Daily Devotions

Monday 3rd August – LUKE 6:27-36  

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

Here’s a real challenge for today…the Bible says, “Treat others just as you want to be treated!”  That is in actual fact, the first rule of relationships – Find out what you want and give it to others. It’s that powerful spiritual law of Sowing and Reaping and it works in every area of life. So go out there today and give a little love and kindness…even where it’s not deserved, and sow some good seeds. You will be amazed at the harvest…God will cause grace and favour to overflow towards you!

FRIDAY 31st July – PROVERBS 29:1-8

“He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Whoever loves wisdom makes his father rejoice, but a companion of harlots wastes his wealth. The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it. A man who flatters his neighbour spreads a net for his feet. By transgression an evil man is snared, but the righteous sings and rejoices. The righteous considers the cause of the poor,
But the wicked does not understand such knowledge. Scoffers set a city aflame, but wise men turn away wrath.”

As a pastor of some 28 years’ experience now, I have learned a few things, and none of them is more pertinent than what I am going to share with you today. It has taken me many years to realize this, and it has literally transformed my relationships. Here it is…Most often, angry people, simply need to be heard! Learning to de-escalate anger is a skill we all need. I have found that if you just give people room enough to talk…even if you disagree with them…if you  just listen to what they have to say and don’t invalidate their feelings, the atmosphere inevitably changes and you can diffuse potentially explosive situations in which no one wins and that resolve nothing. Try it today…be a peacemaker (Matthew 5:9).

Thursday 30th July – COLOSSIANS 3:1-13

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

It is an unavoidable fact, no matter how we try to insulate ourselves, that people hurt us. They hurt us with their words, their thoughtless actions or attitudes…none of us gets through life unscathed! Often these hurts are unintentional, but that makes them no less painful and sometimes even debilitating. Unforgiveness is such a destructive thing. It leads to bitterness and anger, which as a consequence cause us, in turn, to hurt those around us. As believers, our lives should be characterised by forgiveness. It all starts by realizing that the power to forgive comes from God! Each time you are hurt…hand it over to Him. That doesn’t minimize your hurt…in fact it acknowledges it…and that’s the first step to healing! When you bring it before God and surrender it to Him, His perspective will empower you to let go…and once you release the offence…you will be free!

Wednesday 29th July – DEUTERONOMY 2:1-7

“Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea, as the Lord spoke to me, and we skirted Mount Seir for many days. “And the Lord spoke to me, saying: ‘You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn northward.And command the people, saying, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully. Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. You shall buy food from them with money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink. “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”’

What a powerful spiritual key we have here! How do we attract God’s blessing? By inviting His presence into every part of our life, every element of our day, no matter how routine or mundane it seems. That means your work, your finances, your family, your dreams and fears…everything! You will be amazed at the difference, when you bring God into the equation. The more you submit everything to Him, the more you will begin to see things as He sees them and the result will be that you begin to approach everything, even your biggest challenges, from a position of strength rather than weakness!

tuesday 28th July – PSALM 119: 105-112; 129-130

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.106 I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep Your righteous judgments. 07 I am afflicted very much; revive me, O Lord, according to Your word. 108 Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me Your judgments. 109 My life is continually in my hand, yet I do not forget Your law. 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not strayed from Your precepts. 111 Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart. 112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end. 129 Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

How gracious is our God! He could have just left us to figure things out for ourselves…but he didn’t. He chose to speak to us…and he chose to use a language of love we can all understand…no matter our age or IQ. In his Word you can find a source of wisdom that has withstood the test of time. God can and does indeed speak to us in many different ways, but His primary way is through Scripture. Make His Word your starting place…in all things. Read it, meditate on it, pray it…and discover His voice, today, for yourself!

monday 27th July – LUKE 4:27-31

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

One of the things that I have learned, after more than 25 years of pastoral ministry, working with all kinds of people, is that in many ways, we are all alike! We all want to be cared for or cared about. We all want to be respected. We all want to be listened to and understood. We all want to belong. We all want freedom and opportunity. Well…the first rule of relationship is this: Find out what you want and give it to others! That’s a powerful spiritual principle! It’s the law of sowing and reaping…and it can be life transforming. Try it…it really works!

friday 24th July – 1 PETER 4:1-10

“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Do you know, that God has designed you in such a way that you bring something special and unique into the lives of others? So spend some time today considering what is your God-given uniqueness and look for ways you can use your strengths to add richness to the people around you. The truth is, that people are hungry for what you provide…so show them a “slice” of God they can find no other way!

Thursday 23rd July – JAMES 1:2-12

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

We all face times  in life, when it seems that everything in our circumstances is telling us that god has forgotten us and doesn’t really care what we’re going through. In fact, we need to be prepared for such times! During these times we need to press forward, for they are opportunities for great growth in our faith. How do we do that?…By making a decision that we will not be moved by what we see or feel, but by what we know! God’s love never fails! He never leaves us nor forsakes us and His mercies are new every morning!

wednesday 22nd July – JOSHUA 24:11-15

“Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho. And the men of Jericho fought against you—also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I delivered them into your hand. 12 I sent the hornet before you which drove them out from before you, also the two kings of the Amorites, but not with your sword or with your bow. 13 I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’

14 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

Many Christians do not see their homes to be as sacred as the church. They have undervalued and underestimated God’s perspective and heart for the home. For many Christians and their families all spirituality is exercised IN church, all prayer is IN church, all teaching is IN church – and not in the home. In too many Christian homes there has been an abdication of responsibility for godly leadership, family worship and spiritual discipleship. The challenges of Joshua’s day are no less than those we live among today. If we want to see God’s blessing on our lives, we have to choose to live according to God’s design for us in our homes and families.

Tuesday 21st July – PHILIPPIANS 4:1-6

“Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

As I was thinking on these verses, particularly (verse 6), I was reminded again of the fact, that prayer can move the world! Literally! Why? Because prayer is a direct address to God. The Holy Spirit dropped these thoughts into my heart…let me just share them as they came to me. Prayer affects people by affecting God. Prayer moves people because it moves God to move them. Prayer moves the hand that moves the world! The promises of god are so great to those who truly pray, that when he puts himself into the hands of his praying ones, it almost staggers our faith and leaves us amazed.

monday 20th July – JOHN 14:9-14

“Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

In our legal system we have what is called a “power of attorney.” It allows an individual who owns the rights to something to give control over it to someone else. That person has the same authority as the owner, just as if the owner himself were acting. When Jesus promises to do what we ask, He gives us His authority to make requests of the Father. It is as though Jesus Himself were making the request. And so, prayers “in His name” have absolutely awesome power. When you ask something of God in Jesus’ name, it is important for your request to reflect His will, not yours. As you read the Bible, as you pray, as you worship God, speak to Him about your needs and then listen to His answers as He speaks to your spirit. You can then pray with confidence and genuine faith that His revealed will for you be done. You will begin to see real answers!

