WORD 4U 2DAY
Posted 08 November 2010 - 11:14 AM
'Be kindly affectionate to one another' Romans 12:10
Loving people would be a whole lot easier if they weren't so unlovable, right? Like you give the *Big Issue guy a sale and he looks at you like dog droppings when you wait for your change. Or you buy your kid sister a pair of earrings and she asks if you've kept the receipt. Or you invite your mate to church and they can't even be bothered to surrender their lives to Christ. Why can't people just be thankful, grateful and easily manipulated? Actually, love tells the Big Issue guy to keep the change. Love doesn't get easily angered if your kid sister is being a tad self-centred. And love doesn't force people to believe in things they're not ready for. Love gives without asking anything in return. Mother Teresa said: 'A day lived without showing love for others is a day not worth living.' Loving people must be a way of life, a fixed attitude, a commitment we make every day, without expecting anything in return. People flocked to Jesus, not because of His theological essays or clever arguments; but because of His genuine love. He didn't heal the sick because of His job description, he did it out of love. He didn't die on a cross to give you something to hang on a necklace; he died out of love. Are you getting it yet? Loving God means loving, full-stop.
UCB Word 4U today
*Big issue is a magazine that homeless people in the Uk can sell (not sure if you have the same thing in USA)
Posted 10 November 2010 - 09:49 AM
I'm lovin' it! (1) 10 Nov 2010
'Do not set aside grace' Galatians 2:21
Which is easier: Earning love or being loved? Earning love is like treating God's grace as some kind of wages for the work we do for Him. So every time we pop spare change into the offering, we've earned a heavenly pat on the back. Or if we manage the Lord's Prayer before drifting off to dreamland, we get a knowing wink off God. The problem with earning God's love is the momentum always lies with us. If we think we're performing OK, God must think we're OK. But if we let go of God, God lets go of us. Looking right, sounding right, saying the right things - eventually they all suffocate us. No one can be heavyweight spiritual champ 24/7. Being loved is a whole easier deal. Love doesn't get the weighing scales out to measure how well we're doing. Love doesn't mark a nasty red cross next to all our efforts. Love doesn't ask us to toe the company line without thinking for ourselves. Love sets us free from all the pressures of being the president of perfection; it allows us to be who we are, warts and all. Being loved takes the emphasis off our efforts and stresses the importance of who we are - God's children. Responding to God's grace is far more freeing than trying to earn brownie points. After all it's God that cleans our act up, not us.
Bible in a year: 1 Chron 19:1 - 23:20; John 9:24-41; Ps 115; Pr 25:26-28;
Posted 15 November 2010 - 05:16 AM
Get smart (1) 13 Nov 2010
'Wisdom is better than muscle' Ecclesiastes 9:16
It's not that some people are brainy, it's just they know how to pass exams. Ask them if they understand the difference between 'Photosynthesis' and 'Photoshop' and they'll be left scratching the fluff on their chins. And yet they could probably still pass GCSE Science because they learned the right bite-size chunks to quote on a test paper. Knowledge and wisdom is not the same thing. Having a head full of facts and quotes may come in handy for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? but it won't help you get to grips with life. Knowledge gives the correct answer; wisdom gives insight. So when a best friend tells you she's thinking about sleeping with the school Romeo; the knowledge of human biology says there's a scientific probability that she may leave the situation with either an infection or new life growing inside her. Wisdom says there's an emotional probability that she will leave the situation feeling used, hurt and regretful. Knowledge quotes relevant verses regarding sex outside of marriage. Wisdom understands who the verses benefit. Knowledge says the verses are surely outdated because 'everybody does it, don't they'? Wisdom says the verses never change because people never change; that sex outside of marriage is not the best that God has intended for us. With wisdom, it's not what you know but who you know.
