future, so give them extra love and stability. Teach them what God says about life. Work at it for their sakes. If the ‘new shoots’ are lost along with the tree, all those years are wasted. So protect the ‘new shoots’.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 27, 2019

A Formula For Successful Living
 
‘Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honour. Give all your worries and cares to God.’ 1 Peter 5:6–7 NLT
 
Somebody quipped, ‘The trouble with success is that the formula is the same as the one for a nervous breakdown.’ The Bible gives us the real formula for successful living. It encompasses three areas: authority, attitude, and assurance. ‘Accept the authority of the elders… humble yourselves under the mighty power of God… Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.’ (1 Peter 5:5–7 NLT) Let’s look at each of the three areas:
 
(1) Submit yourself to those who are wise. Listen to their counsel, become accountable, accept reproof, take suggestions, respect experience, and follow a worthy example. Only when you can take advice will you be qualified to give it. Only when you respect and submit to leadership will you be qualified to lead others.
 
(2) Humble yourself. In Scripture the ‘hand’ of God symbolises two things: His discipline and His deliverance. When you humble yourself before Him, you’re accepting His discipline as being for your good. You’re also acknowledging His willingness to answer your cry for help and deliver you by whatever means He chooses.
 
(3) Throw yourself on God’s mercy and care. Trouble and disappointment will surely come, and when they do you need to throw yourself on the Lord. The situation may be too big for you, but it’s never too big for Him. Does that mean there’s no place for planning, goal-setting, and hard work? No, it just means you’re willing to do things God’s way, which is always best.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 26, 2019

Pull Down That Stronghold!

‘The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.’ 2 Corinthians 10:4 NKJV

The story of Joseph the prisoner becoming Joseph the prime minister teaches us that we can rise above the circumstances, overcome the challenges, and live in the fullness of our God-given potential. His journey was a long one, and yours may be too. But if you don’t take the first step, you’ll remain stuck where you are.

Sometimes your ‘stronghold’ was established early in life. Family pain is the deepest pain, because it’s inflicted so early and involves people who should have been trustworthy. You were too young to process the mistreatment. You didn’t know how to defend yourself. Your dad, mum, uncle, big brother—they towered over you, usually in size, always in rank. When they judged you falsely, you believed them. All this time you were operating on faulty data: ‘You’re stupid… slow… dumb like your father… fat like your mother…’ Decades later those voices of defeat still echo in your subconscious. But they don’t have to!

‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.’ Use the ‘reject and repeat’ strategy and you’ll win the victory in your thinking. When negative, fearful, guilt-ridden, inferior, condemning thoughts arise, reject them and begin to repeat what God says about you in His Word. As God’s Word comes to life within you, your old thoughts will begin to die and lose their control over you. Today pull down that stronghold and let your healing begin.

From The Word for Today.

September 25, 2019

Take Time To Rest

‘Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while.”’ Mark 6:31 NLT

There’s an ancient legend that says the apostle John had a partridge he enjoyed feeding and tending. One day a hunter visited him and was astonished to see him playing with the bird. ‘I’m surprised to see you engaged in such amusement when there are great matters related to the Gospel with which you could be busy.’

John replied, ‘Do you always keep your bow bent?’

The hunter said, ‘No, that would render it useless. I loosen the string unless I am hunting.’

The apostle nodded and said, ‘Me too; I unbend my mind for the same reason.’

Guess who said, ‘Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest.’ Jesus, the most-in-demand person Who ever lived. Why did He say it? The Bible tells us, ‘There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat.’ And Jesus is our example.

One summer a pastor announced he wasn’t going to take a holiday, since the devil never goes on holiday. Some of his congregation laughed; others thought he was very ‘spiritual’. One man went home, however, to see if Jesus had the same attitude. He found that in His three years of active ministry Jesus had ten periods when He got away from the crowds, in addition to His nightly rest and Sabbath day rest. Next Sunday he asked his pastor, ‘Are you following the devil’s example or the Lord’s example?’ Recreation is just that: re-creation, a time to renew your energy and nurture your most valuable relationships. So, take time to rest.

From The Word for Today.

September 24, 2019

Handling The Pressures Of Leadership
 
‘I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.’ 2 Corinthians 11:28 NIV
 
Preachers prepare sermons, teachers plan lessons, accountants crunch numbers, and mechanics fix engines. But there’s no institution of higher learning that can fully prepare you for the pressures of leadership. That only comes through on-the-job training. Paul lists the pressures of leadership along with being whipped, beaten, stoned, betrayed, and shipwrecked. It’s one of the reasons why more than 21 per cent of pastors say they wouldn’t go into ministry if they had their time over.
 
