Let God tell you who you are!

Let God tell you who you are!

1 Chronicles 4:9 NKJV

The name Jabez means “pain and trouble.” Can you imagine walking into a room and hearing someone say, “Here comes trouble,” or someone describing you as “a pain”? And what’s more, Jabez’ mother labelled him that way the day he was born because “she gave birth to him in pain.” But Jabez refused to wear the label or let that name define him. Instead of looking back at his past and listening to his critics, he turned to God and prayed: “‘Oh, that You would bless me…and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested” (v. 10 NKJV). The label on the outside of a bottle tells you what’s on the inside. And when you let others label you, invariably they make your world too small. And once you accept the label they place on you, you start to believe that’s who you are and that you’ll never amount to anything more than that. No, only God can tell you who you are! So do what Jabez did – go directly to the source: God. He created you. He redeemed you. He calls you. He equips you. He empowers you. He rewards you. So when people try to limit you by putting labels on you, God steps in and says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV). The truth is that God loves and accepts you, and His approval trumps everybody else’s disapproval!

Soul food: 2 Chr 5-7John 11:1-16Ps 83:9-18Prov 26:17-22

 

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Anger management

Anger management

Ephesians 4:26 NLT

The first mention of anger in Scripture is when Cain got so angry with his brother Abel that he murdered him. Sixty percent of all murders in America are committed by family members. But anger not only kills others, it can kill you. Dr. Redford Williams, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University, states: “The hostility and anger associated with Type-A behavior is a major contributor to heart disease. People who struggle with anger are five times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease, and people with heart disease more than double their risk of a heart attack when they get angry.” Of course, there’s a difference between anger and mere aggravation. A little girl asked her father to explain that difference. So he picked up the phone, dialed a number, allowed his daughter to listen in, and when the other person answered, he said, “Hello. Is Melvin there?” Back came the answer, “There’s no one here named Melvin. Why don’t you look up numbers before you dial them?” The father waited a moment, then re-dialed the number. “Hello. Is Melvin there?” The man yelled, “I just told you there’s no Melvin here! Don’t call this number again!” then slammed down the receiver. The father looked at his daughter and said, “Honey, that was anger. Now let me show you aggravation.” He dialed the number again and when a voice roared back, “Hello!” her dad calmly said, “Hi. This is Melvin, have there been any calls for me?” The word anger is only one letter short of the word danger. So ask God to help you manage your anger. He will!

Soul food: 1 Chr 19:1-23:20John 9:24-41Ps 115Prov 25:26-28

 

Don’t brag about it

Don’t brag about it

Luke 17:10 NKJV

If you have a tendency to remind people of all the good things you do and the sacrifices you make, read what Jesus said: “When you have done all those things which you are commanded, say…’We have done what was our duty to do.'” We all deserve recognition for the good we do, and we thrive on appreciation. But lots of times we don’t get it, so we’re left with three choices: (1) We can succumb to self-pity and go around complaining about how the world doesn’t treat us right or give us a fair shake. (2) We can give way to resentment, walk around with a chip on our shoulder, and end up wondering why people don’t want to be around us. (3) We can adopt the attitude Jesus taught and say, “I’m only doing what God expects of me. And knowing He is pleased with me is reward enough.” If you try to run on the fuel of other people’s encouragement and praise, when it doesn’t come you’ll have no joy. And that’s bad because “the joy of the Lord [the joy that comes from knowing you walk under the smile of His approval] is your strength” (Ne 8:10). Living this way will make you a self-starter and a successful finisher. And when that happens, you’ll find favour at home and on the job, and end up with more friends than you know what to do with. Plus your real reward, the one that matters most, is guaranteed when you stand before the Master one day and hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

Soul food: 1 Chr 10:1-12:22John 8:42-59Ps 49Prov 25:18-20

 