friday 17th July – 1 THESSALONIANS 5:14-23

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

People in the past who were very successful in prayer, who made big things happen, who moved God to do great things, were those who surrendered completely to God in their praying. My challenge to you today, is this; God requires complete devotion when we pray. He requires whole-hearted people through whom he can work out His purposes and plans. So here’s my thought…just let me say it as it is; no person with a divided allegiance to God, the world, and self, can do the praying that is needed!

thursday 16th July – PSALMs 27:1—7

“Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”

Faith often requires patiently waiting before God and being prepared to wait for His seeming delays in answering  prayer. It’s so important that we do not allow our faith to waiver or become disheartened because prayer is not immediately answered. Real faith takes God at His Word and lets Him take what time he chooses in fulfilling His purposes and in carrying out His work. Remember, even as I reminded you in Sunday’s message, every delay has a divine purpose. God is never early nor is He ever late; He is always perfectly on time! So learn to trust Him…you know you can, for He has never failed you yet!

Wednesday 15th July – Luke 11:1

“Lord, teach us to pray”

I believe that as we participate in this time of prayer and fasting as a church that there are some key prayer principles we need to remind ourselves of. Here’s the first one: True prayer involves knowing beforehand what to ask for. You see…praying, is asking for something definite. We need to be reading the word of God to discover His thoughts and Kingdom agenda and waiting on Him, by listening for His still small voice and those promptings of the Holy Spirit. He is our Helper in the place of prayer. “ Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

TuesDAY 14th July – 1 TIMOTHY 4:1-12

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

You are a living testament to the God who dwells in you. Every day, beginning today, connect every part of your life to God and His purpose and as you do, people will begin to notice the change in you! Your life will become a witness to the grace and goodness of God, and will point others to Him. Remember…you are the only “sermon” many of them will hear. As you live, as the Word of God encourages you to, they will be inspired by the way that you trust Him, in good times and bad and they will be drawn to you and your faith in Him! So pray today…”God…I need you to fill every part of my life, so I can be a light to others…Amen!”

MONDAY 13th July – REVELATION 3:7-11

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:  “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”

The word for you today…is “HOLD ON!”  Sometimes that feels easier said than done…especially when we find ourselves in the  middle of a storm of storms, or facing a fiery trial we can’t see our way out of. But when it seems that people and circumstances have conspired to discourage us, let’s always remember that the Lord has promised that He will never let us go…that He will hold on to us, if we keep holding on to Him!

FRIDAY 10th July – 1 CORINTHIANS 16:1-14

 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me. Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 10 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren. 12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time. 13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.”

The Bible rings out with the truth…that “God is love” (1John 4:8). As believers, there is a single guiding principle to help us govern our lives and that principle is LOVE! Love for God, first, then to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). If you are facing a dilemma or a difficult decision, it is always wise to bring love into the equation. You will find that as you follow the most loving course of action, everything else will become much clearer!

THURSDAY 9th July – PROVERBS 2:1-6

“My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

There is only one source of absolute and reliable truth…and that is the Lord! Take courage today in the realization that He can lead you, through the abiding and indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, through every situation you may face. He can navigate you, even through the most difficult of decisions. So always remember…when you don’t know which way to turn…look up!

Wednesday 8th July – ECCLESIASTES 3:1-11

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.What profit has the worker from that in which he labours? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

Whether we are looking forward or looking back, we cannot but come to the awesome realization that God is in control and we are not! What comfort and courage we derive from that! While we are struggling or battling to make sense of things of things and find our way in a world that seems so confused…how great is it to know, that our God is good, righteous and just. That even though we may be prone to making mistakes, we can put out trust in the One who never makes mistakes! That not only can we entrust out eternity to Him…but also our today!

TUESDAY 7th July – ROMANS 12:1-2

 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And 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.”

We have an incredible machine inside our head called ‘brain.’ You may have a high IQ, or average or even below average intelligence but your brain is still incredible. Did you know that inside the skull of your head is more information stored than in the national library? That is really incredible for a very small machine that only weighs for about 3 pounds. Psychologists tell us that each person has about ten thousand thoughts per day. Did you realize that many thoughts go on inside your head each day? Unbelievable! It means that we have many chances of having good thoughts every day. So if you want to change the outcome of your life . . . change your way of thinking! (Proverbs 23:7) says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Philippians 2:5) says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”  If you find that you’re not the person you want to be, you can blame your circumstances all day long, it will never change anything. Try substituting negative thoughts with positive ones. And do you know what?…If you’ll concentrate on what’s right in your life instead of what is wrong…what’s good instead of what’s bad …what’s sweet instead of what’s bitter…you’ll find that you’re a totally different person…and the only thing that changed . . . was you! (Philippians 4:8)

monday 6th July – LUKE 5:1-11

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”

I want to share a powerful and potentially life-changing principle with you today: 1. To turn your failures into success, INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR BOAT (v. 3-4) 2. To turn your failures into success, ADMIT YOUR OWN EFFORTS HAVE FAILED (V.5)
“A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.” (Proverbs 28:13 LB) 3. To turn your failures into success, OBEY WHATEVER JESUS TELLS YOU TO DO…“Nevertheless at Your word Lord…” Follow His instructions even when it doesn’t make sense. 4. To turn your failures into success, FOLLOW JESUS INTO HIS DIRECTION (Vs.6-11) …” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” God’s work done in God’s way will not lack his supply. So remember, as you face the challenges and perhaps frustrations of your day…“You will not succeed by your own strength or power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Friday 3rd July – MARK 4:35-41

“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

We need to see that fear is the opposite of faith. Over and over we are commanded, “Fear not!” God said, “Fear not, Joshua, be strong and of good courage.” The Lord speaks to us and says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee.” Over and over, Jesus says, “Fear not.” And here, He asks His disciples, “Why do you fear?” Our question, often, to Jesus is, “Do you not care?” His reply to us is, “Do you not have faith?” This is the key. While we say, “Lord, don’t you care about my situation?” He says, “Child, don’t you trust me in it?”
Faith drives out fear. The Bible teaches that we have not been given a spirit of fear. The only reason we ever question God is because of fear, or a lack of faith. They are really the same many times. When we trust God, we have no reason to fear. For we know that as long as we are in His hands we are safe. And we trust that whatever He deems best for us is truly best. There is no need to fear when He is on our side. Oh, that we may say, like the Psalmist, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me.” That is faith. That is where the Lord wants us to be!

THursday 2nd July – 1 PETER 1:14-16; 2:12

“As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”   “12 Having your conduct honourable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

George Barna did a survey and wrote a book about the status of today’s church, and it was shocking. He found that the divorce rate for non-Christians was 23%, and the divorce rate for Born Again Christians was 27%. That’s right; the Christians had a higher divorce rate than the non-Christian. When the question was asked, “Have you given money to a homeless or a poor person in the past year?” The result was Christians 24%, non-Christians 34%. What’s wrong? The Church is called to stand out. Jesus said in (Matt. 5:14-15) “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  Let’s remember…we are called to be holy, set apart…we are called to shine, to give light to this world darkened by sin. I hope that today, the Lord has found each of us striving for Holiness.

Wednesday 1st July –EPHESIANS 3:17-21

Most people never take advantage of God’s abundant resources. Eph. 3:20 in the Amplified Version says, “God is able to do superabundantly, far over and above, all that we dare ask or think. Infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thought, hopes, or dreams.” We never tap into the tremendous resources that God has made available to us. (Matthew 9:29) Jesus  said: “According to you faith, it will be done to you.” The key to unlock all God wants to do in your life is faith! The Law of Expectations says that, basically, we get what we expect out of life. We tend to see what we expect to see, we tend to feel what we expect to feel, we tend to act the way we expect to act, and eventually, we tend to achieve what we expect to achieve. Your expectations influence your happiness, they influence your health. Your expectations influence your relationships.  When you expect the best, you’re honouring God. It also increases your ability when you’re expecting the best. Athletes know that the winning edge is attitude, not ability. It’s how you see it. That’s why it’s so important to start your day with faith…because according to your faith, it will be done to you!

tuesday 30th June – ROMANS 8:22-27

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

Have you ever wanted to pray, but you felt so distraught, so uptight, so upset that words just wouldn’t come? Maybe your hurt was “too deep for words” and all you could do was to look upward and say, “Aaargh!” Now imagine God looking from Heaven and replying, “I got it—I understand completely.” That’s the basic message of verses 26-27. Paul’s been explaining how “we groan inwardly as we wait” for what God’s going to do in our lives (verse 23). We can expect God’s support in our struggles. This prayerful groaning isn’t only about “speaking in tongues”, but about intense, non-verbal communication. We don’t have to always pray with words—we can communicate through silence, through feelings, and by focusing on God without having to say a word. Inwardly we groan, and God hears it; He catches what no one else can comprehend. He understands our pain and longings. We don’t always know why we hurt—God knows even that. When we’re about to pray and we’re thinking, “Why do I feel so crummy?” -God already understands. As you pray today…spend a little more time, than usual, just waiting on God…just resting in the Holy Spirit’s enabling. Let Him direct your prayer time…give up the control to Him…you might just be surprised at the results!

MONDAY 29th June – HEBREWS 4:15-16

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

What an awesome though, as you begin a new day, that it is possible to have that kind of heart connection with Jesus Himself, for He left the throne of heaven, and walked this earth for thirty-three years. The infinite God became finite. He learned to walk and talk and work in His father’s carpentry shop. Most importantly, our scripture reminds us, that he was tempted in all points as we are. So be encouraged…He came to walk in your shoes! Why? So that you need never feel that He doesn’t understand. He does, and he will graciously help us stand strong! Lean on Him, rely on Him, He will see you through it.  Remember, He will never allow you to face something you cannot bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He will always provide a way through!

FRIDAY 26th June – PSALM 46:1-10

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

In a very real sense (Psalm 46) is a call that runs counter to our culture. Our world is so noisy and moves so quickly and our lives, in the process become filled with so much unnecessary clutter and “stuff” we don’t have time or space to process. But in the midst of all the clatter and clutter of your day, God calls you, today, to know Him not in the spectacular and loud, not in the dramatic and powerful. He calls us to be still! To find a place of quiet – internal as well as external…to commune with Him and listen for Him, and just to know…that He is! He is everything we need and more!

Thursday 25th June – PROVERBS 21:1-5

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. A haughty look, a proud heart,
And the ploughing of the wicked are sin. The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

It was Thomas Edison who said, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning!”  This brings up an interesting thought, “Does the Bible have anything to say about planning?” The answer is yes! So, in our time together today, I would like to look at what the Bible has to say about plans and planning. The reality is…if you do not know where you are going, you’re going to end up somewhere else. (Proverbs 16:1-3) says, “The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes; But the Lord weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”  Wise people have a sense of what God wants and have made plans to achieve them. Wise people know where they are going and have plans on how to arrive there.  God has a purpose for every person. Discovering this and fulfilling it is the essence of life. But most people do not have any plan with their lives. They go through life without a clear picture of what God wants. They have no idea of their God-given destination. Take some time today to sit and ask the Lord how you can plan your life according to His plan.

wednesday 24th June – PROVERBS 22:1-4

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favour rather than silver and gold. The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all.A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. By humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches and honour and life.”

I often hear people explain the fear of the Lord as a mere respect or reverence. But the Bible uses the word fear at least 300 times in reference to God, so we make a mistake when we downplay it. The subject becomes even more mysterious when we read something like (1 John 4:18) that says that “perfect love expels all fear.” So how do we marry this dichotomy? How can we fear God while he expels all fear? Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). And Paul says to work toward complete holiness because we fear God (2 Corinthians 7:1). So it’s clear from these passages, that fearing God is good because it saves us from caving into our own sinful nature. I don’t know about you, but the more that I walk with the Lord, I discover that God poses an ominous threat to my ego, but not to me. He rescues me from my delusions, so he may reveal the truth that sets me free. He casts me down, only to lift me up again. He sits in judgment of my sin, but forgives me nevertheless. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but love from the Lord is its completion.

TUesday 23rd June – 2 TIMOTHY 1:1-7

 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

How many will wake up this morning and see the date…”Friday the 13th”…and panic?  Fear cripples and paralyzes. Fear blocks us from doing what we know to be right. Sometimes it is the fear of being rejected by someone else, or it could be the fear of not having some material thing. It can also be the fear of pain or even death. Our world will be shaken as Jesus has said that it would. The hearts of many will fail because of fear, but God desires that you live in freedom from fear. To reach your full potential in the Kingdom of God, you must live in the liberty that is yours in Christ. So today, in the midst of all the challenges that may come…remember that “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18)…Why? Because nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38)

monday 22nd June – JOHN 16:16-24

“A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.” 17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.” 19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? 20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labour, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. 23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Wow…what an amazing promise we have here! I was so challenged as I sat writing this devotion for you today, about what it means to “ask in His Name”… Most definitely we need to understand that the Name of Jesus is not some magical formula for us to just get whatever we want! As I pondered this in my heart, waiting on the Holy Spirit for insight to share with you, this is what I sensed Him say…When we pray in the name of Jesus, we remember that we are able to approach God only because of Jesus and His shed blood. We also remember that God is God, and we’re not…”Thy will be done, Father”! I felt led to pray for you today, that you would find a new love and passion, for conversing with Him. He’s already waiting for you…to call His Name!

FRIDAY 19th June – COLOSSIANS 4:2-6

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Our words are so powerful. The words that we speak either build people up or tear them down…those are basically the only two options. Here in our reading today, God calls us, as his people, to the positive option. He calls us to always season our words with grace, just as we season our food with salt. So today, let me invite you to consider the impact your words generally have on the people you talk to. Would you pray with me, as your pastor, today, that the holy Spirit would bless us with self-control and the ability to think before we speak, so that our speech will “always be with grace”!

THURSDAY 18th June – GALATIANS 6:1-5

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.”

Once we are growing in our Christian walk and being led by the Holy Spirit, one of His works in the believer, is to convict us of sin…we can become very aware of sin…even the sins of others which usually are more obvious to us than our own. The warning, though, is clear to us here, not to try and be the Holy Spirit for other people! Let’s rather keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and be His example in the way that we conduct ourselves. Today be challenged to continue to submit yourself to His transforming work in your life!

Wednesday 17th June – PSALM 118:14-24

14 The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. 15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them, and I will praise the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord, through which the righteous shall enter. 21 I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation. 22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

“Carpe diem…seize the day” – Horace                                                                                                                                                      “Don’t look back on happiness or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let your self be cheated out of it.” – Henry Ward Beecher                                                                                                                                            “Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don’t miss it!” – Leo Buscaglia

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” These voices from the past and present are basically saying the same thing…but the Word of God says it best! The reason being…that the psalmist recognises that the gist of “today” comes from the Lord! So recognise that today is God’s gift to you. Never take for granted a single day He gives you. No matter what you are going through, choose to live it full of gratitude and expectation. So my challenge to you, today, as your pastor, is this…”What will you do to seize today?”

TUESDAY 16th June – GENESIS 3:8-20

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” 12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” 16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”

Have you ever wondered why God asked Adam and Eve where they were? Surely being the All-knowing God he already knew! Of course He did…he also knew why they hid instead of running joyfully to meet Him. So here’s my challenge…not just for you but also for me…If the lord came to meet us in our “garden” today, would we be hiding? You know…we really don’t have to because there is “therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Because of Jesus we can be waiting for Him, joyfully, with “clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4).

Monday 15th June – JONAH 2:8-10

“Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy. But I will sacrifice to You
with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” 10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

We all go through those times and seasons when it seems like our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and it seems like we’re not breaking through. The life of Jonah is a powerful example to us of how one, deliberate choice, can change everything. If you’re finding that your prayer time has lost momentum and seems to have stagnated…why not find a different place to pray in…it doesn’t have to be the belly of a fish! I know it sounds a strange suggestion to make…but even for me, as your pastor, prayer is a challenge, sometimes! This practical suggestion really works for me. Maybe it’s a place in your house where you would not normally pray or even somewhere outdoors. Why not change things around a little this week during your devotions…take time away from everyone else and just enjoy being close to God.

friday 12th june – 1 THESSALONIANS 4: 13 – 18

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

God encourages us Himself (Romans15:5) and He also gives to us as His children, the gift of encouragement so that we can encourage one another (Romans 12:8). As I thought about this responsibility that we as believers have, I realized how important courage is, if we are to build each other up. How many times, when you have found yourself facing a trial, test or challenge, has the Lord encouraged you through other people? So, today, as you go about your business…wherever you find yourself, ask Him to also make you a source of comfort, strength and courage for others.

Thursday 11th june – COLOSSIANS 3:15-4:1

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”

If we take God’s Word seriously and allow it to dwell richly in us, the Holy Spirit will cause that Word to come alive in us. Often we feel unqualified to speak the Word to others even when we feel that inner prompting to. But the admonition from today’s devotion is that when you allow the Word of Christ to be established in you, the Holy Spirit will bring that word out of you and you will find that you are able to speak a word in season by His directing. He will bring that word to remembrance and give you the wisdom and sensitivity in how to deliver it. So listen for His direction today…The Holy Spirit is the One Who inspired the Word in the first place, and he will give you the inspiration to speak it by His leading.

wednesday 10th june – 1 JOHN 3:11-24

 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but In deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”

We are channels of God’s love not reservoirs. We have to get into the habit of acting when God prompts us. We don’t have to be clever. No theological qualifications are necessary; just open-ness to the Holy Spirit. We shouldn’t excuse ourselves and think that somebody else will do what God expects us to do. We should obey Him and show others His love in action. So actively look today, for opportunities to be an expression of the Father’s heart of compassion, empathy and encouragement to those you come in contact with.

Tuesday 9th june – MATTHEW 6:25-34

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I don’t know whether your experience is the same as mine…but when trouble comes, it all seems to come along together, or in quick succession? One thing I have learned is that worrying about them accomplishes nothing. In fact it is a faithless “drain”. It has the opposite effect, in that it depletes not only your faith but your energy, creativity and ability to strategize. Each day has enough challenges of its own, and worrying doesn’t eliminate the problems or pain of today or tomorrow. Of course you cannot live in denial, you cannot ignore the future, and there are sensible choices to be made. The answer is to find the place of balance. Do what you need to do and what you can’t do…what is outside of your power to control…hand it over to Him and trust Him to work it out! That’s good, sound advice…even if I say so, myself. Remember, as your pastor, I am praying for you, and we are here, as a pastoral team to support you!

monday 8th June – JOHN 14:25-27

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

We greet people, today, with the words, “Hello, how are you?” in biblical times as well as in Israel today, they greet each other with the word, “Shalom”. It is the biblical word for “peace”. When we greet people, are we really interested in how things are going with them, or are we just mouthing the customary words? Jesus offers us His peace in the toughest of times. So whatever may be troubling you, at the start of this day…take your worry, fears and anxiety and turn it over to Him…shalom it!

FRiday 5th June – GALATIANS 5:16-25

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

This issue of bearing the fruit of the Spirit is always a challenging one for me. How can you and I display them more consistently in our lives? I’m sure, like you, when I look at myself, sometimes I wonder whether I’ll ever come anywhere near to being like Jesus! But God promises these traits to us and I believe we should claim them. So as you spend time with Him today, as God to begin and continue His wonderful change in you.

Thursday 4th June – JOHN 10:22-42

“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.[a] 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’?  35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” 39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. 41 Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” 42 And many believed in Him there.”

A shepherd, particularly in biblical times, had an incredible relationship with his sheep. The sheep knew the voice of the shepherd and would immediately respond to it. There are so many voices clamouring for and demanding our attention each day, and today will be no different. But here is the question I have for you as you prepare to face whatever this day holds: Can you recognise the voice of your Shepherd? You get to know His voice by spending time in His presence…not only talking but listening. Sometimes we just need to stop speaking and listen…you will be amazed at how He will speak. So spend a little time, in your devotions, now, thinking through the different ways in which He may be speaking to you and how you can be more open to hearing His voice.

