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The Word For Today

An attitude adjustment 3

'Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.' Proverbs 3:6 NLT

When it comes to having the right attitude - stay in touch with the control tower. Air traffic controllers 'see the big picture' when it comes to what's going on in the sky. They have the knowledge and authority to tell pilots to slow down or speed up, fly higher or lower, avoid or navigate through storms, or take alternative routes. Amazingly, air traffic controllers in the United Kingdom handle over 2.5 million flights each year - an average of around 7,000 every day. In fact, their busiest day on record was 5th July 2019, when they handled 8,863 flights! They manage commercial flights, private aviation, military, and cargo air traffic, as well as air taxis and airport vehicles. With so many flights taking off and landing every minute, pilots have to stay in touch with the control tower.

Similarly, you must stay in touch with God - the one who sees the big picture for your life and orchestrates everything that involves you. He makes sure everything that needs to happen, happens at the right time, and moves at the appropriate speed to make sure you arrive safely at the destination he's planned for you. That's why staying in communication with God should be at the top of your daily to-do list. He will help you navigate the ups and downs of life, and find your way through cloudy days when you can't see the next step you need to take.

In short, when you 'seek his will in all you do...he will show you which path to take' (Proverbs 3:6 NLT).

Soulfood: Num 30:1 - 32:24, Mark 9:1-13, Ps 49, Pro 11:16-18


An attitude adjustment 2

'He changes times and seasons...He gives wisdom.' Daniel 2:21 NIV

Realise that rough times won't last forever. As surely as God created spring to follow winter, 'He changes times and seasons...He gives wisdom' (Daniel 2:21 NIV). The season of adversity you're in will end. And when it does, you'll glean from it the wisdom to build a better future. Sometimes your greatest blessings come from your most negative circumstances. Paul writes, 'Our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever' (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT)! Tough times don't last, but tough people do! Out of your greatest tests come your greatest testimonies.

Don't make major decisions during a storm. Thoughts and feelings often run wild in the midst of a crisis; those are times when you need to be careful about making decisions. Remain calm, discipline yourself to focus on what you can do, and trust God to do what you can't. Just as a pilot error can cause a plane to be diverted from its intended destination, or have to make a dangerous emergency landing, a bad decision can divert or delay you from reaching your destiny. Let your emotions subside - before you decide. You may not always have that option, but as much as possible, put significant decisions on hold until your storm passes. Just as the wind blows about wildly during a storm, your thoughts can become wild and frantic, and that's not the best time to make crucial assessments.

What should you do? Paul answers, 'Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and...his peace will guard your hearts and minds' (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

Soulfood: Num 27-29, Mark 8:27-38, Ps 62, Pro 11:15


An attitude adjustment 1

'Whatever things are of good report...meditate on these things.' Philippians 4:8 NKJV

We all need 'an attitude adjustment' from time to time. It's crucial to maintain the right outlook when the going gets rough. No matter what happens in your life, determine to go through it with the right attitude. In fact, determine beforehand to keep a positive mindset in the midst of every negative situation that arises. If you make this a conscious decision and meditate on it during the good times, when difficulties arise you'll already be prepared.

Paul writes: 'Whatever things are true...are noble...are just...are pure...are lovely...are of good report; if there is any virtue...and...praiseworthy - meditate on these things...and the God of peace willl be with you' (Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV). Some of the greatest writers and composers in history created masterpieces during the worst times of their lives. Beethoven's most famous symphonies were written when he was almost totally deaf and experiencing great sorrow. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think, 'I could never be like those people.' If you think like that, you'll be defeated before you even try.

Maintaining a right attitude is always much easier than regaining a right attitude. So as soon as you sense yourself becoming negative, make an immediate attitude adjustment. The Bible says, 'Resist the devil and he will flee from you' (James 4:7 NKJV). The moment the enemy sends negative thoughts into your mind, stop them midstream. Discipline yourself to stand strong with a positive attitude in every circumstance. When you do, 'the God of peace will be with you'.

Soulfood: Num 25-26, Mark 8:14-26, Ps 57, Pro 11:14


Demolishing strongholds

'The weapons we fight with...have...power to demolish strongholds.' 2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV

God called David 'a man after my own heart' (Acts 13:22 NKJV). But David struggled with a weakness in his life. What was it? A lustful spirit that surfaced from time to time, and the people closest to him knew about it. When he grew old and couldn't get warmed, they brought a young girl to lie beside him in bed that he 'may be warm' (1 Kings 1:1-2 ESV). They figured if that didn't get David's circulation moving he had to be dying! But there's something sad here. David passed on his weakness to his son Amnon, who ended up raping his sister. And although David was angry about it, he didn't confront or punish him. After all, what could he say? Like father, like son!

