Psalm 30:5 NIV
When we’re struggling, nights can feel like the hardest times. We can end up lying awake for hours in the dark, thinking about our problems, imagining the worst, and wondering how we’ll face the day that’s coming. But God’s with us during all our ‘night-time experiences’. It might be a literal night that we’re struggling to get through, or it might be a season of our life that feels like a never-ending, difficult night. But even on the darkest and hardest of nights, the morning will come. We might have been knocked down, but by God’s grace we can get back up. Times change and relationships change, but God’s always the same. He’s the one who brought us through every difficulty in the past, and He promises to be with us every day of the future. The Bible says: ‘Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.’ When we’re going through a tough time, we need to remember that we’ll rise again, and we’ll rejoice again. No matter what we’re going through right now, let’s not give up. We need to keep our hope that we will see the morning. It’s at the end of every dark night and every broken promise – and it always comes. After every setback, betrayal, and denial – the sun will rise again. God will dry our tears and we’ll wake up ready to sing a new song of praise to God. One of the greatest promises in the Bible is this: ‘Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning…The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him’ (Lamentations 3:22-25 NIV). Today is a new day, so let’s enjoy it.
Exo 20:3; Acts 14:1-18; 1 Sam 5:1-5
Hebrews 11:26 NIV
Moses discovered that when you’re not fulfilling your God-given dream, a king’s palace won’t make you happy. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God…because he was looking ahead to his reward…he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (vv. 24-27 NIV). When God gives you a dream, you’ll be able to see things that are “invisible” to others. This brings us to the next dream killer: Lack of imagination. Humorist Robert Orben said, “Always remember that there are only two kinds of people in this world – the realists and the dreamers. The realists know where they’re going. The dreamers have already been there.” God gave you the gift of memory to replay the past, and the gift of imagination to pre-play the future. Moses “saw” the Promised Land long before he got there. It’s what sustained him through forty long years in the wilderness. God didn’t make a mistake when He gave you imagination. Because of it you can stand in the middle of your dream and envision it before it comes to pass, even when others doubt it. So if you’re a dreamer who has already been there in your imagination, trust God and put your dream to the test. If you come from a discouraging background, or don’t think of yourself as an especially imaginative person, don’t lose hope. You can still discover and develop a dream. God has put that ability within you!
Soul food: Isa 34-37; Luke 2:21-33; Ps 71:17-24; Prov 2:3-5
Acts 16:14 NLT
Lydia wasn’t a preacher, she was a successful businesswoman who became a Christian from Paul’s ministry. As a result, her home probably became the first church building named in Scripture where believers met. The Bible says: ‘She and her household were baptised, and she asked us to be her guests…When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more’ (Acts 16:15;40 NLT). Lydia’s story shows us that we don’t have to be preachers to spread the good news about Jesus. We can share our faith, whatever our profession and however confident we feel about it. God says, ‘Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass’ (Isaiah 46:10 NLT). God already has a plan; what He’s looking for are workers willing to help fulfil it. And we can be one of those workers. Sometimes we worry that we don’t know enough theology, and that we won’t know the answers to people’s questions. But the thing is, God will give us the words to say when we ask Him for help. And often, our story has power. It’s our testimony of how God has made a difference in our lives that can really encourage someone else to give God their life, too. The Bible says: ‘But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). We should always be prepared to share our faith with others, whether we feel qualified or not.
Ecc 9-12; John 12:1-11; Ps 76; Prov 30:15-17
Psalm 89:34 NCV
Sometimes we can find ourselves waking up in a cloud of gloom. Nothing in our day goes right, and we can’t seem to feel positive. We don’t want to do the things we have to do, in fact we’d rather just stay under our duvets all day, or just escape the pressures of life by jetting off to another country. But geographical cures don’t work. Escaping doesn’t solve the problem; it just relocates it. Instead, we need to be turning to a source of strength, hope, and encouragement that never fails – the Bible. God says, ‘I will not break my agreement nor change what I have said.’ What we read in the Bible is truth. It’s God’s promises to us that will never fail. It’s full of verses that we can use to help us focus on God rather than how we’re feeling. Here are some examples: ‘When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. (Psalm 86:7 NIV); ‘He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions’ (Psalm 107:20 NKJV). ‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living’ (Psalm 27:13 NIV); ‘I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD’ (Psalm 71:16 NKJV); ‘Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken’ (Psalm 55:22 NIV); ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). When we let Scriptures like these fill our minds and our hearts, we can remember our identity in Christ, that we have a God who is there for us every step of the way, and that we have better days to come.
Isa 58-62; John 9:1-12; Ps 15; Prov 29:4-6
Ephesians 1:9 NIV
When we teach someone something, we impart some of our wisdom to them. It can give that person a new understanding of something and can reveal something that had once been a mystery. And this is exactly what God does for us. We will never fully understand God, or His ways, but He’ll show us things and impart wisdom into our lives. Sometimes, God reveals His will for our lives. Maybe we’ve been praying and wondering what we should be doing with our lives. It can be scary when we don’t know what path we should be taking. But when we ask, God will slowly begin to reveal His purpose for our lives. It might be the career path we should take, the church we should go to, or even the person on our street who we should talk to. God can also reveal things to us about His character. That revelation often comes through reading the Bible. We can read something we’ve read hundreds of times before and suddenly realise something new about God. God also imparts promises to us about breakthroughs and blessings that He’s got in store for us. And He imparts all this by His Spirit. The Bible says, ‘We know about these things because God has sent His Spirit to tell us’ (1 Corinthians 2:10 TLB). God can cause us to know something that will change the course of our lives. He can show us something during the night that changes how we feel in the morning. In His presence we receive insights that give us purpose, hope, direction, and the strength to get up and fight for what He promised us. So let’s get into His presence today – and let’s stay there until He reveals something new to us.
Isa 34-37; John 7:25-44; Ps 104:24-35; Prov 28:9-12