WEDNESDAY 3rd june – 1 SAMUEL  15:9-23

“But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. 10 Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul asking, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night. 12 So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.” 13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of theLord.” 14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak on.” 17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 So Samuel said:“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

 

So often, when the pressure is on, we attempt to convince ourselves that “just a little bit won’t hurt!” We need, however, to understand a clear biblical principle that we see not only demonstrated in our reading today, but everywhere in Scripture: Half-hearted obedience is actually the same as disobedience. So often, we do just what Saul did, and think we can get away with being 99% obedient! How God looks at it, though, is very different. God, in fact, puts the sin of disobedience on a par with witchcraft and idolatry! Yep…I know it’s a tough one, for today…and I’m preaching to myself, as your pastor, as much as to you…but let’s always remember, that God demands wholehearted and complete obedience from us.

TUESDAY 2ND JUNE – JOSHUA 1:5-9

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Every day you and I need to think about this four-thousand-year-old message Joshua spoke to God’s people: Know the Word of God, meditate on His truth, be careful to obey His commands, and know His blessing. I want you to know that these words are just as relevant and life-giving today. And now, as New Testament believers, this side of the cross, we not only have the written Word to direct us, but also the example of Jesus as well as the indwelling Holy Spirit to provide guidance and direction to us. God has given us all we need to walk in His ways and blessing!

MONDAY 1ST JUNE – PSALM 127

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

There is a truth that rings out so clear from this psalm that is worth remembering as we set out to accomplish our goals and objectives this year…Anything we do – even things we do for the Kingdom, in our own power, or for our own recognition, is destined to either fail or at least fall short of what the result would have been with God’s blessing. So let me ask you…What house, if any, are you building right now that may not be God’s will for you? What task, if any, are you working hard at but without the Lords involvement?  Ask those questions of God. Listen for His answer. Then trust Him as you obey Him!

FRIDAY 29TH MAY –   MATTHEW 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Jesus knew how readily we worry about life’s necessities and he reminds us of how valuable we are to the Father and of that fact He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides for us. Jesus then commands us to seek first the “kingdom of God and His righteousness” with the promise that “all these things shall be added unto you.” So my challenge to you, as you start this New Year, is… Are eternal things your main focus as you plan 2014? Is your number one priority allowing God to reign in your life or are you more concerned about “all these things”? Let me encourage you to put Him first in all things and you will see how His provision and providence will amaze you!

THURSDAY 28TH MAY – ACTS 20:24

“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

These are some of the most powerful words ever spoken by the Apostle Paul as he considered the risks facing him in his journey to Jerusalem. What mattered most to Paul was not how long his life lasted, but that however many days God gave him he would finish his race with joy. He had already suffered so much persecution for his ministry and bold proclamation of the Gospel…and he was willing to endure even more if necessary! What an example for us! We try to serve God, often in a way that least inconveniences us…but we are called to so much more! When life beats us down and we need to remind ourselves of what really matters, Acts 20:24 is always a good place to go…it works for me every time!

WEDNESDAY 27th may – ROMANS 8 31-39

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Feelings lie! Read that fact again: Feelings lie. One of the things we have to constantly remind ourselves of is that feelings don’t necessarily correspond with reality. Our feelings are affected by so many things…sleep of lack thereof; food or lack thereof; hormones… Feelings of being abandoned by God and the resulting discouragement can lead us to dangerous places. This is one of the devil’s tactics against the children of God. Therefore, we have to make a decision not to give our feelings a foothold. When our emotions raise their voices we need to counter that “noise” with the truth of God’s Word. Sometimes we will find it helpful to actually speak His Word out loud! So find those promises in Scripture that speak to your areas of doubt, fear or insecurity and make them part of your daily prayer and confession. There is power in the Word and it is a mighty sword in your hand and mouth!

Tuesday 26th may – EPHESIANS 1:11-14

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Do you realise just how much God loves you? It is that revelation; that you are loved, accepted, parented, part of His family, adopted – that’s crucial to our self-esteem. It’s that deep inner “knowing”, that whatever else we may lose in this life, we will never stop being His children. I want to tell you today…and please hear my heart, because as I pen these words from my church office, I strongly sense that some of you really need to hear this: There are no hangers-on, no slightly less loved ones, no one’s on the periphery. He has no favourites and no forgotten ones. He brings outsiders in, and we…you…are included, wanted and chosen!

monday 25th may – MARK 10:17-23

“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honour your father and your mother.’” 20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”

I have really been exercised in my thinking this week as I have been preparing these devotions for you, about the way we see and think about ourselves and how that impacts on our effectiveness to be used by the Lord. How you label yourself really matters! In this account from Mark chapter 10, this successful young man walks away, having decided against following Jesus. It almost seems as if Jesus failed him, in the sense that he failed to convince him. Should we label Jesus, a failure, in this instance? Of course not! And so here is my challenge for you, and me, today…Perhaps we should rethink how we interpret our failures too. Jesus and the Father are one. That did not change while he was on this earth. Therefore, Jesus connectedness to God meant he saw Himself rightly. As He was continuously connected to the Father, so we are continuously, through Him, connected to the Father…therefore our connectedness to God can do the same for us! “Christ in us the hope of glory!” Colossians 1:27.

Friday 22nd may – MATTHEW 25:14-30

““For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Following the thoughts I shared with you yesterday…you and I have a God-given responsibility to use our talents, gifts and ministries. If we want to hear the Father say, “Well done,” we need to get rid of the fear which paralyses us! When you take that leap of faith and do what He’s called and gifted you to do, you will discover that dimension, whereby He says, “It’s not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord!” Zechariah 4:6. So come on…make that choice, today, no more hiding your talents, no more fear and intimidation, no more excuses…step out and use what He’s given you!

Thursday 21st may – LUKE 18:9-14

“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Faith is not escapism or denying the realities of life. The Bible doesn’t say we should try and pretend to be what we’re not  and neither does it overlook our inadequacies. The fact is, we are inadequate. Whatever is right about us…all of it, it provided by Jesus. Our responsibility is not to try and raise ourselves or elevate ourselves, but rather to humble ourselves. God does the raising. So remember today, as you meditate on these verses, that no matter how inadequate and unqualified you may feel…you do have a new and exalted position in Christ…and it’s founded on what He has done, not you, and on His righteousness, not yours.

WEDNESDAY 20th MAy – 2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-15

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

I really felt, after writing yesterday’s devotion, that there was more to share…so here it is…and again, this is a word for me, as much as for you. “For God loves a cheerful giver!”  The question is: Do you give God what is left after all your other commitments have been met, or do you put aside your offering and then trust Him to meet all your other needs? You see, God’s standards have not changed, regardless of what we have to give! God still judges our generosity, not by what we give, but by what we keep for ourselves, whether it’s tome, talents or money. Let the Holy Spirit help you examine your heart today, as I have asked him to examine mine, and help us to surrender all to Him.