As author Zig Ziglar said, ‘It’s lonely at the top.’ If you’re a leader in any area of life—and most of us are whether we realise it or not—the buck not only stops at your door, but you can’t move it with a bulldozer. As a leader you will hear little when things go according to plan, but when they don’t go well, watch out. Leaders draw criticism as surely as a picnic draws ants.
 
Influencing others always comes at a price. A leader will pay the cost in time, thought, and trust. The instalments look like daily risk taking, visionary thinking, diligent working, and problem solving. But the biggest cost is dealing with people, especially those who may wear the same uniform but aren’t on the same team. Paul refers to it this way: ‘In danger from false brothers.’ (2 Corinthians 11:26 NIV)
 
If this is what you are experiencing today, here’s what God said to Moses: ‘Stand near Me on this rock. As My glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand.’ (Exodus 33:21–22 NLT)
 
What’s the answer to the pressures of leadership? A consciousness of God’s presence in your life.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 23, 2019

Sold Out To God

‘Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ.’ Philippians 3:8 CEV

Before you discover your God-given purpose in life, you’ll often experience a series of adversities that cause you to relinquish what’s temporal and to grasp what’s eternal. For Paul it meant the loss of every earthly possession. For others it can mean the heat of battle in a divorce court. When the person you thought was ‘everything’ walks away, suddenly you’re stripped down to what you had before. Look at Job; his home was a shambles, his marriage seemed a joke, and his children were dead. That’s when he discovered you can be stripped of the temporal, but not the eternal; stripped of your wealth, friends, and fame, but not of your character and your faith in God—those things survive the strippings of life.

The Bible says of Job after these disasters happened: ‘Then he fell to the ground in worship.’ (Job 1:20 NIV) True worship is born in the fire of sacrifice. When you can lay upon the altar something you thought you had to have because you realise it was God’s all along—that’s worship. Look at Abraham’s altar. God didn’t want the slain body of Isaac; He wanted to know if there was anything Abraham loved more than Him. That’s it—reaching the place where you can pray: ‘Lord, here are my grudges and unforgiveness, my need to impress, my time, talent and treasure, anything I’m wrapped up in that hinders me from being completely Yours. You’ll never have to take these things from me, for I gladly give You all it takes to be what You want me to be.’

Can you pray that prayer today? It’s not easy, but it’ll change your life.

From The Word for Today.

September 22, 2019

You Will Get Through This
 
‘He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.’ Job 8:21 NIV
 
Sometimes when your heart has been broken, the healing comes first and the answers come later. But when you think about it, wouldn’t you rather walk with God in the darkness than walk alone in the light? It’s doubtful Job ever fully comprehended all the losses he experienced in life or why. But there came a time when he was able to look back and say with confidence, ‘He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.’ And that’s God’s promise to you too!
 
Theologian E. Stanley Jones said, ‘Anything less than God will let you down.’ For every predicament you face in life, God has sufficient grace to carry you through. For every need, He has a supply. For every problem, He has an answer. For every hurt, He has a cure.
 
After recalling everything God had brought him through, Jeremiah concluded, ‘There is nothing too hard for You.’ (Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV) God looks for opportunities to show you what He can do on your behalf when you put your trust in Him. David said, ‘According to Your mercy remember me.’ (Psalm 25:7 NKJV) Aren’t you glad God’s goodness and mercy are based on His character and not yours?
 
Corrie ten Boom said, ‘If you want to be depressed, look within. If you want to be defeated, look back. If you want to be distracted, look around. But if you want to be delivered, look up.’ So the word for you today is: by God’s grace, you will get through this.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 21, 2019

Be One Of The 10 Percent
 
‘Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?’ Luke 17:17 NLT
 
One day Jesus healed ten men of leprosy, which at the time was a death sentence because there was no known cure for it. Amazingly, only one of them remembered to come back and thank Him. What’s the story with the other nine?
 
Were they too busy to be thankful? Surely they felt grateful, yet they didn’t take time to express it. Did they just get caught up in other things and forget?
 
Were they too cautious to be thankful? Maybe they thought their healing wouldn’t last, so they wanted to give it time before announcing it. Or maybe they were concerned that Jesus wanted something in return that they were either unwilling or unable to give.
 
Were they too self-centred to be thankful? In some ways, the sick life was a simpler life. Now they had to get a job, take responsibility, and play a role in society.
 
