Discovering your calling (1)

2020-06-01
1 Samuel 10:1 NIV

Here’s how Saul became Israel’s first king. He was out in the countryside looking for his father’s lost donkeys when he met the prophet Samuel. ‘Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us…but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.” Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance?”‘ (1 Samuel 9:27-10:1 NIV). Saul went out looking for donkeys and instead discovered his calling in life. And it can happen like that for us too. God has a habit of calling people who are busy doing other things. James and John were mending their fishing nets, Matthew was collecting taxes, Elisha was farming, and Saul was out looking for his father’s lost donkeys. It was just another day for them. We can spend a lot of time worrying and stressing about what we should be doing with our lives. But sometimes God’s purpose for our lives become apparent when we least expect it. When the call comes, we can struggle to accept it. We doubt whether we’re really the right person. Saul did that too. He had said: ‘But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin?’ (1 Samuel 9:21 NIV). Our social status and education levels don’t limit God. Neither does our fear. When He has a plan in mind for us, He’ll let us know and equip us to be able to do it. So if we’re stressing about what our purpose is, let’s stay faithful, keep serving Him, and believe that our time will come.

1 Kings 12-13; Mark 13:12-23; Ps 117; Prov 12:20-22

God and your money (6)

2020-05-23
Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV

When it comes to God and your money: (1) When you do what pleases Him, He will bless you. Why? Because your actions prove that doing His will is more important to you than doing your own thing. “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:23 KJV). But there’s another side to the coin. When you knowingly don’t do what pleases God, He will stop blessing you. “Take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 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” (vv. 28-29 NKJV). (2) God will show you how to make more money. He taught Joseph how to prosper in the midst of a worldwide famine, and bless the needy nations around him. And when the fish weren’t biting, Jesus showed the disciples where to find a boatload of them. On one occasion, they actually caught a fish with enough money in its mouth to pay their taxes! (See Matthew 17:27). God works through unlikely channels, and He wants you to depend on Him as the source for everything you need. The Bible says, “Remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.” The word “power” encompasses ideas, strategies, plans, relationships, and investments. Yes, God can send you an unexpected check in the mail that will solve your problem temporarily, but you should believe Him for a plan that’ll solve your problem long term.

Soul food: Heb 11:17-13:25; Mark 11:1-11; Ps 47; Prov 12:4-6

God and your money (1)

2020-05-18
Psalm 84:11 KJV

What you believe about God and your money will determine how you pray and what you believe Him for. You say, “But money is the root of all evil.” No, the Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV). That means if you’re a miser, God won’t give you more. “But haven’t some preachers used the Bible to enrich themselves?” you ask. Absolutely – and you wouldn’t want to stand in their shoes when they answer to God! But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The best way to tell if a dollar bill is counterfeit is to place it beside a genuine one. So here’s the question: Are you looking for a reason to doubt God’s promises, or a reason to believe them? The Bible says, “No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11 NIV). We all agree that providing for your family, getting a promotion, educating your children, and meeting other people’s needs are all “good” things. So when you “do what is right” before God, you can expect Him to bless you. John wrote, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2 NKJV). Only when our children reach maturity and demonstrate responsibility do we entrust them with the keys to the family car, right? So maturity must precede prosperity. When you demonstrate maturity, you can go to God with confidence, knowing He’ll meet your needs and bless you. Which raises the question: Are you growing and maturing spiritually?

Soul food: Jonah 1-4; Mark 9:38-50; Ps 75; Prov 11:23

Doubt

2020-05-01
John 20:25 NIV

When the disciples told Thomas, ‘We have seen the Lord!’, Thomas refused to believe them. He said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ When Jesus appeared to the disciples again, this time Thomas was there too. Jesus invited Thomas to touch His scars and see His hands. When Thomas did this, He stopped doubting and exclaimed ‘My Lord and my God!’ (v.28 NIV). Thomas has often been given a bad reputation because of his doubt, but how often do we find ourselves doubting God too? We might believe in the resurrection, but we doubt that God will come through for us in the situation we’ve been praying about for years. We can doubt His love, goodness, grace, faithfulness, and promises. We doubt Him because He does things that we don’t understand. But we’re not going to understand everything in this life. This is where we need to have faith that God’s in control. The Bible says: ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’ (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). Thomas only believed when he saw Jesus with his own eyes, but Jesus said, ‘blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (John 20:29 NIV). We don’t always see God working in our lives, and it can be challenging to have faith in a God we can’t see. But Jesus says that we’re blessed when we keep believing and when we keep trusting. So let’s take all our doubts to Jesus, and ask Him to help us have faith in Who He is and what He’s doing in our lives.

Num 3:1-4:33; Mark 5:31-43; Ps 2; Prov 10:30-32

Hiding place

2020-04-20
Psalm 71:3 NLT

The Bible says, ‘Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring’ (Proverbs 27:1 NLT). Every morning when we wake up, we have no idea what will happen to us that day. Sometimes the day is filled with good things, other times unexpected bad things happen. We live in a real world with real problems. We’re not immune to bad situations happening in our lives. Satan wants to attack us, discourage us, and make us afraid of what’s going to happen. We’re told to: ‘Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8 NLT). It can be easy to start fearing the future, especially when lots of bad things seem to be happening to us and those we love. While we can’t avoid experiencing some of these things, we can avoid being fearful. In Psalm 91, it says: ‘Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday’ (vv.5-6 NLT). So how can we stop being afraid? We can choose to believe that God is our protector, fortress, and hiding place. The psalmist wrote: ‘Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.’ No matter what comes our way, we need to trust that when it arrives, God will give us the strength to cope. As long as we remain strong inwardly and keep trusting God, we can handle anything that comes against us outwardly and keep moving forward.

Lev 26-27; Mark 2:13-22; Ps 103:1-12; Prov 10:13