TUESDAY 19th MAy – MARK 12:41-44

“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,  which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

As I read this passage again, for today’s devotion, I was again struck by the fact that “God sees everything!” Here Jesus was watching people as they gave in the temple. He watched the rich throw large amounts of money into the treasury. It was, however, the widow who slipped in and slid her two tiny coins into the heap, hoping not to be noticed, that caught the attention of Jesus, so much so, that He called the disciples to use her as an example to teach them a powerful spiritual principle. It wasn’t what she had given, but what she had kept for herself, that Jesus cared about. What have you given, what things have you surrendered to him…not just physical things…but your dreams, your desires, your ambitions…and what are you keeping for yourself? Now that’s a tough challenge, I know, even as I pen these words for you, I’m dealing with my own heart.

MONDAY 18th may – 1 SAMUEL 16:1-3

“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.” So Samuel did what the Lord said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;  for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

So many times we disqualify ourselves or others from being part of God’s plan because we judge by externals. With Jesse age seems to have been an issue. David certainly had the right image to be a king, but because of his youth, he wasn’t even considered until all of his other brothers had been called and appeared before Samuel. God, however, chose David regardless of his age, appearance or obvious aptitudes, because he knew his heart. God looks at your heart today, and what he most looks for, is not capability, but availability. So say, “Today, Lord, I’m available, use me in any way You chose.”

FRIDAY 15th MAy – 2 Kings 8:8-18

“And the king said to Hazael, “Take a present in your hand, and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the Lord by him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this disease?’” So Hazael went to meet him and took a present with him, of every good thing of Damascus, forty camel-loads; and he came and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this disease?’” 10 And Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover.’ However the Lord has shown me that he will really die.” 11 Then he set his countenance in a stare until he was ashamed; and the man of God wept. 12 And Hazael said, “Why is my lord weeping?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: Their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword; and you will dash their children, and rip open their women with child.” 13 So Hazael said, “But what is your servant—a dog, that he should do this gross thing?” And Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you will become king over Syria.”14 Then he departed from Elisha, and came to his master, who said to him, “What did Elisha say to you?” And he answered, “He told me you would surely recover.” 15 But it happened on the next day that he took a thick cloth and dipped it in water, and spread it over his face so that he died; and Hazael reigned in his place.16 Now in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Jehoshaphat having been king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat began to reign as king of Judah. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.”

Elisha and his servant were facing imminent danger. They were surrounded on every side by the enemy. Elisha didn’t try to deny the situation or argue his servant out of his panic…he merely prayed for his eyes to be opened. The Lord answered and the servant saw the armies of the Lord protecting them. In all of the stresses of life and the risks and threats we face each day, if we look and listen, we will find abundant evidence that God is at work in this world, no matter how dark things may appear.

THURSDAY 14th MAY – 1 TIMOTHY 5:1-25

“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. Honour widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. 11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,”[c] and, “The labourer is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. 21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. 22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. 24 Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.”

I want to challenge us, today, on the subject of our communication…how we speak to others. To communicate well, we need to rid ourselves of anything that prejudges another person or expects people to think and feel exactly as we do. In our passage today, we are given some practical guidance and advice on how we should address people and how different people should be treated. We have to understand that if we are going to love people, unconditionally, we have to let them be themselves and not allow our culture, upbringing and personal experiences to influence our interpretation.

WEDNESDAY 13th MAy – 1 SAMUEL 3:1-18

“Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down. Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.) And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”15 So Samuel lay down until morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!” He answered, “Here I am.”17 And he said, “What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

I’m sure you’ve also had the experience I’ve had…where you’re just going about your usual business and when you least expect it, the Lord just “drops” something into your spirit and speaks to you about something really important. In this instance, Samuel wasn’t expecting to hear from God and he didn’t even immediately recognise His voice, but he was alert to the voice of the one was serving, in this case Eli. When the old priest, having discerned that it was the Lord, told him how to respond. He immediately did…he listened and obeyed. So today, in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle and noise…just be open to receive unexpected directions and instructions from the Father. Learn to trust His voice. The more you listen, the more you will be able to recognise Him!

TUESDAY 12th MAY – LUKE 1:46-55

“And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”

God has a way of speaking to us about different things and in different ways. When the Lord spoke this word to Mary, her response was to praise Him. What is your response to His shaping, moulding and challenging you? Mary was fearful and uncertain at first, but her fear soon turned into praise of the goodness of God. Make sure, that as you listen and submit to Him this week, that you remember His goodness and faithfulness. Make sure you turn to Him and allow Him to work in you to bring change.

MONDAY 11th MAY – SONG OF SOLOMON 5:2-6

“I sleep, but my heart is awake;
It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is covered with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.” I have taken off my robe; how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; how can I defile them? My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him. I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock. I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.”

We have to distinguish between waiting and procrastinating. There can be no that there are occasions when God uses delays to teach us valuable lessons, but we should never put off for another day what we can and should do today. Yes we need routines and structure in our lives in order to properly manage our resources and schedules. We so easily get locked into these structures and can develop our comfort zones – our familiar ways of doing things. However, if these comfort zones prevent us from responding to God’s voice, they need to be dealt with. That’s a principle we all need to pponder as we begin to face the business and demands of this coming week.

wednesday 29th April – ROMANS 8:22-28

18  For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

 

Be reminded today, of the incredible promise of God’s providence towards you as His child. The truth is, that god orders even small events to serve the good of His people. Things that may even seem accidental to you are directed by God’s providence – His design. So look for His hand, throughout your day…and you will see Him at work in a fresh way, even in your so-called coincidences. Enter into the “rest” of knowing that he is ultimately in control.

Tuesday 28th april – COLOSSIANS 3:1-10

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

 

The challenge, today, is to realize that as a believer, you are set apart to God! The question is, “Can others tell?” Verse 2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. “ Does your life look like you’re set apart to God in what you say and do? What about your attitudes? How about the way you handle other people? We have to resist that pressure to adopt a phony façade. If you and I are truly His, the difference will emerge naturally, through our faith priorities. So today, my encouragement is simple…Set  your heart on things above!