Bible in a year: 2 Chron 1-4; John 10:22-42; Ps 83:1-8; Pr 26:13-16;
Posted 15 November 2010 - 05:19 AM
Get smart (2) 14 Nov 2010
'Wisdom is better than muscle' Ecclesiastes 9:16
You can find out yesterday's top temperature in Buenos Aires at the click of a mouse. You can find out Roger Bannister's exact sub-four minute mile to the nearest tenth of a second at the flick of a page. You can even find out what went through Alexander the Great's mind by watching a film. One thing you'll never learn from Google, the Guinness Book of Records or your local Odeon, though, is wisdom. 'Do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all humanity.' (Job 28:12, 21 NLT). Knowledge is easily accessible but wisdom is hard to pin down - unless you actively pursue it. When you know God, you know where to find it. You're never lost with a prayer at your disposal, 'If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking' (James. 1:5 NLT). You're never stuck with a face buried in the your most reliable source of wisdom, the Bible: 'The instructions of The Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple' (Ps. 19:7 NLT). And you're never in a muddle with the Holy Spirit: 'Who can know the Lord's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach Him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ' (1 Cor. 2:16 NLT).
Bible in a year: Num 9:15 ?23; Exodus 24:15; Matt 17:1-8; Acts 1:9-11
Get smart (3) 15 Nov 2010
'Wisdom is better than muscle' Ecclesiastes 9:16
Shampoo companies say 'because you're worth it'. Careers advisors say 'you are in the driving seat'. Even clothes on shop hangers seem to scream 'you can be who you want to be (if you just buy me)'. A lot of our world is geared to getting us thinking about ourselves. We're a self-absorbed, self-important race of people. Wisdom says, 'Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.' (Phil. 2:4 NLT). The difference between a child and a grown-up is not whether you watch Tweenies or not, it's how you think of others. A child can happily bully others into his own way but a grown up thinks of others' needs as well as their own. Childish Christians treat God like the tooth fairy: 'what little present might He leave under my pillow tonight?' Prayer is like the Argos catalogue - page after page of stuff to bring them happiness. Church is like V Festival - they hope their favourite songs are played. Childish Christians play with God like a toy for their purposes. Grown-up Christians get smart; they wake up expecting God to work through them in fresh ways. They make the 'me-first' mental shift to 'God-first' - praying like Paul, 'I don't think about what would be good for me but what would be good for many people so that they might be saved' (1 Cor. 5:20).
Bible in a year: 2 Chron 5-7; John 11:1-16; Ps 83:9-18; Pr 26:17-22;
Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:15 PM
'So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife' Ruth 4:13
When it comes to telling our story, we can often be in a mad sprint to cross the 'and they all lived happily ever after' finishing line. The important stuff, though, is the bit just before then - the lessons to learn lie somewhere between 'once upon a time...' and the closing credits. If the book of Ruth were to be turned into a romantic chick-flick, the script would be geared to Ruth and Boaz eating each other's face as the credits roll but the really interesting part for the audience would be how they arrived at that moment. Our first pivotal point would be how our characters meet. Ruth isn't looking for any old guy; she has her sights set on one specific hunk. Her buddy (these films always have a meddling buddy, right?) has done the boyf research thing: 'he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor' (Ruth 3:2 NKJ). Our first lesson of the story can be spotted here: when you want something, you've got to keep your eyes peeled for an opportune time. It's the same with prayer - do your research and keep your eyes open to what God is doing. If it's God's will, an opportunity will rise for the taking. Part of Ruth's movie is about recognising God's specific plans. Ultimately, that's your movie too: acting the leading role in a plot-line written for the kingdom's 'happily ever after'.
