STRENGTH

‘Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.’

Isaiah 40:31 NIV

When we’re working for God’s kingdom and serving Him, we can feel amazing because we’re doing some of the things God’s called us to do. But we can also become exhausted, disillusioned and stressed. We can put extra pressure on ourselves because we’re working for, and serving, God, and we think that we must do everything we possibly can for Him. It’s great to have a good work ethic, and to want to do what we can for God. But we can’t give Him, and others, our best when we’re burnt out. The fact is, we can’t fill an empty bucket from a dry well. In order to keep giving out we must keep our batteries charged spiritually, emotionally, and physically. And that doesn’t just mean we need to stop and rest, although that’s really important.

It means we need to rely on God’s strength, and not our own. When we try and do everything in our own strength, it’s easy for us to become exhausted and even resentful of what we’re doing, and who we’re doing it for. We need to recognise our dependence on God and ask Him for strength. The Bible says: ‘Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ That’s a great promise. When we’re feeling run down and tired, we know we’ve always got a source of strength we can go to. Eagles don’t just fly, they soar high above the storms below. And when we go to God for the strength we need, we’re told we will ‘soar on wings like eagles’. With our own strength we may be able to fly for a while, but with God’s strength we can soar for a lifetime.

What Now?

Head online and research how eagles can soar above the storms. Then ask God to give you the strength you need to soar above any storms you’re facing right now.

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 6-8, 2 Thessalonians 1

STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT

” If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 TLB).

When you learn how to relax in God’s liberating grace and break out of the prison of perfectionism, you will find a new level of joy and freedom in your life. Why? Because perfectionism is destructive to your life in several ways.

It defeats your initiative.

Have you ever had a project you haven’t been able to get started? You think, “One of these days I’m going to get around to it,” but you just can’t take that first step. One possible reason is perfectionism. You’re waiting for the perfect circumstance or timing, or you’re waiting until the kids get out of school, or you’re waiting until a certain amount of money comes in. When you set your standards so high, perfectionism causes paralysis, and you can’t get anything done.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (TLB).

It damages your relationships.

Nobody likes being nagged or corrected all the time. It’s frustrating and irritating! The Bible says, “Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends” (Proverbs 17:9 TLB). Perfectionism—the desire to always correct—damages relationships because it’s rooted in insecurity. Perfectionists who are harsh and demanding on other people are really harsh and demanding on themselves.

It destroys your happiness.

Ecclesiastes 7:16 says, “Don’t be too virtuous, and don’t be too wise. Why make yourself miserable?” (GW). This Scripture isn’t talking about genuine righteousness or real wisdom. It’s talking about perfectionism. You can transform any virtue into a vice by taking it to the extreme.

Your worst nag lives under your skin, because you are your own worst critic. (That’s true for all of us!) Since we tend to resent and even dislike people who nag us, if you’re always nagging yourself, what does that say about you? It says that you don’t like yourself. You think you’re not good enough. And you think reminding yourself what’s wrong with you is going to motivate you into doing the right thing. It’s not! That’s called perfectionism, and it causes you to constantly put yourself down.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

DON’T BE JUDGEMENT-FOCUSED

On which two ancient cities did God rain brimstone and fire? If your answer is Sodom and Gomorrah, you are right. But if you think that God was all eager to destroy the two cities, you are wrong!

God wasn’t willing at all. He was not on a sin hunt. He was on a righteousness hunt so that He could spare the cities. (Genesis 18:23–32) And I believe that if Abraham had asked God, “What if You can find just one righteous man?” God’s answer would have been the same: “I will not destroy the place for the sake of one righteous man.”

Today, the righteousness of one Man—Jesus—has come. Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our justification. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our sins against us!

Therefore, no judgment will fall on you today because it fell on Jesus 2,000 years ago at Calvary. And if God was gracious enough to remove Lot and his family before the judgment fell (Genesis 19:12–22), how much more will He do for you who are no longer under judgment!

And because God does not judge you, don’t be like Lot’s wife, who became a pillar of salt when she turned around to look at the brimstone and fire. (Genesis 19:24–26) She wanted to see God’s judgment, even though the angels had warned, “Don’t look back, lest you be destroyed.” (Genesis 19:17)

So don’t be judgment-focused and look back at the sins you have committed. God is not against you. He is for you and on your side. He remembers that He has already judged and punished your sins in the body of His Son. And because He is faithful to His Son and to what His Son has done, He will never judge or punish you. Any trouble that you might have today is not from Him. But He will show you a way of escape because He is on your side. He loves you and has your best interests at heart.