Were they too arrogant to be thankful? Maybe they thought that given enough time, they would have recovered by themselves. Plus, to be grateful is to admit to being needy. Who wants to show weakness when you have an image to protect?
 
If this story is any indication, nine out of ten of us have a problem with gratitude—at least when it comes to expressing it. Don’t be like that. Be one of the 10 per cent! In three back-to-back psalms—105, 106, and 107—David repeats similar words: ‘Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.’ (Psalm 106:1 NKJV) Don’t let a day pass without remembering God’s goodness to you and thanking Him for it.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 20, 2019

Step Back And See The Bigger Picture
 
‘A great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’ 1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV
 
One day the Chamber of Commerce in a small town invited a successful businessman to come and speak. The local economy was bad and they were discouraged, so his job was to motivate them. He took a large piece of white paper and made a red dot in the centre of it. ‘What do you see?’ he asked the audience.
 
One person replied, ‘I see a red dot.’
 
The speaker said, ‘Fine, but what else do you see?’
 
Others chimed in, ‘A red dot.’
 
The speaker asked, ‘Don’t you see anything else besides the dot?’
 
The audience responded with a resounding: ‘No!’
 
The speaker said, ‘You’ve overlooked the most important thing; you’ve missed seeing the sheet of paper!’ Then he went on to explain that in life we are often distracted by small, dot-like failures and experiences. They keep us from seeing the blessings and successes that are more important than the disappointments that try to monopolise our attention and drain our energy.
 
Paul wrote, ‘A great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’ Opportunity and obstacles—they go together like macaroni and cheese or fish and chips. Now, Paul didn’t deny the reality of the opposition he faced; he just chose to focus on the opportunity it presented. The poet wrote, ‘Two men looked through prison bars. One saw mud, the other stars.’
 
What are you looking at? Are you so preoccupied with what is that you’ve lost sight of what can be? If so, you need to step back and ask God to help you see the bigger picture.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 19, 2019

Establish Your Core Convictions
 
‘Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.’ Daniel 1:8 NIV
 
What was Daniel’s problem? What was wrong with eating the best food in the country? Most people lived on a meagre diet. Daniel was going to have the opportunity to eat, literally, like a king. Why the hard line?
 
When you dig down into the cultural realities of the situation, more seems to be at stake. A Babylonian feast was always eaten in honour of the gods. So whenever you sat down to a meal, it wasn’t just dining that you participated in, but an act of worship. This food had previously been sacrificed to a pagan god. For a Jewish teenager who took his faith in God seriously, participation would mean compromising who he was called to be. By eating their meal, he would be worshipping their god.
 
And for Daniel, that was a bridge too far. It was about compromising his character, and that he would not do. You don’t discover your convictions when the pressure is on; you decide them in advance. It’s during the good times that you determine what you will or won’t do during the hard times. The psalmist said: ‘How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word. I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.’ (Psalm 119:9–11 NIV)
 
Victorious Christian living is encapsulated in these three statements:
 
(1) ‘By living according to Your word.’
 
(2) ‘I seek You with all my heart.’
 
(3) ‘I have hidden Your word in my heart.’
 
From The Word for Today.

September 18, 2019

Overcoming Stress (8)
 
‘I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28 CEV
 
If the load you’re carrying is too heavy for you to bear, Jesus didn’t give it to you. Others may have, or you may have taken it upon yourself, but Jesus had no part in it. ‘If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to Me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from Me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.’ (Matthew 11:28–30 CEV)
 
The final stress management principle Jesus taught us is: give your stress to Him. You’ll never enjoy complete peace of mind until you develop a relationship with the Prince of Peace. Note, Jesus didn’t say, ‘Come to Me and I’ll give you more guilt, more burdens, more stress, and more worries,’ even though that’s what a lot of religious people seem to teach! Some churches create pressure instead of relieving it. But Jesus turned this on its head and basically said, ‘I want to give you rest. I’m the stress-reliever. When you get in harmony with Me I’ll give you inner strength.’ Only Jesus can transform your lifestyle from stressful to satisfied.
 
The greatest source of stress comes from trying to live our lives apart from the God who made us, trying to go our own way and be our own god. What do you need? If you’ve never committed your life to Christ you need a transformation. Give Him your life with all its stresses and say, ‘Lord, please give me a new life. Replace the pressure I feel with the peace You offer. Help me to follow Your principles of stress management.’
 
From The Word for Today.

