Breakfast with Cathy
6-10am

The Word For Today

A prayer for peace



'You will keep him in perfect peace.' Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

Here is a prayer for peace:

'Lord, your Word says, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you" (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV). Your Word says, "The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace" (Psalm 29:11 NIV). Your Word says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you...Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27 NIV). Your Word says, "The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7 NIV). Today I need this peace which transcends understanding to settle my nerves and calm my mind. Instead of thinking about my fears and worries, help me to focus on your goodness, your faithfulness, your healing power, your overflowing resources, and your forgiving heart. Take up residence within me and fill me with your peace. Show me what's robbing me of it. I really want to know, Father, so I can be specific in what I need to confess, what I need to commit to, and what I need to change. I open myself to you now. Teach me the secret of lasting peace. I thank you now for whatever it will take to help me receive the peace you have so generously offered to me. Your Word says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15 NIV). Today I want to be ruled by your peace instead of my fears and worries. So I give all my concerns to you, trusting you to work them out for my good and your glory. In Jesus' name I pray: Amen.'

Soulfood: 1 Cor 7-9, Mark 15:1-11, Ps 68:1-18, Prov 25:13-16

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Learn to be content



'I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.' Philippians 4:11 NIV

Discontentment is a trap that can ensnare you and rob you of joy and fulfillment. That's why the Bible says you must learn to be content 'whatever the circumstances' (Philippians 4:11 NIV). The notion that a bigger car or a bigger house or a bigger salary will bring you contentment is a myth. There will always be something 'bigger and better' out there. There will always be people who have more than you, so you'll never be able to get off the treadmill. That's not to imply you should be satisfied with being enslaved to debt or destructive habits, or settle for complacency and mediocrity and not fulfill the call of God on your life. Not at all! You must keep working to improve yourself, while remaining totally dependent on God to bless you, promote you and meet your needs.

Contentment means not coveting another person's position, possessions or personality. Your security and self-worth should be based on who you are in Christ, not what you have in material assets. What a great way to live! Paul lived like that. he said, 'I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength' (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV).

Each day you have a choice to make regarding your attitude. So the word for you today is: Learn to be content.

Soulfood: 1 Cor 4-6, Mark 14:66-72, Ps 91, Prov 25:9-12

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Understanding Satan's role 5



'Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you.' Luke 22:31 CEV

Luke writes: 'Jesus said, "Simon, listen to me! Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you, as a farmer does when he separates wheat from the husks. But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong. And when you have come back to me, help the others"' (Luke 22:31-32 CEV).

Satan's attack proves you have an important part to play in the plan of God. That's why he's trying so hard to defeat you. The truth is, the intensity and duration of his attack is an indication of your value to God and the level of blessing that God has planned for you on the other side of the attack. So if you belong to Christ, view the attack as a sign of respect. And remember who is in control. Satan needed God's permission to attack Job. Jesus said, 'All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me' (Matthew 28:18 NIV). And this is proof. The purpose of this test is to provide you with a testimony to God's goodness. Jesus was allowing Peter to experience a trial so that he could encourage his brothers. Perhaps God is doing the same with you. He knows that the church, and the world, need living testimonies of his power. So your difficulty may be preparing you to be a voice of encouragement to others who are struggling. Remember what Joseph said to his brothers: 'You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good' (Genesis 50:20 NAS).

Since God loves you and is in control of your life, good things will come from the difficulties you are going through right now.

Soulfood: 1 Cor 1-3, Mark 14:53-65, Ps 13, Prov 25: 4-8

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Understanding Satan's role 4



'Hand that man over to Satan.' 1 Corinthians 5:5 CEV

Satan's attack can be a wake-up call. Do you know that when you refuse to acknowledge your sin and repent of it, the wall of protection around you is breached and Satan is free to come in and attack you?Paul writes to the Corinthian church: 'I have heard terrible things about some of you. In fact, you are behaving worse than the Gentiles. A man is even sleeping with his own stepmother. You are proud, when you ought to feel bad enough to chase away anyone who acts like that' (1 Corinthians 5:1-2 CEV). Then Paul instructs the leaders of the church, 'You must then hand that man over to Satan. his body will be destroyed, but his spirit will be saved when the Lord Jesus returns' (1 Corinthians 5:5 CEV). Later the man repented of his sin and Paul said he should be restored to fellowship in the church. So what Paul was saying, in essence, was: 'Let him be driven to despair that he might be driven back into the arms of God.' Again Paul writes: 'Some people have made a mess of their faith because they didn't listen to their consciences. Two of them are Hymenaeus and Alexander. I have given these men over to the power of Satan, so that they will learn not to oppose God' (1 Timothy 1:19-20 CEV).Does God enjoy seeing us suffer? No more than a parent enjoys disciplining a child. But holy love makes tough choices. (Remember, discipline should result in mercy, not misery.) Some of us are awakened by a tap on the shoulder, while others need a two-by-four on the head. And whenever God needs a two-by-four, Satan gets the call.

Soulfood: 1 Kings 3:4-28, James 1:2-8

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Understanding Satan's role 3



'The trouble the Lord has brought on him.' Job 42:11 NCV

Satan's attack can strengthen your faith. The devil dared to question the stability of Job's faith, so God gave him permission to test Job. 'The Lord said to Satan, "All right then. Everything Job has is in your power, but you must not touch Job himself"' (Job 1:12 NCV). Notice, God set both the permission and the parameters of the struggle. Job passes the test and Satan complains that Job would have fallen had he been forced to face pain. Again God gives permission, and again he sets the parameters: 'Job is in your power, but you may not take his life' (Job 2:6 NCV). Though the pain and the questions are abundant, in the end Job's faith and health are greater than ever.

Again, we may not understand the reason for the test, but we know its source. Read this verse from the last chapter of the book of Job. The family of Job 'comforted him and made him feel better about the trouble the Lord had brought on him' (Job 42:11 NCV). Satan has no power except that which God gives him. Even when Satan appears to win, he loses. Martin Luther was right on target when he described the devil as God's tool, a hoe he uses to care for his garden. The hoe never cuts what the Gardener intends to save, and never saves what the Gardener intends to weed. Surely a part of Satan's punishment is the frustration he feels in unwillingly serving as a tool to create a garden for God.

So be encouraged today: Satan's attack will strengthen your faith, refine it, and take it to greater heights.

Soulfood: Zech 12-14, Mark 14:43-52, Ps 54, Prov 25:1-3

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Understanding Satan's role 2



'A messenger of Satan, to torment me.' 2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV

Satan's attack can drive you closer to God. That was true in Paul's life. Think of Paul's r?sum?: a personal audience with the resurrected Christ, a participant in heavenly visions, an apostle chosen by God, an author of the Bible. He healed the sick, traveled the world, and penned some of history's greatest documents. Few could rival his achievements. And maybe he knew it. But God loved Paul too much to allow pride to destroy him. 'To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me' (2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV). We aren't told the nature of the thorn, but we're told its purpose - to keep Paul humble. We are also told its origin - a messenger of Satan. The messenger could have been a pain, a problem, or a person who was a pain. We don't know. But we do know that the messenger was under God's control.

Note what Paul says next: 'Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV).

Here's a truth that can transform every test into a potential triumph: Satan and his forces are simply a tool in the hand of God to strengthen you.

Soulfood: Zech 9-11, Mark 14:27-42, Ps 52, Prov 24:32-34

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Understanding Satan's role 1



'God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.' 1 John 4:4 NCV

Satan is a fallen angel who wasn't satisfied to worship God; he wanted to occupy his throne. Angels, like humans, were made to serve and worship God. And they were given free will; otherwise, how could they worship? But Satan said, 'I will make myself like the Most High' (Isaiah 14:14 NIV). That got him evicted from Heaven: 'You are brought down to...the depths of the pit' (Isaiah 14:15 NIV).And Satan hasn't changed. He's as self-centered now as he was then, and he's just as limited now as he was then. Even when his heart was good, he was inferior to God. God knows everything; angels only know what he reveals. God is everywhere; angels can only be in one place. God is all-powerful; angels are only as powerful as God allows them to be. So Satan is still subservient to God. And every time he tries to advance his cause, he ends up advancing God's cause.In The Serpent of Paradise, pastor and author Erwin Lutzer writes: 'Satan has different roles to play, depending on God's counsel and purposes...We must bear in mind that he does have frightful powers, but knowing that those can only be exercised under God's discretion and pleasure, gives us hope. Satan is simply not free to wreak havoc on people at will.' Satan doesn't want you to know that; he'd rather you be deceived into thinking of him as an independent force with unlimited power. But he's not. And he'd rather you'd never read these words: 'God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil' (1 John 4:4 NCV).