Delivered from people pleasing

Delivered from people pleasing

Acts 26:17 NKJV

Paul’s ministry began when he met Jesus on the Damascus Road. In that humbling encounter, the Lord said to him: “Rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and…things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light” (vv. 16-18 NKJV). Before Paul could be successful in his calling and minister effect ively, he had to be delivered from the fear of people. That included those who knew him well, and those he had yet to meet who didn’t know him at all. He had to be detoxed from the need for people’s approval. In essence, God was saying to Paul, “You’re just the mailman. Some days people will like what you deliver, other days they won’t. You have to deliver the mail anyway. So I’m setting you free from the fear of their rejection and the need for their acceptance.” Has God called you to do a particular job? Are you afraid you’ll make mistakes? Count on it – you will! Are you worried you’ll be criticized? It comes with the turf! People will disappoint you in 101 different ways, but if you’re determined to do the will of God, pray, “Lord, deliver me from people pleasing, so I can share with them what You’ve given to me.” Then get on with the job!

Soul food: 1 Chr 17:1-20Heb 11:4-12:3Ps 18:20-29Prov 4:18

 

He’s got the whole world in His hands

He’s got the whole world in His hands

Daniel 4:25 NKJV

As a Bible believer, here are three words that should not be in your vocabulary: luck, coincidence, and fate. Replace them instead with the word providence, which means “to see in advance and to provide for.” The Westminster Confession of Faith, written in the seventeenth century, states: “God the great creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence.” That means God is in charge, not us! But what about our human will? C an’t we act independently? Theologian Dr. R. C. Sproul wrote, “God’s sovereign providence stands over and above our actions. He works out His will through the actions of human wills, without violating the freedom of those human wills.” Look at Joseph. His brothers tried to destroy him, but instead their efforts put him on the throne of Egypt and fulfilled God’s will. Later he said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result” (Genesis 50:20 NAS). Judas’ most heinous act helped bring about the best thing that ever happened, Christ’s atonement for our sins on the cross. Are you confused because of the things going on around you? One reason is because we only utilize about 10 percent of our mental potential. Plus, Paul points out that now we only “know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9). When we get to heaven God may explain it all – or not. Until then, trust Him. And rejoice, He’s got the whole world in His hands – including you!

Soul food: 1 John 3:11-5:21John 7:25-44Ps 104:27-35Prov 24:29

 

Understanding Our Heavenly Father

Understanding our Heavenly Father (2)

Psalm 103:13 TLB

To see God as your loving Father may not come easily if you carry the scars of an abusive childhood. So many needs that went unmet in your childhood – affection, security, trust, comfort, nurture, and material requirements – can make it hard to believe that God will provide for your needs now. So what to do? Recognize that your internalized father-image is flawed and in no way fits your heavenly Father. Even the best father is a blurred carbon copy of your heavenly Father. God wants you to see Him as a caring, sensitive, generous, dependable Father. That’s why Jesus taught us to call Him “Our Father,” not just “Almighty God and Lord.” It’s also why He called God “your father” and not just “My father.” Like a good father, God has anticipated your every need and provided for it (See Matthew 6:25-34). Just as good parents understand the individual characteristics of their children, your heavenly Father knows your unique needs, thoughts, and feelings. “As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out” (Psalm 103:13-14 MSG). His care for you is tailor-made to fit your specific requirements and limitations. And just as a good earthly father accepts and fulfills his responsibility to provide for his children, your heavenly Father holds Himself responsible for meeting your needs, and He wants you to act accordingly by trusting Him. In other words, your role is to act like the child of a trustworthy, generous, permanently loving Father.

Soul food: Ezra 9-10John 7:1-13Ps 104:1-18Prov 24:26-27

 

Understanding our Heavenly Father (1)

Understanding our Heavenly Father (1)

John 8:27 NKJV

Religious people in Jesus’ day found the concept of God’s fatherhood hard to grasp. Lord, king, judge, they understood – not Father. Their Old Testament scriptures barely spoke half a dozen times of God as Father, whereas the New Testament mentions it hundreds of times. Jesus Himself said, “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11:27 NIV). The truth is, until Jesus revealed the Father, God remained a mystery to them. And many of us still don’t comprehend His fatherhood and the rich bles sings we have in Him. Father, God’s all-inclusive name, incorporates everything you’ll ever need and discloses exactly how He feels about you. He exemplifies every trait of the best father imaginable. Whatever a loving father would do for his needy child, your heavenly Father will do for you – and then some. Once we recognize God as our Father, our fears dissolve as we start to realize that all our needs will be met. Jesus said, “It gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NLT). It makes God happy to give you the resources of His kingdom. Why? Because He loves you as much as He loves Jesus! In John 17:23, Jesus prayed you’d know with confidence that your heavenly Father loves you “in the same way [he has] loved me” (MSG). So treat God as your Father, and start acting like His child and enjoying the benefits of family membership (See Ephesians 2:19).