Monday 27th April– PSALM 110:97-105

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. 102 I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

 

What power there is in the Word of God! His Word not only keeps you from sin, but it also leads you in the right direction. Get the Word in you…store it up in your heart…meditate on it and renew your mind to it…it is your ultimate treasure! So determine as you begin today, that you are going to be like the wise builder who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27), and make His Word your ultimate authority in all things. This is truly the key to success (Joshua 1:8)!

friday 24th DECEMBER – JOHN 21:9-19

“Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord.13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. 15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

At the beginning of this chapter Peter says, “I’m going fishing.” He was really saying, “What is there left for me but to go back to my old job. I’ve got to do something. I have totally failed the Lord. I feel guilty about it, but I can’t forgive myself.” He goes off with the weight of guilt hanging heavy on his shoulders, back to his old job. He struggles with where do I go from here? What do I do now? I blame myself over and over for what I did. I can’t do anything about it. He probably replayed the tape over and over from the time he denied Christ, but it didn’t do any good. He could not forgive himself and maybe he wasn’t sure if the Lord could even forgive him. It seemed just too difficult.  Does this sound familiar to you when trying to forgive yourself for something? At times there are certain things you look back on in your life that you punish yourself over and over for just like Peter did. It seems impossible to overcome. What can this scripture say to us today that will help us to get past the things that are keeping us chained to the past? I want to encourage you…don’t beat yourself up over the past. Jesus says to us, “I have forgiven you totally!” His forgiveness is all inclusive. That forgiveness includes forgiving yourself.  As we move away from our past, we also find in it the healing for ourselves. You CAN forgive yourself. Decide to do it today.

THURSday 23rd APRIL – PSALM 139:1-14

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.”

The beauty industry sells us an image of perfection. One company’s slogan is, “Because I’m worth it!” God, however, has been saying that about you all along! We need to be reminded today that we are worth God’s time and effort, His Son’s life and His forgiveness, His patience and His disciplining care, His fathering and His love. So we can say with confidence and assurance, “This is who I am…God says so!” Do that right now…as you start the day…and it will bring you security and unshakeable certainty!

WEDNESDAY 22nd APRIL – ROMANS 8:28-38

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come”

The expectation of a smooth trouble free journey through life, planned by a God who won’t let us experience any pain or experience any trouble, can lead us to a spiritual crisis point when life doesn’t work out the way we expect it to. The fact is, that the Christian life is not a constant series of miracles. That is not to say that God does not intervene and fulfil His promises to us. What it does mean is that he is working it all out according to His master plan.

TUESDAY 21st APRIL – LUKE 15:3-10

“So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.“Or what woman, having ten silver coins  if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Often pictures of heaven focus on our joy at finding Jesus, but He also celebrates because he has found us. He so desperately wanted to find us that He left the comfort of heaven and died to rescue us, the angels cheering Him on every step of the way. Jesus had plans for you. He pursues you because He wants you to be part of eternity with Him

MONDAY 20th APRIL – EZEKIEL 1:4-28

Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And thiswas their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. 18 As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them. 19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels.

22 The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures[c] was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. 23 And under the firmament their wings spread outstraight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.”

What do you think of when you hear the word “heaven”? Ezekiel only caught a glimpse of a shadow of God’s presence, but that was enough to knock him flat. In this life, we only catch fleeting glimpses of God’s heavenly glory, often in the most unexpected people and places. These are treasures to spur us on in our journey of faith.

FRIDAY 17th APRIL – PSALM 91:1-16

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

In this psalm God tells us that He is our shelter, our rest, our refuge, cover, dwelling-place, shield and fortress. He will protect, guard and save. It could hardly be more comprehensive. What a mighty God we serve! All you have to do is creep into your Heavenly Father’s arms, in child-like faith, and you can have absolute security in whatever situation you find yourself in!

THURSDAY 16th April – (GENESIS 41:14-16)

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” 16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

How encouraged I am, every time I read the story of Joseph’s life. There are so many powerful things that we learn about the timing and faithfulness of God to fulfil His plans for us…no matter what! So today, do you feel trapped in a situation which seems to form unyielding bars around you? In these circumstances you can trust God to swing open the doors – in His perfect timing. In the meantime, it is important to ask the right question. Not “Why am I here?”, but “What does God want to teach me or in what way does He want to use me, right here in this situation?”

WEDNESDAY 15th April – ( MATTHEW 7:1-5)

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

They say that love is blind – at the beginning of a relationship we rarely even notice flaws in the other person. This uncritical spirit lasts only for a short while! Some of us are more critical than others, but we all tend to see the faults in others before we notice them in ourselves. So my challenge to you…and of course myself, today, is before we are tempted to criticise others, let’s first take a good look at ourselves, and always view others through the lens of love!

TUESDAY 14h April – (1 SAMUEL 16:1-3)

“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.”But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.”

We often disqualify others or ourselves from being part of God’s plan because we judge by externals. With Jesse age seems to have been an issue. David certainly had the right image for a king, but because of his age, he wasn’t even called until all of his brothers had appeared before Samuel. But God chose David regardless of his age, appearance or obvious aptitudes, because He knew his heart. Make yourself available today, for any way or opportunity God wants to use you. If you do…get ready for an adventure today!

MONDAY 13th april – (COLOSSIANS 1:9-14)

 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Paul prayed often and fervently for the Colossians. We, on the other hand, are often too exhausted to pray once we’ve coped with the babies, dropping the kids off at school, catching the train to work, deadlines, clients and employers. We hardly have any energy, at times, to pray with real passion and fervency. We can make prayer so complicated! If we can talk, we can pray….it’s as simple as that. We don’t get qualified, we already are. Prayer can be a tremendous place, to recharge your energy and focus. Try it…it works every time, for me, no matter how busy I am!

FRIDAY 10th April – HEBREWS 13:1-5

“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I have been a pastor for now more than thirty years. In that time I have had to meet and deal with people from all walks of life. From the wealthy to the poor, from the influential, down to those on the very fringes of society who would be considered outcasts. And through it all, one thing is clear…that all the money, prestige and recognition in the world, cannot buy the happiness found in heaven. The obvious question, then, is what makes heaven a happy place? Heaven is not a happy place because of the gates of pearl and streets of gold. Heaven is a happy place, because God is there! And he is not only “there” but He dwells in you 24/7! Therefore, whatever situation you are facing today…remember…Contentment says, “Even if my circumstances are difficult right now, I’m okay, because God is here!”

THURSDAY 9th April – PSALM 25:4-9

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving kindnesses, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.”

We live in a world today where people are so hungry for wisdom and knowledge. The question I want to ponder with you, today, is…How do you obtain wisdom? What is the formula? It isn’t education or aptitude or IQ. It isn’t “knowing” the right people or having the right connections. According to the Bible, the key is humility. It all starts when we humbly admit to Him that we need His guidance. When we do, I can tell you from personal experience, God will open your eyes to see things you wouldn’t normally see. He will connect you to a wisdom that James says comes from above (James 3:17).

WEDNESDAY 8th April – JAMES 4:7-10

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

How counter this is to the ways of the world. In God’s Kingdom the principle is…The way up is down! You don’t get God’s empowerment and attention by asserting your own independence but by acknowledging your need for Him. By giving God His rightful place in your life…on the throne of your heart as Lord and King, you put yourself in a position to receive all he has purposed for you, including greater influence and recognition. Spend a little time today, ensuring you have given up control to Him.

