‘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.
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.
SOURCE: Culled from Word For You
‘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?
SOURCE: Culled from Word For You
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.
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries
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
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries
”‘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.
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren
‘You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’
Luke 12:40 NIV
We know that one day Jesus is going to come back again. So we need to be ready for Him. He may come tomorrow, in a year, or even after our lifetime – so we need to make sure we’re prepared. Jesus said: ‘You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him’ (v.40 NIV). Jesus compares us waiting for His return to a manager who has been put in charge of the servant’s food allowance while the master goes away.
The Message version sums up the story like this: ‘He is a blessed man if when the master shows up he’s doing his job. But if he says to himself, “The master is certainly taking his time,” begins maltreating the servants and maids, throws parties for his friends, and gets drunk, the master will walk in when he least expects it, give him the thrashing of his life, and put him back in the kitchen peeling potatoes’ (Luke 12:42-46 MSG).
Imagine if we all started living in an un-Christlike way, treating other people badly, disobeying rules, and putting ourselves first. There would be chaos. But, even worse, imagine if we were living like that, and then Jesus showed up. He saw the way we were living. Would He be pleased with how we were behaving? This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, we all make mistakes, and that’s why God’s grace and mercy are so amazing. But what it does mean is that we need to be trying to live in a way that glorifies Him.
He knows when we are trying to live in a Christlike way. He sees our heart.
SOURCE: Culled from Word for You
“Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).
Worry will kill your joy and cause you stress. We tend to expect the worst in life. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, they affect 18.1 percent of the U.S. population.
But worry isn’t just a mental issue. It’s a spiritual one. It’s assuming a responsibility that God never intended for us to have. It’s playing God and trying to control the uncontrollable.
There was once a scientific study on worry that discovered:
40% of our worries never happen
30% of our worries concern the past
12% of our worries are needless worries about our health
10% of our worries are insignificant or petty concerns
8% of our worries are really legitimate concerns
Worry is worthless. It can’t change the past or control the future. It only messes you up right now. It’s an incredible waste of energy. It’s stewing without doing. When we worry about things, they get bigger and bigger.
The Bible says, “Do not worry about anything” (Philippians 4:6 NCV). It’s one of the hardest commands to obey. It’s even more countercultural when you consider where Paul was when he wrote it. He was sitting in a prison waiting for the emperor to execute him.
Worry is something we learn to do. You must practice worry to get good at it. If it is learned, it can also be unlearned.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV).
Jesus gives us the ultimate antidote to worry. Live one day at a time. God will take care of tomorrow.
SOURCE: Culled from Dailt Hope with Rick Warren
1 Peter 4:1-5
What is the connection between suffering and purity for the Christian? These are not terms we usually consider together, but Peter says those who suffer physically cease from sin and no longer live for human lusts. Instead, they live for the will of God. That is not to say we’ll reach a level of sinless perfection but, rather, the power of sin in our lives will be broken.
According to today’s passage, we are engaged in a battle, and Peter says to arm ourselves with the same attitude Christ had in His suffering. Just as He willingly submitted to the Father’s will and went to the cross, so we must accept that suffering is likewise part of God’s will for our life. It’s one of the ways He purifies us and breaks any attachment to our previous sinful desires.
As believers, we are called to live differently from the world around us. This doesn’t mean we’re to be deliberately antagonistic, but our lifestyle should be an example of purity. Others may find this offensive because it exposes their sin, and then they may respond by maligning us in an attempt to make themselves feel better.
Although we want the world to be attracted to Christ by our transformed lives, in reality we may make others uncomfortable or perhaps even antagonistic. This is why so many Christians around the world are being persecuted and even killed for their faith. But every time the church has faced persecution, it has also been purified and made stronger. God never intends for suffering to defeat us. Rather, His purpose is for it to make us holy and effective witnesses for Christ.
Bible in One Year: John 1-3
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries
Throughout history, people have suffered tremendous injustice and pain at the hands of others. None of us are exempt from conflict, criticism, and mistreatment. The question is, Are we growing more or less like Christ as a result?
Nothing that happens in our lives is an accident. As children of God, we know that everything coming our way is filtered through our Father’s loving, sovereign hands. And He can use whatever we experience to grow us in grace and holiness—yes, even injustice and abuse.
Joseph endured more unfair treatment than most of us can even imagine: He was sold into slavery by his brothers, slandered by Potiphar’s wife, and forgotten in prison. For years, it seemed that no good would ever result, but there was divine purpose in it all. Joseph learned more about God’s ways and was also being trained for the future.
The same is true for each of us. The Lord doesn’t want us to focus on the wrongs done to us and the pain we’ve suffered. Instead, He wants us to keep our eyes fixed on Him. As we read God’s Word, He reveals His ways and purposes, giving us guidance to walk with Him and patience to wait for His timing. And His indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to respond in a godly manner by forgiving those who wrong us.
Think about Joseph’s words to his brothers: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Remember, that is true in your life also. The pain you carry can be used for good if you’ll forgive your offenders and trust the Lord’s ways.
Bible in One Year: John 8-9
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries