Drive with Peter

The Word For Today

Break out of the box

'He will bring us safely into that land and give it to us.' Numbers 14:8 NLT

When others saw giants in the Promised Land and wanted to return to Egypt, Caleb said, 'The Lord...will bring us safely into that land and give it to us' (Numbers 14:8 NLT). At that point two things happened. 'The whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle' (Numbers 14:10 NLT). When the people around Caleb said no, God said yes - and all you need is his approval! When you have that, you can disregard the nay-sayers and move forward. If you wait for everyone to approve, agree with you and applaud you, you'll get nowhere.

There was a time when people thought the earth was flat, and that man would never walk on the moon. In 1899 the U.S. Patent Office almost closed because the commissioner, Charles H. Duell, said, 'Everything that can be invented has been invented.' In retrospect this statement is ridiculous, but some of us have this same mindset. We stop learning because we think we're too old. We're afraid to change careers in case we jeopardise our pension. We don't pursue our dreams in case we fail or get ridiculed. We're so used to self-imposed limitations and telling ourselves, 'I can't do that,' we think we can't do anything. In essence, we've built a box, crawled inside, and now we're looking for something or someone to blame for our lack of faith.

God didn't box you in - you did - and you need to take the initiative for breaking out. Today decide to do it - and God will bless your endeavours.

Soulfood: 2 Cor 11:16 - 13:14, Matt 20:29-34, Ps 17, Prov 16:12-15


Rock your box

'He...increases the power of the weak.' Isaiah 40:29 NIV

A little boy was crippled and the doctors said there was nothing they could do to help him. So his mother took an orange crate, put him in it, tied a rope around it, tied the rope to her waist, and pulled him around with her. After a while the boy developed a habit his mother didn't like: he began to rock his box. Sometimes he rocked it to the point that it tipped over and he fell out. No matter how many times she put him back in, he kept doing the same thing. Eventually he rocked his box until he was finally able to get out of it. Then to everyone's amazement, he learned how to walk and ended up with a great life. That little boy did something the doctors and not even his mother believed could happen. He refused to settle for life inside a box someone had put him in.

Has someone put you in a box today? If so, keep rocking your box until you're free! Other people are self-appointed 'experts' at telling us what we can and can't do. They don't always celebrate anything 'out of the box,' which is something 'out of the ordinary'. One of the great promises in the Bible is: 'He...increases the power of the weak.'

Start reading 'rock your box' Scriptures. Here's one: 'But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord' (Micah 3:8 NIV). Here's another: 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible' (Matthew 19:26 NIV). Today declare, 'Lord you promised it, I believe it, and that settles it!'

Soulfood: 2 Cor 9:1 - 11:15, Matt 20:17-28, Ps 8, Prov 16:8-11


Know your calling 2

'He who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also.' John 14:12 NKJV

Your calling will always be connected to an unmet need or an opportunity to do good. It was in listening to the cries of an enslaved people that Moses discovered his calling. So did William Wilberforce. He devoted his life to seeing slavery eradicated in England. Nelson Mandela was a lawyer with the potential to make money. But he chose a different path - one that involved years of imprisonment. And when he was finally set free he didn't seek vengeance, he sought justice and equality for his people, and changed his country. Ezekiel writes: 'I came to the exiles...And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed. At the end of seven days the Word of the Lord came to me' (Ezekiel 3:15-16 NIV).

If you want to discover your calling, start praying about situations that trouble you deeply. Usually we try to avoid discomfort, but if you sense that your calling involves helping the poor, spend time around those in poverty. Allow your heart to be moved; carry within you the conviction that things must change, and keep praying, 'Lord, make me a change agent.' When Jesus called his disciples, he chose people from different backgrounds: a doctor, a government worker, a group of fishermen. In essence he told them, 'I believe in you. What I know I'll teach you,' and promised them that 'he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also' (John 14:12 NKJV).

Bottom line: Jesus empowered his followers to go out and live like he did. And today that's what he's calling you to do.

