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The Word For Today

ASK GOD FOR A MOUNTAIN (1)

Why would someone ask God for a mountain? Because when you tackle something bigger than yourself: (1) you grow; (2) you learn to depend on God; (3) you get to celebrate big victories. Caleb said: '...here I am today, 85 years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified but, with the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said' (Joshua 14:10-12 NIV). Anybody can occupy the flat ground, but it takes faith in God to tackle a mountain. What's more, that's where the Anakites - the giants - lived. These guys were so big they caused ten of Moses' spies to say, '...Next to them we felt like grasshoppers ...' (Numbers 13:33 NLT).

You'd think at 85 Caleb would have asked for a nice cottage in Shalom Acres! But no, he wanted another battle and another victory before he checked out. Stop asking God for a problem-free life, otherwise you might die of boredom. It's in working to solve problems and overcome challenges that you become the person God wants you to be. So ask Him for a task that will keep you learning, growing, uncomfortable and hungry for significance.

When you pray, 'God, use me,' be prepared to encounter four things: adventure, danger, risk and reward. How about it - are you up for a little excitement?

Soulfood : Deut 32:29 - 34:12, Matt 10:11-20, Ps 49, Prov 12:20-22

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YOUR RESPONSES

every good tree bringeth forth good fruit...' Matthew 7:17

Take a moment to consider these two questions. Question one: How do you respond when you're treated badly? A man stopped by a news-stand every morning to pick up a paper. The man behind the counter was always nasty, yet the customer was always nice to him. When a friend asked him why he remained so kind in the face of such rudeness, he replied, 'Why would I let his attitude dictate my attitude?' Question two: How do you respond when you're tempted? You say, 'I'm in love with him. He's married and I know it's wrong, but I can't help it.' Actually, you can. You can spend an hour listening to stories from women who lost their husbands to infidelity. Look into the eyes of their children. Hear the betrayal and see the broken promises in their eyes. When you do, you'll think new thoughts!

The Bible says, '...Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh' (Galatians 5:16 NKJV). At any moment you can turn your mind to God and your thoughts will change. Feelings are like spoiled children; they can take a little longer to come round, but if you keep your mind 'fixed' on God, your feelings will eventually line up with your thoughts. Looking back, you'll be glad you were guided by God instead of your impulses.

It's as if there's a 'Holy Spirit Network' where you can tune in at any time. When you ask God to guide your thoughts, then listen to what He says - He will guide you.

Soulfood : Deut 30:1 - 32:28, Matt 10:1-10, Ps 62, Prov 12:18-19

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ANOINTED TO LEAD

The Bible says: 'Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights... When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses...they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them...and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him...' (Exodus 34:28-32 NIV). When the Israelites were in Moses' company, there was a look on his face that told them he'd been in the presence of the Lord. They could see it and sense it. The Bible refers to this as the 'anointing' (1 John 2:27). Simply put, the anointing is God equipping and empowering you to succeed in what He's called you to do.

Anointed leadership is always characterised by these four benchmarks: (1) Calling. When people are around an anointed leader, they sense that God has truly gifted and assigned that person to fulfil a certain purpose. (2) Character. People see God's nature in an anointed leader, and as a result they trust them. (3) Competence. An anointed leader has the ability to get the job done right. The results validate his or her calling. (4) Conviction. Anointed leaders aren't wishy-washy; they have moral and spiritual backbone and they stand up for what's right.

These four qualities are benchmarks of God-called leadership, and when people see them at work in your life they will follow you.

Soulfood : Deut 28-29, Matt 9:27-38, Ps 57, Prov 12:15-17

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WHAT STOPS YOU? FEAR OF SUCCESS! (4)

In order to overcome your fear of success you must do these six things: (1) Give yourself ample time to complete critical tasks on which your success hinges. (2) Guard your 'success-already-in-progress', and don't engage in actions that thwart it. For example, accumulating cash reserves for your small business and then spending them on clothes instead of marketing and publicity.

(3) Follow up with key individuals who can influence outcomes significant to your success. Get rid of the idea that you are unworthy of their attention, or that they wouldn't have time for someone like you. 'Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men' (Proverbs 22:29 NKJV). Boaz not only owned the field that Ruth was gleaning wheat in, he fell in love with her and married her. Today there are people observing you who are capable of blessing you. (4) Associate with goal-oriented finishers who get things done and who demonstrate the right priorities in doing so. Watch how they operate and emulate the God-honouring aspects of their behaviour.

