Days with Peter

The Word For Today

We Must Be Christ-Centred!

'You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power.' Revelation 4:11 NJKV

In the book of Revelation, Christ stands knocking on the door of the last of the seven churches, asking them to let Him in. Amazing! Did the people inside not miss Him? Here's a frightening thought: it's possible to build a large institution, call it a church, and yet for Jesus to be marginalised in its emphasis and activities.
The measure of a ministry is how it treats Christ. Even in emphasising the importance of Spirit-filled living, we can produce believers who are Spirit-filled but not Jesus-thrilled! We can reduce Christianity to principles that work as effectively in the secular marketplace as they do in the church. John the Revelator saw Christ sitting upon a throne. Next he heard the voices of a multitude singing, '...Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing' (Revelation 5:12 NKJV)! And it was a mixed multitude. 'Every creature which is in Heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, forever and ever"' (Revelation 5:13 NKJV)!
London once had two great preachers. When a lady went to hear the first, Dr Joseph Parker, she left saying, 'What a preacher!' When she went to hear the second, Charles Spurgeon, she left saying 'What a Christ!' Do you love the Lord supremely? Is His name written on your heart?

SoulFood: Ezek 5-9, Mark 11:27-33, Ps 4, Pro 14:17-20


What Has God Said About You? (4)

'...He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise...' Romans 4:20 NIV

If your vision is simply to be a great parent, that doesn't mean your faith is inadequate. It just means you understand your calling. All Moses' mother did was give birth - but what a baby! God protected her son when she couldn't do a thing to help him. Then He arranged to have him raised in Pharaoh's royal courts. And when you discover God's purpose for your life, He will provide for you, too!
Some days your vision won't look like it's coming together. As a child, Joseph dreamed of being a great leader, but before he could get to the palace, he had to go through the prison. Pastor James Petrow says, 'You can't build a foundation in a storm, so God will prepare you in advance.' Sometimes your vision will seem to die before it springs to life. That happened to Abraham. 'Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations...he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead - since he was about a hundred years old - and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised' (Romans 4:18-21 NIV).
Paul wrote, 'We are fools for Christ...' (1 Corinthians 4:10 NIV). God uses radical people who don't care how they look: people who've survived difficult pasts, defied the odds, held onto their vision, and declared, 'My God is able!' And you can be one of those people!

SoulFood: Ezek 1-4, Mark 11:12-26, Ps 121, Pro 14:13-16


What Has God Said About You? (3)

'...In all things at all times, having all that you need...' 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

When God tells you to give of your finances in order to fulfil someone else's vision, you must realise:
(1) He's testing your faith and your willingness to obey in difficult circumstances. When Elijah the prophet asked a widow to share her last meal with him, the timing seemed strange. There was a famine in the land and people were dying. Who would have blamed her for saying 'no'? But by putting God's interests before her own, she connected herself to a divine, unending source of supply. The Bible says: 'Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously ...God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work' (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NIV).
(2) He's giving you an opportunity to sow into another's life and reap in your own. We love to quote, 'My God will meet all your needs...' (Philippians 4:19 NIV), but do you remember who this promise was made to? It was written to those who supported Paul's ministry. 'When I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again, when I was in need' (Philippians 4:15-16 NIV). Then Paul added these words: 'My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.' When you give, you invest in an account you can draw on when you have a need yourself.

SoulFood: Amos 5:18 - 9:15, Mark 11:1-11, Ps 117, Pro 14:9-12


The Finger of God (4)

'...Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger...' John 8:6 NKJV

The finger of God in cleansing. One day the Pharisees brought a woman to Christ. She'd been 'caught in the act' of adultery and they expected Him to condemn her. But instead, 'Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.' This is Jesus at His best! He stooped down to identify with the victim in her shame, refusing to listen to the words of her accusers. Then He scattered them with a single statement: '...He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first' (John 8:7 NKJV). Ouch! Then the One Who came not to tear us down but to build us up, said to her, '...Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more' (John 8:11 NKJV).
The question is, where would she find strength to live such a life? Through Christ! His commandments are His enablings. He said, '...I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life' (John 8:12 NKJV). Jesus sees every weed as a potential rose, every doubter as a potential believer and every sinner as a potential saint. Stop listening to the voices that condemn you. Stop beating yourself up over your failures.
Come to Jesus today; He will cleanse you, make you whole and give you the life you've always longed for. You don't have to live under Satan's control anymore. Jesus said, '...If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come' (Luke 11:20 KJV).

SoulFood: Lam 1:1 - 3:39, Mark 10:13-22, Ps 108, Pro 13:24-25


The Finger of God (3)

'...And He gave to Moses...tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.' Exodus 31:18 ESV

The finger of God in stone. Why do you think God wrote the Ten Commandments in stone? Because His principles are permanent and unchanging. You say, 'But what about all those people who have never heard God's Word? How will He judge them?' Paul answers: 'Even Gentiles, who do not have God's written that they know His law when they instinctively obey it...They demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right' (Romans 2:14-15 NLT).
Your conscience acts like a compass. If you let it, it'll guide you right. But when you reject its warnings, its voice gets quieter and quieter until you can no longer hear it. That's a dangerous condition to be in. Paul writes, 'Having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected, concerning the faith, have suffered shipwreck' (1 Timothy 1:19 NKJV).
Picture yourself standing on a bridge, dropping pebbles into a pond and watching the ripples go out to the edge. It's just a little pebble, but look at the effect it has! Yet in winter, when that same pond freezes over, you can drive a truck across it. Your conscience is like that. When you keep disobeying God, your heart becomes calloused and hardened and you no longer hear Him speaking to you. Paul writes, '...I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man' (Acts 24:16 NIV). That's a good rule of thumb for you to live by!

SoulFood: Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-11, Eph 4:7-10 (Ascension Day)


The Finger of God (1)

'When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers...' Psalms 8:3 NKJV

Let's look at the finger of God in Scripture: the finger of God in creation. The Psalmist David said, 'When I consider...the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him' (Psalms 8:3-4 NKJV)? The Bible opens by telling us, 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth' (Genesis 1:1 NIV). In a day when many challenge the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, we need to teach our children Who made the universe, Who runs it, and to Whom each of us is ultimately accountable.
In 1961 Yuri Gagarin, the first Russian cosmonaut to go into space, is alleged to have boasted, 'I looked and looked but I didn't see God.' Guess what? One day he will see God and stand before Him and be judged (Romans 14:11-12). We all will! Faith and reason are not necessarily opposed. But when reason won't take you another step, faith keeps on going because it connects you to God. The stars convinced David of God's existence. They say if you counted stars at a rate of 125 a minute, it would take 2,000 years just to count the stars in our Milky Way. And that it would take ten billion human beings standing side by side to span the diameter of the average star. Awesome, isn't it?
Paul says: 'For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse' (Romans 1:20 NIV). If you look you will see God at work everywhere - including your own life.

SoulFood: Gal 1-3, Mark 9:38-50, Ps 128, Pro 13:17-19


Holy Communion

'...This is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' 1 Corinthians 11:24 NKJV

Here are three reasons you need to partake of Holy Communion: (1) To make you grace-minded. No one will ever stand in Heaven and say, 'Look what Jesus and I have accomplished.' If you had to pay one cent of your debt of sin, it would make you a co-redeemer with Christ. What an offence to the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9)! Hymnist Horatio Spafford wrote: 'My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought. My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!'
(2) To keep you sensitive to sin. '...Let a man examine himself and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself...' (1 Corinthians 11:28-29 NKJV). You say, 'If I sin and take communion, does that mean I'm drinking liquid damnation?' No, it's the 'manner' in which you approach God that counts. You don't have to avoid the communion cup; you need only confess your sin, then drink deeply with gratitude.
(3) To keep you focused on Christ's return. '...I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God' (Mark 14:25 NKJV). Every communion service brings you one step closer to the greatest communion service of all: the marriage supper of the Lamb in Heaven (Revelation 19:7). Are you planning on being there?