Soulfood: 2 Cor 5-8, Matt 20:1-16, Ps 144:9-15, Prov 16:4-7


Having the right attitude


What's slowing you down

'Let us strip off every weight that slows us down.' Hebrews 12:1 NLT

The Bible says, 'Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us' (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).

What's slowing you down, or tripping you up? In life you only get to run once, so run to win. To avoid stumbling and losing your place in the race, don't look back. You can't change the past but you can learn from it. Don't be anxious about the next lap, just focus on the next step. If you miss that, you may fall and not get up again. Keep going, and before you know it you'll have more laps behind you than ahead of you. Make every one count. Many of us carry the weight and worry of burdens. But older and wiser people have come to understand their burdens are of no real importance. We waste our strength extinguishing fires that if left alone would burn out on their own. Time is your most valuable resource. Save it, and you've increased your assets and decreased your liabilities. Travel light. Ditch the baggage of self-sabotaging habits and pointless fears. There are enough painful trials in life; why endure the ones you can 'strip off'?

When blind Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was within reach, he threw off his coat so it wouldn't trip him up, and ran toward him. And his faith paid off: 'Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus' (Mark 10:52 NKJV). You'll never know how successful you can be until you get rid of the things that slow you down and trip you up.

Soulfood: Ezek 43-45, Matt 18:21-35, Ps 139:7-12, Prov 15:28-30



'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' Exodus 33:14 NIV

The Hebrew word for peace is 'shalom'. And apart from God it will always remain a pipe dream, a philosophical fantasy or a tantalising fish that is just beyond your bait and hook. Marriages go awry and fall apart because we look to an imperfect mate to give us the perfect peace we're searching for, and then discover they can't. The story's told of a woman at a cocktail party who was trying her best to look happy. Noticing the massive sparkling rock on her finger, a guest exclaimed, 'Wow! What a beautiful stone!' She replied, 'Thank you. It's the Callahaune diamond.' The onlooker said, 'I wish I had one!' The woman replied, 'No, you don't.' 'Why not?' he asked. 'Because it comes with the Callahaune curse,' she replied. 'The Callahaune curse - what's that?' asked the questioner. She sighed and said, 'Mr. Callahaune!'

Perfect peace can only come from a perfect peace-giver, and the only one who meets that qualification is God. Peace isn't the absence of problems; it's the presence of God in the midst of those problems. What's more, nobody ever finds peace by looking for it. Peace isn't something you find; it finds you when you surrender your life to the one who said, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' Note the words 'my presence.' Only God's presence can bring peace. The assurance of God's love, God's help and God's presence is what takes the stress out of living.

Are you longing for peace today? When you surrender your life to Christ, you'll 'experience...peace...far more wonderful than the human mind can understand' (Philippians 4:7 TLB).

Soulfood: Ezek 40:10 - 42:20, Matt 18:10-20, Ps 139:1-6, Prov 15:25-27


Trust in God's goodness

'The Lord is good.' Nahum 1:7 NIV

The Bible says, 'When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come...down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. "Come on," they said, "make us...gods who can lead us"' (Exodus 32:1 NLT). Why did Israel make a golden calf? Because they wanted a god you can see. It's harder to relate to an invisible God, and Moses, his representative, stayed on Mount Sinai so long they felt helpless and abandoned. So they did what we do when we're scared - they resorted to the comfort of the familiar.

Mark D. Roberts writes: 'How often do we find ourselves in a situation like the Israelites? We hear God's call to something new, and boldly step out in faith. But when we don't sense his presence and our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling, we feel abandoned, scared and helpless. We grasp for the familiar.' The Bible says, 'The Lord is good...he cares for those who trust in him' (Nahum 1:7 NIV).