Bible in a year: 2 Chron 22-24; John 12:12-19; Ps 102:1-11; Pr 27:7-9;
Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:33 AM
'So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife...' Ruth 4:13
In order to prepare Ruth for meeting Boaz, her future husband, Naomi taught her two important principles about succeeding in life: 1) You must have the right attitude. Naomi said to Ruth, '...anoint yourself...' (Ruth 3:3 NKJV). In Bible times people anointed themselves with oil in order to be refreshed and renewed. So Ruth was, in essence, adopting the right attitude. If you're praying for a good job or a suitable partner or a favourable outcome in a particular area but it hasn't happened yet, don't automatically blame Satan-check your attitude. 'Let God re-make you so that your whole attitude...is changed' (Romans 12:2 PHPS). To get the right result, you need the right approach. 2) You must be willing to stand out in the crowd. Naomi instructed Ruth, '...put on your best garment...' (Ruth 3:3 NKJV). But why get dressed up for something that hasn't happened yet? Because God blesses prepared people! When your time comes you must be ready. Ruth's story teaches us that it's those who are willing to stand out in the crowd who get noticed. Any time you dress for where you're going, there's a good chance you'll look out of place where you are. That's okay. Your highest priority should be God's approval, not man's. You must know you have a definite destination, otherwise you'll be tempted to make excuses and try to explain why you're so different from everyone else. When you know where God is taking you, you won't care. The truth is, when others look at your preparation they should be in no doubt as to your destination.
Bible in a Year: Lev 27:30-33; Num 31:48-54; 1 Cor 16:1-3; 2 Cor 9:15;
How to Prepare Yourself (3) 22 Nov 2010
'So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife.' Ruth 4:13
Observe two more things Naomi taught Ruth, in preparation for meeting Boaz: 1) Make sure you're in the right place. Naomi told Ruth, 'Go down to the threshing floor' (Ruth 3:3 NKJV). Why? Because that's where Boaz was! To receive what God has for you, you must be in the right place spiritually. Satan will tell you you're unworthy. He will try to convince you to stay where you are and to listen to those who'd keep you from where God wants you to be. He will make you feel out of place even when you're in the right place. Don't believe his lies; when God calls you He equips you, empowers you, and uses you for His glory. 2) Understand the importance of timing. 'Do not make yourself known to the man until...' (Ruth 3:3 NKJV). Ruth had waited a long time for this moment; now she had to learn to be quiet because the person God planned to bless her through was sleeping. It's hard to be all keyed up about something nobody else is excited about; you want to get them excited too. But sometimes God says, 'Wait.' Stop working to make things happen before their time! Don't try to promote yourself. 'The vision is yet for an appointed time...Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come' (Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV). God may not respond when you think He should, but His timing is perfect. He has blessings with your name on them, and no matter how many others want them, when the time is right He will give them to you.
Bible in a Year: 2 Chron 25-28; John 12:20-36; Ps 102:12-17; Pr 27:10-12;
Posted 25 November 2010 - 04:42 AM
'I have played the fool' 1 Samuel 26:21
What do you want your last words to be? Something like, 'I leave my World Cup Winner's medals to my eldest, my Oscar to my youngest, and my Vogue photo-shoots to my darling top model totty...' Whatever, chances are you've set your sights a little higher than King Saul, who in his final speech said: 'I have played the fool...'(1 Sam. 26:21 NKJ). His words could so easily have been, 'I was a great king who was led by God to great things' but instead he played dumb when it came to God. His life's turning point hinged on an attack by his enemies, the Philistines. In an attempt to get things moving, he cut corners to God by offering sacrifices that he was told could only come from the prophet Samuel. His disobedience to God unravelled a whole string of events eventually leading to his suicide on a battlefield. Here's how to avoid playing the fool yourself... 1) Don't put logic over loyalty. Saul rationalised, '"I saw my men scattering ... you didn't arrive when you said ... the Philistines are ready for battle"' (1 Sam. 13:11 NLT). Listen to God first and trust him - even if it doesn't make sense to you. He knows best! 2) Don't put your feelings over faith. Saul was led by his gut reaction, '"I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself"' (1 Sam. 13:12 NLT). Note the words, 'I felt.' Some things can feel so right, yet be so wrong. Only trust your feelings when they line up with God's Word.