Beloved, God is not out to get you. He is out to bless you. And He wants you blessed more than you can ever ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)

Thought For The Day

Don’t be judgment-focused because God is not against you. He is for you and on your side.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Joseph Prince Ministries.

Adjusting to the Lord’s Plan

Read Matthew 4:18-22

I have been a Christian for many years, and not once has God asked me, “Charles, what do you want to do?” The Lord doesn’t change His plans to suit my purposes or yours. Instead, He asks us to adjust our lives to align with His will.

One change He often requires has to do with lifestyle. Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen before they became Jesus’ disciples. Their lives revolved around the details of their occupation—equipment repair, weather conditions, catching fish, and turning a profit. But when Jesus called them to become fishers of men, they willingly and suddenly made a dramatic change.

In contrast, the rich young ruler walked away sad when he realized what he’d have to give up to follow Christ (Matthew 19:21-22). An invitation from the Lord usually means modifying our way of living. Whether this involves switching jobs or altering habits, God expects us to adapt to His plan.

At times the Lord may call for a shift in our relationships. Before being invited to travel in Jesus’ company, James and John worked in the family business with their father. Saying yes to God meant seeing friends and relatives less frequently. Pursuing His plan may mean the same thing for us. But Christ promises a great return on any sacrifice we make (v. 29).

Our heavenly Father’s plans are based upon His goodness, justice, and mercy. Because of His perfect character, we can trust the direction He gives us. Adjusting to God’s design—accepting His will and making the needed changes in our circumstances and relationships—is always the wisest action we can take (Proverbs 3:5-6).

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries.

BE NUMBERED AMONG THE UNDEVOURABLE

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The devil cannot just walk right up to you and rob you of your health, peace or family. He cannot just come into your life to enforce disease and destruction.

If the devil can do that, then he does not have to walk about “seeking whom he may devour”. He only has to walk straight up to anyone he wants to devour and devour him! But since the Bible says that he goes about seeking whom he may devour, the truth then is that there are people whom he cannot devour.

You see, the devil goes about like a roaring lion trying to stir up fear in people with his roars. But the people who are not devourable are those who refuse to be intimidated by his roars because they know that the true Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:5), has already come and rendered powerless him who had the power of death. (Hebrews 2:14, NASB) They know that the devil cannot just do anything to them because the Lion of Judah resides in them, and that He is greater than the devil who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

My friend, the Lion of Judah is in you. He has given you rights, privileges, authority and power. He redeemed you with His blood. Therefore, everything about you and your life is redeemed by His blood. So if you are fearful about losing your job, cover your job with the blood of Jesus. If you are worried about your children’s safety in these days of terrorist attacks, plead the blood of Jesus over them. If you have received a bad report from the doctor, speak the blood over yourself.

Whatever you have covered with the blood of Jesus, God declares, “Protected! Redeemed!” And the devil flees when he sees the blood. And when he flees, he takes with him sicknesses, diseases, pains, sufferings, destruction and loss.

Once the devil knows that you know who you are in Christ and what you have in Him, his days of intimidating you are over, and you are numbered among the undevourable.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Joseph Prince Ministries.

FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF BIBLICAL FORGIVENESS  

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

Biblical forgiveness is not a cheap term you just throw around that instantly makes everybody feel better. That’s not real forgiveness.

The Bible says there are four characteristics to biblical forgiveness:

Forgiveness is remembering how much you’ve been forgiven.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV). This is the starting point for genuine forgiveness. If you don’t feel forgiven, you won’t want to forgive anybody else. If you’re hard on yourself, you’re going to be hard on others. But the more grace you receive from God, the more gracious you’re going to be with others. The more forgiven you feel by God, the more forgiving you’ll be toward others.

Forgiveness is relinquishing your right to get even.

Romans 12:19 says, “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (TLB). Life is not fair, but one day God’s going to settle the score. He’s going to right the wrongs. So, who can get better justice—you or God?

Forgiveness is responding to evil with good.

The Bible says in Luke 6:27-28, “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (NIV). How can you tell when you’ve really forgiven somebody? When you can look at that person’s hurt and not just your own, and pray for God to bless him or her.

You ask, “How could I ever do that for the person who’s hurt me?” You can’t unless you allow the love of God to penetrate your life. Only the love of God can help you do something like that.

Forgiveness is repeating the process as long as necessary.

“Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’” (Matthew 18:21-22 NLT). Jewish law said you had to forgive a person three times, so Peter doubled it and threw one in for good measure. But Jesus said to go even further with your forgiveness

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

SPIRITUALLY NOURISHED

‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven.’

John 6:51 NIV

We all know that diet is important. Diet can play a huge role in how healthy we are. We’re often told the foods we should eat more of and the foods we should eat less of. But we also need to take our spiritual diet seriously. Jesus said: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.’ Just as what we eat influences our physical health, what we’re feeding on spiritually also influences how we act, think and behave. When we focus on feeding ourselves spiritually, we grow spiritually. So what are we consuming?

Do we spend our time watching reality TV, reading gossip-filled magazines, listening to music with explicit lyrics or comparing our lives with others on social media? Are we focusing only on the physical food we’re eating? In the Old Testament, we’re told that ‘man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord’ (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV). We need God’s Word in our lives. We need to be consuming His Word if we’re going to be spiritually full and spiritually nourished We need to spend time feeding on the Bible, conversation with God and with other Christians, worship music, teaching or books.

It doesn’t mean that we can’t watch TV, go on social media or listen to music that isn’t classed as ‘Christian music’. But what it does mean is that we need to be carefully looking at what we’re consuming and the effect it’s having on us. And it means we need to be building time into our days to feed ourselves spiritually as well as physically.

SETTING BOUNDARIES AGAINST TEMPTATION

2 Timothy 2:20-22

Do you have a sin that you simultaneously hate and love? You really want to overcome it, but as soon as you’re tempted, the anticipated pleasure erases all your willpower. These love/hate temptations are what cause us the greatest struggle, but sometimes part of the problem is our lack of boundaries.

Although we’ll never be totally free from temptation, we can take steps to protect ourselves—namely, we can establish practices and boundaries to guard us from wandering into a danger zone. When Scripture addresses this topic, it presents two contrasting instructions.

Flee lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Tim. 2:22). The goal isn’t simply to resist temptation, but to move as far as possible in the opposite direction, toward godliness.

Submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). Trying to withstand temptation is futile unless we first commit to living obediently before God. With submission comes the power to resist.

Don’t conform to the world, but be transformed by renewing your mind (Rom. 12:2). If we fill our head with the ideas and priorities of the culture, we’ll be easy targets for temptation. But Ephesians 6:17 calls God’s Word our “sword of the Spirit”—a weapon we can use for defense against the enemy’s attacks.

God showed us the boundaries behind which we are safe. He’s warned that if we toy with our cravings and place ourselves in the way of temptation, we will fall. So draw near to God (James 4:8) and the protection of His Word, wisdom, and power.

 

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 23-25

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries.

ONE NIGHT OF CLASSICAL COCKTAIL

Mixed Oratorio – from Creation, Joseph and His Brethren, Elijah and Messiah.
Date: 28th October, 2018
Time: 4pm.
Rate: GHs50
Venue: Accra International Conference Centre
Ticket Outlets: JoyFm, Silverbird Accra Mall, Koala Osu, Airport Shell, Community 8 and 11 Shell, Dansoman Shell, Baatsona Total, Salt and Light Ministries Office Abelemkpe
or call 0276389747, 0246826335.

MEEKNESS DOES NOT EQUAL WEAKNESS

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 NIV). If you want to make healthy choices to be well and whole again, you have to learn to be meek. Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (NIV). The Bible lists many benefits of meekness: The meek will be satisfied (Psalm 22:26); God will guide them (Psalm 25:9); they will become wise (Proverbs 11:2); they will be filled with fresh joy (Isaiah 29:19). There are many, many other benefits. The problem is, we misunderstand this term. We don’t really know what meekness is. In fact, we often confuse it with another term that sounds like it — “meek” sounds like “weak.” Nobody wants to be weak, so nobody wants to be meek. But the truth is that meekness and weakness are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Meekness is in no way weakness. In fact, the Greek word for meekness literally means “strength under control.” To be meek is not to be weak. It’s used to describe a wild stallion that has been tamed. That stallion still has all the strength it had when it was wild, but now its strength is under control. It is strength bottled up for the master’s use. God doesn’t want you to be weak, but he does want you to be meek. The Bible teaches that it’s one of the keys to stress reduction in your life. Here’s a simple definition of the word meek: Let go, and let God. That is the essence of meekness. It is surrendering, submitting, and agreeing to what God wants to do in your life. It’s letting God be God in your life. Let go, and let God.
 

STAY BLESSED SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.