September 17, 2019

Overcoming Stress (7)
 
‘Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ Mark 6:31 NIV
 
Take time out to enjoy life. Jesus did that. ‘Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”’
 
Jesus not only took time for relaxation and recreation, He essentially told those who’d been working hard without relief, ‘You deserve a break today. Let’s get some rest. Let’s take time off.’ So they got into a boat, rode to the other side of the lake, and went out into the desert. Jesus was able to handle stress because He knew when to relax.
 
Rest and recreation in life aren’t optional, and they’re definitely not ‘unspiritual’. Rest is so important that God included it in the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath was made for mankind because God knows our physical, emotional, and spiritual constitutions demand regular periodic breaks. Jesus survived stress because He enjoyed life. JB Phillips’ paraphrase puts it like this: ‘The Son of Man came, enjoying life.’ (Matthew 11:19 PHPS) And Paul tells us that God has richly provided ‘everything for our enjoyment.’ (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV)
 
Balance is the key to stress management. Today if you feel burned out, check two things:
 
(1) Are you drawing daily on God’s grace, or are you depending on yourself?
 
(2) Do you regularly set aside time for rest and recreation? The word ‘recreation’ means ‘restore, refresh, or create anew’. Are you getting the picture? If you burn out, what use will you be to God’s Kingdom, to your family, or to yourself?
 
From The Word for Today.

September 16, 2019

Overcoming Stress (6)
 
‘Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.’ Mark 1:35 NIV
 
Make prayer your daily habit. Prayer is the great stress-reliever. Jesus began His day with prayer. He often stopped throughout the day to pray, and He ended each day with prayer. Now, if Jesus made time for prayer as busy as He was, how much more do you need to do it! Time alone with God can be a decompression chamber for life’s stresses. We talk to God in prayer, tell Him what’s on our minds, and let Him talk to us as we read the Bible. Then we look at our schedule, evaluate our priorities, and wait for instructions.
 
If we lived that way, the pharmaceutical industry would go broke because we wouldn’t need a fraction of the tranquillisers they market! Many of our problems come from our inability to sit still. We just don’t know how to be quiet. God says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10 KJV) And one reason we don’t know God more personally is because we can’t be still. We’re too busy to be quiet and just think.
 
Someone said, ‘It seems to be an ironic habit of man that when he loses his way he doubles his speed.’ The story’s told of a World War II Air Force pilot who flew over the Pacific. When he radioed the tower and the controller asked for his location, he replied, ‘I don’t know—but I’m making record time!’ A lot of us are like that, speeding through life without knowing where we’re headed. We need to start our morning with prayer like Jesus did, and stop throughout the day to pray again and recharge our spiritual batteries.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 15, 2019

Overcoming Stress (5)

‘He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out.’ Mark 3:14 NIV

Don’t try to do it all yourself. One of the reasons we get stressed out is because we think that everything depends on us. Not Jesus. He enlisted, trained, and empowered twelve others so they could share the load. He delegated His work. He got other people involved.

So why don’t we do that? Two reasons:

(1) Perfectionism. We think, ‘If I want a job well done, I’ll do it myself.’ That’s a nice idea, but often it doesn’t work well because there are just too many things to be done. We simply don’t have the time and talent to do everything ourselves. It’s really an egotistical attitude that says, ‘Nobody, but nobody, can do it the way I can!’ Do you think Jesus could’ve done a better job than His disciples? Of course, but even knowing that, He still let them do the work. Why? Because we need to let other people make some of the mistakes in order for them to learn, the same way the disciples learned. Don’t rob others of an education.

(2) Insecurity. ‘What if I turn this responsibility over to someone else and they do a better job than I do?’ That possibility is threatening to many of us. But you won’t feel threatened if you know who you are, who you’re trying to please, what you want to accomplish, and the one thing you need to focus on. In order to be effective you must get other people involved, because you can’t focus on more than one thing at a time and do it well.

From The Word for Today.

September 14, 2019

Overcoming Stress (4)

‘I must proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ Luke 4:43 NIV

Focus on one thing at a time. Are you being pulled in different directions? People constantly tried to do this to Jesus and distract Him from His goal in life. The Bible says, ‘At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them.’ (Luke 4:42 NIV) Jesus was about to leave and they tried to make Him stay.

Here’s how He responded: ‘I must proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ He refused to be distracted by less important matters. Indeed, He was a master at this. Everybody tried to interrupt Him. Everyone had a Plan B for His life. But in essence He responded, ‘No, I must keep moving towards My goal.’ And He kept right on doing what He knew God had told Him to do. He was determined. He was persistent. He was focused.

