How to win life’s battles (5)

 Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/21

How to win life’s battles (5)

2 Chronicles 20:17 NIV

Fifth, stand firm. Notice what God told Jehoshaphat: “Stand firm.” What does it mean to “stand firm” when you’re in a crisis? It’s a mental attitude of quiet confidence that says, “I’m going to trust God.” One pastor writes: “This is something I’m slowly learning; it’s never God’s will for me to run from a difficult situation. If I do, the situation will only follow and catch up with me a little further down the line. It may not look the same, but it will be the same. Why? Because God wants to teach me that He is sufficient for any problem. If we don’t learn this today, we may learn it next week. If we don’t learn it next week, we may learn it next year. But eventually we’ll learn it – and the sooner the better. We can save ourselves problems by standing firm and waiting on God in quiet confidence.” So what do we stand firm on? “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful” (v. 20 NIV). First, we need to stand firm on the character of God. God is faithful, and we can depend on Him. Second, we need to stand firm on the writings that He has given us through His prophets – in other words, the truth of the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word, and we need only rely in quiet confidence on His written promises. So the word for you today is: Stand firm on the unchanging character of God and the unchanging promises of His Word.

Soul food: Ecc 5-8Matt 16:1-12Ps 33:13-22Prov 5:15-20

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How to win life’s battles (3)

 Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/19

How to win life’s battles (3)

2 Chronicles 20:3 NKJV

Third, take your problems to the Lord. In the midst of his crisis, Jehoshaphat “set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast.” Prayer is often the last thing we think of. Why? Because we want to work our problems out on our own. A deacon approached the pastor one day and said, “Pastor, we’ve got a problem we can’t solve. We’ve tried everything and nothing works.” The pastor said, “Well, I guess all we can do is pray about it.” The deacon replied, “Pastor, has it really come to that?” When you’re facing life’s battles, prayer should be your first resort, not your last! And sometimes when the problem doesn’t yield to prayer alone, God leads you to add a second element: fasting. Ever tried it? Fasting isn’t something mystical and mysterious; it’s about focus! It’s saying: “Lord, I can do without food and other things, but I can’t solve this problem without You. So instead of eating, I’m going to spend time seeking Your face until I have an answer.” Cornelius, a Gentile, fasted and prayed for four days, asking God for direction. As a result, God sent Peter to his house to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, and in the process changed the course of history (See Acts 10). In order to know whom to appoint to leadership positions, the New Testament church fasted, prayed, and asked God for guidance. And as a result, one of the most dynamic evangelistic teams of all time, Paul and Barnabas, was born (See Acts 13:2-3). When you get serious enough to fast and pray about your problem, God will show you the solution.

Soul food: Rom 15-16Matt 15:15-28Ps 28Prov 5:3-6

How to win life’s battles (1)

  Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/17

How to win life’s battles (1)

2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV

With God’s help, King Jehoshaphat overcame not just one army, but three! And his victory teaches us how we can win life’s battles. First, identify the enemy. Many of us have no clue who the real enemy is. We think it’s the person who is interested in taking our job, our spouse, or our money. But many times the enemy is our own attitude! It’s not so much what’s happening that gets us down, it’s our response to the situation. Before you can win on a personal level, you must identify the enemy. Note how Jehoshaphat reacted when he heard “a vast army” was coming again st him. He was “alarmed” (vv. 2-3 NIV). It’s a fairly typical human response. We see a big problem, panic, and become fearful about what’s going to happen to us. And in truth, fear isn’t all bad unless we deal with it in the wrong way. We can use it to motivate us to conquer the problem and drive us closer to God. It’s when we get discouraged, give up, get angry, and start asking, “Why me, Lord?” that fear defeats us. If you’re in a situation that’s filling you with fear and anxiety today, remember – God doesn’t respond to need; He responds to faith. So stake your faith on His unshakeable Word and stand on His promise: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV). Unshakeable trust in God’s Word is what brings His help.

Soul food: Rom 9:17-11:36Matt 14:22-36Ps 149Prov 4:25-27

Let them go (2)

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/14

Let them go (2)

1 John 2:19 NIV

There are some people in life we get along with well, and others we don’t. And in some cases, we’re not supposed to! Now let’s be clear: We’re not talking about being unloving, insensitive, or divisive. Paul says, “Do all…you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 NLT). We’re talking about people God specifically tells us to break away from. When it comes to those who don’t belong in your life, here are two things to consider. First, there’s the revelation. The Bible says: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us…if they had…they would have remained …but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” Just like you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, or mix oil and water, there are people who simply don’t belong in your life. Second, there’s the separation. Paul said: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?…what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them…walk among them…be their God, and they will be my people.’ Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate…and I will receive you.’… ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters'” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NIV). Bottom line: When God tells you a relationship is not right for you, listen, and obey Him.

Soul food: Eph 5:21-33S of Sol 2:1-7Ps 45Prov 5:15-19

You must show compassion (1)

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/09

You must show compassion (1)

Luke 10:33 NKJV

Many dictionaries define compassion as sympathy, pity, or concern – all emotional responses. But the compassion of Jesus transcends emotion and translates into action. Christlike compassion: (1) Recognizes the needs of others. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV). Note the phrase “better than himself,” and then look around you at the people in your life and say to yourself, “Better than myself.” If you tend to be self-centered, it will take a while for this concept to sink in. Note also the words, “look out…for the interests of others.” Sometimes those “others” are badly messed up and not easy to love. For example, how about people in prison? You say, “Well, they got what they deserved.” Maybe – but did you always get what you deserved or did you just not get caught? Think about it! When you visit someone sick or in prison, Jesus said you’re “doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:40 NLT). In Luke 23:43, He showed compassion to a convicted criminal on the cross and saved him. You shouldn’t pick and choose to whom you’ll show compassion! The Bible says, “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14 NKJV). Mother Teresa prayed, “Grant that, even if you are hidden under the unattractive disguise of anger, crime, or madness, I may recognize you and say, ‘Jesus, You who suffer , how sweet it is to serve You.'”

Soul food: Luke 19:11-26Ps 36:5-9Heb 10:19-23

Finding contentment in your work

  Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/07

Finding contentment in your work

Ecclesiastes 5:19 NLT

Two-thirds of your adult life will be spent earning a living, and God wants you to enjoy it: “To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God.” Try to realize that God has a purpose for your being where you are. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23 NKJV). When you understand that, you begin to rejoice on the job rather than resent it, and believe that God has a plan for your future. It may be a different job, a promotion in your present job, or improving your skill set, which will result in your feeling fu lfilled, knowing you are a valued and contributing team member. So with one eye on the present and another on the future, your goal should be to perform your responsibilities with efficiency and professionalism, and glorify the One whose name you carry. Learn all you can from your current position – both in skill building and in character building. Prepare yourself for what God has in mind. So what if others overlook or undervalue you? David’s family didn’t think he was qualified to be Israel’s next king, but God had a different opinion. He also had the last word. There’s an important lesson here for you. Be faithful and seek to excel where God has placed you, and when the time is right He will bless you and promote you. “It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall” (Psalm 75:7 NLT).

Soul food: Isa 49-52Matt 13:1-9Ps 67Prov 4:1-2

God has already gone before you

  Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/05

God has already gone before you

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Are you feeling anxious today because you don’t know what you’re walking into? Israel was going into a good situation, the Promised Land. They had just come out of a bad one: a back-breaking, soul-destroying, hope-extinguishing 430 years of slavery. Now they were going to be free to own their own homes, raise their own families, work at jobs they liked, and be well paid for it. But the Promised Land wasn’t problem-free. There were enemy strongholds that had to be conquered one by one, and it would take time. “The Lord your God will drive out those nations before yo u, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you” (Deuteronomy 7:22 NIV). Question: Is this a similar situation to the one you find yourself in today? You’re embarking on a new relationship, a new job, a new ministry, or an unfamiliar area where you don’t have all the answers? And because you don’t know exactly what’s involved, you’re anxious? Don’t be! Here’s the word for you today: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:6-8 NIV). Carry these promises with you. And when your confidence starts to falter and your faith fluctuates, read them, stand on them, and count on God to honor His Word.