Lust isn't just a whim or a passing fancy, it's a sin. And when it passes from one generation to the next it becomes a 'stronghold'. Today psychologists refer to it as 'a genetic predisposition'. Maybe somewhere in your family tree there are other strongholds: a workaholic or emotionally unavailable parent, a brother or sister who drank too much, and now you're wrestling with the same issues. Don't be discouraged; Paul says, 'The weapons we fight with...have...power to demolish strongholds' (2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV).

So before you consult a divorce court or a rehab centre, name your stronghold, then pray, believing God to break its stranglehold on your life. Get help before it infects the next generation. Don't pass it on - pass it back to where it came from.

Soulfood: Num 22-24, Mark 8:1-13, Ps 44:17-26, Pro 11:12-13



'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.' Romans 10:17 NKJV

Let's define the word 'faith' more clearly. The Bible says faith is 'the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen' (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV). Faith isn't empty hope, or simply a positive confession of something we want to be true. Faith is recognising something that's already a reality despite the fact that it can't yet be seen.

The Bible says Abraham 'believed - God, who...calls those things which do not exist as though they did' (Romans 4:17 NKJV). Based on this verse some people think that whatever they want they can simply 'speak into existence'. Read the verse again! Abraham didn't speak Isaac into existence, God did! Abraham simply believed God, acted on his promise, and as a result Isaac was born. 'Not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to perform' (Romans 4:19-21 NKJV).

Your faith must be in God, not in your faith! In and of itself, faith has no creative power; it just affirms what already exists in the unseen world and in what God has promised, knowing that in his time it will come to pass because it's his will. Whatever you claim by faith must be based on what God has clearly promised you in his Word. And how do you develop that kind of faith? Read the Word! 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God' (Romans 10:17 NIV).

Soulfood: Matt 5:10, 1 Thes 2:13 - 3:5, 1 Cor 4:11-13, Rev 6:9-11


What's your plan

'The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials.' Genesis 41:37 NIV

God gave Joseph a dream that one day he'd be in a high-profile leadership position. But when he finally arrived at Pharaoh's palace, he didn't walk in and announce, 'God told me I was to be the boss round here!' No, he had to work for it! There was worldwide famine at the time and Joseph gave Pharaoh a plan not only to survive it, but to prosper because of it. Notice what Pharaoh said about Joseph: 'Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God' (Genesis 41:38 NIV)?

So what's your dream? And what's your plan? Your dream and your talent are important, but long-term success won't happen without a plan. The Bible says, 'A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men' (Proverbs 18:16 NKJV). Your talent may bring you to the attention of key people, but you'll have to be able to answer the question 'What's your plan?' A plan takes your dreams and talents and maximises them by bringing structure to the concept. It involves being committed to a budget; it means constantly working on specific goals and details. Joseph gave Pharaoh a specific plan with a time line: seven years. He told him, 'This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine' (Genesis 41:36 NIV).

So here's what you need to do: write down your plan, which includes specific actions and deadlines to fulfil it. Will God bless your plan? Yes, but you must have the right plan in place before he can bless it.

Soulfood: Num 19-21, Mark 7:24-37, Ps 44:9-16, Pro 11:10-11


Rejoice you are in the will of God

'I delight to do your will, O my God.' Psalm 40:8 NKJV

There's no joy in life that compares to knowing that you're walking in the centre of God's will. Not fame, not riches, not pleasure. Nothing compares to knowing you have the smile of his approval on what you're doing each day. Will doing God's will always be easy? No; it's enjoyable, but it's not always easy. Indeed, your God-given assignment in life may bring many levels of resistance and attack.

But your joy comes from knowing that God is strengthening you to do - by the power of his Spirit - what you could never do on your own. So in that sense, resistance and attack may serve as confirmation that you're truly in God's will! Paul writes: 'In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness - besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak' (2 Corinthians 11:23-29 NKJV)?

So rejoice - though there is trouble, you are in the will of God!