So when you have a dozen different things to do, pick the most important one and stick with it until it’s complete. Then pick the second most important and do the same thing, until you’ve completed the list. When we diffuse our efforts we’re ineffective; when we concentrate our efforts we’re more successful. Diffused light produces a hazy glow, whereas light that’s concentrated produces fire. Jesus didn’t let interruptions prevent Him from concentrating on His goal. He didn’t let others make Him tense or stressed or irritated. And He is your example!

From The Word for Today.

September 13, 2019

Overcoming Stress (3)
 
‘I know where I came from and where I am going.’ John 8:14 NIV
 
Know what you want to accomplish. Jesus said, ‘I know where I came from and where I am going.’ Can you say that too? Unless you plan your life and establish priorities, you’ll be pressured by other people to do what they think is important. Every day you either live by priorities or you live by pressures. There’s no other option. Either you decide what’s important in your life or you let other people decide for you. It’s easy to operate under the tyranny of the urgent, to come to the end of your day and wonder, ‘Have I accomplished anything at all? I used up a lot of energy and did a lot of things, but did I achieve anything important?’
 
Busyness is not necessarily productivity. You may be spinning in circles but not accomplishing anything of real value. Preparation causes you to be at ease. Or to put it another way, preparation prevents pressure, whereas procrastination produces pressure. Good organisation and good preparation reduce stress because you know who you are, who you’re trying to please, and what you want to accomplish. Having clearly defined goals simplifies life. So spend a few minutes at the beginning of every day talking with God in prayer. Then look at your schedule for the day and decide: ‘Is this really the way I want to spend a day of my life? Am I willing to exchange the next twenty-four valuable hours for these activities?’
 
The right answer to those two questions will lower your stress level by helping you prioritise.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 12, 2019

Overcoming Stress (2)

‘I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me.’ John 5:30 NIV

Know who you are trying to please. Jesus didn’t try to please everybody, so isn’t it foolish for you to try to do something even God doesn’t do? It was a settled issue with Jesus: ‘I’m going to please God, full stop!’

And God replied, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:17 KJV) When you lose sight of who you’re trying to please you’ll always cave in to three things:

(1) Criticism, because you’re overly concerned about what others think of you.

(2) Competition, because you’re afraid somebody will get ahead of you.

(3) Conflict, because you’re threatened by anyone who disagrees with you.

Jesus said, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ (Matthew 6:33 NKJV) By focusing on God’s will you simplify your life! You’ll always be doing the right thing, the thing that pleases Him, regardless of what anybody else thinks. We love to blame stress on other people and on our obligations: ‘You made me do… I have to… I’ve got to.’

Actually, there are few things in life apart from our jobs that we must do. So what we’re really saying is, ‘I choose to [fill in the blank] because I don’t want to handle the consequences otherwise.’ Rarely does anybody make us do anything, so we can’t blame other people for our stress. When we feel pressured, we’re choosing to let others put us there. The fact is, we’re not victims unless we allow ourselves to be pressured by outside demands.

From The Word for Today.

September 11, 2019

Overcoming Stress (1)
 
‘“Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The One I have always claimed to be.”’ John 8:25 NLT
 
Jesus was constantly under pressure. There were gruelling demands on His time. He rarely had personal privacy, and He was constantly interrupted. People repeatedly misunderstood, criticised, and ridiculed Him. He was under enormous stress, yet He remained at peace under pressure. How did he do it? He based His life on eight sound principles of stress management. So for the next week let’s look at them and see what we can learn.
 
Know who you are. ‘“Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The One I have always claimed to be.”’ If you don’t know who you are, others might try to tell you who they think you are. If you don’t know who you are, you’ll subconsciously let other people pressure you into believing you’re somebody you’re not. A lot of stress comes from our hiding behind masks, living double lives, being unreal with others, and trying to be somebody we’re not. Insecurity always produces pressure in our lives; when we’re insecure we feel coerced into performing and conforming. We set unrealistic standards for ourselves, and even though we work, work, work, we still can’t meet them.
 
So what should you do? You must know who you are, and Whose you are! You’re a redeemed child of God, put on this earth not by accident but for a purpose. You are deeply loved and fully accepted by God. He has a plan for your life; therefore you are significant. To overcome stress you must know who you are, and until you deal decisively with this issue you’ll be plagued by it.
 
From The Word for Today.

