Proverbs 11:13 NLT

Be careful whom you confide in

Proverbs 11:13 NLT

If you need help with a problem in your personal life, your family, or your career, keep the following things in mind: (1) Bad news is often remembered longer than good news. Long after you have resolved the issue and moved on with your life, the wrong people will continue to focus on it and talk about it. That’s why God’s Word says, “Those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.” (2) Be careful who advises you. “The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful” (Proverbs 12:5 NKJV). Be sure you reach for th e right person. There are many sources of wisdom in this world, “but the wisdom that is from above is… pure… peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and… hypocrisy” (Jas 3:17 NKJV). Note the words, “the wisdom that is from above.” Confide only in a counsellor who walks according to the principles of God’s Word. (3) Make sure the person you trust isn’t confiding in others you wouldn’t trust. They say you can tell a man by the company he keeps. And it’s true! The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Ps 1:1 NKJV). (4) “Problem talk” can portray you as a victim instead of an overcomer. Nobody wants to back a loser. When Job lost everything, almost everybody avoided him. It was only after God doubled Job’s blessings that they returned to participate in his life and bring him gifts. It’s always wise to control your mouth, your thoughts, and your focus. Remember, silence can never be misquoted.

Soul food: 1 Chr 3:1-4:23Mark 2:1-12Ps 119:1-8Prov 20:15-18

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James 1:22 NIV ~ Shane based

Shame-based thinking (2)

James 1:22 NIV

Shame grows in the dark, but once you expose it to the light of God’s Word, it loses its grip on you. Feelings can be so fickle. And often they’re triggered by everyday things like a familiar song, the mention of someone who hurt you, an anniversary, a birthday, a holiday such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day. That’s why James tells us, “Do not merely listen to the word… Do what it says.” One counsellor writes: “Shame can hold us back, hold us down, and keep us staring at our feet… Many systems and people are controlled by it and want us to play their gam e… Compulsive behaviours, sexually addictive behaviours, overeating, chemical abuse, and addictive gambling are all shame-based behaviours… Our past experiences, and the brainwashing we may have had, put shame on us. ‘Don’t think… don’t feel… don’t grow or change… don’t feel alive… be ashamed!’ Be done with shame! Attack it. Go to war with it. Learn to recognize and avoid it like the plague.” The Bible says, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33 AMP). Whether you committed the offense or the offense was committed against you, “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7 NKJV). Note the word “all.” Instead of talking about how you feel, start talking about what you know! God’s Word, which is God’s opinion of you, is the greatest healing force on earth. So read it, believe it, speak it, and stand on it. As you do, you’ll begin to rise above your shame-based thinking.

Soul food: 1 Chr 1-2Mark 1:35-45Ps 78:65-72Prov 20:11-14

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Romans 12:2 CEV

Shame-based thinking (1)

Romans 12:2 CEV

When you’ve been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, it undermines your self-worth. You think, “If someone did that to me, there must be something wrong with me.” You feel like your soul is soiled; like you’re “damaged goods.” But you’re not! These two Scriptures are from God’s lips to your heart: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt” (Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV). “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past… I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV). What happened to you was bad, but you are not bad! Today God says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God” (Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV). Shame and depression go hand in hand. And while doctors can prescribe medication for depression, there’s no remedy for shame – except the medicine of God’s Word. So instead of believing your thoughts and emotions, stand on God’s Word regardless of how you feel. Being ashamed of who you are is like being perpetually punished – except you’re doing it to yourself. What’s the solution? “Let God change the way you think.”

