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The Word For Today

You lack no good thing

'Those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.' Psalm 34:10 NLT

Have you lost your job? Are you facing the possibility of losing your home or going bankrupt? Are you in the toughest place you've ever been?

Paul 'suffered the loss of all things' (Philippians 3:8 NAS), but he didn't stay there. He went on to say, 'My God shall supply all your need' (Philippians 4:19 NKJV). And God can do that for you - with or without a salary or some other anticipated source of income. The psalmist said, 'Those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing' (Psalm 34:10 NLT).

One of the things you have to watch out for is Satan's worst-case-scenario talk. If you allow him, he will paint mental images of you living in a cardboard box, under a bridge. Stand on God's Word today and declare: 'Lord, you said if I'm willing and obedient, I will enjoy the best you have to offer (see Isaiah 1:19). You promise to surround me with favour (see Psalm 5:12). Your Word says that you can do more than anything I could even ask or think, according to your power that works within me (see Ephesians 3:20). Even though nothing seems to be going right for me just now, give me faith to believe you for good things and better days. Your Word tells me to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to you. That your peace, which surpasses human understanding, will guard my heart and mind (see Philippians 4:6-7). Lord, honour your Word today, in the name of Jesus, Amen.'

Soulfood: Neh 8-10, John 18:25-40, Ps 105:1-7, Pro 30:1-4


Are you on overload

'There is nothing better than to...find satisfaction in work.' Ecclesiastes 2:24 NLT

There will be times in life when it feels like there's too much to do, and not enough time to do it. However, when you're constantly on overload, it shows up in your attitude, your relationships, your job performance and even your walk with God.

If that's where you are today, here's what you need to do: (1) Pray. 'Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken' (Psalm 55:22 NIV). Before you fall apart, ask God for the wisdom to evaluate what you are doing, and then be honest with yourself about why you're in this predicament. The writer of Proverbs says, 'Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off...like an eagle' (Proverbs 23:4-5 NIV). Ask God to show you where you may be sacrificing your peace, health and relationships on the altar of materialism. (2) Delegate. Moses, one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament, was falling apart under the weight of responsibilities he needed to share with others. He got so depressed that he asked God to take his life! There were capable people all around him who were willing to help, but he wouldn't let them. Sound familiar? As long as you insist on controlling and doing everything yourself, your productivity will stall and your peace of mind will evaporate.

Bottom line: if you're on overload today, start making some changes.

Soulfood: Neh 5-7, John 18:12-24, Ps 150, Pro 29:22-27


Live with integrity

'Whoever walks in integrity walks securely.' Proverbs 10:9 NIV

There are those who live with integrity and those who don't, and interestingly they're both rewarded. The first group lives with an abiding sense of God's peace and security; the second group with the constant fear of being found out. 'The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity' (Proverbs 11:3 NIV). A person with integrity is 'complete and undivided'. They adhere to high moral principles in every area of life.

Does that mean you'll never fall? No. 'A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again' (Proverbs 24:16 NKJV). Everybody falls, but people of integrity always get back up. God is patient; he'll work with you until you get it. And if you suffer from a lack of integrity, he can still put your life back together again if you surrender to him. Before he wrestled with the Lord, Jacob was a cheat and a deceiver (see Genesis 27:35-36). And after he wrestled with the Lord, he walked with a limp. But God would rather have someone who walks with a limp because they've wrestled with their issues and won, than someone living under false pretences. Daniel, a Jew living in captivity, refused to eat non-kosher food because it violated God's law. Joseph was single, far from home and lonely, but he refused to sleep with his boss's wife.

Paul says, 'When you are tempted, he will...provide a way out so that you can endure it' (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). God always has a way out, and when you're committed to walking in integrity, he'll reveal it to you.

Soulfood: Josh 1:7-8, 2 Tim 3:14-17, Ps 119:1-16


Hold on to the word

'As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.' Mark 4:15 NIV

In the parable of the sower, Jesus said, 'Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them' (Mark 4:15 NIV). Ever notice how you can sit at home and watch a two-hour, advert-packed film without feeling restless or bored, yet when the church leader's sermon exceeds 30 or 40 minutes, you keep glancing at your watch and can't wait to get out of church? And if someone asked you the next day what he preached about, most times you couldn't tell them.