September 10, 2019

Remember The Overlooked And Forgotten

‘Plead the case of the widow.’ Isaiah 1:17 NIV

In New Testament times society had no welfare system. That’s why the apostle James wrote, ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows.’ (James 1:27 NIV) This could be the kind of ministry you’ve been looking for! The only qualification you need is the memory of how it feels to ‘be left out’ and the compassion to ‘do something about it’.

The following poignant letter, The Story of Widowhood, was written by a lady whose husband died. ‘First numbness, then busyness. A million things to settle. Endless death certificates and things to sign. Friends are so considerate; caring support from relatives. You keep busy. But at night you pound the empty side of the bed in grief. Finally you close your eyes, throw his toothbrush into the garbage, and toss out the old work shoes you brought home from the hospital in a plastic bag. You empty the closet and give all his things away. It’s heartache like you wouldn’t believe. Every suit in his closet reminds you of a special place or time you shared together. A year has passed; you’re still in one piece. Then the blow! Your friends celebrate a birthday—all couples. You’re not included because you’d be a “fifth wheel”. Some wives may even consider you a threat. Please remember us. Don’t treat us like excess baggage. We’ve been handed a rotten break, and we need friends. Signed, Forgotten.’

Think of the difference you could make today in somebody’s life by being willing to seek out those that society so often overlooks and forgets.

From The Word for Today.

9/9/2019 
You Can Overcome Your Past!
 
‘Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, but he was the son of a harlot.’ Judges 11:1 NKJV
 
Sociologists tell us that human behaviour is largely determined by two things: our parents and our environment. Judging by that, they’d have written Jephthah off as a lost cause! But not God. His Word says, ‘Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing.’ (Isaiah 43:18–19 NKJV)
 
When Jesus becomes Lord of your life, neither genes nor environment can prevent you from becoming everything He intends you to be. Before his life was over, Jephthah became famous as Israel’s youngest governor, and is listed among the Bible heroes in Hebrews chapter 11. That’s because God is a turnaround specialist! Maybe you were born in less-than-ideal circumstances, and you’re wondering if you can ever overcome them. The answer is yes! So the next time someone tries to use your past to put you down, remind them about Jephthah. The truth is, our God is awesome! He can lift the disadvantaged higher than those who have had every possible advantage. His strength is revealed and released in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
 
He specialises in using those who have been rejected. He used Joseph, a man thrown into a pit by his brothers and written off by his father as dead. He used David, a shepherd boy alienated and ignored by his family. He used Jesus, ‘the stone the builders rejected’ (Psalm 118:22 NIV), who went on to become ‘the chief cornerstone.’ (Luke 20:17 NKJV) And He can do the same for you. So be encouraged; God has a plan for your life and as you spend time with Him He will show you what it is.
 
From The Word for Today.


Enjoy Your Life!

‘To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV

When did you last take time to laugh, to dance, and to love? Can you even remember? In the words of an unknown poet: ‘This is the age of the half-read page; the quick hash and the mad dash. The bright knight with the nerves tight; the plane hop and the brief stop. The lamp-tan in a brief span; the big shot in a good spot. The brain strain and the heart pain; the catnaps until the spring snaps… and the fun’s done!’

Sobering words, right? But does it have to be that way? No, if it’s that way in your life today, chances are it’s because you made it that way. And you’re the only one who can make it different! You say you’re busy? We’re all busy. Who says you can’t enjoy life even when the pace picks up? Certainly not God!

Chuck Swindoll writes: ‘I refuse to force hilarity into the back seat every time responsibility takes the wheel. If the fun’s gone, it’s because we didn’t want it around—not because it didn’t fit… I don’t care if your “to do” list is as long as the horizon, you need to get back in balance and take the time to laugh… to dance… and to love. Why? Because the Bible says so! Furthermore, your family and friends will enjoy you a lot more when you do.’

The psalmist said, ‘You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ (Psalm 16:11 NKJV) So go ahead and enjoy your life the way God intended—it will be over before you know it.

From The Word for Today.

Stop Putting It Off

‘Teach us to number our days.’ Psalm 90:12 NKJV

In a 1985 newspaper essay, Anne Wells wrote: ‘My brother-in-law opened my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. It was an exquisite silk handmade slip; the price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York… eight or nine years ago… She never wore it; she was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He put the slip on the bed with the other clothes we were taking—to the mortician. Then he turned to me, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion!”’

Those words changed Anne Wells’ life. She continued: ‘I’m not saving anything anymore. Now we use our good china… for every special occasion—like losing a [kilo], getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. “Someday” and “one of these days” are fighting a losing battle to stay in my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing, hearing, or doing, I want to see, hear, and do it now. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and lustre to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes I tell myself this is a special occasion.’

