At your breaking point – turn to God

2020-07-24
Psalm 27:14 KJV

David had reached his breaking point. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 NKJV). Can you identify? Have you reached your breaking point? If so, you have two options: Break down or break through. It all depends on what you do. There’s an old saying, “The same sunshine that melts the butter hardens the clay.” When trouble comes, you can either turn against God because you served Him and don’t understand why He’s allowing it, or turn to Him for strength and understanding. That’s why what David says next is so important: “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart.” Sometimes God changes our circumstances; other times He uses them to strengthen us. Try to understand this. It’s not just about you, but those God wants to reach through you. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT). Nothing catches God off guard, and nothing’s too hard for Him to handle. The situation you’re in right now can become a platform for Him to demonstrate His love and care for you. “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him!’ The Lord is good to those who depend on him” (Lamentations 3:22-25 NLT).

Soul food: Acts 16-17; Luke 9:28-36; Ps 42:1-5; Prov 16:16

Restored

2020-07-21
Job 42:10 NLT

Judah faced huge destruction after the people had continually been disobedient to God. Joel wrote that ‘What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten’ (Joel 1:4 NIV). Sometimes it can feel like things in our lives have been destroyed too. It can feel like locusts have devoured our hope, our success, our joy, and our relationships. But even when everything seems like a mess, and there doesn’t seem to be any way forward, there is hope. Later in the book of Joel, God says: ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…my great army that I sent among you’ (Joel 2:25 NIV). Other translations use the words ‘restore’ (ESV) or ‘give you back’ (NLT) instead of ‘repay’. God’s promising to bring goodness back to Judah again. He’s promising to restore all that was lost and destroyed. And He can bring restoration to our lives too. In the Bible, we read about a man called Job who faced immense loss. He lost his health, his wealth, and his family. But, in the last chapter of the book of Job it says, ‘The Lord restored his fortunes…The Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning’ (Job 42:10-12 NLT). Not only was Job’s life restored, but He was blessed even more. If we’re feeling like we’re broken and that our life is a mess, let’s put our trust in the One who can restore us. And let’s have hope that we’ll see God’s blessing more than we ever have before.

Acts 10-11; Luke 8:40-56; Ps 14; Prov 16:6-7

Grieve it, then leave it

2020-07-13
Psalm 84:6 NLT

If you were raised in a culture where any show of emotion was considered a sign of weakness, you must learn that grieving your losses is a healthy process – and a scriptural one. The Bible says, “When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs…They will continue to grow stronger” (vv. 6-7 NLT). Note, when your strength comes from the Lord, you can walk through “the valley of weeping” and come out stronger. The length of time each of us spends in that valley may differ, but there comes a point where we must accept God’s will and move forward. So often we’re shocked by the death of a loved one, but God is not. David said, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment…laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139:16 NLT). And try as you will, there’s nothing you can do to change that. The truth is, we don’t grieve “as…those who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 GNT). One day we’ll be reunited with our redeemed loved one in the presence of the Lord, never to be separated again. The farewell is just “till we meet again.” In the meantime, if you need help don’t be ashamed to reach for it. Remember: “A brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17 KJV). Ask God to lead you to a person, a counselor, or a support group that can help you identify the unfinished business that’s keeping you stuck in the cycle of grief. Cherish your loved one’s memory, but move forward and fulfill your divine destiny and purpose.

Soul food: Jer 49-50; Luke 7:1-10; Ps 118:1-9; Prov 15:27-30

Turn your eyes

2020-07-06
Psalm 71:21 NIVUK

When we’ve experienced failure, it can be challenging to let it go and believe that one day we’ll experience success. We know we should pick ourselves up and try again, but that can be easier said than done. Our failures can weigh heavy on our minds and can cause us to doubt our abilities. We might even start to doubt our calling from God. But in order for us to move into success, we need to be willing to let go of the times we’ve failed. In Psalm 71, we find David in a bad situation. Things in his life haven’t gone well and he’s crying out to God. When we’re feeling like this, we have a choice to make. We can either dwell on our failures and fears, or we can look to God. David chose to fix his eyes on God rather than stay stuck in his circumstances. He said: ‘As for me, I shall always have hope; I will praise you more and more’ (Psalm 71:14 NIV). He chose to have hope and to worship despite his circumstances. David went on to say, ‘You will increase my honour and comfort me once more.’ David knew that, with God, there’s always a promise of better times to come. He knew that God hadn’t abandoned him, and that He was going to bring honour back into his life. When we’ve experienced trials and failures, we need to choose to look to God and have hope. Other people, and the enemy, can try and convince us that we’ve messed up too many times and that there’s no future for us in God’s kingdom, but that’s not true. God can redeem every mistake and failure. We just need to turn our eyes to Him.

Jer 28-30; Luke 5:12-26; Ps 110; Prov 15:8-9

Learning the hard way (4)

2020-06-20
Judges 16:22 NIV

After Samson revealed the secret of his strength and his hair was cut off, the Bible tells us that ‘the hair on his head began to grow again.’ The process of renewal was starting. Samson repented, God gave him back his strength, and he ended his life with an act of heroism (you can read about this in Judges 16:23-31). Sometimes we can feel like we’ve messed up so badly that God will never love us or use us again. But the story of Samson helps us to have hope. God didn’t give up on Samson, and He won’t give up on us either. He sees our potential and remembers why He made us. We were created for great things. It’s only as we move into the centre of God’s will that we discover why we were made. When we do, things will begin to fall back into place. Samson is included in the list of people who had great faith (you can find this in Hebrews 11). So why was he included when he’d made so many mistakes? God can take a person who has completely messed up and use them to accomplish great things. He uses ordinary people with weaknesses, who sometimes fail in big ways. If we’ve messed up we need to hand our lives over to God again. We need to give Him all the pieces and let Him put them together. He can give us the power to break free from the things that are holding us back and preventing Him from working in our lives. Only God knows our true potential, and we’ll never reach that on our own. We need His help and His strength. So let’s allow Him to get started today.

2 Kings 21-23; Luke 1:67-80; Ps 144:1-8; Prov 14:1-4