Soul food: Isa 42-44Matt 12:22-37Ps 108Prov 3:31-32

How’s your marriage? (1)

  Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/03

How’s your marriage? (1)

Proverbs 18:22 NKJV

If you’re over sixty, chances are you grew up in an era where you didn’t know too many divorced couples and the subject was taboo. Now your children are growing up in a world where marriages fail every day. If you don’t want yours to be one of them: (1) Learn to show your love. Psychologist William James says, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” And if we don’t feel appreciated at home, there’s a good chance we won’t feel appreciated at all, because generally speaking, the world doesn’t fulfill that desire. The best thing you can do for your spouse and your children is appreciate them and love them – not based on their performance, but simply because they’re yours. (2) Pay attention. The Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, said, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” And that works both ways. A successful marriage is one that can go from crisis to crisis and keep getting stronger. Commitment, not emotion, is what carries you through. If you only intend to stay married as long as you feel like you’re in love, you might as well quit now. Like anything worthwhile, a good marriage requires constant attention. (3) Protect your time together. If you feel like you ought to be at work when you’re with your family and vice versa, something’s wrong. Call a family conference and agree on how much time you should spend together. If you prioritize and protect those times, your marriage will thrive.

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Soul food: Isa 34-37Matt 12:1-14Ps 107:33-43Prov 3:27-28

When you worship, God feels right at home

  Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/01/30

When you worship, God feels right at home

Psalm 22:3 NIV

The place where you live is your home, or “habitation.” So when you praise God, you’re saying, “Make Yourself at home, Lord.” Where does God dwell? He has many different addresses and one of them is “praise.” Just as we enjoy a deeper level of intimacy with those we share our lives with at home, praise creates a sense of intimacy between God and us. Just as words spoken in love and appreciation draw two people together, words of praise draw you closer to God. The New King James Bible says, “You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Note the word “enthr oned.” The Japanese have a wonderful way of translating this. Recalling how their emperor was once carried on a throne and those around him would stop and bow down, they say, “When we worship God we create a seat, and He comes down and sits in it.” Five times in two back-to-back Scriptures we are commanded to “sing praises” to God. “Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding” (Psalm 47:6-7 NKJV). When God repeats the same thing five times in two verses, it’s because He wants to be sure you get the message. You say, “But I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.” Listen to a praise CD and hum along. The psalmist wrote, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name” (Psalm 63:3-4 NKJV).

Soul food: Isa 22-25Matt 11:1-9Ps 107:10-16Prov 3:19-20

Be devoted to Christ

 Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/01/29

Be devoted to Christ

1 Timothy 4:15 NIV

One day a friend of Chuck Swindoll’s stopped by his study to “speak the truth in love” to him (See Ephesians 4:15). The man said, “I don’t think you’ll fall morally or ethically. What does worry me is that you could be tempted to let your time with God and your time in the study of the Scriptures become less and less important to you. I want to urge you, do not let that happen.” Swindoll took his words to heart and wrote down these five promises to himself. If you’re serious about being devoted to Christ, you need to make these same promises to yourself also: “(1) I promise to keep doing original and hard work in my study. Those to whom I am called deserve my best efforts. (2) I promise to maintain a heart for God. That means I will pray frequently and fervently, and stay devoted to Him and to my calling. (3) I promise to remain accountable. Living the life of a religious lone ranger is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous. (4) I promise to stay faithful to my family. My wife deserves my time, affection, and undivided attention. Our now-grown children deserve the same. (5) I promise to be who I am, just me. To keep laughing and saying things a little ‘off-the-wall.’ To be a friend and make a few mistakes each month.” On that second promise: Being devoted to Christ doesn’t make you weird, judgmental, antisocial, or isolated from the world. No, it makes you the best version of yourself you can be – and the one God wants you to be.

Soul food: Isa 17-21Matt 10:32-42Ps 107:1-9Prov 3:13-18