FOUNDATIONS

‘Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?’ Luke 6:46 NIV

Jesus told a story of two men who built a house. The wise one built his house on solid rock; the foolish one built his on sand. When a storm hit both houses, only the wise man’s was left standing. Jesus wasn’t comparing wisdom with foolishness, because we can all be wise sometimes and foolish other times. He was comparing the two foundations (you can read about it in Matthew 7:24-27). What are our lives founded on?

When things get bad; when we’re overwhelmed; when we don’t know which way to turn or we’re not sure there are any ways to turn; when we feel like we’ve got no strength left – what is it that gets us through? It’s not our wisdom, how many times we’ve been to church or how good we are as people. It’s what we’re founded on. And that should be God Himself. When we are founded on God, it’s His wisdom, His strength, His protection that gets us through.

We can sometimes struggle in the midst of life’s storms. Tricky relationships, money problems, grief, illness and many other things can hit us out of nowhere and how we respond shows what we’ve founded our lives on. When the storms of life come, the only way to get through them is to do what He says. Because God always honours His Word.

He is faithful and will keep His promises. He is wise and knows how to keep us from going under in the storm. Our obedience aligns us with His Word, His will, and His power to act on your behalf. As we walk in obedience, God will enable us to come through the storm we’re facing, no matter how long and hard it rages.

What Now?

Read Matthew 7:24-27 and ask God to show you whether you’ve founded your life on the sand or the rock. If it’s the sand, ask Him to help you build your life on the rock instead.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Word for you

ARE YOU PASSING ON GOD’S BLESSINGS?

“God blesses those who are kind to the poor. He helps them out of their troubles. He protects them and keeps them alive; he publicly honors them and destroys the power of their enemies” (Psalm 41:1-2 TLB).

Some people are like reservoirs. They collect God’s blessings but then hoard them.
Other people are like a straw. They say, “God, help other people through me.”

A critical spiritual lesson is that God gives you far more blessings when you’re a straw than when you’re a reservoir.

If you want God to bless you, bless others—particularly the most vulnerable in our society.

The Bible says, “God blesses those who are kind to the poor. He helps them out of their troubles. He protects them and keeps them alive; he publicly honors them and destroys the power of their enemies” (Psalm 41:1-2 TLB).

God makes many amazing promises to those who give to the poor, but here’s one of my favorites. The Bible says in Proverbs 19:17, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you!” (NLT).

God considers it a loan to him every time you give to the poor. It’s not a gift; it’s a loan.

And God promises that he will always pay you back.

 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren

REMOVED, NOT JUST COVERED

Today I want to give you another reason why the new covenant is better than the old covenant. I want you to read Hebrews 10:11 first, then Hebrews 9:25-26,

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

And then talking about Jesus,

Not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with the blood of another—He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Under the old covenant, sins were merely covered. In the new covenant, Jesus removes our sin. In fact, John the Baptist declared, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus doesn’t just cover it, He takes it away!

I want to tell you, friend, we are not just some patched up old sinners. We have been made new creations in Christ Jesus.

I know a horse trainer who trains beautiful thoroughbred horses. If I took a mule over to this guy and said, “Look, I want this mule to run with the thoroughbreds,” he could feed it, brush its coat every day, and trim its tail and ears to look like a quarter horse. But when the gun fires and the gates go up and the horses start to run, it is just a mule. That is all it is!

Religion dresses up the mule, but God changes the mule into a thoroughbred. He takes away your sin and makes you a new creature in Christ Jesus when you embrace salvation.

Our sin is not just covered, it is gone, and we have been made into new people.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Answers For Each Day

WHERE HAVE YOU PITCHED YOUR TENT?

Genesis 13:12 (KJV) says,

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Notice that Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. Every day his attention was placed on that city. Here is what the Bible says about those that lived there.

But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly (Genesis 13:13, KJV).

What we focus our attention on will influence us. It will try to draw us in like a magnet. The next time we read about Lot he is living in Sodom.

And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed (Genesis 14:12, KJV).