Jesus said, 'Satan comes and takes away the word'. So how can you retain it? (1) Write it down (see Exodus 17:14). When you make notes on what you read and hear, you'll retain more, be more impacted and get much more out of it. (2) Pray it through. Unless you pray over the Word you're hearing, you'll keep coming home from church moved but unchanged. Many of the great saints of old read through the Bible on their knees. You could try that too! (3) Discuss it with others. God's Word is like a seed that multiplies and grows when it's watered by conversation with others who share your faith. The Bible says, 'Those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard' (Malachi 3:16 NIV). (4) Practise it daily. John tells us, 'The Word became flesh' (John 1:14 NKJV). The best way to retain God's Word is to practise its principles, or 'flesh it out'!

Soulfood: Neh 1-4, John 18:1-11, Ps 148:7-14, Pro 29:16-21


Your time has come

'You have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.' Esther 4:14 NKJV

Moses began his ministry when he was 80. Esther started hers as a teenage girl. When she heard the words of Mordecai - 'Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this' (Esther 4:14 NKJV)? - she could easily have said, 'Give me time to grow up, get married, have children and fulfil my dreams before asking me to put my life on the line to save the Jewish people.' But she didn't. She said, 'I will go in to [see] the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish' (Esther 4:16 AMP).

Often what God does in you while you're waiting is more important than the thing you're waiting for. Sometimes you think you're ready but God knows you're not, so he puts you into the school of faith. That's where you learn to listen to 'the teacher' (the Holy Spirit), study your lessons, pass the tests and graduate so that God can use you. It's not a comfortable place to be, but God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

Missionary Nancy Cockrell writes: 'It was God's plan all along to bring you here to serve him, by using your gifts to minister to others - for such a time as this. He has given you the grace to reflect the love and character of Christ, to be a light in a darkened world - for such a time as this. You have a unique place of service in God's Kingdom, touching lives as only you can do - for such a time as this.' So here's the question: is God telling you today - your time has come?

Soulfood: Col 3-4, Philemon 1, John 17:13-26, Ps 148:1-6, Pro 29:11-15


'Putting skin on Jesus'

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

It's good to read about what Jesus did when he walked among us. But when you see someone living the way he did, it's called 'putting skin on Jesus'. Instead of just being an historic figure, his lifestyle becomes a reality. And isn't that what people are looking for? Gandhi once said if he could meet Christians who were like Christ, he'd become one too. Unfortunately, the Christians he knew carried weapons and subjected him and his people to servitude. But it doesn't have to be that way. Jesus said, 'He who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do' (John 14:12 NKJV). Maybe you're wondering how we could possibly do greater works than Jesus. Here's how: he was one man confined to one place, whereas his redeemed family is capable of multiplying his works throughout the world.

So what was Jesus like? For starters, he was compassionate, not condemning. Remember the woman caught in the act of adultery? When the Pharisees wanted to stone her, he said, 'Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone' (John 8:7 NLT)! Ouch! Who was Jesus talking about? The Pharisees or the religious hierarchy? No, he was talking about himself! He was the only one without sin and he had no stones to throw!

If you want to know what 'putting skin on Jesus' looks like, the Bible lists these nine 'fruits' (or Christlike qualities) that the Holy Spirit wants to produce in your life: 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control' (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).

Soulfood: Col 1-2, John 17:1-12, Ps 147:12-20, Pro 29:6-10


Your divine security detail

'The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear him, and delivers them.' Psalm 34:7 NKJV

Just as a president and a prime minister are constantly surrounded by security guards, as a redeemed child of God you are surrounded by angels. You may not be able to see the president's or prime minister's security detail, but just let someone make a threatening move and trained guards instantly form a protective shield around them.

Dr James McConnell, founder of Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast, was preaching one night during the Northern Ireland conflict, when a paramilitary leader with a gun came into the church to kill him. Why? Because the man's wife had become a Christian and her life was so radically changed that he hardly recognised her. The man only took a few steps up the aisle when he stopped dead in his tracks, turned and ran out of the church. What happened? The man, who later became a Christian, testified that he'd seen two big angels standing on either side of Pastor McConnell!

When Paul's ship encountered a storm and everyone thought they were going to perish, Paul announced: 'There stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, "Do not be afraid"...take heart...for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me' (Acts 27:23-25 NKJV). Today, you have a divine security detail watching over you.

Soulfood: Josh 22-24, John 16:19-33, Ps 147:1-11, Pro 29:1-5


Discovering God's will 2

'That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.' Romans 12:2 NKJV

For a redeemed child of God, nothing in life should be more important than discovering and doing his will.

But you have four options: (1) You can remain ignorant of it. Chances are this isn't you, or you wouldn't be reading this daily devotional right now. Clearly you have a desire to know God's will for your life and he will help you find it (see Isaiah 30:21). (2) You can know it and choose to disobey it. Jonah knew God's will, but he ran from it and ended up in the biggest storm of his life. What was his problem? He didn't like the assignment God gave him. Is your problem that you know God's will but you just don't like it? (3) You can know it but settle for less. The truth is you can sing in the choir and serve on church committees, yet deep in your heart know you're settling for less than God's will. (4) You can settle for nothing less than God's will. There are moments when God's will seems too difficult, too prolonged and too unrewarding. Your own ideas seem easier, quicker and more enjoyable. In the end, you find that his plan was better than yours and there will never be an exception to this rule.

So you may as well decide from now on to yield to God's will, do things his way and believe him for his best. Today get down on your knees and say with the psalmist, 'I delight to do your will, O my God...your law is within my heart' (Psalm 40:8 NKJV).

Soulfood: Josh 19:24-51, Josh 20, Josh 21:1-45, John 16:12-18, Ps 2, Pro 28:25-28


Discovering God's will 1

'Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.' Romans 12:2 NKJV

The story is told of a man who lived on a beautiful farm. When he died, the property, which had been in the family for over 200 years, was sold to one of the neighbours. One day, the new owner was walking in a field when he noticed an odd-looking rock sticking out of the dirt. He took it home, washed it and took it to a jewellery store. The jeweller confirmed what the owner already suspected. The old stone, which had been in the field for thousands of years, was a large, uncut emerald, and proved to be worth several million dollars. This gemstone had been in the field all along, waiting for someone to come along and discover it. Over the years, people had walked past it thousands of times and overlooked it, because it looked like nothing more than a common or garden rock.

When we 'discover' something, in actuality we find something that already exists even though we were unaware of it. Here's the point: while many of us are seeking God's will for our lives, often what we're looking for is right under our nose, but we keep searching because we don't recognise it.

To recognise a precious stone, you need to be familiar with its characteristics and know what to look for. Likewise, to recognise God's will you must live by this Scripture: 'Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God' (Romans 12:2 NKJV). That calls for quality time reading your Bible, and talking with and listening to the Author.

Soulfood: Josh 16, Josh 17, Josh 18, Josh 19:1-23, John 16:1-11, Ps 130, Pro 28:21-24


Keep praying and believing God

'Many are saying, "God will never rescue him!"' Psalm 3:2 NLT

Have you been praying for years that God will save your husband, your wife, your children or your friends? Does your heart long to see the people you love serving him? Are you getting discouraged? Has someone told you, 'You're wasting your time, they'll never change'? If so, read what the psalmist wrote: 'Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God." But you, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and he heard me from his holy hill' (Psalm 3:2-4 NKJV).

Pay particular attention to the phrase, 'many are they who say'. Everybody has an opinion, but until God speaks on the matter, the jury is still out! As long as he's still on the throne and his promises are still true, keep praying and believing God for a miracle. 'But they're so far from God right now!' you say. They may be, but read this and rejoice: 'The Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear' (Isaiah 59:1 NKJV).

Your loved one is not too far gone for God. They may be messed up on drugs and alcohol, having an affair or even be in prison. Wherever they are today, the long arm of God's grace can reach out and save them. Satan knows that and he wants you to get discouraged and give up. Don't do it! Just as power flows through electric wire, God's power flows through your prayers. So keep praying and believing God!

Soulfood: Jer 31:31-37, Heb 8:1-13

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