Bible in a year: 2 Chron 35-36; John 13:18-30; Ps 114; Pr 27:20-22;
Posted 26 November 2010 - 04:11 AM
'Whoever wants to be a leader ... must be your servant' Matthew 20:26
You don't need the captain's armband or the seat closest to the lectern to be a leader. Leadership is as much a state of heart as it is a position. If you put others before yourself, according to Jesus' thinking, you're a leader: 'Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many' (Matt. 20:26-28 NLT). If you realise you're a team player, not the full enchilada; you're a leader. Jesus said, 'A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse' (Mark 3:24 NLT); in other words, you can't sink someone else's end of the boat and keep your own afloat. Good leaders don't care who gets the credit. If you're so bad at stuff it brings you to your knees; you're a leader. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says, 'You should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ' (NLT). When you're in way over your head and stuck for the next move, ask Jesus what to do. In Christ are all the answers and characteristics to imitate. When you're led by Christ; you'll find others following your lead. A real leader isn't found on a job bulletin board; it's found in the faith and actions of the heart.
Servant-hearted (2) 27 Nov 2010
'Whoever wants to be a leader ... must be your servant' Matthew 20:26
The problem is, the word 'servant' conjures up images of downtrodden, poorly-paid domestic help, who scrub the gussets of lords and ladies for tuppence an hour. Or our older brother forcing us to make him a brew, as we mutter under our breath, 'why should I? I'm not your servant!' 'Servant' implies giving out for little thanks. 'Servant' implies hard work. Is Jesus therefore saying we need to become like badly-tipped waitresses if we want to lead? Maybe our internal dictionaries need to get a new definition of 'servant'. Jesus, the son of God, called Himself a servant: 'For even the son of man did not come to be served but to serve' (Mark 10:45 NLT). One of the best examples of being a leader who serves is found at the last supper. Jesus knows this is His last meal before being murdered so it would be pretty understandable for Him to be wrapped up in His own problems. Yet Jesus isn't distracted by Himself, even under the most intense pressure imaginable. His attention stays focused on His team. His last evening is spent building others up with prayer and quality time. And when it comes to washing the roadside camel-dung off everyone's feet, it's not the hired help with towel and soapy water at hand; it's Jesus. JC leadership means the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
Bible in a year: 3 John; Jude; John 13:31-38; Ps 118:1-9; Pr 27: 23-27;
Bible in a year: Jos 1-4; John 14:1-14; Ps 118:10-18; Pr 28:1-4;
Posted 28 November 2010 - 04:21 PM
'The leader should be like a servant' Luke 22:26
When a guy calls a girl a 'dog' he usually means that facially she resembles his pedigree chum. When a girl calls a guy a 'dog' she usually means his breath is comparable to a pooch that's just used its tongue for a toilet. So you might not respond too well to me telling you to be like a dog. But... before you clout us with your handbag, stop and think about the beauty of a Guide Dog. Those loyal Labs are trained for one sole purpose: to serve their master. It's not as if Labs haven't anything better to do - they're happy enough lazing next to a sleepy fire or chasing a Frisbee in the park or chewing the stuffing out of a sofa. But a Lab trained to serve the sightless, puts all that aside, to become alert at a traffic light or to lead a safe path in the supermarket. Guide Dogs have been trained well to know their noble purpose - service. You are trained for one sole purpose: to serve the master. Most world leaders are served by the poor; but our Bible tells us to flip this 360; the poor are to be served by us. 'Mercy is a loan to God, and God pays back those loans in full' (Prov. 19:17 TM). Becoming great starts with the status of a dog - loyal to his master.
Bible in a year: Gen 14:18; Ps 110; Heb 5:5-11;
Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:23 AM
'In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed' Genesis 12:3
In order to bless all the families of the earth, Abraham had to start with his own family. After all, how could he be good news to the earth if he was bad news in his own home? Equally, if we want to sail the seven seas with the good news of Jesus; shouldn't we be getting it right in our own school, our own neighbourhood; our own home first? For example, if we're a 24/7 walking mood machine with our own Mum, how are we going to be with a hostile neighbour in some far flung anti-Christian desert land? Matthew 25:23 says this, 'You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities'(NLT). If you can be a blessing in your small beginnings, you can be trusted for greater blessings later. And there's no time like the present to start practicing. So you want to be Billy Graham? Start by telling your mum what you learned at church this week. So you want to work with the street children of Mumbai? Start by babysitting for your next door neighbour's annoying kids. So you want to be Tim Hughes? Start by worshipping with your everyday living before picking up a guitar. Be faithful in the small and be faithful with the many. 'There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord' (1 Cor. 12:5 NLT).