SoulFood: Judg 19:16 - 21:25, Mark 9:30-37, Ps 45, Pro 13:13-16


What Happened to Demas? (1)

'...Demas has forsaken me...' 2 Timothy 4:10 NKJV

Paul writes one of the saddest verses in Scripture: 'Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.' The runner has stumbled. The lights have gone out in the life of a believer.
Why? (1) Did he resent his minority status as a Christian? It's been said that there wasn't just one, but two Martin Luthers in church history. And they both received the same revelation of justification by faith as the way to salvation. But the first wrote it down and hid it in a monastery wall because he feared the authorities. The second nailed it to the door of Wittenberg All Saints Church and started the Reformation. Christ promised that our message would be a powerful one, but not always a popular one: 'Do not fear, little flock...' (Luke 12:32 NKJV) Wear your minority status as a badge of honour! (2) Was he cut down by the doctrinal sword? We have the message people need to hear, but don't always want to listen to. Even some Christians don't want to hear it. 'Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"...From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more' (John 6:60;66 NKJV). You say, 'But if we're too strict with people we'll lose them.' If we're legalistic we will, but if we're Scriptural, we'll build men and women of God, who shine like lights in a dark world.
Jesus said, 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32 NKJV). Sometimes, before the truth sets people free, it puts them through the wringer! But we must preach it nonetheless.

SoulFood: Judg 12-15, Mark 9:1-13, Ps 97, Pro 13:9-10


How's Your Work Ethic? (2)

'Drink, and I'll water your camels too.' Genesis 24:46 NIV

When Abraham's servant arrived in the town of Nahor, a young woman named Rebekah offered to give him a drink of water. When he had finished drinking, Rebekah said, 'I'll water your camels, too.' We are told that she 'quickly' emptied her jar into the trough and ran back to the well. It all sounds fairly unremarkable, until you read between the lines: 4 litres of water weighs 4 kg. A thirsty camel can drink up to 120 litres of water and there were ten camels. Do the maths. Rebekah is drawing 1,200 litres - over a tonne! - of water for a stranger. She does all that could be reasonably expected of her - and then some. This was a pivotal moment in her life.
Because of her act of service, Rebekah became the wife of Isaac and went on to the adventure of a lifetime, becoming part of sacred history. To this day, her name is remembered and revered by people of faith. Rebekah did not know all that was at stake that day. She did not offer to draw 1,200 litres of water because she knew what the reward could be. It was simply an expression of her heart. Rebekah proved the truth of Scripture: 'Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper' (Proverbs 13:4 NLT).
Where did we get the idea that it is wrong to give, expecting a return, or serve, expecting a reward? Certainly not from the Bible! Some of our rewards will come in this lifetime, others in the next one. But, 'You know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does' (Ephesians 6:8 NIV).

SoulFood: Judg 7:1 - 9:33, Mark 8:14-26, Ps 93, Pro 13:7-8


How's Your Work Ethic? (1)

'O Lord...give me success today.' Genesis 24:12 NIV

We seldom know ahead of time the full significance of what we do or don't do in our work. The Bible simply says, 'Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might' (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV).
Judaism, Christianity and Islam all trace their roots to Abraham - who was a farmer. Abraham was ' old and well advanced in years' (Genesis 24:1 NIV). So he realised the time had come to find a wife for his son Isaac. Since there were no internet dating services in those days, he assigned the task to his 'chief servant' Eliezer. The servant set out with a caravan of ten camels to the region Abraham had directed him. Finding a wife for the son of your boss was an important assignment that required considerable thought. Certainly, it isn't a job you'd want to fail. So the servant began his work with a prayer: 'O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today.' Do you ever pray and ask God to make your work successful? People sometimes wonder if it's ok to pray for your work to be successful. Of course! Now, if 'Success' is becoming your God, you will have to find a way to dethrone it. But generally speaking, if you can't pray for the success of what you're doing, you should start doing something else!
Any good parent wants their child to succeed. Any wise employer wants their workers to succeed, because when they succeed the company succeeds. Here's what God told His people: 'Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do' (Deuteronomy 29:9 NIV).

SoulFood: Judg 4-6, Mark 8:1-13, Ps 88:9b-18, Pro 13:4-6

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