Soulfood: Num 16-18, Mark 7:14-23, Ps 44:1-8, Pro 11:9


Retrain your mind

'For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.' Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

The thought patterns you establish put you on autopilot. That means when specific situations arise, you may be pre-programmed to respond in a certain way. Sometimes that's a good thing, like automatically distancing yourself from danger. Other times, you need to interrupt your autopilot function and stop your mind from going in the wrong direction.

For example, maybe you've spent years dreading Christmas celebrations with extended family. This year you can choose to think, 'It's not my favourite activity, but I'm going to look for something good in each of my relatives.' Or maybe you've developed a habit of complaining and feeling overwhelmed each month when the bills arrive. Instead you can choose to think, 'I'm going to pay as much as possible on these, and little by little I'll get out of debt.' Or maybe you don't like your job, your boss or the people you work with. If so, you have a choice. You can be negative and critical, or say, 'I'm glad I've got a job; many people don't. I'm going to do my best every day, and believe God to give me favour with my boss. My work environment may not be ideal, but I'll do my part to make it pleasant for myself and those around me. I'd like a raise, so I'll work hard to earn it.'

Instead of reacting to the first thoughts that cross your mind, retrain your mind, one thought at a time, to think differently. It takes a little work, but when you think God's thoughts, he becomes your partner in accomplishing whatever you need to accomplish.

Soulfood: Num 14-15, Mark 7:1-13, Ps 37:32-40, Pro 11:7-8


Do what pleases God

'Do what is right.' Psalm 4:5 NCV

Day after day Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph, but he said no. He gave her no time, no attention, no chitchat and no reason for hope. 'He did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her' (Genesis 39:10 NKJV). When she called, he didn't answer the phone. When she texted, he didn't text back. When she showed up, he 'fled and ran outside' (Genesis 39:12 NKJV).

In a culture that uses phrases like 'consenting adults' and 'sexual rights', we forget how immorality destroys the lives of people who aren't in the bedroom. Max Lucado writes: 'Years ago a friend gave me this counsel: "Make a list of all the lives you would affect by your sexual immorality." I did. Every so often I reread it. "My wife Denalyn. My three daughters. My son-in-law. My yet-to-be-born granddaughter. Every person who has ever read one of my books or heard one of my sermons. My publishing team. Our church staff." The list reminds me: one act of carnality is a poor exchange for a lifetime of lost legacy.'

Joseph's primary reason for saying no to Potiphar's wife was - God. 'How...can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God' (Genesis 39:9 NKJV)? The lesson we learn from Joseph is surprisingly simple: do what pleases God. When a friend offers you a joint of marijuana: do what pleases God. When your classmates show you a way to cheat: do what pleases God. When the temptation to watch pornography is great: do what pleases God. 'How can I please God?' you ask. 'Do what is right as a sacrifice to the Lord and trust the Lord' (Psalm 4:5 NCV).

Soulfood: Num 11-13, Mark 6:45-56, Ps 37:25-31, Pro 11:5-6


Having trouble sleeping

'You can go to bed without fear...lie down and sleep soundly.' Proverbs 3:24 NLT

Insomnia is a miserable thing. At any given time it affects 30 to 50 per cent of the population. You dread bedtime, toss and tumble all night, and walk around exhausted the next day. And, when it continues for weeks or even months, it can depress you and rob you of your joy.

Is that what's happening to you right now? Then let God help you. His Word says he 'gives rest to his loved ones' (Psalm 127:2 NLT). His promise is, 'You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly' (Proverbs 3:24 NLT). And if you'd like to stop taking those sleeping pills, the Great Physician can heal you.

Make this your prayer today: 'Father, shine your light on the root cause of my sleeplessness. Whatever anxieties are stopping me from entering into a state of restorative slumber, I cast them all on you as instructed, knowing you care for me (see 1 Peter 5:7). Calm my racing thoughts and restless mind. Help me to be still and know you are my God (see Psalm 46:10). I submit to your command not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything instead. I bring my needs to you, and thank you for all you have already done. Your Word assures me that if I do this I'll experience your peace, which is more wonderful than the human mind can understand, and that it will guard my heart and my mind (see Philippians 4:6-7). By faith I will lie down tonight without fear or anxiety and enjoy pleasant dreams. Yes, I will lie down in peace and sleep because you...Lord, will keep me safe (see Psalm 4:8). In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.'

Soulfood: Num 8-10, Mark 6:30-44, Ps 37:16-24, Pro 11:4

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