Nancy Ortberg says: 'The difficult parts of change are most often where God lives...All the things I glibly say, in change I have to live out...Most of us go kicking and screaming instead of moving into it with an assuredness that not only is God on the other side, but new facets of him that we haven't heretofore understood are also there. Whether it's the death of a loved one, a job loss, a move across the country, becoming an empty nester - if we allow ourselves to push through the difficult parts we'll discover God is there...and he's entirely, wonderfully, amazingly, good.' When God closes one door, he opens another - but you must be willing to walk through it.

Soulfood: Ezek 37:1 - 40:9, Matt 18:1-9, Ps 73:17-28, Prov 15:22-24


Forgive and set yourself free

'Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.' Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

Years after her harrowing experience in a Nazi concentration camp, Corrie ten Boom was speaking in a church when she found herself standing face-to-face with a man who had been one of the cruelest guards she had ever met in the camps. This man had humiliated and degraded both her and her sister, jeering at them and visually 'raping' them as they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with an outstretched hand, asking, 'Will you forgive me?' Corrie said, 'I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I knew that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I prayed, "Jesus, help me!" Woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me, and when I did I experienced an incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arm, and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. "I forgive you, brother," I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God as intensely as I did in that moment.'

The Bible says, 'be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you' (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV). Who are you struggling to forgive today? Rise above your feelings and do it! When you do, you will set yourself free and be able to walk in the peace and joy of the Lord.

Soulfood: Ezek 34-36, Matt 17:14-27, Ps 73:1-16, Prov 15:18-21


Today God is with you

'Although they saw him, they didn't recognise him.' Luke 24:16 GWT

When you face a crisis it's easy to lose perspective. It happened to two of Christ's disciples on the Emmaus Road. Discouraged about his death, they were 'talking with each other about everything that had happened... Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognising Him ' (Luke 24:14-16 GWT). When you take your eyes off Jesus, you start to feel helpless about your situation.

Dr. Michael Youssef says: 'Facing a major crisis, I tend to be the kind of person whose vision becomes blurred. My perceptions are shot. My contemplations are one-sided. I often shut out the very people who can deliver me, just like those two disciples...Their vision was blurred about the person who was walking with them and talking to them. The one whose death they were mourning was alive...but they didn't realise it because their focus was on the wrong thing.' But everything changed the minute they recognised Jesus. 'Within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There...the Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along...and how they had recognised him as he was breaking the bread' (Luke 24:33-35 NLT). Note the words 'within the hour.' In an instant they went from fear to courage, pain to joy and despair to hope.

Paul wrote, 'I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened' (Ephesians 1:18 NIV). When you stop focusing on the problem and fix your eyes on Jesus, you get 20/20 vision and you're filled with hope.

Soulfood: Ezek 31-33, Matt 17:1-13, Ps 80:12-19, Prov 15:15-17


'Precious blood precious you'

'It was the precious blood of Christ.' 1 Peter 1:19 NLT

The Bible says, 'The ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ' (1 Peter 1:18-19 NLT). You must come to a place in your life where you are secure in who you are 'in Christ'; where you don't allow your sense of worth to be based on the opinions or actions of others. Stop trying to find your worth in how you look, or in what you do for a living, or in how people treat you. Your worth in God's eyes is incalculable because Jesus shed his blood for you. 'Precious blood, precious you!'

Yes, you have faults. Yes, there are things about you that need to be changed, but God is working on you just as he is on everybody else. Don't let somebody else dump their issues on you. You're a blood-bought child of God! Don't allow them to make you feel worthless or useless because they don't know how to treat you right, or love you as you deserve to be loved. Don't spend your life trying to win their acceptance or approval. You've already been accepted and approved by God, so make sure your validation and sense of worth come from him. You're redeemed by Christ's blood, covered by Christ's blood, and accepted through Christ's blood. And since his blood is 'precious,' that makes you precious too!

Satan, who's called 'the accuser,' would like you to forget that and see yourself only in the light of your flaws and failures. Instead, get up every morning, look in the mirror, and announce, 'I am precious, because I have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus!'

Soulfood: Ezek 27:25 - 30:26, Matt 16:13-28, Ps 80:1-11, Prov 15:11-14

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