(5) Consider the good you can do as a successful person. Think of the non-selfish actions you could take, or the ministries and causes you could support, if you had wealth beyond your needs. (6) Understand that success is God's idea, and He gives it to us to fulfil His purposes. As long as your motive is to please God and do His will, you can stand on this Scripture: '...the Lord gave him success in everything he did.'

Soulfood : Jonah 1:10 - 2:10, Matt 12:38-42

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WHAT STOPS YOU? FEAR OF SUCCESS! (3)

If you want to overcome fear of success and position yourself to bless others: (1) Confront your fear head-on. God's Word says that He wants you to succeed (Joshua 1:9). The question is, are you ready to act on His Word? Do you believe others are entitled to success but not you? Do you feel like it's ok for you to succeed to a certain extent, but anything beyond that would be displeasing to God? You must confront these unscriptural beliefs! (2) Determine the source of any erroneous beliefs you may harbour regarding your worthiness. Here are some areas you should focus on: rejection by your loved ones; comparisons to others; stereotypes and media images; words of inferiority and rejection that play in your mind like a broken record. Your perception of your worthiness will play a major role in how much you allow yourself to achieve in life, so change your opinion of yourself! Line up what you believe and say about yourself with what God says about you: '...Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine...you are precious to Me. You are honoured, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you...' (Isaiah 43:1, 4-5 NLT). Recognise your self-sabotaging behaviours and commit to putting a stop to them. And stop waiting for 'a better opportunity', or until 'the time is right'.

God says, 'I am with you.' So trust Him with the timing and circumstances and move forward with confidence.

Soulfood : Deut 25-27, Matt 9:14-26, Ps 44:17-26, Prov 12:12-14

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WHAT STOPS YOU? FEAR OF SUCCESS! (2)

Fear of success is characterised by these six behaviours; see if you have any of them: (1) Procrastinating. (2) Underperforming. (3) Focusing on those who reject you rather than those who accept you. (4) Allowing yourself to be side-tracked by so many insignificant things that you never get focused on the main thing. (5) Talking about what you plan to do 'some day'. (6) Feeling others are worthy of success but not you.

Question: Are you serving the Lord? Then you qualify for success! '...Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.' Yes, God will help you when you are in need. But He also wants you to succeed so that you can begin to meet the needs of others. God told Abraham two things. First, He promised to bless him greatly. Second, He promised to make him a great blessing to others (Genesis 12:2). And it happened! Solomon writes, '...money answers everything' (Ecclesiastes 10:19 NKJV). What did he mean? Money builds schools, churches and hospitals. It eradicates poverty and illiteracy. It finances research that cures life-threatening illnesses. But some of us are so focused on Heaven's streets of gold that we no longer see earth's streets filled with suffering and unmet needs.

Understand this: God will reward you based on your service to others. '...the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these...you did it to Me'" (Matthew 25:40 NKJV). That should be your greatest motivation for wanting to succeed.

Soulfood : Deut 22-24, Matt 9:1-13, Ps 44:9-16, Prov 12:10-11

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WHAT STOPS YOU? FEAR OF SUCCESS! (1)

Researchers conducted an experiment in which frogs were placed in separate glass jars covered with lids to prevent them from escaping. At first the frogs kept jumping, trying to escape, but each time they hit their heads on the lid. After thirty days of doing this, something amazing happened. When the lids were removed from the jars, the frogs never jumped out even though they could easily have done so. Why? Because they had formed a belief system that the top of the jar was as high as they could go - their limiting belief system kept them trapped in the jar! The Israelites did that too: 'Again and again they... limited the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power...' (Psalm 78:41-42 NKJV).

Are you holding on to limiting belief systems, even though they are no longer true and are sabotaging your future? 'I'm too young, too old, I'm a woman, I'm the wrong nationality, I don't have the education, I don't have the talent, I don't have the connections, I failed too badly, etc.'

Fear of success stems from: (1) Fear of not being worthy of success. (2) Fear of being unable to meet the expectations and fulfil the responsibilities that accompany success. (3) Fear of being rejected by those unhappy about your success. (4) Fear of losing control of normal, private life. (5) Fear of saying no to friends and family who feel entitled to control you. Get rid of your limiting belief systems! Not only will God give you success, He will give you the skill and strength to handle it.