Bible in a year: Jos 8:30 - 10:43; John 14:26 - 15:4; Ps 146; Pr 28:9-12;
Posted 02 December 2010 - 01:44 PM
'Examine yourselves' 2 Corinthians 13:5
When things go wrong, we have a natural instinct to blame everyone else. The 'it's-not-me-it's-them' syndrome kicks in. So that teacher in school that you always seem to clash with is the one causing the problem, not you: 'They've just got it in for me, it's not fair!' Parents who give you a hard time are the ones causing all the hassle, not you: 'They just don't understand me, they need to lighten up!' That friend who you fell out with last week has got issues, not you: 'How dare she treat me like that!' The Bible says, 'Examine yourselves'. God knows that it's so easy for us to do things our own way, not His way, and that we tend to blame other people when things go wrong. Living the Christian life is not just about getting to know Jesus, but also about changing to become more like Him. Sack off the 'it's-not-me-it's-them' syndrome and let God handle your issues instead. Say goodbye to; 'anger, bitterness, hate, impatience, greed - bad attitudes' and hello to God's, 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control' (Gal. 5: 22-23 NLT). Today, 'Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it' (2 Cor. 13:5 TM).
Bible in a year: Jos 11-13; John 15:5- 17; Ps 14; Pr 28:13- 16;
Posted 02 December 2010 - 01:46 PM
'Don't ... unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief' 2 Corinthians 2:11
Satan called a worldwide convention of demons... He said, 'We can't keep Christians from going to church. We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Saviour. Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken... 'So let's steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ ... Tempt them ... Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to keep the TV, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ. 'Give them Santa Claus to distract them from the real meaning of Christmas. Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about His resurrection and power over sin and death. Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation....And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences.' It was quite a plan! The demons went eagerly, causing Christians everywhere to get more busy, going here and there. Having little time for their God or their families, and no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives. I guess the question is, has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge! Does 'busy' mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?
Bible in a year: Jos 14-15; John 15:18-27; Ps 65; Pr 28:17-20;
Posted 03 December 2010 - 01:51 PM
'God has carefully placed each part of the body right where He wanted it.' 1 Corinthians 12:18
Adverts, magazines, billboards, TV... They tell us we're not thin enough, healthy enough, fit enough, tall enough, clever enough, rich enough, famous enough, talented enough! In short they tell us over and over that we're not good enough, but we could be if... we bought this, did that, went there! They can leave us feeling bottom of the heap, misfits, unacceptable, useless. Listen to God instead. He made you, He knows all about you. Psalm 139:13-14 tells us; 'Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb... Body and soul, I am marvellously made!' Know you matter. The Bible tells us, 'Each of us is now a part of His resurrection body ... The old labels we once used to identify ourselves ... are no longer useful ... all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge. It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together... If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where He wanted it...What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place (1 Cor. 12:13-19 TM). We each have value just as we are and God has given us gifts and a special purpose so that the body of Christ will function properly.
Bible in a year: Jos 16:1 - 19:23; John 16:1-11; Ps 130; Pr 28:21-24;
We all matter (2) 04 Dec 2010
'How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!' Psalm 133:1
Do you find that some people just get right on your nerves? They totally do your head in! Even their breathing irritates you, and as for their ridiculous laugh and piercing personality - aagh! Just the sight of them is enough to spoil your day! God says 'How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!' And He's not just talking about your family here, but everyone in God's family. Yes, all them lot in church. In fact, Christians everywhere! Now it's easy to imagine how great life would be if indeed we did get along with everyone... but it's easier said than done, right? So how do we do what God is asking us to do? First: Stop focusing on the negative and concentrate on the positive: 'Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath ... Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it.' (Rom. 12:14-19 TM) Second: Take responsibility for your own actions: 'Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (Phil. 2: 14-15 NIV).