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Makes you want to drain the last drop of joy out of every day and break free from the cement of procrastination that whispers, ‘You can do it later.’ Wise up! Forgive that offence, tell that person you love them, take that trip, go back to school. Decide today to do the thing you’ve been putting off.

From The Word for Today.

 
A Moveable Altar
 
‘Make the altar out of boards and leave the inside hollow.’ Exodus 27:8 NCV
 
The altar in the tabernacle was a place where sacrifices were offered in worship to God. And He had definite ideas about how it was to be built: ‘Make the altar out of boards and leave the inside hollow.’ A stone or metal structure would have been heavy to transport, whereas a hollow wooden altar could be carried on poles and travel along with the Israelites.
 
The image of a moveable altar is a reminder that while you should be part of a local church, you’re not restricted to worshipping God in a particular location. You can do it anywhere by ‘continually offering up a sacrifice of praise…the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.’ (Hebrews 13:15 NASB) At home, on the job, in the supermarket, at the gym, in the classroom, your everyday activities can become a ‘spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God.’ (1 Peter 2:5 NASB) By sharing a word of encouragement, giving of your resources to help someone in need, or making a professional decision based on integrity instead of what’s popular, you’re honouring God.
 
Jesus said, ‘Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.’ (Matthew 5:16 NIV) One author says: ‘The Lord is my boss. He gives me reviews, critiques, promotions, and demotions. He provides my benefit plan and my health insurance. He can transfer me… change my responsibilities… develop all my goals and objectives. I report to Him alone… While my tasks change, my essential job doesn’t. I’m instructed to do His work and be His hands and feet in whatever position He assigns me.’
 
From The Word for Today.
 
Know Your Life’s Purpose
 
‘For this cause I was born.’ John 18:37 NKJV
 
Standing before Pilate, Jesus said, ‘For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.’ Jesus knew why He was born and what He was called to do, and He focused on it like a laser. And you are called to follow in His footsteps (see 1 Peter 2:21). There are three types of people:
 
(1) Those with no life purpose. They are drifters, aimlessly cruising through life. They go to school, get a job, switch jobs, find a spouse, switch spouses, move from house to house and place to place, retire, and eventually die. They don’t really live; they just exist.
 
(2) Those who have the wrong life purpose. They may be super achievers, people who have climbed the ladders of financial, political, and social success only to find their ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. They either discovered too late or never realised that they missed a purposeful life that positively influenced others.
 
(3) Those who have the right life purpose. They know why they were created. They know why God put them on this earth, and they are all about fulfilling that purpose. That is the life that brings a smile to the face of God. That is success that lasts. It has nothing to do with popularity, power or possessions. It has everything to do with purpose, because that is the only thing that brings a God-given assurance of success. So do you know your life’s purpose? If not, ask God and He will reveal it to you.
 
From The Word for Today.
 
‘Teach me to receive Your love’
 
‘We love Him, because He first loved us.’ 1 John 4:19 KJV
 
We know how frustrating it is to try to give a gift to somebody who keeps refusing it. Insecurity and feelings of unworthiness keep many of us from being good ‘receivers’. We think we must earn or deserve everything we get. We even go so far as to mistrust the giver and think: ‘Why would you want to do that for me? What’s your real motive?’
 
Now if we feel that way, imagine how God feels when He extends His love and we refuse it because we feel undeserving, or we’re harbouring a false sense of humility. Or worse, we question His motives. The truth is, none of us deserves God’s love. But when He reaches out to you in love, He’s attempting to establish a cycle that will bless you as well as others. His plan is simple. He wants you to:
 
(1) Receive His love.
 
(2) Learn to love yourself in a balanced and healthy way.
 
(3) Love Him in return.
 
(4) Extend His love to those He sends into your life. And learning to do those things takes time—in most cases, lots of it! And just as God did when the Israelites entered the Promised Land, He will help you to conquer your hang-ups ‘little by little.’ (Exodus 23:30 NKJV) Change happens gradually as you continue to pray, read His Word, and act on it (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
 
He’s ‘the author and finisher of our faith.’ (Hebrews 12:2 KJV) The Bible says God initiated this ‘good work’ in your life and He will complete it (see Philippians 1:6). So today ask Him to help you receive and embrace His unconditional love for you.
 
From The Word for Today.
 