Soul food: 1 John 3:11-5:21Mark 1:21-34Ps 78:56-64Prov 20:7-10

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Genesis 2:15 NKJV

Protect your home

Genesis 2:15 NKJV

The Bible says God put Adam into the garden “to work it and take care of it” (NIV). So even when you have a great home environment, you’ve still got to “work it and take care of it.” Left unattended, the best garden in the world will eventually turn into a weed patch. Similarly, if you devote all your time and energy to your career and none to your marriage and family, your home life will become a trouble zone. The Hebrew word for keep is the same as our English word meaning “to guard” or “protect.” Adam’s job was to guard and protect his home. “From what?” you ask. “After all, didn’t he live in a perfect environment?” Yes, but Satan was about to show up and wreak havoc! It’s been said that “the Devil is in the details.” Look closely, and chances are you’ll see him at work in your family in certain areas of dysfunction and stress. As couples, we fuss and fight, convinced that the other person is the problem. And that’s what the Devil wants us to think! He knows you’ll never solve the real problem when the person you’re fighting isn’t the real problem. You have a spiritual problem brought on by your selfish nature, which gives Satan an entry point into your home. Marriage was instituted by God. So when you see things from His viewpoint and start operating according to His rules, you’ll have the productive, purposeful, and peaceful relationship He wants you to have.

Soul food: 1 John 1:1-3:10Mark 1:9-20Ps 78:40-55Prov 20:4-6

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Isaiah 43:2 NKJV

Not out, but through

Isaiah 43:2 NKJV

Before God changes our circumstances, He often uses our circumstances to change us. Yes, He has promised to deliver us from our troubles, but not necessarily on our schedule or in the way we think. God wants to do more than just deliver us; He wants to develop us into the likeness of His Son and into the fullness of our God-given potential. Notice how often the word through is used in Scripture. To get to the Promised Land, Israel had to go through the Red Sea, through the wilderness, and through the Jordan River. Think about these two Scriptures: “As they pa ss through the Valley of Baca [brokenness, loss, grief, and weeping] they make it a spring…they go from strength to strength” (Psalm 84:5-7 NKJV). “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned” (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV). God doesn’t work in minutes, hours, and days; He works in seasons. The refiner knows how long the ore must stay in the fire to produce gold. The potter knows how long the clay must stay on the wheel to become a thing of value, beauty, and usefulness. Trust God; He knows what He’s doing. Be patient; while God is working for you, He’s working in you. When you get through this experience, you’ll look back and thank Him for the things He has taught you.

Soul food: Ezra 9-10Mark 1:1-8Ps 78:32-39Prov 20:1-3

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Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

You’ve been called by God

Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…sanctified you [set you apart]…I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Observe: (1) God knew you. The word knew means “to have intimate knowledge of.” When your delicate fingers were just a web, before your heartbeat registered on the monitor or the doctor could predict your gender, God knew all about you. “You…scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe” (Psalm 139:16 TLB). God knew what you were born to be, and provided everything you’d need to fulfil your life’s purpose . (2) God sanctified you [set you apart]. He fixed it so you wouldn’t fit in, and designed you so you couldn’t rest any place He didn’t want you to be. He intended you to wander and feel lost until you found Him. That’s why you’re uncomfortable in certain places and around certain people. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, you won’t fit in because God has set you apart for Himself. (3) God ordained you. Men may ordain, but only God can foreordain. Stop worrying about who does or doesn’t recognize your gifts. John Mason says, “Each person has been custom-made by God the Creator. Each of us has a unique and personal call on our lives…to be our own selves and not copies of other people.” God told Jeremiah, “Go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you” (Jeremiah 1:7-8 NLT). So the word for you today is: You’ve been called by God.

Soul food: Ezra 3-5Mat 28:1-10Ps 78:9-16Prov 19:24-26

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Isaiah 54:2 NKJV

You can change

Isaiah 54:2 NKJV

The desire to change is the key to growth in any area of life. Most of us desire improvement, yet at the same time we resist change. But you can’t have one without the other! Change is possible only if you want it badly enough. As Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express, observed: “You are the way you are, because that’s the way you want to be. If you really wanted to be any different, you’d be in the process of changing right now.” Change is never easy. It takes lots of time, tremendous amounts of energy, perseverance, and – of course – desire. But the desire t o change must translate into a decision to change. And you must make that decision day after day. It’s said that Earl Weaver, manager of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, was unhappy with a decision by the umpire so he charged out of the dugout and yelled at him, “Are you gonna get any better, or is this it?” If you want to change, you must ask yourself a similar question. Are you going to keep working and trying to get better, or is this as good as it gets? The Bible puts it like this: “Enlarge the place of your tent; and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.” Pay close attention to the words enlarge, stretch, lengthen, and strengthen. What do they have in common? They all require commitment and persistence. That’s what it takes to change your life. And the good news is that with God’s help, you can do it – starting today.

