Good examples

2018-06-13
2 Chronicles 26:4 NIV

When we’re children, we respect and look up to lots of people. Sometimes it’s someone in our family, maybe a teacher or someone like a youth leader. We want to be like them and respect them. They set us an example to follow and show us right from wrong. They may even set us an example of how to live close to God and how to follow His ways. Timothy’s faith was influenced by his mother and grandmother. Paul says: ‘I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also’ (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV). The example of strong faith from Lois and Eunice, inspired the faith of Timothy, someone who spread the news of God to others. And back in the Old Testament, Uzziah followed the example set by Amaziah, his father. The Bible says: ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father…had done.’ Even as we get older, we still need good role models in our lives. We need people who can encourage us in our faith. People who can mentor us. And we also need to be good role models to others. We can mentor people younger than us. But we can also simply live in a Christlike way to show others the right way to live. The Bible tells us to ‘let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts’ (Colossians 3:16 NIV). When we live according to this verse, we’ll be a great example to all we meet.

Ezek 24:1-27:24; Mark 15:21-32; Ps 132:11-18; Prov 15:5-7

Why read the Bible?

2018-06-04
2 Timothy 3:16 MSG

Whether we think it’s outdated, unhelpful, boring or simply something we can’t fit in to our busy schedules, it can be easy for our Bible to be left on the side, gathering dust. But Paul wrote to Timothy: ‘There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another – showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us’ (vv.13-17 MSG). So there are some important reasons why we should be reading our Bibles. Firstly, the Bible helps to keep us on the right path. It shows us how God wants us to live. Plus, God will never say something to us through another person, or our own thoughts, that doesn’t line up with what He’s clearly revealed in His Word. When we know the Scriptures, we can discern whether it’s God speaking to us or not. Secondly, it helps us know we’re truly saved. John writes: ‘These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know…you have eternal life, and…continue to believe in the name of the Son of God’ (1 John 5:13 NKJV). And thirdly, reading the Bible helps us to identify our calling and be equipped to carry it out. Paul says, ‘Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us’ (2 Timothy 3:17 MSG). The Bible is our guidebook for living the Christian life, so reading it should be a vital part of our day.

Amos 5:18-9:15; Mark 13:24-37; Ps 117; Prov 14:9-12

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (1)

2018-06-01
Daniel 2:49 NIV

In the book of Daniel, we’re told that King Nebuchadnezzar built a huge statue of himself, and then commanded everyone to bow down and worship it (take a look at Daniel 3:1-6). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew they should only be worshipping God. But they also knew that if they refused, they’d be executed in a furnace. In spite if this, they made a decision to stand up for what was right, rather than bow down to what they knew was wrong. They chose to say to the king: ‘If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand’ (Daniel 3:17 NIV). Imagine having faith like this. Most of us could have come up with loads of rationalisations: ‘I’m bowing down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside’, or ‘I’ll ask for forgiveness straight after’, or ‘I’m no use to God if I’m dead’. But when we compromise our integrity, when we take matters into our own hands, we don’t leave room for God’s intervention. If Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had compromised their integrity and bowed to the statue, they would have missed out on the miracle that God was about to do for them. They would have forfeited their testimony by avoiding the test. They would have saved their lives, but sacrificed their integrity. And it was their integrity and their trust in God that allowed Him to show up and demonstrate His miraculous power. Their integrity paid off: ‘Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon’ (Daniel 3:30 NIV).

Lam 3:40-5:22; Mark 13:1-11; Ps 113; Prov 14:1-4

A prayer for success at work

2018-05-24
Proverbs 22:29 NIV

Here’s a prayer for success at work: “Lord, I thank You for the way You’ve made me, for the many gifts and talents You’ve placed within me, and I trust that I’m the best person for this job. I am grateful for each and every one of the personalities I work with, even the ones I don’t particularly like or understand. I ask that my focus would be on accomplishing the goals You have set forth for me to perform during my time in this position. Give me wisdom and discernment on the job, even in the midst of a hostile environment. Help me to learn what You want to teach me here, and give me patience as You prepare me for the future. Help me to do my best, and to always remain positive and hopeful. Please quiet the complaints and disappointments of my heart with Your perfect peace, and allow me to trust You with my job. Dress me in the garments of praise and the righteousness of Christ that I may bring You glory where I work. Allow me to know my true identity, to walk in Your favor, and to seek to please You more than those with whom I work. Where there is contention, let me be a peacemaker. Where there is deceit, let me speak truth. Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is fear, let me bring faith. Where there is darkness, let me bring light. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy. These things I ask in Jesus’ name, amen.”

Soul food: Judg 9:34-11:40; Mark 10:35-52; Ps 129; Prov 20:25; Ecc 5:4-6

Praying for your assignment


Proverbs 22:29 NIV

We should all want to be successful for God. His idea of success isn’t the same as the world’s idea of success, so it’s important that we take time to pray about our work and the tasks He’s assigned to us, so we can stay focused and on track. Here’s a prayer we can all pray, whatever our task is: ‘Lord, I thank You for the way You’ve made me, for all the gifts and talents You’ve given me, and I trust that I’m the best person for the task You’ve assigned to me. I’m grateful for all the people I work with and connect with, even the ones I don’t really like or understand. Please help me keep my focus on accomplishing the goals You’ve set for me. Give me wisdom and discernment, especially if I’m in a difficult situation. Help me to learn what You want to teach me through this task, and give me patience as You prepare me for the future. Help me to do my best, and to always remain positive and hopeful. Please soothe the complaints and disappointments of my heart with Your perfect peace. Help me to bring You glory and share Your love through the work I’m doing. Allow me to know my true identity, to walk in Your favour, and help me seek to please You. Keep me on the path You’ve laid out for me. Help me to be a peacemaker in times of conflict or argument. When others around me are being deceitful or untrustworthy, help me speak only the truth. Help me bring hope, faith and joy to places where there is despair, fear and sadness. Help me be a light in the darkness. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.’

Judg 9:34-11:40; Mark 10:35-52; Ps 129; Prov 20:25; Ecc 5:4-6