Doing Right By Your Children
 
‘Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown they will still do right.’ Proverbs 22:6 CEV
 
Parents who smoke can pass on some of the toxins to their children through the air they’re breathing. Unintentionally they can pollute their children with their own vices. And it’s the same when we pass on things like bitterness, guilt and insecurity to our kids. That’s why we need God’s help; only He can bring healing to the root of our problem and break the cycle.
 
No one else can teach faith to your children like you. The foundation must be laid by you and built on by them. And don’t just teach them your doctrine; expose them to your faith. Tell them Who brought you through the tough places. That way, when they encounter their own tough places they’ll be armed with more than a set of religious rules; they’ll have confidence in God for themselves. And stop beating yourself up over past mistakes; there are things all of us wish we’d done differently. The truth is that God can alter the effects of your past and prevent tragedy in your future. He’s the God of restoration who makes ‘all things new.’ (Revelation 21:5 NKJV) He can bring right out of wrong, good out of bad, and enable you to pour His wisdom and love into your children.
 
This is your chance of a lifetime—seize it! Let go of yesterday and take hold of tomorrow. Your children are your tomorrow; they’re being shaped by you. Give them a taste of the things of God when they’re little, and when they grow up the world will never satisfy them.
 
From The Word for Today.
 
When You Have A Vision
 
‘I was not disobedient to the vision.’ Acts 26:19 NIV
 
When God gives you a vision for your life, you need to know how to:
 
(1) Hold it. Your vision is governed by a time frame: ‘If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.’ (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT) Some of us can conceive a vision, but we can’t carry it to full term because we’re not willing to endure the stretching and discomfort involved. We rush ahead of God and our vision is stillborn, or too weak to survive. Jesus said, ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ (John 3:6 KJV) When your vision is born of the Spirit, it’ll be sustained by the Spirit. But when it’s born of the flesh, you’re on your own!
 
(2) Hide it. It’s a mistake to share your vision with those who can’t appreciate it. Joseph did that, and he landed in a pit. Not everybody will celebrate your success, especially if your light shines brighter than theirs. So ask God for discernment. Judas may seem like your friend right now, but inevitably he’ll betray you.
 
(3) Water it. Read these two Scriptures carefully and prayerfully: ‘David encouraged himself in the Lord’ (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV); ‘Building up yourselves on your most holy faith.’ (Jude 1:20 KJV) You must know how to encourage and build yourself up spiritually and how to water your vision. God told Habakkuk, ‘Write the vision, and make it plain.’ (Habakkuk 2:2 KJV) Write your vision on a card and carry it with you. And start acting like the person you expect to be when it becomes reality—and it will!
 
From The Word for Today.
 
A Father’s Prayer
 
‘Teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born to us.’ Judges 13:8 NCV
 
The following prayer was written by General Douglas MacArthur, a hero of World War II, on behalf of his son whom he loved dearly. If you’re a parent you may want to use it as the basis for your own prayers for your children:
 
‘Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know You… Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the lessons of the past. And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humour, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”’
 
From The Word for Today.
 
A Statement Of Purpose To Live By
 
‘Always give yourselves fully.’ 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
 
Next time you pass a McDonald’s, think about this statement from the one of the founders: Ray Kroc. ‘Press on! Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.’
 
As you read about the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews chapter 11 you discover that they shut the mouths of lions, administered justice, fulfilled promises, and even raised the dead. It’s a spectacular list of accomplishments. But in the middle of the account you also find these words: ‘Whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle.’ (Hebrews 11:34 NIV) Notice, they started out weak and became strong. How? Through persistence and determination! The problem is we’re not always willing to fight for what we want. But without conflict there can be no conquest.
 
An Anglican bishop once quipped, ‘Why is it that everywhere the apostle Paul went they had a revolution, but everywhere I go they have a cup of tea?’ Paul didn’t blend in, he stood out! On his first missionary journey he was stoned and left for dead. On his second they threw him in prison. And how did he handle it? On one occasion he prayed and praised God until his prison doors opened. So the word for you today is: ‘Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully.’ If you’re looking for a statement of purpose to live by, adopt this one.
 
From The Word for Today.
 
Live For What Matters Most
 
‘I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave.’ Job 1:21 NLT
 
Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Old too soon, wise too late’? Don’t let that be your story. Three of the titans who built America were Vanderbilt, Carnegie and Rockefeller. After attending Vanderbilt’s funeral, Carnegie and Rockefeller did a rethink and spent the rest of their lives seeing how much money they could give away to do good. Death has a way of showing us the brevity of life and changing our perspective.
 
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