Soul food: Ezra 6-8John 6:52-71Ps 114Prov 24:23-25

 

When you worship, you win spiritual battles

When you worship, you win spiritual battles

2 Chronicles 20:21 NKJV

Worship is a powerful weapon, one that can turn the battle in your favour. When King Jehoshaphat faced the combined might of three different armies, he knew he was no match for them. So he turned to God, saying, “We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (v. 12 NKJV). Here’s how God answered him: “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 15 NKJV). Then God gave him an amazing strategy for victory. He told him to put a choir in front of his army and go into battle singing the praises of God. Can you imagine trying to explain that at West Point or Sandhurst? They’d send you to a psychiatrist. But Jehoshaphat did it: “He appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army.” And if that blows your mind, read this: “When they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated” (v. 22 NKJV). Instead of attacking Judah, the three armies attacked one another. Israel never fired a shot, never took a casualty, and it took them three days to gather the spoils. So when you’re in a battle you can’t win, begin to praise God and the forces of heaven will come to your aid.

Soul food: Ezra 3-5John 6:35-51Ps 127Prov 24:19-22

 

God will take care of you

God will take care of you

Matthew 6:31-32 NLT

If God lives within you, shouldn’t it be obvious? How can you say you trust Him and then worry obsessively about your health, your kids, your job, and your finances? Concern is one thing, but worry is an affront to the God who has never let you down. Paul writes, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT). Pray or worry – those are your options. Why did Jesus say, “Take no thought for tomorrow”? (See Matthew 6:34). Because when you take thought you try to take control. And when that happens peace goes out the window! Worry is like a snowball; it starts small, and as you keep rolling it forward it becomes big enough to bury you. All that’s necessary to keep a stationary train from moving forward are two six-inch blocks of wood, but once it builds up a head of steam it will crash through a six-foot-thick wall. So stop the worry train before it leaves the station! God says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV). God will give you only what you need for today; that way you have to keep trusting Him for tomorrow. The Bible tells us Jesus is the Good Shepherd who “calls his own sheep by name and…walks ahead of them” (John 10:3-4 NLT). How wonderful. He’s already gone ahead of you to arrange everything. Knowing that should help you face tomorrow, confident that God will take care of you.

Soul food: Ezra 1-2John 6:25-34Ps 98Prov 24:15-18

 

Your joy will return

2019/10/14

Your joy will return

Psalm 30:5 NIV

It’s hard when you work all day then come home to an empty house and sleep with your arms wrapped around a pillow, wishing you had someone to hold. No amount of makeup can hide that kind of loneliness. It’s the pain of having so much to share and nobody to share it with. But God knows your plight, and He cares. It’s why He made Eve for Adam, found Boaz for Ruth, and Rebekah for Isaac. It’s why His Word deals with real-life issues like sexual frustration, loneliness, failure, and lack of self-worth. Natural voids and thirsts exist within all of us, and how we fil l them determines our ability to survive and find happiness. If you’re struggling on your own to face the challenges of life, you need to know that you’re not alone! “The God of all comfort” is with you (2 Corinthians 1:3). No one understands like Jesus. His family rejected Him, His disciples forsook Him, and the world crucified Him. That’s why the Bible says He’s “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” and was “in all points tempted as we are” (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV). He knows when you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. He knows that as well as being a parent, you’re a person. He knows, He understands, and He invites you to come to Him. The season you’re in right now won’t last forever. A new one is coming, with new energy, new relationships, new experiences, and new joy. Until then remember: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Your joy will return!

Soul food: Lev 23:33-44John 7:1-40Zech 14:16-21Heb 11:8-16