Bible in a year: Jos 19:24 - 21:45; John 16:12-18; Ps 2; Pr 28:25-28;
Posted 06 December 2010 - 06:27 PM
'Honour others more than you do yourself' Romans 12:10
We want the biggest piece of cake! We want to be picked for the team first! When we know the answer we want to be the first to say it! When we have an idea we want it to be used! We want to be told we're the best dressed, the funniest friend, the coolest, the smartest! We want to be noticed. 'It's all about me, me, me!' God says, 'Honour others more than you do yourself.' It's said that William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli were both great leaders. Gladstone, was made Prime Minister of Great Britain four different times, the only person in history to achieve that honour. Disraeli, served twice as Prime Minister. His greatest accomplishment was masterminding Britain's purchase of the Suez Canal. Both men accomplished a lot. But what really separated them was their approach to people. A young woman, who spent time with both men, was asked for her impression of them, she said, 'When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.' There's an important lesson here. Good leaders win the confidence, trust and friendship of people they lead by taking the spotlight off themselves and putting it on others. In fact, this principle will work for anybody. It's why God says, 'honour others more than you do yourself.'
Bible in a year: Jos 22-24; John 16:19-33; Ps 147:1-11; Pr 29:1-5;
Posted 08 December 2010 - 09:59 AM
'Don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow' Matthew 6:34
In his song 'Three Little Birds', Bob Marley sings: 'don't worry about a thing because every little thing is gonna be alright.' Mr Marley was putting in a song what God has been telling us for ages... 'Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes' (Matt. 6:34 TM) Like a magnet, worry attracts the very things we fear, clouds our judgement and distorts our perspective. How do we stop it? (1) Replace it: Do something else instead. The only way to break it is to replace it: 'You'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on ... the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse (Phil. 4:8 TM). (2) Dissect it: 'Fear involves torment' (1 Jn. 4:18 NKJ). Worry torments you; your imagination runs amok, conjuring up all kinds of scary scenarios. But pull it apart, dissect it - you see how illogical it is and it loses its power to control you. (3) Rise above it: Worry is like being stuck in the clouds on an airplane - you can't see anything - but when the plane ascends above the clouds you can see for miles, it's all clear. When worry tries to fog you in, rise above, trust God: 'Those who trust in the Lord ... will soar ... like eagles' (Is. 40:31 NLT).
Bible in a year: Col 3-4; Philemon; John 17:13-26; Ps 148:1-6; Pr 29:11-15;
Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:13 PM
'Pray like this...' Matthew 6:9
Jesus had something to say about prayer: 'The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programmes and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and He knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what's best- as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.'(Matt. 6:7-13 TM) When we pray the way Jesus taught us, it sets us straight, puts life into the right perspective. What else? One: It reminds us who we are and who we belong too: we are in God's family and no one can ever change that! He promises 'I am with you always' (Matt. 28:20 NLT). Two: It leaves God in charge. He knows best: 'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts' (Is. 55:8 NLT).Three: It stops us worrying. God will provide for our needs. Four: It keeps us in check, keeps us forgiven and forgiving. Five: It protects us: the devil's got no chance against God. Six: It fills us full of God's hope: whatever's happening, God's got it sorted!
Bible in a year: Neh 1-4; John 18:1-11; Ps 148:7-14; Pr 29:16-21;
Posted 13 December 2010 - 08:26 AM
'The Lord gave me just what I asked for' 1 Samuel 1:27
Hannah was the fourth woman in the Bible to find life really difficult because she couldn't have any children. Members of her own family 'took the rip out of her' because of it. But Hannah never lashed out at them, she just quietly kept on asking God to work a miracle in her life and give her a son. After many years God did! Hannah was so thankful! But the thing that is so great about Hannah was that she was always thankful to God, even before He gave her what she wanted. She had an attitude of gratitude - what about you? Psalm 118:1 says, 'Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.' (NIV) We need to have an attitude of gratitude to our Maker. This is more than a quick 'cheers for the grub, God' said before we eat a meal. It's about knowing that all we have, our very existence, is a gift from God. Being thankful to God in everything. Not something we simply say - but the way we live. If you are truly thankful for your food, you will share it. If you are truly thankful for others, you will serve them. If you are truly thankful for the things you have, you will let others use them. If you are truly thankful for your intellectual gifts and talents, you will use them for good. If you are truly thankful for being born in a free country, you will help those who weren't.