Next we find him even further entrenched among the people of Sodom. Genesis 19:1 declares that Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.

In Eastern cities, the “gate” was a place devoted to business transactions, the administration of justice, and the enjoyment of social discourse and amusement. Lot was right “in the thick of things”—but it happened by degrees. It was a process.

What you view and listen to, and the company you keep, will influence you—sometimes in very subtle ways—and will play a role in shaping your values and character.

So be careful where you pitch your tent!

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Word For You

TURN TO THE BIBLE

‘I will not break my agreement nor change what I have said.’
Psalm 89:34 NCV

Sometimes we can find ourselves waking up in a cloud of gloom. Nothing in our day goes right, and we can’t seem to feel positive. We don’t want to do the things we have to do, in fact we’d rather just stay under our duvets all day, or just escape the pressures of life by jetting off to another country. But geographical cures don’t work. Escaping doesn’t solve the problem; it just relocates it.

Instead, we need to be turning to a source of strength, hope, and encouragement that never fails – the Bible. God says, ‘I will not break my agreement nor change what I have said.’ What we read in the Bible is truth. It’s God’s promises to us that will never fail. It’s full of verses that we can use to help us focus on God rather than how we’re feeling.

Here are some examples: ‘When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. (Psalm 86:7 NIV); ‘He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions’ (Psalm 107:20 NKJV). ‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’ (Psalm 27:13 NIV); ‘I will go in the strength of the Lord God’ (Psalm 71:16 NKJV); ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken’ (Psalm 55:22 NIV); ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). When we let Scriptures like these fill our minds and our hearts, we can remember our identity in Christ, that we have a God who is there for us every step of the way, and that we have better days to come.

What Now?
Choose a Bible verse from the list in the reading. Memorise it. Write it out. Design it up. Then go back to it every time you’re feeling down.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Word For You

OUR HEAVENLY FATHER

They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.
John 8:27 NKJV

The people in Jesus’ day found it hard to grasp the concept of God as a Father. Lord, king, judge, they understood – but not Father. The Old Testament rarely speaks of God as Father, whereas the New Testament mentions it quite a few times. Until Jesus came and revealed the Father, He remained a mystery. ‘No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ (Matthew 11:27 NIV).

And many of us still don’t understand what God being our Father really means. We struggle to grasp the blessings we have from Him. ‘Father,’ God’s all-inclusive name, incorporates everything we could ever need, while showing how He feels about each one of us. God has every trait of the best father imaginable.

Think about what a loving, all-powerful father would do for his child when they were in need. Our heavenly Father will do all that for us – and even more. He’ll be there for us when we’re in need, and He’s there blessing us in the good times too. When we recognise God as our Father, our fears start to leave and we start to believe that all our needs will be met.

God loves us as much as He loves Jesus. Jesus prayed that we’d know with confidence that our Father ‘loved [us] in the same way [He has] loved me’ (John 17:23 MSG). The Bible tells us that we ‘are members of God’s family’ (Ephesians 2:19 NLT). And that we’re His children. ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ (1 John 3:1 NIV).

The question is: Do we believe that?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Word For You

NO CONDEMNATION

Romans 8:1-4

Some believers are plagued by feelings of condemnation. Either they think they’ll never live up to God’s expectations for them or they’re nearly drowning in guilt over past sins. These men and women cannot seem to shake the sense that God is displeased with their puny efforts at being Christlike.

The book of Romans confronts this lie head-on: “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). When the Savior went to the cross on our behalf, He lifted the blame from our shoulders and made us righteous before God. Those feelings of condemnation do not belong to us; they are from Satan. He amplifies our guilt and feelings of inadequacy and then suggests that’s how the Lord feels about His “wayward child.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Our sins are wiped clean, and we are chosen and loved by God.

Condemnation is reserved for those who reject the Lord (John 3:36). Sin is a death sentence (Rom. 6:23). Anyone who chooses to cling to sin instead of seeking divine forgiveness must pay the penalty, which is an eternity separated from God. Two synonyms of condemn are ‘denounce’ and ‘revile.’ Those words certainly describe Jesus’ statement to unbelievers in Matthew 25:41: “Depart from me, accursed ones.”

There is no condemnation for those who receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. The believer’s penalty for sin is paid, and he can stand blameless before God. Trust in the Lord’s love and let go of Satan’s lie. God’s beloved children are covered by His grace and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

SAVED BY GRACE

Ephesians 1:3-14

In Christian circles, we often hear people talk about grace, but do we understand what it means? Scripture uses this word in reference to God’s goodness and kindness, which is freely extended to those who are utterly undeserving—and that includes all of us.

God’s grace is the means of our salvation through Christ and the basis by which He sees us. By grace, we are …

Declared righteous. All of our guilt and shame have been removed, and Christ’s righteousness is credited to us as our own (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now we can live boldly for Jesus no matter who we once were.

Part of God’s family. A spiritual adoption has taken place so that we might become children of God and call Him Father (Eph. 1:5). Although the world may see us as insignificant, we should remember we’re children of the King.

Made co-heirs with Christ. Our inheritance is guaranteed and kept for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). We’ve been set free from the lure of materialism because we’re rich in the only way that matters (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Given new life. When we trust in the Savior, we are born again and receive a fresh start (2 Corinthians 5:17). The seal of this new life is the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit, who transforms us into the image of Christ and guarantees our future resurrection (Eph. 1:13-14).

Freed from the power of sin, Satan, and self. Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and live righteously in obedience to God (Titus 2:11-12).

From the beginning of salvation to our eternal future in heaven, we are covered by God’s unending grace.

Bible in One Year: John 17-19
STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

ONE BIG REQUEST

John 15:16

Yesterday we looked at God’s promise in John 14:14. Too often people take the verse to imply, “If you ask anything, I will do it.” They overlook the most essential phrase: “in My name.”

Asking in Christ’s name has two meanings. First, believers are welcome to make requests that align with God’s purpose and plan. To do that, we need to ask Him if our prayers match His will. God has several ways of assuring followers that they are on the correct path. For instance, He may increase right desires or decrease wrong ones. Another possibility is that He will use His Word to redirect a Christian’s steps or confirm that the believer is going the right way. Either way, God will make a path for the man or woman who seeks to do His will.

Second, invoking Christ’s name means that we desire to glorify Him instead of ourselves. James gives this warning: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). To understand that, let’s consider those who are trying to pray their way out of a financial hole as an example. The question is, Does a person want to get out of debt so that he has more for himself or so that he can use the excess in God-honoring ways? Motives are apparent to God, and He will not encourage ones rooted in sin.

In the name Jesus Christ, there is abundant power. However, calling upon Him in prayer is not a magic charm to get what we want. Rather, it is a signal that we are laying down our personal desires and our own way of getting things done. In so doing, we commit to follow God and bring honor to Him.
Bible in One Year: Luke 2-3

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PURPOSE AND PRAYER

”‘I know what I am planning for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you a hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you’” (Jeremiah 29:11-12 NCV).

Is there anything God can’t do? There are a lot of things God can’t do. He can’t deny himself. He can’t be evil. God is good, so by nature, he cannot do bad things. Everything God does is good. And so, because God is good, God’s plans for your life will always be good.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “‘I know what I am planning for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you a hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you’” (NCV).
Do you see the connection between prayer and God’s plans for your life?

I’ve said this many times, but I’ll say it again: You are not an accident. There is a purpose for your life. There are accidental parents, but there are no accidental children. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did, and he wanted you alive.
Now, God didn’t have to create a plan for your life. He could have just let you be born and then wander around aimlessly.
But God has never made anything without a purpose. Everything has a purpose and a plan. God gave you a plan for your life. Why? Because he loves you. He is a good God, so he put a lot of thought into creating you.

And now you may ask, “Well, how do I know God’s plan?” God’s plans for your life are revealed and realized through prayer. The more you pray, the more you’re going to understand God’s plan for your life. When you pray to him, he listens, and he answers and reveals more of himself to you.
STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren