Acts 16:7 NKJV

We’ve all been given individual gifts and goals in life, and God is the giver of both. Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6 NKJV). When you have a desire that’s “born of the flesh,” don’t expect God to fulfill it. It’s okay to admire and learn from gifted, successful people, as long as you don’t try to duplicate them. It’s okay to emulate their good character qualities and seek their input as long as you go to God, the architect of each of our lives, and ask Him to show you His blu eprint for your life. Even though David’s desire was to build the temple, God told him his son, Solomon, would ultimately build it. David’s job was to raise the money and materials for the project. If you’re a “make-it-happen” sort of person, that kind of thinking will go against your grain. So read this and think about it: “They were forbidden by the…Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia…pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:6-10 NKJV). So let God set your goals and you’ll be heading in the right direction.

Soul food: Micah 1-4John 19:17-30Ps 105:16-22Prov 30:10-14

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A spirit of fear

“A spirit of fear”

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

The Bible tells us that fear is a “spirit.” This spirit has a mind that thinks and a voice that speaks, and if you allow it to – it will control you. Today if you’re battling a “spirit of fear,” make this your prayer: “Lord, Your Word says when I seek Your face, You’ll hear me and deliver me from all my fears (See Psalm 34:4). So I cast down every anxious thought that rises up against what I know about You and Your power (See 2 Corinthians 10:5). I stand on the promise that You’ll never leave nor forsake me (See Hebrews 13:5). I rest in the truth that nothing is too hard for You (See Jeremiah 32:17). I rejoice in the assurance that You’ve already given Your angels responsibility for keeping and protecting me in all my ways (See Psalm 91:11). I resist the spirit of fear, and command it to flee in Jesus’ name (See James 4:7). By faith I decree that Your peace, which passes human understanding, will guard my heart and mind (See Philippians 4:7). Therefore, I will not let my heart be troubled or afraid (See John 14:27). In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.” Now instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the Problem-Solver – God! That may not immediately resolve your difficulty, but it’ll keep you in a peaceful state of mind while you wait for God to work. Isaiah said, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT). Note the word “fixed.” As you go through this day with your mind “fixed” on God, you’ll have “perfect and constant peace” (AMPC).

Soul food: Neh 11-13John 19:1-16Ps 105:8-15Prov 30:5-9

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Are you on overload?

Are you on overload?

Ecclesiastes 2:24 NLT

There will be times in life when it feels like there’s too much to do, and not enough time to do it. However, when you’re constantly on overload, it shows up in your attitude, your relationships, your job performance, and even your walk with God. If that’s where you are today, here’s what you need to do: (1) Pray. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22 NIV). Before you fall apart, ask God for the wisdom to evaluate what you are doing, and then be honest with yourself about why you’re i n this predicament. The writer of Proverbs says, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off…like an eagle” (Proverbs 23:4-5 NIV). Ask God to show you where you may be sacrificing your peace, health, and relationships on the altar of materialism. (2) Delegate. Moses, one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament, was falling apart under the weight of responsibilities he needed to share with others. He got so depressed that he asked God to take his life! There were capable people all around him who were willing to help, but he wouldn’t let them. Sound familiar? As long as you insist on controlling and doing everything yourself, your productivity will stall and your peace of mind will evaporate. Bottom line: If you’re on overload today, start making some changes.

Soul food: Neh 5-7John 18:12-24Ps 150Prov 29:22-27

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Wehn you cant make ends meet

When you can’t make ends meet

Psalm 34:10 NLT

Have you lost your job? Are you facing the possibility of losing your home or going bankrupt? Are you in the toughest place you’ve ever been? Paul “suffered the loss of all things” (Philippians 3:8 NAS), but he didn’t stay there. He went on to say, “My God shall supply all your need” (Philippians 4:19 NKJV). And God can do that for you – with or without a paycheck or some other anticipated source of income. The psalmist said, “Those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.” One of the things you have to watch out for is Satan’s worst-case-scenar io talk. If you allow him, he will paint mental images of you living in a cardboard box, under a bridge. Stand on God’s Word today and declare: “Lord, You said if I’m willing and obedient, I will enjoy the best You have to offer (See Isaiah 1:19). You promise to surround me with favour (See Psalm 5:12). Your Word says that You can do more than anything I could even ask or think, according to Your power that works within me (See Ephesians 3:20). Even though nothing seems to be going right for me just now, give me faith to believe You for good things and better days. Your Word tells me to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to You. That Your peace, which surpasses human understanding, will guard my heart and mind (See Philippians 4:6-7). Lord, honor Your Word today, in the name of Jesus, Amen.”

Soul food: Neh 8-10John 18:25-40Ps 105:1-7Prov 30:1-4

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Hold on to the word you’ve received

Hold on to the word you’ve received

Mark 4:15 NIV

In the parable of the sower, Jesus said, “Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.” Ever notice how you can sit at home and watch a two-hour, commercial-packed movie without feeling restless or bored, yet when the pastor’s sermon exceeds thirty or forty minutes, you keep glancing at your watch and can’t wait to get out of church? And if someone asked you the next day what he preached about, most times you couldn’t tell them. Jesus said, “Sat an comes and takes away the word.” So how can you retain it? (1) Write it down (See Exodus 17:14 NIV). When you make notes on what you read and hear, you’ll retain more, be more impacted, and get much more out of it. (2) Pray it through. Unless you pray over the Word you’re hearing, you’ll keep coming home from church moved but unchanged. Many of the great saints of old read through the Bible on their knees. You should try that too! (3) Discuss it with others. God’s Word is like a seed that multiplies and grows when it’s watered by conversation with others who share your faith. The Bible says, “Those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard” (Malachi 3:16 NIV). (4) Practice it daily. John tells us, “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). The best way to retain God’s Word is to practice its principles, or “flesh it out!”

Soul food: Neh 1-4John 18:1-11Ps 148:7-14Prov 29:16-21

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Your time has come

Your time has come

Esther 4:14 NKJV

Moses began his ministry when he was eighty. Esther started hers as a teenaged girl. When she heard the words of Mordecai – “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” – she could easily have said, “Give me time to grow up, get married, have children, and fulfill my dreams before asking me to put my life on the line to save the Jewish people.” But she didn’t. She said, “I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish” (v. 16 AMPC). Often what God does in you while you’re waiting is more important than the thing you’re waiting for. Sometimes you think you’re ready but God knows you’re not, so He puts you into the school of faith. That’s where you learn to listen to “the teacher” (the Holy Spirit), study your lessons, pass the tests, and graduate so that God can use you. It’s not a comfortable place to be, but God is more interested in your character than your comfort. Missionary Nancy Cockrell writes: “It was God’s plan all along to bring you here to serve Him, by using your gifts to minister to others – for such a time as this. He has given you the grace to reflect the love and character of Christ, to be a light in a darkened world – for such a time as this. You have a unique place of service in God’s kingdom, touching lives as only you can do – for such a time as this.” So here’s the question: Is God telling you today – your time has come?

Soul food: Col 3-4PhilemonJohn 17:13-26Ps 148:1-6Prov 29:11-15

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Putting skin on Jesus

“Putting skin on Jesus”

John 14:12 NKJV

It’s good to read about what Jesus did when He walked among us. But when you see someone living the way He did, it’s called “putting skin on Jesus.” Instead of just being a historic figure, His lifestyle becomes a reality. And isn’t that what people are looking for? Gandhi once said if he could meet Christians who were like Christ, he’d become one too. Unfortunately, the Christians he knew carried weapons and subjected him and his people to servitude. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.” Maybe you’re wondering how we could possibly do greater works than Jesus. Here’s how: He was one man confined to one place, whereas His redeemed family is capable of multiplying His works throughout the world. So what was Jesus like? For starters, He was compassionate, not condemning. Remember the woman caught in the act of adultery? When the Pharisees wanted to stone her, He said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7 NLT). Ouch! Who was Jesus talking about? The Pharisees or the religious hierarchy? No, He was talking about Himself! He was the only one without sin and He had no stones to throw! If you want to know what “putting skin on Jesus” looks like, the Bible lists these nine “fruits” (or Christlike qualities) that the Holy Spirit wants to produce in your life: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).