Soulfood: Num 29:1-6, Mt 24, Rev 11:15-19

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Knowing who you are in Christ



'You are mine.' Isaiah 43:1 NIV

We hear about people being released from prison after serving time for a crime they didn't commit. It was a case of mistaken identity. Identifying someone means having the ability to recognise and say exactly who they are. Satan wants you to identify with who people say you are, versus who God says you are. And unless you know who you are in God's eyes, Satan will hammer you with feelings of condemnation and unworthiness.

God's grace and unconditional love for you is the only secure foundation on which to base your salvation and self-worth. Today he says to you: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine' (Isaiah 43:1 NIV). Jesus identified with God's opinion only: 'I know where I came from and where I am going' (John 8:14 AMP). People said terrible things about Jesus, yet here's what God said about him: 'The stone...the builders rejected has become the...cornerstone' (Psalm 118:22 NKJV).

Sometimes we're so busy telling people what to do that we neglect to tell them who they are. Knowing who you are in Christ gives you confidence to hold your head high. You are 'complete' because of your relationship to Christ (see Colossians 2:10). God sees you clothed in Christ's righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Once you accept that, you stop feeling like you constantly fall short. When you have money in the bank and you need to withdraw it, you don't feel pressured because you know it's in an account with your name on it. Likewise, you don't have to struggle for other people's approval when you know you're loved and accepted by God.

Soulfood: Zech 5-8, Mark 14:12-26, Ps 34

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Free from people's approval



'We are not trying to please men but God.' 1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV

There's a world of difference between performing for people's approval, and being free to minister to their needs because you know you already have God's approval. Striving for approval is like any other drug; you can never get enough of it. And like all junkies, you go crazy when it's withheld. It places you at the mercy of other people's opinions and, as a result, you live on an emotional roller coaster.

That's not how God wants you to live! Paul was free to speak the truth in love: to confront people or to be gentle with them. When someone told Paul they didn't like him, he didn't lose sleep over it because his security and self-worth weren't built on their acceptance. 'We speak as men approved by God' (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV). Paul didn't go around comparing himself with others, demonstrating his superiority by trying to be top dog or the one who's always in charge. Knowing he already had God's approval set him free from such anxiety and meant he could enjoy the life God called him to. When we're immature, we worry about what others think of us. But as we become more mature, we realise that most of the time they aren't thinking about us at all. They're too busy thinking about themselves - or worrying about what we think of them!

Knowing you have God's approval gives you the strength to deal with criticism and conflict because you're secure in your identity. And your identity is this: you're redeemed, called and approved by God.

Soulfood: Zech 1-4, Mark 14:1-11, Ps 39, Prov 24:26-28

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Remember to forget



'If you have anything against anyone, forgive him.' Mark 11:25 NKJV

No matter how much two people love each other, conflicts are sure to arise that call for extending grace and showing forgiveness. Do you know that couples who are happy and stay married have the same number of disagreements and conflicts as couples who are unhappy and get divorced? Statistically, that is true! It's not the absence of conflict that preserves marriage, but the ability to manage conflict when it happens.

How do you 'manage' conflict? By practicing the kind of self-control that keeps conflicts from mushrooming into hurtful and divisive standoffs. It also means knowing what to do with hurt feelings like anger, disappointment and dashed expectations. In other words, it means knowing how to forgive it and forget it. But emotional hurt and tension are almost impossible to forget; the harder we try, the more we remember.

So, what's the answer? Remember to forget! Try to act like God, who chooses not to hold against us what he knows about us. he says in his Word: 'I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins' (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV). That means if you are holding something against your spouse, there's only one solution: Forgive it and forget it. You may never forget how you've been hurt, but you can choose to forgive it and move on. No, it's not easy, but you can do it. How? By remembering the things, known or unknown to others, that God has forgiven you for and extending that same grace to your spouse.

Soulfood: 2 Tim 1-4, Mark 13:24-37, Ps 3, Prov 24:23-25

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