Soulfood : Deut 18-21, Matt 8:18-34, Ps 44:1-8, Prov 12:7-9

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POWER OF FORGIVENESS

Here are four things you need to know about forgiveness:

(1) Forgiveness doesn't make what happened to you right; it means you've made a decision not to let it control your life. By forgiving and attempting to restore the relationship, you reclaim your peace of mind. If the other person refuses to acknowledge what happened or that it was wrong, the offence can and should still be forgiven. Forgiveness doesn't depend on the other person; it depends on you. (2) Forgiveness matters, even when the offender refuses to admit guilt. When you wait for someone to admit they were wrong, you're placing your future in their hands. Forgiveness is first and foremost for your own benefit, not the benefit of others. By forgiving, you're letting the pain and hurt go and moving forward.

(3) Your willingness to forgive can move the other person to seek forgiveness. Perhaps the person who hurt you doesn't feel they deserve to be forgiven. Or they may know what they did was wrong, but lack the courage to step forward and ask for forgiveness. When you make the first move, it opens the door and allows them to reach out and find mercy and understanding. (4) Forgiveness is easier when you accept that we all need it. When you refuse to forgive because you think someone's offences are greater than your own, that's pride. And '...God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble' (1 Peter 5:5 NLT). The Bible says, 'Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.' Once you realise the depth of God's grace toward you, it's easier to extend grace to others.

Soulfood : Deut 14-17, Matt 8:1-17, Ps 37:32-40, Prov 12:4-6

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GET PREPARED THEN GET MARRIED

Engaged couples have expectations about marriage that are never verbalised. As a result, conflict becomes inevitable when those differing assumptions collide. So if you're wise, you'll talk about these understandings in the less antagonistic light of courtship.

Psychologist Dr. Archibald Hart asks the following questions of couples who consult with him: (1) If I had never met the person you're planning to marry and I had to rely on you to give me a description of who that individual is, what would you tell me? (2) If you could think of one thing that you would like to see your fiancé change, what would it be? (3) What are the five or six major goals you have established for your first few years together? (4) What does your budget look like? (5) Have you planned how you're going to pay for the things you're going to buy beyond your honeymoon? These are tough questions but if you can't agree on them before you're married, you're certain to argue over them afterwards. Since half of all marriages today end in divorce, you'd better be sure you know the answers.

The biggest mistake you can make is assuming that your future husband or wife will automatically change for the better as a result of being married to you. '...Wives...yield to your husbands...do what is right... Husbands...live with your wives in an understanding way...' (1 Peter 3:1-7 NCV).

Soulfood : Deut 11-13, Matt 7:15-29, Ps 37:25-31, Prov 12:1-3

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WHEN THEY'RE GOSSIPING ABOUT YOU (2)

without gossips, conflict calms down.' Proverbs 26:20 CEB

Do these three things: (1) When necessary, confront the gossiper. If the offender is a Christian, stand on this Scripture: 'If your fellow believer sins against you, go and tell him in private what he did wrong. If he listens to you, you have helped that person to be your brother or sister again' (Matthew 18:15 NCV). Now your goal in confronting them isn't to prove them wrong and you right, it's to bring reconciliation and preserve unity in God's family. Watch your tone. '...Don't sin by letting anger control you...' (Ephesians 4:26 NLT). Stick to the facts. Without putting them on the defensive, seek to find a resolution that stops the gossip and repairs the damage. If they're willing to acknowledge their part, be ready to forgive. If they're not, forgive them anyway - for your own sake and God's sake. And remember, they may continue to be your brother or sister without being your trusted friend!

(2) Don't let gossip diminish your self-worth. If your self-worth depends on what others say, you'll always feel down when you're put down. Let your self-worth rest on what God's Word says about you. Regardless of your imperfections, the Bible says you are '...the redeemed of the Lord' (Psalm 107:2), '...accepted in the beloved' (Ephesians 1:6), '...the righteousness of God in [Christ]' (2 Corinthians 5:21). Focus on God's estimation of you and '...build [yourself] up in your most holy faith...' (Jude 1:20 NIV) in spite of others' opinions.

(3) Don't judge others by rumour-mill reports. Whether gossip is truth-based or false, its intent is always to 'destroy' (John 10:10 NIV). Don't do Satan's work for him!


SoulFood: Deut 8-10; Matt 7:1-14; Ps 37:16-24; Pro 11:30-31

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