Bible in a year: Neh 11-13; John 19:1-16; Ps 105:8-15; Pr 30:5-9;
Posted 14 December 2010 - 11:46 AM
'Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress' 1 Timothy 4:15
Hopes were high for millions of fans, as Manager Fabio Capello led the England football team on to qualify for the World Cup in June this year. Capello's England drew in the first game 1-1 with USA after Robert Green makes a goalkeeper's blunder that will never be forgotten. 'Poor Robert Green, RIP. One mistake and he's buried. Forwards get to miss any number of open goals and they always get another chance. Goalies? Forget it', reported the Guardian newspaper. Capello declared the tournament's Jabulani ball was 'impossible to control.' More criticism for Capello and the team came after the 0 -0 score in the second match against Algeria. Hopes were raised in the third match against Slovenia, with England winning 1-0. But then it was all over as they were defeated by Germany 4-1. But did the manager quit? Did the team decide to pack it in? No! They came home determined to throw everything into coming back fitter, stronger, ready to win in 2014. We need to have that same kind of determination to live the Christian life: 'Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity... Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live ... Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.(vv. 12-16 NLT).
Bible in a year: Micah 1-4; John 19:17-30; Ps 105:16-22; Pr 30:10-14;
Posted 15 December 2010 - 04:27 AM
'I have acted with integrity' Psalm 26:1
To protect themselves from the barbaric hordes from the north, the people of China built the Great Wall. It was so high nobody could climb over it and so thick nobody could break through it, so they settled back to enjoy life. During the first hundred years of the wall's existence, China was invaded three different times. Not once did the enemy try to break down the wall or climb over it; they simply bribed the gatekeeper and marched in. Can you believe they could let this happen? What went wrong? Lack of integrity! Integrity means doing the right thing - even when no one is looking. Integrity keeps us close to God. It stops us making foolish mistakes that damage our lives big time. It's why David writes to God in Psalm 26 asking Him to check him out and make sure he's living a life of integrity. So here's your rough guide to living a life of integrity: Ask yourself the following questions: (1) Am I the same, no matter who I'm with? (2) Am I willing to make decisions that are best for others, even though another choice would benefit me more? (3) Can I be counted on to keep the commitments I've made to God, myself and others? (4) Do I do the right thing - even when no one is looking? If your answer to these questions is either is 'no', 'sometimes', or 'hmm, not sure' - in short anything other than yes - then ask God to help you get your integrity act together.
Bible in a year: Micah 5-7; John 19:30-42; Ps 105:23-36; Pr 30:15-19;
Posted 16 December 2010 - 04:39 PM
'May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you' Psalm 25:21
It might not seem like a big deal now, but later in life when you realise you don't have it, you'll be wishing you did. It's a powerful force; it can stop you getting sacked from a job; prevent you getting locked up in a cell; it can stop a marriage break-up and can even help out any children you may have. Yes, we're talking integrity again! 'Guard my life ... let me not be put to shame ... May integrity ... protect me.' You can't buy it and you don't get it overnight. It's like a muscle - the more you use it the stronger it gets. It's like a plant: the more you water it, the bigger it grows, the deeper its roots go. Which is why, even though it may not seem like a big deal now, you need to start doing something about it now! Surf through the Old Testament and you'll bump into Joseph and David. They lived at different times but went through similar experiences - both met a 'strictly off-limits' sexy stunner when they were in a position to say, 'I'll have a piece of that thank you very much!' Joseph said no. David said yes. Result - things couldn't have ended better for Joseph. And for David, whilst the first child from that relationship died, eventually Solomon was born who went on to become king. Isn't God's grace amazing?! Wherever you are whatever you're doing, decide to live a life of integrity - it will have a massive effect on your future.
Bible in a year: 2 Tim 1-4; John 20:1-9; Ps 105:37-45; Pr 30:20-23;
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