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

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.

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.

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.

A RIVER OF LIVING WATER

John 7:37-39

If you’ve ever lived in a desert or experienced a long-term drought, you understand how essential water is. Without it, plants dry up, crops fail, animals languish with thirst, and before long the ground cracks and dust starts to blow. Sometimes, this is how life feels, too—dry, fruitless, unsatisfying, and futile.

But this should not be the case for believers. Even if the externals of life resemble a drought, inside we have the ever-flowing living water of the Holy Spirit. Of all the word pictures employed in the Bible to depict the Spirit, a river of living water ranks among the most powerful. He is seen as the source of vitality and abundance in our lives. Like a continually moving stream, He flows through us, performing His sanctifying work of transforming us into the image of Christ.

Getting to know the Spirit is a lifelong process. As we walk in obedience to Him, we experience both His quiet guidance through life’s challenges and His power displayed in our weakness. We marvel when He brings to light a passage of Scripture and find solace in His comfort when we’re hurting. His convictions guide us to repentance so we can be cleansed with living water. And His promptings and warnings keep us from heading down the wrong path.

Because the life-giving Spirit dwells within us, no Christian has to live a dry, fruitless life. Of course, if we opt to live as we please and indulge in sin, we’ll quench Him. But the more we learn of Him in Scripture and walk with Him in obedience, the more His life will flow through us.

 

STAY BLESSED