TUESDAY 7th April – 1 PETER 5:1-5

“The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,[a] not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

My thought for you today, is this…When you put others first, you attract God’s enabling power in your life! Often in a group some people are easily overlooked, but when you make these “forgotten” people the centre of attention, and when you look for those who have no reputation and let them know that they matter to you…something significant takes place. You are doing God’s work and it will cause a divine exchange to happen in your life. It will literally release the favour of God in you and towards you. Try it…you will be amazed!

MONDAY 6th April – PROVERBS 14:15-18; 26-27

“The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps. 16A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident. 17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated. 18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
to turn one away from the snares of death.”

As believers we have to be aware that traps are everywhere, but the bible says that a wise person looks where his foot is going to land before he takes a step. We need to pray for Godly discernment at all times. The enemy will often try to mislead us through people, so we need to learn to recognise his distractions. Ask the Lord, today, to keep you from being gullible. Let your prayer be, “Lord, let me be wise without becoming needlessly suspicious…Amen”

FRIDAY 3RD APRIL – 1 CORITHIANS 13:1-8; 13

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.  13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

How do we define or describe love? Well (1 Corinthians 13) is a great place to start. We know that God is love (1 John 4:8) and love comes from God (1 John 4:7) and for that reason we should love one another. But how do we know that we have the real deal? Well, let me give you a few things to think about! Look at how you behave…If others don’t easily annoy you, if you can rejoice when others are winning and you aren’t, if you don’t feel the need to “toot your own horn”, and if it’s easy to show others that you care…you have the real thing! If not, then ask the Father to let the Holy Spirit shed abroad His love anew and afresh in your heart today (Romans 5:5). Let Him embrace you with a fresh revelation of how much He loves you…it will make all the difference! KKC FEB 15

THURSDAY 2ND APRIL – PROVERBS 11:12-13

 12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbour, but a man of understanding holds his peace. 13 A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”The Book of James warns us of the damage our words can do. (James 3:2-10) “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

Tale-baring or gossiping is such a destructive thing and we are so easily drawn into it, often when we didn’t intend to. Almost every office, school classroom or neighbourhood will have its gossiper….pinch yourself and ask yourself…”I hope it’s not you?”

Our words can so damage people and even ruin someone’s reputation. Use your words today to build people up and not break them down. When and if you are confronted by gossip today, refuse to participate in it…in fact be bold and daring enough to stop it right there! Make a choice…my words are going to bless others and not curse them.

WEDNESDAY 1ST APRIL – PROVERBS 16:22-32

22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly. 23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. 25 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 26 The person who labours labours for himself, for his hungry mouth drives him on. 27 An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire. 28 A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.
29 A violent man entices his neighbour, and leads him in a way that is not good. 30 He winks his eye to devise perverse things;
He pursues his lips and brings about evil. 31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Our challenge today, is (verse 32) and it deals with a subject we all face, and that is anger. On a daily basis we are confronted with issues that anger us…sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons. Being angry is not, in itself, wrong. The Bible says that we are to be angry but not to sin (Ephesians 4:26), and we are not to let our anger continue unresolved. Sometimes anger, at injustice, for example, can motivate you to action. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about anger in your life: Is my anger motivating constructive action? Is it appropriate to the situation? Does my angry reaction reveal that I’m holding onto past hurts and wounds that I need to surrender to the Lord? One of the things I am working through right now is to never allow anger to be my first response! Often when I just take a moment to breathe and gain perspective, my reactions are very different, and the outcome so much more positive.

TUESDAY 31ST MARCH – PROVERBS 1:26

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” (The Message Bible)God is omniscient, meaning He is all-knowing; we know and accept that as a fact. The challenge today, is how do we access that wisdom. We know that our first source is to ask God (James 1:5). Prayer is a tremendous way to open your heart and mind to listen for God’s still small voice. The Word of God is another source of wisdom (Psalm 119). But today, let’s be reminded that God’s wisdom arrives in all kinds of different packages, so be open, as our reading encourages us, to learn from the wisdom of others. When I am faced with challenging and difficult choices, I always try to consult with people with different kinds of strengths sometimes even those, I know, will have a different perspective to me!

MONDAY 30TH MARCH – PROVERBS 3:13-19

13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honour. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her. 19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens.”

The intricate wisdom of our God is seen everywhere, especially in His work of creation. The forces of nature are in perfect balance. Every living cell is a marvel of design. Scientists may try to disprove that there is a Creator God, behind all things…but for the believer, science actually documents the beauty and genius of God’s design. Be encouraged, today, to know, that that same God, is not only your Creator, but your Father. The same wisdom that he used, to sculpt the universe, guided Him, when He planned your life. So trust Him, even when you don’t know the details…He does!

FRIDAY 27TH MARCH – PSALM 139:1-14

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.”

The beauty industry sells us an image of perfection. One company’s slogan is, “Because I’m worth it!” God, however, has been saying that about you all along! We need to be reminded today that we are worth God’s time and effort, His Son’s life and His forgiveness, His patience and His disciplining care, His fathering and His love. So we can say with confidence and assurance, “This is who I am…God says so!” Do that right now…as you start the day…and it will bring you security and unshakeable certainty!

THURSDAY 26TH MARCH – ROMANS 8:28-38

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come”

The expectation of a smooth trouble free journey through life, planned by a God who won’t let us experience any pain or experience any trouble, can lead us to a spiritual crisis point when life doesn’t work out the way we expect it to. The fact is, that the Christian life is not a constant series of miracles. That is not to say that God does not intervene and fulfil His promises to us. What it does mean is that he is working it all out according to His master plan.

WEDNESDAY 25TH MARCH – LUKE 15:3-10

“So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.“Or what woman, having ten silver coins  if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Often pictures of heaven focus on our joy at finding Jesus, but He also celebrates because he has found us. He so desperately wanted to find us that He left the comfort of heaven and died to rescue us, the angels cheering Him on every step of the way. Jesus had plans for you. He pursues you because He wants you to be part of eternity with Him.

TUESDAY 24TH MARCH – EZEKIEL 1:4-28

Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And thiswas their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. 18 As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them. 19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels.

22 The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures[c] was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. 23 And under the firmament their wings spread outstraight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.”

What do you think of when you hear the word “heaven”? Ezekiel only caught a glimpse of a shadow of God’s presence, but that was enough to knock him flat. In this life, we only catch fleeting glimpses of God’s heavenly glory, often in the most unexpected people and places. These are treasures to spur us on in our journey of faith.

MONDAY 23RD MARCH – PSALM 91:1-16

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

In this psalm God tells us that He is our shelter, our rest, our refuge, cover, dwelling-place, shield and fortress. He will protect, guard and save. It could hardly be more comprehensive. What a mighty God we serve! All you have to do is creep into your Heavenly Father’s arms, in child-like faith, and you can have absolute security in whatever situation you find yourself in!

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