Soul food: Ezra 1-2Mat 27:57-66Ps 78:1-8Prov 19:21-23

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Isaiah 48:15 NIV

When God calls you

Isaiah 48:15 NIV

God told Jeremiah, “Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work” (Jer 1:5 NCV). When God decides to use you, five things happen: First, there is a call. God asks common people to do uncommon things, like Peter getting out of a boat and walking on water. Second, there is fear. When God called Moses to stand before Pharaoh, he said, “I’m not a good enough speaker; use somebody else.” Third, there is reassurance. The thought of filling Moses’ shoes must have shaken Joshua to the core, so God told him, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you” (Joshua 1:5 NKJV). F ourth, there is a decision. Sometimes we say yes to God and sometimes we say no. When we say yes we live with joy; when we say no we forfeit that joy. But there’s always a decision. Fifth, there is a changed life. Those who say yes to God’s call don’t walk perfectly, not by a long shot. But because they say yes, they learn and grow even from their failures. Indeed, their failures often become part of their ability to minister to others. And those who say no to God are changed too; they become a little harder, a little more resistant to His calling, and a little more likely to say no next time. Is God calling you? Maybe it has to do with your work, or your relationships, or your money, or facing your biggest fear. God’s call will go to the core of who you are and what you do. Saying yes to Him is the best decision you’ll ever make.

Soul food: Zeph 1-3Mat 27:45-56Ps 46Prov 19:18-20

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2 Samuel 23:16 NKJV

Lessons from the life of David (4)

2 Samuel 23:16 NKJV

David knew how to develop other leaders. He didn’t “use” people to get what he wanted. He recognized their talent, gave them opportunities to serve, then rewarded and honoured them. And as a result they were willing to lay down their lives for him. In 2 Samuel 23 we read: “David said with longing, ‘Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem’…So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well…and brought it to David” (vv. 15-16 NKJV). It’s impossible to learn leadership without actually leading. After all, l eadership is action. As leaders our natural tendency is to give others tasks to perform rather than leadership functions to fulfil. But if we don’t delegate leadership – with authority as well as accountability – our people will never gain the experience they need to lead well. If you’re a leader answer this question honestly: Are you providing your people with leadership experiences? “But what if they fail?” you ask. Count on it – they will! But if you’ve picked people with genuine leadership ability, they will learn from it. Dr. John Maxwell writes: “As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to think of myself as a lid lifter. That’s my main function as a team leader. If I can lift the leadership lids for the members of my team, then I’m doing my job. The more barriers I remove for my people, the more likely they are to rise up to their potential.” David developed leaders who became known as “mighty men,” and you must invest in others too.

Soul food: 1 Tim 1-3Mat 27:27-32Ps 42:1-5Prov 19:12-14

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Romans 8:28 NKJV

Lessons from the life of David (1)

Romans 8:28 NKJV

God said, “I have found David…a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22 NKJV). When God says that about someone, you’d be wise to observe that person’s life. David started out as a shepherd and ended up as king. The chances of that happening were zero. Shepherds were so low on the social totem pole they couldn’t testify in a court of law because their word wasn’t considered reliable. Yet David ended up writing the most widely read psalms of all time. Understand this: When you invite God into your life, He cancels the liabilities of your past and rewrites your future. But you must choose what God has chosen for you! There’s an interesting contrast between Paul and David. Paul lived his chapters of disobedience before he met Christ, then went on to live an exemplary life. David became king at thirty, and during his forty years in leadership experienced devastating failure, including adultery and murder. There are two important lessons here: (1) Don’t rush to judgement. It’s not over until God says it’s over! David’s story is a warning to the transgressor, a rebuke to the self-righteous, a verification of God’s justice that won’t allow you to escape your consequences, and a testimony to His love that will never let go of you. (2) God can bring good out of what seems like a bad situation. He can take every experience you’ve been through and make it work for good – either your own good or the good of others. Bottom line: He can make “all things work together for good.”

Soul food: Nah 1-3Mat 27:1-10Ps 65Prov 19:5-8

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