Soul food: Col 1-2John 17:1-12Ps 147:12-20Prov 29:6-10

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Discovering God’s will (2)

Discovering God’s will (2)

Romans 12:2 NKJV

For a redeemed child of God, nothing in life should be more important than discovering and doing His will. But you have four options: (1) You can remain ignorant of it. Chances are this isn’t you, or you wouldn’t be reading this daily devotional right now. Clearly you have a desire to know God’s will for your life and He will help you find it (See Isaiah 30:21). (2) You can know it and choose to disobey it. Jonah knew God’s will, but he ran from it and ended up in the biggest storm of his life. What was his problem? He didn’t like the assignment God gave him. Is your problem that you know God’s will but you just don’t like it? (3) You can know it but settle for less. The truth is you can sing in the choir and serve on the church board, yet deep in your heart know you’re settling for less than God’s will. (4) You can settle for nothing less than God’s will. There are moments when God’s will seems too difficult, too prolonged, and too unrewarding. Your own ideas seem easier, quicker, and more enjoyable. In the end, you find that His plan was better than yours and there will never be an exception to this rule. So you may as well decide from now on to yield to God’s will, do things His way, and believe Him for His best. Today get down on your knees and say with the psalmist, “I delight to do Your will, O my God…Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 NKJV).

Soul food: Josh 19:24-21:45John 16:12-18Ps 2Prov 28:25-28

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Discovering God’s will (1)

Discovering God’s will (1)

Romans 12:2 NKJV

The story is told of a man who lived on a beautiful farm. When he died, the property, which had been in the family for over 200 years, was sold to one of the neighbours. One day, the new owner was walking in a field when he noticed an odd-looking rock sticking out of the dirt. He took it home, washed it, and took it to a jewelry store. The jeweler confirmed what the owner already suspected. The old stone, which had been in the field for thousands of years, was a large, uncut emerald, and proved to be worth several million dollars. This gemstone had been in the field all along, waiting for someone to come along and discover it. Over the years, people had walked past it thousands of times and overlooked it, because it looked like nothing more than a common old garden rock. When we “discover” something, in actuality, we’re finding something that already exists even though we were unaware of it. Here’s the point: While many of us are seeking God’s will for our lives, often what we’re looking for is right under our nose but we keep searching because we don’t recognize it. To recognize a precious stone, you need to be familiar with its characteristics and know what to look for. Likewise, to recognize God’s will you must live by this Scripture: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” That calls for quality time reading your Bible, and talking with and listening to the Author.

Soul food: Josh 16:1-19:23John 16:1-11Ps 130Prov 28:21-24

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It’s a necessary part of the process

It’s a necessary part of the process

Psalm 32:8 NKJV

Why are you still here? When Jesus saved you, why didn’t He simply take you to heaven to be with Him? Because He’s not only interested in your final destination; He wants to do a work in you and through you on the way to it. We get impatient when it comes to God’s will for our lives. We just want to get there! But a great deal of time usually elapses between when God calls us and when we’ve fulfilled His will for our lives. And until we accept that, we’re not ready to go anywhere! We need to understand that the journey is an important process. It matters to God what you become on the way to where you’re going. And following Him in obedience through many unknowns, trials, and difficulties is an integral and indispensable part of your preparation. God uses the journey to teach you faith, refine your character, and equip you for greater challenges that lie ahead. In fact, if you’re in the process of seeking God’s will right now, you’re already fulfilling part of it in your life. God said, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.” Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you don’t know all you’d like to, you’re not making progress. Something is happening right now. Your faith is being stretched, your patience is being developed, your doubts are being confronted and conquered, and your relationship with God is growing deeper. He always prepares us in advance for what He has planned ahead for us. Yes, the struggle is uncomfortable – but it’s a necessary part of the process.

Soul food: Josh 5:1-8:29John 14:15-25Ps 118:19-29Prov 28:5-8

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